So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
To complement Herbs & More's trove of more than 500 herbal and homeopathic supplements from Nature’s Sunshine, Nature’s Way, and Irwin Naturals, an on-site team performs holistic medicine treatments and doles out unlimited expertise. Owner and certified herbalist Cathy Burkemper wields her qualifications to supply shoppers with the finest herbs, all-natural gifts, and portals to ancient China, and she offers far-reaching health support through a monthly column called “Ask the Herb Lady” in The Healthy Planet. Chiropractic doctor Melissa Sheahan adjusts backs to their proper alignment, while her husband David “DJ” Eagan practices deep-tissue massage, reiki, and cupping to untangle knots in body and brain alike.
Launched 5 years ago, Mattress Source has grown from a plucky family-run enterprise to a regional institution, soothing aching backs and brightening up dream times with masterfully engineered mattresses of all makes and types. Models from brands such as Simmons, Corsicana, Restonic, and Spring Air enrich the third of your life spent asleep and the eighth of your life spent practicing trust falls with thick, long-lasting constructions designed to support and relax the body. The inventory promotes deep sleep and good health through a range of mattress types, from the strong, nonsagging innerspring design to the pillowy comfort of sheets of memory foam and latex.
C&C Butcher specializes in butcher's cuts of beef and pork while also stocking specialty wares such as bratwurst or salami. Its cuts of beef are aged between 21 and 30 days, which makes the meat more tender while concentrating its flavor. Behind the counter, sirloin steak tips sit in one of five marinades, including Cajun or caribbean, ready to be taken home and grilled. Customers can also pick up Boar's Head deli meats and cheeses for at-home sandwich assembly or edible wallpapering projects.
Royal Gate Dodge introduces drivers to gleaming stables of new and used Chryslers, Dodges, Jeeps, and Rams in Ellisville and Columbia, Illinois. Certified specialists stand ready at both dealerships to fix what ails a sluggish Dodge Avenger or to help a Jeep Patriot Sport remember the preamble to the Constitution. Car owners can drop off their injured autos six days a week at either service center—both are open six days a week, but the Ellisville shop closes later (11 p.m. Monday through Friday). The technicians in Ellisville also provide collision-repair services in a 14,000-square-foot facility equipped with computerized estimating systems, digital imaging, and year-round climate control.
If it has frets or strings, chances are Mike Fazio and the instructors at Fazio's Frets & Friends know how to play it. What began as a love affair between Mike and his Harmony guitar when he was 10 years old has blossomed into more than 9,500 square feet of space dedicated to new and used guitars, basses, and amps. Inside Fazio’s, Fender Stratocasters, acoustic Taylors, and guitars from other high-end makers line the walls from floor to ceiling, surrounding a seemingly endless sea of amplifiers from brands such as Marshall Amplification and Budda Amplification. Fazio’s also deals in keyboards, drums, and banjos, and carries a variety of effects pedals to help guitarists re-create the sound of Slash, Hendrix, or the twanging noise during Home Improvement interludes.
Off the show-room floor, 15 lesson studios harbor instructors and their students who span a variety of experience levels. In order to ensure that these budding musicians receive top-quality education, Fazio’s instructors must audition before they can teach. Students without their own instruments can borrow guitars from Fazio’s rental shop, or they can carefully study Fazio’s factory-certified repair-center technicians in order to build their own out of a repurposed cello.