Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
Trek Bicycle Store of Loveland outfits pedaled chariots and their masters with sleek accessories and clothes and heals sick cycles with tune-ups and repair services. Feeding nearly every biking need, Trek Bicycle Store hosts a plentiful buffet of shoes, cargo bags, energy snacks, tire pumps such as the Bontrager TurboCharger, and accessories that include Serfas Force 5 sunglasses ($50). The Bontrager Circuit helmet is super strong without acting as a head anchor; its lightweight design allows air to pass freely while preserving the cranium's tough candy shell ($99). Comfort and style await lower halves in the durable and baggy Endura Firefly shorts in black or titanium gray ($59.99). Training devices, such as the Bontrager Node 1 computer ($79.99), keep track of land speed, heart rate, and cadence on a single screen, ensuring hearts are monitored with a focus normally reserved for puppies yet to be housebroken.
With thousands of frame and mat samples, The Great Frame Up can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for around $100–$200), personalized jerseys glisten (most for less than $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (many 24" x 36" pieces are less than $100). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. The Great Frame Up’s no-hassle guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
To Grant Jennings, wine is more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day—it’s his career. When he isn't teaching wine classes, he’s at home curating his own blends or working with the UC Davis winemaking program. His dedication to the craft infuses the atmosphere at Brix Wine and Spirits, where the staff members pick up on their boss' enthusiasm and happily guide customers through a collection of wines and beers selected to appeal to the discerning palate. The cozy shop, complete with exposed-brick pillars and golden-cylinder light fixtures, also offers locally produced beverages and small-production wines‚those varietals that are often too short to ride the upside down rollercoasters. The staff also hosts wine classes, beer classes, private wine tastings, and alcohol-education events.
Though the aroma of fresh-cut flowers has drifted from its doors for more than 60 years, Earles Loveland Floral & Gifts has not been quite the same since 1993, when United Floral Industry School graduate Elizabeth Parker took charge of operations. The time-honored flower and gift shop has blossomed under her guidance, experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity that recently culminated in its winning the Reporter-Herald’s Reader's Choice award for best local florist in 2011.
Parker went to school for floral wedding design, and it’s no secret that her field of study has become one of the shop’s strong suits. Along with her dedicated team of florists, she can turn any wedding venue into a lush garden of bridal bouquets, corsages, and elegant reception centerpieces. The shop's everyday bouquets hardly suffer from comparison, bundling together natural, seasonal flowers in arrangements available for pickup or delivery by a well-trained swarm of bees. Before whisking away a bouquet of grab 'n' go flowers, peruse Earles's eclectic selection of gifts and household accouterments, which includes flower-print tote bags, beaded jewelry, and gel candles.