In the midst of summer in North Carolina, Christmas has already begun to blossom in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tucked between its peaks at more than 3,000 feet above flat land, there's a forest of fraser firs getting ready for their holiday post in living rooms, right after they figure out how to politely evict their squirrel tenants. The trees belong to Cedar Grove Christmas Trees, a farm where fresh, healthy trees have been the main objective for more than three decades. To that end, it also ships in plantation and wild-stand balsam firs from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Cedar Grove's tree growers only use eco-friendly, sustainable practices, such as planting cover crops in lieu of fertilizer and mowing more frequently instead of using spray herbicides. Not to mention, the tree fields are inherently helpful to the earth, since they provide habitats for critters and enough oxygen every day for 18 people, who would otherwise have to breathe water.
One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, Members can stock up on economy-sized groceries?including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials?grab name-brand electronics, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
The staffers at Grand Design Nail Salon, made up of a tight-knit group of family and friends, are happy to help fickle clients select polish colors from a wavy wall-mounted display before each appointment begins. Carved wooden manicure stations, whose delicate shapes emulate antique writing desks, invite fingertips to rest or tap love letters in Morse code as technicians trim and polish natural nails or apply and fill acrylics. Plush crimson cushions help guests relax during pedicure appointments. Grand Design Nail Salon's services also include waxing unwelcome hairs from eyebrows, lips, and chins.
Back in 1986, Huey Lewis taught us that it's hip to be square. That continues to hold true at A Little Square, where squares of fabric transform into dresses, shirts, and quilts of all colors and sizes. Adults and children can make their own wearable garments in classes that teach the basics of sewing and bedazzling. But this place isn't all about fabrics; look around, and you'll also spot an impressive array of old-fashioned children's toys, including everything from marbles to magic tricks that make your family disappear.
Turnpike Music Garage tends to all musical needs with an impressive line-up of instruments, gear, and lessons. The inventory includes amps, Casio digital pianos, OSP electric drums, and Seagull acoustic guitars. They also rent school-approved band and orchestra instruments. In-house specialists go beyond fixing instruments, they give lessons in guitar, viola, cello, drums, trumpet, and more.
For three generations and 65 years, family members have been helping clients find perfectly fitting pairs of shoes at Ente's Shoe Salon. They've lasted this long because of their dedication to extraordinary service. Staff members make a point of stocking unusual sizes, from women's sizes 4 to 12 as well as narrower shoes for tiny feet. They don't stick to just one style, either. Instead, they offer everything from Uggs to towering heels and sensible dress shoes. When stocking their shelves, they pick top-quality shoe brands, such as Frye boots, FitFlops, and Prevata.