Joe Newkirk can still recall the look on the 9-year-old's face when she gazed out of the helicopter window. The girl, who suffered from vision problems, won an essay contest themed "Live Life in HD." Among the contest's donated prizes—which included a zamboni ride—Newkirk contributed a helicopter experience. As he saw the girl transfixed by the view at 1,000 feet, he recognized how her experienced mirrored his first time in the air. "The feeling you get, it's a feeling of freedom." Hence the name, Freedom Helicopters.
Originally a design engineer for a helicopter manufacturer, Newkirk found himself less interested in engineering parts and more fascinated by how the machines could lift straight off the ground without a runway start or being kicked by a Rockette. After obtaining his Federal Aviation Administration license, he recognized the scarcity of experienced pilots due to the military's increasing retention of helicopter operators. Today, Newkirk and his team of fellow FAA licensed pilots work to remedy the shortage and help people cross an experience of their bucket lists by turning over the controls of Robinson and Bell helicopters capable of sustaining speeds of 130 miles per hour. Backed by training from Newkirk's team, Freedom Helicopters' alumni have gone from zero hours of experience to leading helicopter tours through the Grand Canyon and saving lives as medical evacuation specialists.
Solar Control Window Tinting swathes panes in professional films that diffuse sunlight and maintain even-keeled climates in cars, homes, and offices. Residential and commercial windows don sheer or dense privacy films from brands such as 3M and Piper, which block up to 99% of UV rays, trap warmth in the winter, and block heat in the summer, keeping energy consumption in check and environments comfortable. The coatings also protect art and upholstery from sun damage, and can reduce the number of flying shards should storms or soprano houseguests shatter windows.
Solar Control’s techs apply the same surface savvy to car windows, precision-cutting film to fit individual panes or covering vulnerable auto paint with weather-resistant urethane film. While technicians work on rides at the company's headquarters, drivers can settle into plush couches, peruse satellite TV channels, and join a free WiFi network in the waiting room.
Paintball Indiana's owner and operator Chris bought his first marker––a PCS Storm––almost 20 years ago. He was hooked from the very first paintball shot, and within five years began refereeing games and designing his own equipment. Six years ago, his passion led him to purchase Paintball Indiana's expansive 20 acres of fields, which revolve around a central defensive castle. Chris now employs his own referees, a staff of young and passionate players that regulates games of speedball, woodsball, or scenario play on the three fields and lobby sofas. Chris' fields also play host to three- and five-man speedball leagues, which help players hone their marksmanship before upcoming tournaments. Large-scale games are de rigueur as well, as Chris and the staff takes down the nets between fields for the Big Game––an event hosting vast armies of players battling across 700 feet of terrain in the hopes of capturing the castle's prized Beanie Baby collection.
HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
The staff at Simply Smile Dentistry knows that impending dental work tends to trigger anxiety in patients. Take, for example, a client named Brandon, who faced both a troublesome tooth and insurance edging closer to expiration. To help ease Brandon's dilemma, the staff prioritized his appointment, getting him in quickly enough so he'd still be covered by his insurance. The team is also apt to relax nervous patients with sedation dentistry. This consideration for each patient pervades Simply Smile's services. Led by dentist Dr. Samuel J. Bacon, the staff utilizes technology such as intra-oral imaging, digital x-rays, and ViziLite oral-cancer screenings to catch mouth maladies early. The results guide each cleaning as well as any recommendations for dental repairs. Dr. Bacon and his team also enhance smiles with cosmetic treatments, including Invisalign, same-day crowns, and Zoom! whitening, which brightens teeth discolored from sucking the juices out of carrots.
Each Discount Mattress store stocks hundreds of name-brand memory-foam, latex, gel, and pillow-top mattresses, all with prices averaging 50%–75% below retail. Brand-new mattresses from manufacturers such as Stearns & Foster, Spring Air Back Supporter, King Koil, Comfort Solutions, Americana, and Kathy Ireland Collection saturate the showroom floors, offering a variety of firmness levels to suit beds, budgets, and pillow forts of all sizes. Each an experienced sleeper themselves, staff members are well-suited to assist customers in their quest for sounder slumber, and each purchase is backed by a 110% price guarantee should the same mattress appear somewhere else for less. In addition to supporting spines, Discount Mattress helps buttress the Illinois economy by selling mattresses that are made locally, and caters to busy schedules by offering same-day delivery to homes from the western suburbs to downtown Chicago.