The staff at 2K Adventure Gear lures explorers into its storefront with apparel, equipment, and accessories for warm- and cold-weather excursions, and helps keep like minds together by organizing a variety of fun, rough-and-tumble outdoor events. A selection of kayaks, paddles, and life jackets outfit aquatic travelers; snowshoes give trekkers the surefootedness of a mountain goat and the problem-solving savvy of a lab rat with a degree in public relations. Clients can load up backpacks and venture forth on one of the company’s weekly paddling events, held at sites around the Midwest. Beginners can take advantage of lessons that accommodate no more than 12 students, and more practiced paddlers can take group trips to Wisconsin, central France, or a whale’s dreamscape.
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Green thumbs gain inspiration from garden furnishings and decorative wrought-iron pieces stockpiled inside Ingrid’s Secret Garden. Mini roses, indoor bulb arrangements, and topiaries bloom as shoppers peruse eco-friendly gardening accessories and organic products including pottery and planters, gardening tools, and organic teas and spices. A selection of ornate birdhouses sport curved balconies, miniature french doors, and other decorative flourishes to welcome chirping birds and garden fairies discussing which mythical crew member of the Dawn Treader is the cutest. Once customers have inspected the indoor inventory, they can follow the path behind the family-owned shop and discover a Tudor-style greenhouse packed with hanging baskets, annuals, and other vibrant plants.
Daniel J. Laudick, Sr. has a lot to feel proud of. He has served in the Marines, worked on the U.S. Department of Defense's counter-drug and counter-terrorism unit, and appeared on Discovery Channel's One Man Army. He's not totally sure how that last one happened, though he suspects it has something to do with running into R. Lee Ermey at a Marine Corps ball right before Discovery called. Despite all this, his proudest moment may be a weapon-retention class he taught one Saturday. Soon after, someone attacked one of his students, a federal contractor, and went for his gun. Daniel's student not only retained his weapon using the techniques he learned in class, but also subdued his attacker without firing shot.
The instructors at Northwest Suburban Tactical Training Center aim to prepare students for those kinds of situations, which they refer to as "the 1% day". Daniel and his two fellow instructors—Adrian Rivera, a federal police officer who protects the president during Chicago-area visits, and Matthew Boelhower, a three-tour Iraq veteran appearing in The New York Times bestseller Joker One and whose platoon was featured in Soldier of Fortune Magazine_—believe that in these rare but life-threatening situations, people revert back to their training—or lack thereof. That's why their classes cover a broad range of armed and unarmed self-defense techniques for civilians, the military, and law enforcement. Drawing from their own combat training and field experience, Daniel and his team also organize custom training programs on topics such as patrolling, giving trauma first aid, and teaching police how to avoid stage fright when _COPS cameramen show up. Holding an ATF license for their facility, Northwest Suburban Tactical's weapon experts advise on and can customize firearms.