Contributing to local commerce isn’t new territory for the Howard family. In 1925, Edwin Howard’s in-laws founded a small grocery in Doraville, which he took leadership of 30 years later. After gaining experience in that business, he decided to expand the family’s venture, and in 1972, he opened the first Howard’s True Value Hardware right next door. Now, after more than 35 years and currently under the ownership of Howard brothers John and Doug, the hardware store keeps shelves stocked with more than 100,000 hardware items, tools, and home-garden accouterments from the likes of Carhartt and Honda, as well as charcoal grills from Big Green Egg, wood pellet grills from Traeger, and a line of propane grills with tanks they can fill in-store. For sports enthusiasts, they're an authorized YETI Cooler and Tifosi Eyeglass Dealer.
Building materials, including adhesives and mason tools, lighten the burdens of home-improvement projects, and a constellation of hand tools relieves the hassle of hiring a beaver to chew its way through 2”x4”s. A full stock of interior paints helps customers brighten the hue of living quarters, while a sturdy pair of jeans from Carhartt helps them to withstand the wear-and-tear of maintenance projects or slow dances with rose bushes.
In 2001, the first of many ziplines began to sprout from the grounds surrounding the Old Mill Farm. The cows would inspect the strange contraptions quizzically, but they soon grew comfortable with the droves of smiling guests whooshing overhead. Today, spread across more than 100 acres near the North Oconee River in Lula, Georgia, North Georgia Canopy Tours lead groups on high-flying adventures. Available for purchase, photo packages and GoPros can commemorate the adventure. The tours entertain guests with serene views and exhilarating activities, as ziplines reach up to 70 feet off the ground and extend as far as 850 feet, allowing zipliners to catch glimpses of flying squirrels migrating south in V formation. Staff also welcome visitors to stay overnight in 15 campsites and several authentic Native-American teepees equipped with amenities such as electricity and air conditioning. The walls of each teepee bear custom-painted Cherokee symbols representative of the seven Cherokee Clans, for which North Georgia Canopy Tours' seven campgrounds are named.
Chef Lee Linton has sliced, diced, and sizzled up countless gourmet dishes for more than 30 years. He combines this hefty culinary experience with his passion for nutrition to craft 1,200- and 1,800-calorie meal plans designed to help health-conscious eaters like himself stay in tiptop shape without sacrificing taste or quality. Linton only uses fresh ingredients, shying away from the frozen, dehydrated, or astronaut-friendly ones often used in other premade meals. The menu, which is approved by an on-staff dietitian, rotates regularly, and meets the guidelines set by the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Cancer Society. After Chef Linton and his team prepare the dishes within a USDA-approved kitchen, they’ll ship the meals directly to clients’ homes or prep them for pickup at one of Fresh ‘n Fit’s 37 locations.
Overweight from a lifetime of inactivity, Merri Benham turned to yoga to take control of her body and cope with her chronic aches and high stress levels. The ancient Hindu discipline invigorated her body, helping her regain her youthful mobility and shave off 50 pounds. Eager to help others enjoy yoga's benefits, she's spent close to 5,000 hours teaching yoga—throughout the last 10-plus years—to students of all fitness levels ranging from children to NFL players to triathletes. Today, Merri leads various classes tailored for participants seeking a deep-muscle stretch, a beginner-friendly session, or an opportunity to show off a sweat-resistant onesie.
At more than 1,200 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
The friendly tool experts at Direct Tools Factory Outlet help customers to negotiate the store's huge inventory of new, reconditioned, and factory-blemished hardware from brands such as Ryobi, Homelite, and Milwaukee. Items are priced at a reduced rate, giving purchasers extra money and a brand-new stockpile of hardware to construct a time machine to go back and impress an early hominid with a Dirt Devil Scorpion 7-amp hand vacuum ($29.99) or a factory-blemished Ryobi One+ Lithium-Ion compact drill ($127.99). Each product carries a warranty of at least one year, even the reconditioned items, which had to get back in shape with pushups and burpees to earn their warranty ribbon.