To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand’s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Groves of oaks and georgia pines reflect off the glassy surface of strategically placed water hazards at Southbridge Golf Club’s 18-hole course, the grassy brainchild of renowned course architect Rees Jones. Soaring above the 6,922-yard layout, wayward golf balls may carom off of the dense population of timbers, nestle into the pillowy sands of deep bunkers, or sink into the abyss of ponds, streams, and lava pits that come into play on nearly every hole. Large greens await at the end of each hole, eager to befuddle golfers with breaking putts and a fast, well-maintained surface. An onsite driving range nurtures golfers relationships with their clubs, and a menu of fresh meat, seafood, and salad at the genteel diner of Vickery’s at Southbridge curbs hunger that may sap strength from drives or preempt post-round putter-jousting competitions.
Course at a Glance:
At Athens Running Company, shopping for running shoes is much like test-driving a car. As part of their mission to educate customers, owners and childhood friends Mark Schroeder and David Laggis consult closely with clients and perform complimentary fittings, whereby a foot scanner and a video gait analysis narrow down the best options for stability and comfort. Guests then slip their feet into the latest styles of footwear by the likes of Saucony, Asics, and Brooks before taking shoes for a 15-second spin on the shop’s treadmill so employees can evaluate their movement. Once customers have reviewed a selection of suitable pairs, they take the finalists out on an actual walk or jog, ensuring that the shoes give proper support by squeaking “great job” after every mile.
Aside from carrying shoes for all running disciplines ranging from light jogs to triathlons, the shop’s staff also outfits visitors with workout apparel and accessories, including compression gear, orthotics, heart-rate monitors, and jogging strollers. Despite the breadth of their catalog, Mark and David both reject the personal detachment of a large retail store. They invest in several local running programs, sponsoring races where they time the competitors and host finish-line services. Works by neighborhood artists decorate the shop’s walls, alongside leashes and pet jackets by Ruffwear—items of potential interest to Mark's dog, Sam, who accompanies his owner to work each day.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in locations around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their child learns to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of preschool knitting circles.
Armed with an army of innovative and certified shutterbugs, Olan Mills Portrait Studio provides families with high-quality portraits, continuing a mission that was established more than 75 years ago by founder Olan Mills Sr. Skilled in the art of capturing infants, children, families, and bunny-ears-giving ghost orbs on film, Olan Mills’s experienced smile snappers will take a series of poses amid a variety of backgrounds and lighting options. The studio is equipped with a selection of props—including numbers for birthdays, toys, and boxes—and patrons may bring their own photo-enlivening items from home. The resulting photos find their way to prints in natural color, black and white, or sepia tones; they can also be immortalized in the studio's signature Old Masters style, a canvas brushed with highlights to recreate look of an oil painting. Like the gentlemanly mariners of ages past with their full schedule of sea-battles, the photographers welcome appointments, but do not require them.