As they enter the training circuit 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 by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds 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.
Spice Rack Chocolates' co-creators Paul and Mary Schellhammer left long-standing careers in order to make their shared culinary interests a full-time occupation. Before Spice Rack Chocolates fully evolved as a business, Mary worked as a personal chef. She developed an intimate knowledge of herbs and spices along the way, and started to invent unusual pairings of chocolate and herbs, which she left as after-dinner treats at the parties she catered. Her intrigued clientele began to come back to her shop, wailing like zombies for more chocolate, and the business became a cacao-centric endeavor.
In 2008, just two years after making Spice Rack Chocolates' confections publicly available, the Schellhammers' artisanal chocolates won the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services's "Best New Food Product"—an award which they clinched again in 2010. Today, the Schellhammers create 29 flavors of Belgian chocolate infused with herbs, spices, coffee, and peppers, and can hand-paint color accents or tiny limericks onto the candies using color-infused cocoa butter. The spot also creates confections that have been certified vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Hampton Roads IcePlex caters to skaters of all experience levels, from tot lessons for 4- and 5-year-olds to its hockey league exclusively for polar bears. Youth and adult hockey leagues pit hockey enthusiasts against other local teams for exhilarating season play. The rink welcomes figure skaters of all backgrounds to lay claim to the ice as well, performing the simplest of two-foot spins to the most complex slam-dunks.
Taking time to stop and smell the flowers has never paid off better than it does at Seven Oaks Lavender Farm. Co-owned by the mother-daughters team of Edith, Deborah, and Dianne, the farm occupies more than an acre of land and in the summer season is sprinkled with purple lavender and other flowers. Set back from the rustic and perfumed fields, their Lavender Shop houses myriad floral products, many of which are made by the Seven Oaks ladies themselves. Visitors can pick up soaps, jellies, certified-organic teas, and candles that all bear a fragrant, lavender aroma. In addition to its everyday operations, the farm also hosts events that include fall festivals, wreath-making classes, and lessons on using lavender garlands to ward off possessed grandmothers.
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.
Springfield Butcher has been filling bellies and empty barbecue pits with fresh, hand-cut steaks and seafood for more than 30 years. Prime cuts of beef range from filet mignon and Prime rib roast to flank steak, cube steak, and fun-size steaks perfect for trick-or-treaters. Other protein options run the gamut from Danish-style pork ribs to game meats including buffalo, venison leg steaks, and wild boar.
Sausages made in-house are available smoked or un-smoked, and bacon wraps its smoky flavor around scallops, which?like the rest of the shop's seafood offerings?are delivered fresh every day, except Sunday. Those looking to go from stove to table as quickly as possible can also opt for oven-ready entrees such as chicken cordon bleu or pork chops with onion stuffing.