With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
In almost 30 malls sprinkled across four states, Beauty Plus Salon beckons prospective makeover recipients with a fleet of skilled stylists and a colossal selection of professional beauty products. "The beauty industry never slows down," staffers say on Facebook, so "neither do we." That's why mall-goers find Beauty Salon open seven days a week. Between the retail shelves that average 500 nail polish colors, clients get gussied with services that pamper hair, skin, and nails.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
Inspired fabric artists find everything they need at The Quilted Nest, and those seeking inspiration can find it in fun patterns and books nestled amid neatly stacked bolts of quilt-shop-quality cotton. Creative ideas also abound in the shop's regularly scheduled classes, putting an end to quilters' days of patterning squares after boring stock-market charts. Customers are encouraged to bring their own sewing machines, but public machines are available for rent during classes. In addition to workshops and classes, the shop also hosts events such as weekly Manic Mondays, where anyone can needle away with no studio or machine-rental fee as long as they are working on a project for a charity.
Gourmet Popcorn Creations puts a twist on the classic movie snack, coating the crunchy treat in vibrant hues and more than 30 creative flavors. Five-ounce bags of savory flavors ($4.50), such as spicy barbecue and ranch, lend themselves to jazzed-up noshing and mouth-catching snack tournaments. Experienced popcorn colonels can discover unexpected glazed fruit flavors such as green apple and black cherry ($3/5-oz. bag). Delight friends, baseball fans, or flocks of pigeons watching baseball games with large quantities of caramel corn, from 14-ounce bags ($7) to small or large buckets ($10 or $16). Inventive new flavors make their debuts by filling the buckets spread about the store with their neon glows; newest births include maryland crab, root-beer float, and mint-chocolate chip.
Named the Best Yoga Studio of 2010 by Philadelphia magazine, Yogawood offers everyone the chance to strive for physical and mental harmony through yoga. A 10-class pass gets you access to any drop-in yoga session on the schedule at the Collingswood studio or the Riverton location. There are six different body-bending styles from which to sample. Ease yourself into relaxing poses with a Gentle Yoga or Vinyasa 101 class. Beginners might also enjoy the long-held postures of Yin yoga, which increase flexibility and mobility. Vinyasa Flow yoga harnesses the power of sun salutations to connect posture and breath in movements that will improve strength, balance, and coordination. A yoga/Pilates class will strengthen your core and allow you to stay toned and limber while temporarily storing worldly worries in a drawer with knick-knacks, spare change, and shrunken heads. Or you can cap off a muscle-tensing day of work fending off pigeon insults with an Ashtanga class.