Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients? tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin?s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios?s chariot within 46 seconds.
On the edge of Lake Michigan, three generations of family members wade out into the water for a paddleboard class. Some seem apprehensive, unsure of how the lesson will unfold, but the mood changes once Susan, the groups' 70-year-old matriarch, stands atop her board and dips her paddle into the water. Encouraged by her bravery, the rest of the boarders stand upright and step out of their comfort zones.
Real experiences like these set the tone for MACkite's classes, which cover kiteboarding, snow kiting, surfing, and standup paddleboarding. Instructors put nervous students at ease, helping them face fears of falling off a board or accidentally pulling the lake’s plug. The experts can also add inventive twists to lessons, such as leading yoga poses on top of paddleboards.
Additionally, MACkite's crew hangs up their wetsuits and waterproof cummerbunds to man the business’s retail shop. Known to sport silly garb such as pink board shorts and fake mustaches, they help visitors peruse Naish equipment as well as one of the largest selections of Cabrinha gear in the Western hemisphere. Their extensive stock boasts individual items such as wetsuits and complete packages.
The bayous and creeks flowing into the Grand River form an inviting home for wildlife, including eagles that nest in the trees along the shoreline. Perched in their aeries, the birds study the water's surface. Spotting a disturbance, an eagle lifts off and glides toward the water, opening its talons to pluck the prey suspended just beneath the surface.
The team at Lakeshore Kayak Rental lends their kayaks—inspected and certified by the DNR—and other watercraft to help visitors stumble upon sights such as these throughout the gentle Grand River and its connecting waterways. The staff, which includes instructors claiming certifications from the American Canoe Association, provides lessons for beginner kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders, and recommends areas for more experienced outdoorsmen to explore. With advanced notice, Lakeshore's crew can also arrange transportation to and from some area lodgings and farther-away launch points. To encourage camaraderie throughout the kayaking community, Lakeshore's team hosts the annual Grand River Kayak Race.
After gaining experience at several advanced training academies and prestigious salons, Donaylle Nicole channeled her ample styling skills into her own salon. At Donaylle Nicole Hair Studio, she leads a team that includes experienced stylists, aestheticians, and a facial specialist from the Bengston Institute. They employ Redken, Pureology, and ammonia-free hair products in their beautifying regimens. As the stylists perform precision haircuts and coloring services, aestheticians pamper other clients from head to toe with body wraps, pedicures, and professional makeup services with Mirabella products or colorful lacquers. To help spice up birthday and bachelorette parties, they also offer custom spa parties that can include massages, facials, and waxes.
The studio itself reflects the staff?s passion for aesthetic beauty. Exposed off-white brick walls attempt to hide behind diamond-shaped mirrors and flowing brown curtains. Rustic hardwood flooring evokes the deck of a pirate ship?only in the salon, the hair that falls onto it smells pleasant.
Sometime around the dawn of man, a human discovered that dough is worth more when tied into intricate shapes. Fast-forward a couple millennia to the present, and you’ll find that Nautical Knots has taken the next step in pretzel innovation. Since 2001, the Grand Haven boardwalk has benefited from the skillful tying of the eatery’s pretzel knots, which come in 11 sweet and savory varieties such as asiago cheese, frosted raisin, and sesame seed. In addition to stretching the dough into traditional pretzel shapes, staffers also twist it around frankfurters to make a signature treat they call the Nauti Dog, served with reckless amounts of ketchup and mustard. The waterside stand, which is open from May to September, also loads baked potatoes with cheese, chili, and salsa, and whips up frozen strawberry and mudslide drinks that combat the summer heat nearly as well as turning off the sun.
Coaches of Renewal Body Bootcamp coaxes hard work, discipline, and buckets of sweat from fitness-seekers during her intense, full-body workouts. One of her specialties is TRX resistance training, which involves suspending students by their arms, legs, and torsos from straps and harnesses dangling from the ceiling. Exercises require participants to fight gravity and their own body weight to build muscle. Coaches sometimes combines TRX with Pilates core-strengthening work or a rigorous plyometric regimen, mixing up workout routines daily to maximize effectiveness. In addition to physical training, she supplies students with nutritional counseling that measures appropriate caloric intake by the day, creating balanced diets that supply ample energy without extra carbs, fats, or whatever compound butter is made of.