The staffers at Wet Mitten Surf Shop know their trade. Not only do they keep the shop stocked with an impressive array of boards—proffering standup paddleboards, surfboard, kiteboards, and longboards alike—they also lead lessons to get surfing rookies on their feet. During standup-paddleboarding or kiteboarding lessons, instructors introduce newcomers to Michigan’s surfing scene, or allow them to test the waters themselves with a board rental—the cost of which can be used toward the later purchase of a board.
School Zone dishes out a multitude of colorful, brain-bolstering products designed by teachers using the latest pedagogical techniques to supplement classroom education. Mathematical flash cards such as Multiplication 0–12 ($2.99) help teething minds begin to crunch numbers, and Sight Words ($2.99) packs in 110 basic words to jumpstart reading skills and early careers in auctioneering. The big pencil-pal preschool software and workbook combo ($19.99) combines 320 educational pages with accessible CD software to assist tots with scholarly basics such as alphabet, numbers, colors, and the comparative anatomy of cloven-hoofed ungulates that go baaa. The super scholar four-pack ($34.99) achieves similar aims through four CDs of educational games to appeal to varying learning styles.
Each morning at Lakeshore Rescue Mission Thrift Store, keen-eyed workers carefully sift through a deluge of donations, selecting well-preserved wares for store shelves. To ensure easy browsing, they keep clothing racks meticulously organized and house new and used furniture in their spacious show room. Customers are welcome to tote along their own gently used home furnishings or too-revealing emperor’s clothes to donate. Once customers have honed in on purchases, they can bask in the knowledge that all proceeds from the thrift store go to the less fortunate within the West Michigan area.
Come rain, snow, or sleet, the experts at Advanced Seasonal Innovations roll out a contemporary method to conquer the elements. Their Liquid Snow Shovel solution eradicates dangerous winter ice, and the eco-friendly Safe Seal fills in cracks in asphalt, protecting driveways from future weather damage. Whereas Control landscape fabric keeps weeds at bay, Thrive All-Natural Flower Booster does the opposite—it encourages blossoms to flourish.
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.