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.
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.
The team at Grandville Optical do more than care for eyes?they also care about their community. When owner and certified optician John Schlafley and optometrist Chad Jackson aren?t examining eyes or crafting glasses, they are organizing food drives and serving in local organizations. That same warm spirit fills their optical boutique, where they tend to clients in a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. They display their carefully curated selection of designer frames?which includes names such as Marc Jacobs, Kliik, and Europa International?in elegantly spotlighted cases that stand against exposed brick walls.
While the office sports the cozy feel of a traditional coffeehouse, Schlafley and Dr. Jackson stock the environs with decidedly modern technology. They advise patrons of the latest advancements in lens manufacturing and treatments, and perform exams to diagnose potential issues and keep eyes healthy. Schlafley is also trained in a specialized soldering technique that allows him to expertly repair metal frames crushed by excessive squinting.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
After spending more than 25 years perfecting the balance between technical know-how and attentiveness to patients' needs, Michael Crete, DDS, was named the best dentist in 2012 by Grand Rapids Magazine. Dr. Crete shares his extensive knowledge and caring nature at Rivertown Dental Associates, alongside a talented and caring staff. Together, the team performs general and cosmetic treatments for every member of the family.
Visitors to the practice are immediately put at ease with warm blankets, pillows, and freshly brewed headphones. The office has also been designed with children's comfort in mind: they can spend time in a colorful play area and give mid-cleaning hugs to Oliver, the resident teddy-bear puppet with a winning smile. That same thoughtfulness extends beyond the office walls: Dr. Crete gives back to the community by supporting a local ballet company and a nonprofit group that helps people with disabilities.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning Center's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don?t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan?s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.