In 1938, women ducked into the Knapp Family Restaurant carrying envelopes of cash. They weren’t looking for family-style eggs and hash, they were paying their gas bill. The restaurateur, Dwight Knapp, had unintentionally set up a second business by installing a propane pipeline underneath his eatery. His little business grew from supplying just a few neighbors to providing propane to the residents and businesses of nine markets in California and Oregon. Today, Blue Star Gas’s team of experts install and service tanks, fit pipes, and help convert cars or robot butlers to run on propane.
The sparkle of coal is a common sight in mineshafts, but no minerals have ever been found in Warpaint International's mineshaft. Instead, the splatter of fired paintballs covers the walls, just as it does in the newly renovated, 20,000-square-foot arena's other three play zones. Within the exciting facility, competitors can navigate the small homes of an indoor shantytown and crouch behind stacked barrels in an otherwise sparse mock-hotel.
JT SplatMaster Paintball offers a gentler version of paintball for younger players who have outgrown Extreme Contact Face Painting. And Warpaint International has partnered with Sniperz Den Paintball in St. Paul to host once-a-month events on more than 50 acres ripe for play, including seven bases replete with flags. Players can also stop by the full pro shop to stock up on markers, paintballs, and other related apparel.
An ancient part of Chinese culture, crackling fireworks were once used to ward off evil spirits with their noisy display, which became a harbinger of a peaceful and prosperous new year. Black Cat Fireworks has upheld this explosive tradition since 1906, when the original company, Li & Fung, began refining and exporting firecrackers out of Canton and then Hong Kong. More than 100 years later—and since the 1940s in the United States—Black Cat continues to shell out everything from sparklers to roman candles to rockets.
Jason Robertson comes from a long tradition of remodeling homes; his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all builders. As the owner of The Tile Gallery, this fourth-generation expert leads a design team to plot out custom tiling projects and install flooring in customers' homes or luxury birdhouses. The crew can arrange patterns ranging from simple staggered brickwork to multiple-tile layers to decorate showers, form wall mosaics, or add a rustic touch to kitchens. Customers can peruse their show room filled with tiles made from ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, or recycled materials, as well as flooring options that include hardwoods, cork, and carpet.
HydroSports Dive and Travel’s certified scuba instructors tap into their enthusiasm for all things aquatic to train nascent sea explorers with thorough diving instruction. The staff formulate a roster of classes that includes a wide range of lessons, from basic tutorials that introduce essential skills to advanced courses that yield open-water certification and the ability to recite Keats underwater.
In addition to classes, HydroSports' onsite shop packs an arsenal of equipment from top-quality brands and ample rental gear for self-arranged dives. HydroSports Dive and Travel’s trainers also organize frequent diving excursions amid marine wonderlands such as Palau, Santa Catalina Island, and Poseidon's living room.
The new paradigm of movie renting has come with an increase in convenience, but viewers now find themselves beholden to the fickle availability of new releases and inexplicable disappearances of favorite films. Mr. Video curates an expansive collection of movies both new and old, allowing visitors to take home freshly printed Hollywood hits and beloved classics. Multi-disc sets get fans caught up on television shows, and the children's section stands ready to keep kids occupied, giving parents the time to run potato-sack races. The shop also stocks rental video games for a variety of systems.