Named the best toy store in Western North Carolina by Mountain Xpress for five years running, Dancing Bear Toys overflows its two locations in Asheville and Hendersonville with an ever-evolving stock of high-quality playthings from top designers. Co-owners since the first store’s opening in 1993 and sisters since well before, partners Erika and Sarah routinely travel to the New York City International Toy Fair to scope out the latest and most exciting boons to kids’ imaginations, from wooden trains to broccoli-eating robots. Within the shops’ colorful walls, giant stuffed animals from Melissa and Doug smile down on Playmobil action figures, educational kits and puzzles, and a variety of children’s books, movies, and games.
At Groomingdales Salon for Dogs, owners Sharon Henley and Carol Ross draw from more than 20 years of experience when grooming four-legged clients. Their services include haircuts, nail trims, and flea baths as well as regular baths that utilize organic shampoos and conditioners that are gentle on canine skin.
The owners of Feelin Great Healthy Marketplace choose their multivitamins and supplements based on the minerals and nutrients contained within. But just as many items in the Hendersonville shop find a place on the shelves based on what they don't contain. Visitors peruse a large selection of foods free of gluten, dairy, sugar, and other potential allergens, or shop for paraben-free and cruelty-free beauty products by brands such as Aubrey and Nature's Gate. Raspberry ketones, garcinia cambogia, and other products recommended by Doctor Oz help patrons to lose weight without having to throw away pocketsize anvils.
Hunter Auto Group's three locations throughout Asheville and Hendersonville house hundreds of new and used vehicles by manufacturer including Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, and Volvo. Experienced staffers roam the quarters, readily available to help customers to pick out a car and formulate a finance plan. Each Hunter Auto Group location also features a certified service department open six days a week where patrons can bring their cars in for maintenance, replacements parts, or a relaxing underbelly rub.
A vast wooden bucket—printed with the words "world's largest gem mine bucket"—dominates Elijah Mountain Gem Mine's landscape. The immense receptacle, standing at 7 feet high and 8 feet wide, holds up to 30,000 pounds of dirt strewn with gems, jewels, and fossils. Families fill their buckets with the gem-studded dirt, strap on their prospector hats, and sift through the loot with the help of wooden flumes. The flumes, all-weather and wheelchair-accessible, wash away dirt to reveal fossils, quartz crystals, uncut emeralds, and other treasures to take home. Miners can opt for specialty buckets that contain higher concentrations of certain stones and fossils. A rock shop and 3,000-square-foot antique mall are stocked with sundries from the United States and Europe that, unlike precious stones or the White House's water slide, are displayed in plain sight.