A family-owned business of 11 years, Lockwood Farms blossoms with an ever-metamorphosing selection of plants and flowers. Owners Randi and Mark bustle around the garden center each day, overseeing the staff and offering assistance and gardening counsel to customers. Their gardens house more than 40 types of vegetables and herbs along with an eclectic mix of flowers, trees, and shrubs. An extensive selection of birdbaths, fountains, and pottery punctuates the grounds, and an onsite three-story gift shop stocks collectibles and decor from designers such as Jim Shore, Heritage Lace, and Willow Tree. The center's florists also snip fresh flowers into custom bouquets for a variety of occasions ranging from anniversary celebrations to birthdays.
David Schmeltzle's first attempt at home winemaking resulted in a foaming 55-gallon barrel of grape juice, a basement that smelled strongly of acrid fermentation, and a polite request from his wife that he find somewhere else to make wine. Instead of giving up, David decided to transform his passion for fermentation into a business concept, founding Vintners Circle as a way to teach the public to understand and appreciate wine and even craft their own.
The dedicated oenophiles at Vintners Circle commit themselves to teaching the public how to taste and assess wines with confidence. Introductory classes explain how to approach a glass of wine from swirl to sip, and the staff usually keeps a few bottles open at the stores, allowing visitors to try small samples.
Beginning with pre-pressed grapes from one of 15 international vineyards—including sites in France, Australia, and the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley—staff members can also show customers how to transform 6 gallons of juice into 28 bottles of wine in just seven to eight weeks. The process involves four major steps over that time, allowing patrons to stop by periodically and control the development of their wine through primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, clearing and stabilizing, bottling, and designing a custom label. At the end of the two months, customers leave with more than two cases of ripe, effervescent zinfandel, floral viognier, or another varietal from the 50 available winemaking kits.
Presents of Mind rescues party guests from difficult gifting decisions with a huge selection of one-of-a-kind presents for men, women, kids, toddlers, and infants. Eye-catching floral prints decorate handbags, cosmetic purses, and wallets from Stephanie Dawn, while stencil-cut spatulas emblazon steaks and burgers with proclamations such as #1 DAD. The online and in-store arsenal of gifts can provide for nearly any occasion, with elegant ring stands, photo frames, and tableware for weddings, and baby toys, games, and stuffed animals for weddings.
As a branch of the nonprofit Community Options Enterprises, Inc., Presents of Mind helps fund the noble cause of securing employment for people with disabilities, ensuring that each purchase not only fills gift bags and wrapping paper with thoughtful presents, but customers' hearts with warmth.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
At any given time, more than 200 pieces of unfinished ceramics can be found on the shelves at Brushes & Bisque. Though the pieces will soon find use as coffee mugs, dinner plates, and jewelry boxes, they still require a final glaze before they can hold treats or treasures. During classes for kids and adults, painters work with provided tools and materials to coat the pieces with an artistic touch.
In addition to pottery painting, Brushes & Bisque offers clay classes, also with provided tools and materials. Kids’ clay classes cover the basics of coiling, pinching, and glazing, and adult pottery classes equip sculptors with a pottery wheel.
When a pane of glass cracks, shatters, or turns back into sand at the stroke of midnight, the experts at American Mobile Glass swoop in to replace it. The fully trained and certified staffers specialize in vehicle repair, paying complimentary visits to cars' locations to swap in new windshields and windows using only OEM Quality glass and products. They're so confident in their work that they even offer a lifetime warranty against leaks or defects. The team specializes in Corvettes, Jaguars, Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes, and vintage and custom rides, but can work on any make or model. They don't just repair cars, though. In their capable hands, glass tabletops, shower doors, and mirrors can also receive makeovers.