Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.
Instead of picking out a premade, cookie-cutter holiday card for her family, Kristen decided to make her own. This small decision eventually led to huge opportunities: her husband, Sammy, was so impressed by her homespun creations that the two of them decided to channel Kristen’s craftiness into their own business. Today, the married duo captain Keeping Me Posted, a creative operation that combines Kristen's talent for colorful designs with Sammy’s business know-how to yield custom, one-of-a-kind cards printed on first-rate materials.
Once customers choose from more than 200 designs, including modern shower invitations, moving announcements, and Christmas cards, they can upload images from their computer or straight from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, or SmugMug. The program easily filters pictures into black-and-white or sepia tones for those sending cards to family members who live in the 1920s. Customers can also personalize the cards with their names and personal messages. Once an order is submitted, the staff optimizes each photo for printing by removing red-eye, brightening hues, or sharpening the resolution if needed. HP Indigo printing presses then emblazon designs on thick, high-quality matte paper. Customers interested in crafting a wholly unique creation can call to have Keeping Me Posted custom design any card for no extra cost.
Owner Connie Broome envisions Vino Artino as a place "all about art, friends, and fun," a concept she solidifies through relaxing, hands-on classes. Sessions are led by artists with degrees from art and design schools across the South. As they swill any libations they wish to bring, pupils sit at tabletop easels and follow step-by-step instructions to re-create scenes appropriate for a girls' night out, a Mother's Day outing, or a hide-the-hole-in-the-living-room-wall party. Though each class is grounded in a particular painting, the studio urges artists to put their own stamp on the finished product by using different colors, adding fun flourishes, and choosing their own canvas size.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.
As a working mother, Stephanie Allen was constantly racing against the clock. One timesaving endeavor she quickly mastered was preparing meals ahead of time from raw, fresh ingredients and popping them in the freezer for a later date. Stephanie eventually amassed a book of recipes and began sharing her culinary secrets with friends. With the help of Tina Kuna's business savvy, Stephanie's personal practice burgeoned into a nationwide phenomenon known as Dream Dinners.
Today at shops across the country, busy matriarchs and patriarchs shuffle around meal stations, each stocked with recipe cards, ingredients, and scratch-and-sniff tinfoil to construct meals that serve three or six. They tick off recipe components as they add the proper amount to meal containers, ferrying the uncooked dishes home and tucking them into freezers. Then, throughout the week, they simply thaw, heat, and serve these dinners to eagerly waiting eaters.
Though Dream Dinners does not cater to specific diets, the company does offer nutritious meals with antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken. Customers can survey all nutritional information before selecting dishes.
Stogies World Class Cigars cements its status as a formidable cigar resource by stocking an extensive selection of combustibles and accessories, hand selecting a staff chock-full of cigar know-how to help clients navigate the staggering stock. Stogies also proudly cultivates a sophisticated lounge where aficionados can gather, light up, and watch TV or compare notes. Clients peruse a selection of aromatic cigars from brands such as Montecristo, Kristoff, and Padron, all of which beg to be held and kissed with a match flame.
Smokers in search of a good way to start or perfect their at-home collections can check out a vast selection of humidors, stock up on ashtrays and cutters, or enlist the staff's steady laser engravers, which festoon smoking accessories and cigars with personalized messages or gentle reminders to exhale. The lounge's six big plasma-screen TVs and wireless Internet keep smokers entertained as they enjoy the goods, and visiting guests, such as reps from heavyweight cigar manufacturers, often expound on industry practices and the secrets to proposing with a perfectly formed smoke ring.