Each of Merrifield Garden Center’s three locations overflows with thousands of plants throughout the year, encompassing such variety that a reporter for CNN’s Eatocracy claimed “I might as well endorse my paychecks straight to them…because I always want to grow what they've got.” Knowledgeable garden experts, 25 of whom have been with Merrifield for 25 years or more, guide customers through row upon row of flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants, or help them sort through an extensive selection of bulbs and seeds. Visitors may also bump into the founders themselves, or their children and other family members, 38 of whom still work at the thriving business that started 40 years ago. Merrifield doesn’t just proliferate plants, however; amenities such as cafes in Gainesville and Merrifield and a dog park in Gainesville make each garden center into a leisure destination as well. Three of its garden gurus run an hourlong TV show that's been going for more than two decades, and other staff publish gardening advice on the website and Facebook. The staff also work to protect the environment with a variety of eco-friendly initiatives. Besides stocking native plants and water-saving devices for their customers, they also compost more than 20,000 tons of soil and 25,000 cubic yards of brush left over from their comprehensive landscaping services every year. The Gainesville location also gathers old concrete, metal appliances, and rusted Optimus Primes for recycling free of charge.
Professional sleep counselors facilitate peaceful slumber at more than 80 Mattress Discounters locations nationwide, where showrooms brim with mattresses from brands such as Sealy Posturepedic, Tempur-Pedic, and Space Age Foam. Unlike pet stores, Mattress Discounters encourages customers to lie on the merchandise, as sleep counselors use the Discover Your Comfort system to ask questions about sleep position and comfort level. With this information in hand, client and counselor select the right mattress for restful slumber, with each sleep surface backed by a 60-night comfort guarantee.
Short of creating physical clouds to hold people aloft, Mattress Warehouse stocks almost every imaginable furnishing to help customers catch a few Z’s. Rows of name-brand mattresses from Sealy, Simmons Beautyrest, Serta, and Tempur-Pedic entice customers to replace their worn pad for new bedding, such as a standard mattress, a fluffy pillowtop unit, or a memory foam piece that conforms to bodies. Beyond mattresses, the warehouse also carries an ample collection of box springs, full bed sets with rails and headboards, and even premium futon mattresses that revitalize foldable couches.
When The Vineyard's wine curators determine whether a bottle is eligible to join the company's collection, they weigh three factors: quality, origin, and value. During tasting events and weekday meals, they uncork bottles and suss out age, flavor profile, and suitability for food pairings. When considering origin, The Vineyard's wine connoisseurs seek out family wineries, which generally devote more personal attention and goodnight kisses to their grapes. Additionally, family wineries tend to operate with lower costs, thereby fulfilling The Vineyard's third pillar, value.
Although the selection continually evolves, the shop currently stocks domestic and international wines from locales as distant as Australia, which only exists in our imaginations. They complement wines with gift baskets of cheese and chocolate, as well as accessories such as olive wood corkscrews and chrome champagne stoppers.
It's a big leap from the bustle of an athletic field to the solitude of a darkroom, but Calumet Photographic made the transition seamlessly more than 70 years ago. From its origins as a Chicago sporting-goods store, the company evolved into a one-stop shop for cameras and darkroom equipment and eventually into an innovator of photographic technology. In the 1960s, Calumet's most brilliant minds were behind the development of the Caltar large-format-lens line and nitrogen burst film.
Today, Calumet Photographic continues to manufacture and sell professional photographic products and software across the globe, boasting more than 25 retail stores throughout the US and Europe. Their shops abound with both new and used high-quality cameras and equipment, rental gear, and knowledgeable technicians eager to help customers find the right equipment for the job. The company’s extensive online catalog enables shoppers to purchase equipment from around the world and have it shipped directly to their home, studio, or mall photo booth they’ve claimed as a studio.