At Arts & Carafes Studio painting events, students mingle over glasses of wine as they unlock their creative instincts and learn to create stunning, colorful images on canvas. Guests paint everything from Grand Rapid's skyline at night to swaying dancers to vibrant peacocks, both at Arts & Carafes's studio and at local restaurants. All the materials are provided, including studio-grade acrylic paint, so students won't have to make a stop at a craft store or mix their own from leftover condiment packets before the session starts.
Shaner Avenue Nursery owners and staff have extensive training in horticulture and forestry, which helps them keep an inventory of trees, shrubs, and perennials thriving. Fill gardens with rhododendrons ($35.97), a few of nearly a dozen varieties of junipers ($7.97+), or a member of the hydrangea family, which includes nine siblings in white, pink, and blue ($7.97+). Those who revel in eating everything they bury in the ground can plant raspberry shrubs ($5.97+), a red haven peach tree ($39.97), or bushes that grow fresh cobbler.
For more than three decades, AAA Canoe has rented canoes, kayaks, and tube floats to explorers bound for the scenic, tranquil Rogue River. The rental center accommodates both individuals and group outings, outfitting each trip with paddles and life jackets or flotation cushions before chauffeuring boaters and their vessels to their trip’s starting point. Each trip ends at the Rockford Dam in downtown Rockford, where passengers can explore the city sights and regain their land legs from unscrupulous alleyway leg merchants.
For more than 25 years, Altogas has supplied homes and backyard barbecues with tanks of clean-burning, eco-friendly propane gas. After depleting their existing reservoirs, customers roll the empty cylinders to Altogas headquarters, where technicians safely replenish them with new, fresh supplies. Returning home full and ready to burn, each tank can resume fueling a standard barbecue grill, turkey deep fryer, or two-fifths of an animatronic bear band.
The benefit of every sale at Exodus Upscale Thrift is twofold: while customers tow home a stash of gently used clothing, furnishings, and accessories, local halfway home Exodus Place inches closer to its goal of sheltering the area’s homeless. As of June 23, 2010, Exodus Upscale Thrift had helped more than 100 men find housing, according to an interview with CEO Robb Munger in a Michigan Live article, and continues to provide educational resources and access to work-service agencies for Exodus Place residents. “It’s great to accomplish things, but…[w]e have to continue working and creating and doing,” said Munger. The store’s ever-expanding collection, which also includes jewelry, toys, and sporting goods, accepts donations and returns the favor with tax-exemption vouchers and warm, fuzzy feelings replicated only by nuzzling a loofah.