At Teddy Bear Connection, children’s imaginations run wild as they dream up stuffed-animal friends and customize them with clothes and a full boutique of colorful accessories. After they pick out a bear, kitten, zebra, or other plush friend, they hand their future friend over to a staff member, who plumps the animal with fluff, maximizing cuddliness but minimizing its ability to slip under doors and raid the cookie jar. Animals leave the store as is or can peruse walls hung with outfits and shoes for any occasion, real or imagined, with their owner. Creators can add a song or sound to play when their stuffed animal is squeezed, or record their own 10-second theme song, catch phrase, or campaign slogan.
With more than 300 templates and 2,000 design options, not to mention 70 prebuilt websites, GoDaddy is one of the most user-friendly website-building resources on the Internet. Dotcom domain names come with features such as e-mail accounts, photo albums, and Google webmaster tools, and an extensive product catalog offers add-ons such as online storage space, logo-design services, and SSL certificates. Access to an intuitive drag-and-drop site builder allows you to easily pepper GoDaddy's predesigned homepages with custom text and contact information. Customer support is available 24/7 to walk you through online snags and to help get the hackers out from under your bed.
In business for more than a century, the family-owned centers specialize in a wide array of photography services. Utilizing the latest digital printing equipment, the knowledgeable robo-staff can create high-quality digital prints from film, digital images, and more. They can turn images into a life-sized poster ($24.99–$29.99) or museum-worthy canvas print ($39.99 and up) to comfort and watch over the cat while you're at work. Create greeting cards, announcements, and invitations for special events ($0.99 and up), or celebrate any occasion with photo-laden gifts such as mugs ($12.99–$16.99), T-shirts ($16.99–$24.99), and calendars ($16.99–$29.99). Harold's can also convert VHS to digital form while editing and adding narration, graphic titles, and music with audiovisual artistry ($19.99 and up).
Every day, Orange Leaf’s self-serve fountains dispense fresh batches of nutritious frozen yogurt in more than 60 varieties. In the sprightly lime-green and burnt-orange parlor, customers fill their bowls or bottomless magician hats with flavors ranging from pomegranate to caramel to wedding cake, laying a dulcet foundation for all manner of toppings from the buffet. There, they adorn their creamy treats with fresh fruits, nuts, and syrups. Unlike other ice creameries that try to confuse health-conscious customers by listing nutrition information in arcane units of measurement, such as "a smidge of calories" or "an earful of saturated fat," Orange Leaf prominently displays its yogurt’s impressive low-fat, low-sugar stats.
Once a small chain of Chicago-area hardware stores, Ace Hardware has evolved into a global franchise of more than 4,600 stores across 50 states and in more than 70 countries. Despite that span, customers might feel like each Ace was its own unique entity. Although each storefront carries many of the same popular items, each location is independent, allowing storeowners from New York City to Des Moines to offer goods tailored to the community?s needs. The inventory always includes a wide range of products, from trashcans to appliances and tools to complete tasks in the kitchen, garden, conservatory, ballroom, or billiard room of any home. Typically, patrons perusing the aisles will stumble upon well-known brand names, such as Black & Decker, Craftsman, and Stanley.
Sticks sprung from humble origins when, in 1992, Sarah Grant began carving ornaments and candlesticks from birch, poplar, and driftwood in a small studio in Des Moines. As her work began to attract national interest and demand for it grew, Sarah enlisted the aid of other local artists and expanded her inventory to include handcrafted heirloom-quality furniture, whimsical sculptures, and intricate keepsakes.
Today, the artists’ work is showcased in more than 100 galleries across the country. Their installation projects have even decorated the walls of Blank Children’s Hospital, the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa, and the student center at Iowa State University.
Sticks artists can often be spotted by the shores of local rivers, gathering driftwood for their work. They assemble the wood into custom-designed tables, beds, and armoires within their spacious, light-filled studio before painting them with colorful, whimsical designs, from smiling suns and moons to lush landscapes. The versatile artists even take their tools and paintbrushes to homes, businesses, and underground mad-scientist labs to craft custom art installations and interiors.