Stacy's Garden Center's enthusiastic horticulturists utilize more than 200 acres of greenhouses and growing fields to cultivate garden-worthy plants and seasonal gifts. A gallon of radiating perennials satisfies flower fixes ($4.88), and the highlighted perennial of the week keeps gardens in vogue (3 for $10). Large, 12-inch fern baskets ($14.99), 5-inch geraniums ($3.99), and a complete line of Miss Ruby's herbs ($3.49) equip gardeners with a multitude of different-sized seedlings to fill every landscape nook and cranny. Thirty varieties of 1-gallon hostas await homes ($4.88 each), as orchids take residence in the decorative ceramic pots ($19.99) that are found in the pottery section. Inside the gift shop, collectibles such as birdhouses and wind chimes stand displayed next to coal-powered wheelbarrows and expert staff members eager to answer questions.
Wardrobe 360's resident fashionistas curate an ever-changing collection of threads that beg for adoring new owners. The shop's shelves groan beneath a lineup as stylish as a monogrammed unicorn, helmed by designers such as Cole Haan, Steve Madden, and Ralph Lauren. Holdings vary week to week but have recently included such items as a pair of Coach sandals ($18) and a Donald J. Pliner purse ($50). A vibrant pair of Lilly Pulitzer slacks ($15) bestows their wearer with the color and confidence to ask a peacock neighbor to return borrowed tools. The recycling-minded location also houses a sweeping selection of bags and purses, as well as jewelry, watches, and other accessories.
Joining the witness-protection program is the best way to disguise your identity, but the vast array of costumes at Halloween Express gives the program a run for its money. For more than two decades, the chain’s 300-plus stores have supplied customers with costumes year-round from vampire capes for Halloween to Caesar togas for the Ides of March.
In preparation for the fall of 2013, they’ve added more than 3,000 new items to their Halloween collection. These costumes range from Day of the Dead masks to Darth Vader costumes for dogs. The store’s party supplies add a spooky touch to festivities and include tombstones, rotting pumpkins, and giant hairy spiders.
In the 1960s, husband and wife John and Kate Grice strolled around Rankin Lake, wondering what they could do to help the kids in their neighborhood find gainful entertainment. John whimsically suggested roller-skating, and his idea took root. The pair soon opened the doors to the brand new Kate's Skating Rink. Their creation became the family business, and is now run from two locations by their grandchildren. The rink entertains fun-lovers of all ages with an arcade, multi-level indoor playground, and, of course, the vast and well-maintained skating rink.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.