Alpine Accessories owner Rick broke into the business more than 30 years ago, when he began working part-time at a ski shop. In 1993 he decided to strike out on his own, operating a mail-order catalog for ski accessories out of his basement and garage. Two years later, Rick set up an online store that quickly outsold his catalog, making it more obsolete than an eight-track tape crammed inside a VCR.
The website’s success led to the first brick-and-mortar Alpine Accessories, which opened in 2003. Eventually, its inventory grew beyond ski accessories to also include ski and snowboarding equipment, apparel, and rentals. Today, Alpine Accessories sells and rents K2 skis, Flow snowboards, and mountain garb such as battery-heated gloves and mittens. The store's five standup-paddleboard instructors have introduced the sport to more than 300 students this summer through its lesson and rental program. In addition, its service department tunes and waxes equipment, so skiers can show off their like-new gear when slushing down the slopes or walking along city sidewalks.
To inject some spice into her workouts, Linda Costoff founded Intrigue Fitness as a women-only studio that focuses on group fitness, personal training, and engaging classes. Intrigue specializes in pole-dancing fitness classes, with sessions that include beginner workshops, advanced classes, private lessons, and bachelorette parties. The studio also offers a wide variety of fitness and dance classes.
Gordmans restocks bureaus and residential nooks with an expansive inventory of name-brand merchandise discounted below department store prices, including team apparel and seasonal decorations. Flaunt support for a collegiate club by sliding arm branches through an Illinois color-block polo ($24.99). Fans can also don a pair of Chicago Bears lounge pants ($19.99), ideal for relaxing while watching the game or ripping off to expose Mike Ditka knee tattoos. Artistic wall art festoons vacant environs in colorful creations, such as canvases coated in tones of still-life wine ($24.99) and scenic vistas ($29.99+). Alternatively, a harvest of men's and women's fragrances allows shoppers to uncork new scents for seasonal parties, class reunions, and heated negotiations with the shopping-mall Santa Claus.