When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Knickerbocker Gallery is a family-owned showroom whose copious inventory of furniture and home-decorating accessories has been used to furnish upscale home showcases such as Homearama. Empty space and wall safes containing rare sandwiches can be covered with framed prints ($49–$389) displaying such artful imagery as cups of espresso ($49), sun-dappled wine fields ($63), and reclining nudes of famous yetis (bidding starts at $500,000). Table lamps (starting at $29) and buffet lamps (starting at $59) will bring less spooky luminescence into any enclosure than a common candelabra. Fouled fowls and mud-wrestling squirrels, meanwhile, can wash up in an exquisite iron birdbath ($49). The Knickerbocker showroom also features a large variety of resplendent woodcraft dining room, office, and bedroom pieces.
Each certified staff member at Blue Sky Lawn & Landscape calls upon more than 10 years of experience by planting trees, nurturing lawns, and orchestrating custom landscape plans. Their landscape-maintenance services include spring edging and fall pruning, which help to prepare lawns, shrubs, and trees for the seasons ahead. With flower-bed and hardscape installation, the specialists create homey backyard settings without going through the trouble of dragging out living-room sofas. Come winter, they keep icy foes from creeping up doorsteps with plowing, shoveling, and salting services.
Organic, natural, and safe gardening practices shouldn't be difficult. At least that's the belief at Marvin's Organic Gardens. The full-service nursery, landscape-design company, and garden center helps its customers maintain their lawns and gardens. The organic-gardening and landscape professionals at Marvin's work to provide tough, durable, and never overused plant materials.
Run Pest Control's technicians keep buildings both safe and free of pests while staying up-to-date on industry advances. The undesirable critters they target range from insects—such as cockroaches, bed bugs, and termites—to food-stealing rodents and roommates. To rid homes of such nuisances, the technicians take a three-step approach. After thoroughly inspecting problem areas, they classify the types of pests present and design custom integrated pest management systems. Then, once the small monsters have been thwarted, they help customers take steps to prevent future infestations, clean up messes, and repair damages caused by barbarian mice.