Taylor Rental helps create memorable graduations, company picnics, birthdays, weddings, barbeques, and more with a wide array of party supplies. Entertain guests with casino games such as blackjack ($49.50 per day) or carnival games including bingo, which comes with 100 cards, a bingo wheel, and balls ($21.50 per day). Partygoers can mingle and flirt in a forest of balloons sprouted from an assorted package of five-inch inflatables ($8.99) and filled with a tank of helium ($28, fills about 40 balloons) able to sustain squeaky voices for up to five hours.
Madeleines Bakehouse takes its inspiration from the French treat known as a madeleine—a shell-shaped cake with a buttery crust and sponge-like texture. Originating in the city of Commercy in the 18th century, madeleines earned their name when a girl named Madeleine baked a batch that made it to the mouth of Louis XV's wife, who shared them with a loveable stray who would later win the world's heart by starring in Homeward Bound. This deal gets you a dozen of these majestic pastries, superb for dunking into an afternoon tea or submerging into your backyard pool of chocolate. Madeleines Bakehouse uses local and organic eggs in all of its recipes—including banana bread, coffee cake, and chocolate bouchon—ensuring high levels of vitamins and a soft richness.
Umber's Do It Best Hardware inspires checklist completion with its massive selection of tools and supplies, ranging from housewares and cleaning products to plumbing and painting materials. Tune up the family car with a fresh oil filter ($6.79) and spark plugs ($2.29 each), then apply Turtle Wax Express Shine ($6.79) to buff the chassis to a driveway-illuminating gleam. Home-care supplies such as pesticide-free flytraps ($5.99 each) politely encourage pesky pests to depart the premises without using harsh chemicals or space-consuming bouncers. For DIY types, tools such as needle-nose pliers ($5.99) facilitate jobs in narrow spaces, and a plethora of painting equipment provides the perfect opportunity to re-tint your domicile or finally finish that fresco depicting the Miracle on Ice.
Winner of the 2010 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence, Lowe's has been helping customers conserve energy and expletives with home improvement, gardening, and hardware solutions for every budget. With the store's friendly handypeople as their guide, nail-pounding novices and seasoned remodelers alike can outfit their toolbox for any undertaking with more than 6,000 products between $25 and $50. Impress spouses and annoy car-pooling coworkers by ably installing ceiling fans into your car roof. Add lighting fixtures to darkling domiciles, or finally finish your back yard's Super Mario Bros. level with Lowe's garden tools. The store can also mix together a rainbow of hues for painting projects involving dining rooms, nurseries, and sweat lodges. Afterwards, you can clean up the dust with a 6-Gallon HP Wet/dry Shop Vac ($44.97), or rinse off caulk-covered corpuses under the Moen Brushed Nickel 7 Spray Pattern Shower Massager ($49.98). Regardless of your mission, the accommodating staff at Lowe's will offer expert advice for completing your home's improvements.
Prism GlassWorks is a full-service silica studio offering a wide range of elegant pre-made glass pieces, as well as hands-on classes and workshops for students of all experience levels. As a sneak peak of their regular fused-glass pendant classes—and with Groupon fun-seekers specifically in mind—the Prism proprietors have put together a special fused pendant-making workshop (many convenient times are available). During the two-hour session, you'll get to carry your innermost designs and aesthetic impulses to fruition, whether they are abstract conglomerations of color or miniature images of a beloved filing cabinet. After hand-selecting and combining glass noodles, stringers, and dichroic thingamabobs, you'll have created a raw pendant that's ready for the finishing flames of the kiln.
X-ray technicians at the local hospital shook their heads at their motionless patient—a mummified bird that had appeared in a lot of Egyptian artifacts set to go up for auction. After the techs confirmed that the bird was genuine, Richard "Jeff" and Amelia Jeffers, owners of Garth's Auctions, couldn't wait to put the important piece of ancient history in their catalog. Amelia Jeffers remembers that in fact, the bird did poorly at auction, as not many people collect mummified Egyptian wildlife. Instead, collectors flock to Garth's Auctions for vintage Americana, local folk art, Oriental rugs, and even real estate.
Since its opening in 1954, Garth's Auctions has appraised and sold thousands of collectibles at auction, but took on newfound enthusiasm and energy in 2006, when the husband-and-wife auctioneer team took it upon themselves to make auctions accessible to everyone. Amelia notes that first-timers should not be intimidated by the auction format, as the price range for items varies widely and auction catalogs list everything from fine art to firearms and novelty toys. She remembers recently auctioning off an antique novelty vampire-slaying kit complete with a wooden stake, garlic flour, and holy water. A large team of certified appraisers also leads scheduled walk-in appraisal days at museums across the country, and are available to appraise antiques in-house or in the ancient ziggurats where they are discovered.
Garth's Auctions has also worked to expand their environmentally-friendly endeavors such as printing catalogs with Forest Stewardship Council–approved recycled paper and replacing old company cars with fuel-efficient hybrids. However, the Jefferses believe that their most important green contribution is their day-to-day collecting and repurposing of antiques that reduce demand for new items.