Behind an unassuming exterior of white cinder blocks, a team of animal experts maintains a collection of take-home creatures, with a special spotlight on freshwater fish and reptiles. Aquariums throw teal and purple luminescence onto green walls, and shelves are packed with colorful pet accessories, such as ferret-size monocles. The boutique also boasts an extensive collection of live feed that ranges from mealworms to mice. The inventory may change from time to time, but previous customers have taken home pet flying geckos, tarantulas, and snakes, as well as chameleons and bearded dragons that are too busy guarding treasure to shave.
Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
At Back to Bed's South Loop location, manager Kip Wilkinson puts customers at ease with a friendly attitude, helping them find a bed that fits their individual needs and budget. The experienced delivery staff also sets up new beds and removes old ones, with a variety of delivery options available. At the show room, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, and Simmons Beautyrest mattresses await rigorous testing, and the sleep-savvy employees help shoppers determine if they're more suited to a firm or soft mattress or to creamy or chunky peanut butter. Aside from a wide selection of mattress types and brands, Back to Bed also offers accessories such as ergonomic memory foam pillows.
Turk Furniture has a 125-year-long tradition of beautifying homes with furniture from brand names such as Palliser, Broyhill, and Flexsteel. At the start of each showroom visit, design experts render a quick sketch of clients' rooms, surveying existing furnishings while ignoring unmentionable elephants. Using this information, clients can redecorate rooms with a comfy recliner, update living areas with new entertainment consoles, and dress naked walls in leaning bookcases.
Employing a battalion of teachers and other educators, Arrowhead Tutors pairs each student with a thoroughly screened expert to aid them in understanding any subject. The staff at Arrowhead Tutors is ready to coach students on an array of subjects, including foreign languages ($40/hour) and full 12-hour ACT prep packages (a $700 value). Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can also opt for a Try Us package, linking up with a tutor at the cheerful facility before spending three hours immersed in untangling anything from Hamlet to the advanced ciphers used to communicate across playgrounds. In addition to the personal attention, tutees receive an assessment test based on Illinois State standards: 20–30 questions either centered on a single subject or focused comprehensively on grade-level-relevant material. Taking about an hour to complete, the assessment test both illuminates problem areas and sharpens each student’s ability to use No. 2 pencils as makeshift chopsticks.
Olan Mills Inc. provides families with high-quality portraits, continuing a mission that was established more than 75 years ago by founder Olan Mills Sr. Skilled in the art of capturing infants, children, families, and bunny-ears-giving ghost orbs on film, Olan Mills’s experienced smile snappers will take a series of poses amid a variety of backgrounds and lighting options. The studio is equipped with a selection of props—including numbers for birthdays, toys, and boxes—and patrons may bring their own photo-enlivening items from home. The resulting photos find their way to prints in natural color, black and white, or sepia tones; they can also be immortalized in the studio's signature Old Masters style, a canvas brushed with highlights to re-create the look of an oil painting. Like the gentlemanly mariners of ages past with their full schedule of sea battles, the photographers welcome appointments, but do not require them.