Though the aroma of fresh-cut flowers has drifted from its doors for more than 60 years, Earles Loveland Floral & Gifts has not been quite the same since 1993, when United Floral Industry School graduate Elizabeth Parker took charge of operations. The time-honored flower and gift shop has blossomed under her guidance, experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity that recently culminated in its winning the Reporter-Herald’s Reader's Choice award for best local florist in 2011.
Parker went to school for floral wedding design, and it’s no secret that her field of study has become one of the shop’s strong suits. Along with her dedicated team of florists, she can turn any wedding venue into a lush garden of bridal bouquets, corsages, and elegant reception centerpieces. The shop's everyday bouquets hardly suffer from comparison, bundling together natural, seasonal flowers in arrangements available for pickup or delivery by a well-trained swarm of bees. Before whisking away a bouquet of grab 'n' go flowers, peruse Earles's eclectic selection of gifts and household accouterments, which includes flower-print tote bags, beaded jewelry, and gel candles.
Loveland Furniture and Décor's knowledgeable staffers cull a colossal collection of top-quality home furnishings and accessories, taking a casual approach while helping customers to search the huge stash of elegant living-room, bedroom, and dining-room accouterments. They can guide customers as they peruse the vast selection of pieces from renowned furniture-makers such as Thomasville, Broyhill, and Drexel. To further help patrons to personalize their abodes, staffers can swiftly place special orders to acquire items that are not in stock or have been accidentally vaporized by mad scientists masquerading as janitors. They also host an online design center where customers can assemble custom furniture right down to the fabric.
Loveland Furniture and Décor extends its dedication to top-notch customer service beyond its doors by making monthly donations to charities that benefit homeless children.
To Grant Jennings, wine is more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day—it’s his career. When he isn't teaching wine classes, he’s at home curating his own blends or working with the UC Davis winemaking program. His dedication to the craft infuses the atmosphere at Brix Wine and Spirits, where the staff members pick up on their boss' enthusiasm and happily guide customers through a collection of wines and beers selected to appeal to the discerning palate. The cozy shop, complete with exposed-brick pillars and golden-cylinder light fixtures, also offers locally produced beverages and small-production wines‚those varietals that are often too short to ride the upside down rollercoasters. The staff also hosts wine classes, beer classes, private wine tastings, and alcohol-education events.
Cloz to Home furnishes shoppers with boutique apparel and home goods in a potpourri of styles. Colorful tees and blouses ($24–$65) culled from its racks can swathe both adult and teen torsos, uniting intergenerational tastes even more successfully than Puccini’s Leif Garret: A Libretta. Customers can also don quirky accessories such as rubber watches ($18) or a patchwork jacket to complete an eclectic outfit, or adopt a piece of vibrant local art ($30+). Shoppers can meander at a relaxed pace through Cloz to Home's living-room-like space, absorbing the homey ambiance as they seek out wearable wares and scavenge for rare crossbreeds of quarters and bubble gum hidden under couch cushions.
Señor Rafael at the Mexican Inn enables festive, Mexican-themed revelry with big colorful drinks, garlands and hearty south-of-the-border fare. After chips and salsa, diners can give themselves beards of the refreshing but rich guacamole salad, or opt for the famous pork green chile, the spiciest and most popular item on the extensive menu. Entrees include a pair of chiles rellenos stuffed with melted cheese and topped with pork green chile, as well as classic Mexican fare such as enchiladas, quesadillas, and burritos. Sizzling fajita platters arrive with a touch of brown sugar and honey added to the meat's piquancy, and a roster of straightforward American eats sates culinary homebodies or confuses blindfolded patrons. Señor Rafael also boasts a full bar that houses a variety of Mexican beers and frosty margaritas.
By 7 a.m. each day, the kitchen staff at Meals on Wheels of Loveland and Berthoud is already hard at work preparing the day's meals. Along with the typical protein, vegetables, and starch, plus bread, fruit, and a freshly baked dessert, the crew also makes several dozen specialized meals each day to accommodate dietary needs and restrictions. Volunteers chip in around 8 a.m. to bag and package the food, and when the volunteer drivers arrive at 11 a.m., the food is ready for delivery. But the drivers do more than just deliver hot meals to the organization's homebound elderly, disabled, or ill clients—they also serve as friendly visitors, providing wellness check-ins and company in addition to hot, nutritious meals.
Although Meals on Wheels' history stretches across the country, every chapter has its own story. In Loveland and Berthoud, local Red Cross volunteer Dorothy Morin, philanthropist Helen Erion, and a group of concerned individuals first prepared and delivered meals for homebound residents out of the local Elks Club kitchen in January of 1968. More than four decades later, a team of 11 volunteers serves more than 567 clients and delivers more than 60,000 meals for homebound seniors every year.
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