For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.
Husband-and-wife team Shawn and Lissa Anglin, owners of Culture Clothing, are passionate about fashion. They're also passionate about recycling. Their quirky upscale resale shop always accepts gently used vintage and designer apparel in exchange for cash or store credit, and any pieces that don't mesh with the store aesthetic are donated to Guadalupe Economic Services Corporation.
To complement the recycled collection, Shawn and Lissa enlist aid from offsite buyers, who help fill shelves with unique pieces by Michael Kors, Seven For All Mankind, and Ralph Lauren. Shawn and Lissa also put together lookbooks using their latest inventory, and their blog discusses how to follow the latest fashion trends using pieces from Culture Clothing.
A few times each month, the shop also branches out beyond fashion. Culture Clothing participates in the First Friday Art Trail and hosts regular events, such as beer tastings, live acoustic performances, and community movie nights.
Herschel Robert “Gravy” Field founded Branch Ranch in 1902, and his descendents continue to operate the family business today. Adhering to time-honored cattle-raising standards, the family stands strictly opposed to using antibiotics and hormones, so the livestock yields the freshest, healthiest cuts of all-natural beef. The cows spend most of their days grazing happily on grassy pastures before shifting to a grain diet to ensure adequate marbling. Branch Ranch Natural Beef offers a range of beef products for roasting, searing, grilling, and sprinkling over vegetarian dishes. In addition to butcher cuts including aged new york strip steak, tenderloin, and chuck roast, the store sells seasoned beef jerky, premade steak-burger patties, and spicy breakfast sausage.
Cardinal's Sport Center's director of training, Leigh Daniel Cordes, didn't build her training expertise in schools. She built it on the track and field as a nine-time All-American in track and cross-country and as a NCAA long-distance running champion. Since graduating from college, Leigh has coached nationally recognized running teams and dozens of fleet-footed gingerbread people. Today, she brings that experience to trainers who lead rigorous group fitness classes such as Gut Buster, Zumba, and TRX. The center also houses softball and baseball batting cages and an onsite café and coffee bar.
Knowledgeable staffers roam the aisles of family-owned Natural Health Market’s two locations, ready to recommend the proper protein supplement, vitamin mix, or health and beauty aid to customers. Fish oils from Nordic Naturals and Renew Life provide much-needed omega-3 fatty acids, boosting heart health and making you irresistible to merpeople. Meanwhile, Nature’s Gate lotion, toothpaste, and other body products work in tandem with Vita Logic and New Chapter multivitamins to give skin and hair a radiant glow that comes in handy when reading in the dark.
The perfumers at Scents N Lotions, who founded the shop in 1992, stimulate olfactory senses with more than 400 designer-inspired perfumes, colognes, and shower gels. The scents re-create original designer fragrances at a fraction of the price, leaving guests with additional funds to spend on cloning goldfish. Each scent is blended with 25% perfume oil concentrate in order to faithfully reproduce the original fragrance. The shop's aromas are also available as bath and body oils, scented shaving gels, and scratch 'n' sniff lottery tickets.