At Jo-Ann's Gardens, rainbows don’t just spring from clouds. They can be grown from the ground up, with help from raindrops, sunbeams, and earthworms’ sweet, tender lullabies. Some rainbows are made of flowers such as geraniums and petunias, which bloom from hanging baskets and patio pots. Others pepper the tree nursery, where evergreens mingle with budding hydrangea and sugar maples that blush red come fall. Proven Winners annuals add pop to garden beds in the spring and summer, and perennials weather harsh winters to bloom year after year. The garden center also peddles plant-tending tools, landscaping staples, and garden decorations, which range from stone statues to three hues of mulch. In addition to cultivating seedlings in seven greenhouses, attentive staffers arrange cut blooms at the floral shop and install sod, ponds, and irrigation systems through a landscaping service. :m]]
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend human rights" and "Protect our planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to a UK-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the Blue Corn 3-in-1 deep-cleansing scrub mask often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, and other national publications.
Life is fleeting, but that doesn't stop Jennifer and Michael Moore from trying to catch it at every turn. The couple creates timeless artifacts at their portrait studio in Westbrook, snapping images of newborn babies, newly wedded couples, or newly discovered millionaire uncles. Their portfolio includes dozens of photographs of people and natural landscapes, each artistically rendered in black-and-white or vivid color.
At Eat More Cheese, cheese reigns king over a diverse selection of specialty foods, including salami, dried fruits, jams, and chocolates. The shop corrals its cheese from across the U.S. and abroad, taking pride in a process that ensures each of its products is properly cared for and in peak condition upon hitting the shelves. Inside the shop, the Eat More Cheese staff fosters a welcoming environment, and encourages customers to sample as much cheese or ask as many questions as they please before making a purchase.
Gerard Bianco, the chief jewelry designer at Porte 4, mines 40 years of experience to fashion precious metals and gems into pendants, rings, necklaces, and bracelets inspired by the nautical imagery of Maine's coastline. The 14 karat Maine anchor pendant ($229) can dangle deliciously from either a necklace or a bracelet, and the Grand banks sterling-silver yacht pin ($75), bearing the Yankee marina insignia on its back, authorizes wearers to take the wheel of any cruise ship with or without the captain's permission. A leopard-print travel jewelry box ($23) keeps rings, earrings, and necklaces neatly sequestered, and a compact mirror can be used to perform self-hypnosis in public places. Porte 4 cleans jewelry brought in by Groupon customers as a complimentary service, so tarnished silver, dull diamonds, and mozzarella-covered emeralds can return to pristine states.
Sun Tan City's specially designed devices bathe bodies in an even, bronze glow. The tanning beds ($9-$34) apply a delicate balance of UVA and UVB rays to create the fun-in-the-sun look, with varying session durations depending on the bed's level of intensity -- fast, faster, fastest, or instant. The VersaSpa Sunless Tanning System ($34) can provide a natural, even-tonal transformation without the use of UV rays. Standing upright in the VersaSpa booth, your body will be gently misted with either a clear or bronze solution, which will then be combined with an anti-aging moisturizing skin treatment. Each booth is scientifically designed to provide a breathe-easy treatment and features an exhaust system to send the lingering mist out while sealing in skin's new shade. Finally, after a few minutes in the comfort air-dry system, your body will be dry to the touch.