Imagination is given free reign at NewCastle Comics & Games, where real-time rounds of tabletop warfare are surrounded by thousands of back-issue comics from the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Faux stone walls help blur the line between reality and fantasy, calling to mind a medieval dungeon or Vincent Price's breakfast nook while also serving as a perfect backdrop for a huge assortment of new comics and graphic novels as well as Warhammer 40,000 events and Weekly Magic: The Gathering sessions. The shop also boasts a large selection of gaming cards and supplies that allows fans to step outside quotidian roles to become something other than a dutiful son, hardworking waitress, or the seventh clown into the car.
So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
A police officer for 23 years, Steven King dreamed of owning a shooting range where could teach people how to responsibly operate a firearm. Even after launching Metro Shooting Supplies, he still had more know-how to share than he could dispense in his training classes. His wife, a television reporter, suggested he host a radio show. Intrigued, he pitched the idea to several stations until KTRS gave him a one-hour slot on Sunday nights. Four years later, he and his cohost wife continue entertaining listeners by sharing industry news, explaining gun laws, and breathing heavily during awkward pauses. The station even extended them to 90 minutes. This passion for educating people extends throughout Steven's team, a crew of instructors that upholds NRA standards, whether training students in basic handguns or police and security officers for qualification. Steven's favorite part of his job is working with beginner shooters, specifically the moment when they realize that they possess all the instincts necessary to safely handle a gun. To help them, he uses the same instructional methods that he used to train his fellow police officers, which he learned at the FBI's firearm academy. Metro Shooting Supplies' training resources include rifle-rated ranges at both locations, and the Bridgeton range's superb construction earned it a five-star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Ballistic-tested surfaces, such as steel-lined walls, surround guests in bulletproof protection. A HEPA-filtration system exchanges the air every 45 seconds, channeling a fresh breeze from outside. The range also features a bay of five handicapped-accessible stalls, built with oversized booths to accommodate both a wheelchair and an instructor. Inspired by the Wounded Warrior Project and his employees—many former law-enforcement and military servicemen—Steven built this bay as a patriotic expression to disabled guests who wish to continue or explore shooting sports. In addition to the public ranges and classes, both of Metro Shooting Supply's locations extend to pro shops, where the staff waits on visitors from beginners to active-duty police officers. Gunsmiths also offer the services in firearm customization, restoration, and maintenance.
Bill and his crew at Foot Solutions help to soothe soles with a variety of inserts, footwear, and orthotics. Experts perform careful gait evaluations, and then make custom recommendations for treatment for problems such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, or general discomfort. They carry a wide range of footwear for work, athletics, and casual wear, as well as customized and over-the-counter orthotics.
In 2003, clothing designer Susan Lazar set out to create a line of modern apparel for infants and toddlers that could be both stylish and comfortable for growing bodies. Many of her designs at Egg By Susan Lazar feature organic cotton that's safe for sensitive skin, as well as kid-friendly details such as wide-cut bateau necklines or secret pockets for imaginary friends to hide from parents. Parents can find soft onesies sewn from pastel or heathered fabrics, or dress their progeny in knit cardigans and button-down shirts tailored in adult-style fits.
The yogurt-minded staff members at Chill serve all-natural frozen yogurt that is mixed in small 10-gallon batches or less and delivered daily from a St. Louis dairy to ensure freshness. The active cultures, along with calcium, protein, and vitamins, blend together in low-fat flavors such as biscotti, dark chocolate, and red-velvet cake. Patrons fill their cups with the frozen treat, then crown their creations with a selection of fruity, salty, and sugary toppings.