Each of Merrifield Garden Center’s three locations overflows with thousands of plants throughout the year, encompassing such variety that a reporter for CNN’s Eatocracy claimed “I might as well endorse my paychecks straight to them…because I always want to grow what they've got.” Knowledgeable garden experts, 25 of whom have been with Merrifield for 25 years or more, guide customers through row upon row of flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants, or help them sort through an extensive selection of bulbs and seeds. Visitors may also bump into the founders themselves, or their children and other family members, 38 of whom still work at the thriving business that started 40 years ago. Merrifield doesn’t just proliferate plants, however; amenities such as cafes in Gainesville and Merrifield and a dog park in Gainesville make each garden center into a leisure destination as well. Three of its garden gurus run an hourlong TV show that's been going for more than two decades, and other staff publish gardening advice on the website and Facebook. The staff also work to protect the environment with a variety of eco-friendly initiatives. Besides stocking native plants and water-saving devices for their customers, they also compost more than 20,000 tons of soil and 25,000 cubic yards of brush left over from their comprehensive landscaping services every year. The Gainesville location also gathers old concrete, metal appliances, and rusted Optimus Primes for recycling free of charge.
It's a big leap from the bustle of an athletic field to the solitude of a darkroom, but Calumet Photographic made the transition seamlessly more than 70 years ago. From its origins as a Chicago sporting-goods store, the company evolved into a one-stop shop for cameras and darkroom equipment and eventually into an innovator of photographic technology. In the 1960s, Calumet's most brilliant minds were behind the development of the Caltar large-format-lens line and nitrogen burst film.
Today, Calumet Photographic continues to manufacture and sell professional photographic products and software across the globe, boasting more than 25 retail stores throughout the US and Europe. Their shops abound with both new and used high-quality cameras and equipment, rental gear, and knowledgeable technicians eager to help customers find the right equipment for the job. The company’s extensive online catalog enables shoppers to purchase equipment from around the world and have it shipped directly to their home, studio, or mall photo booth they’ve claimed as a studio.
Professional sleep counselors facilitate peaceful slumber at more than 80 Mattress Discounters locations nationwide, where showrooms brim with mattresses from brands such as Sealy Posturepedic, Tempur-Pedic, and Space Age Foam. Unlike pet stores, Mattress Discounters encourages customers to lie on the merchandise, as sleep counselors use the Discover Your Comfort system to ask questions about sleep position and comfort level. With this information in hand, client and counselor select the right mattress for restful slumber, with each sleep surface backed by a 60-night comfort guarantee.
With more than 25 years of experience, Patio.com oversees a wicker- and wood-framed stockpile of rugged and refined game-room and outdoor furnishings to outfit open-air play spaces with tables, chairs, cushions, hammocks, barbecue grills, and billiard tables. Shoppers can peruse a variety of styles from teak and aluminum to adirondack, sling, strap, and nougat-centered.
Curtsies & Petals fills the shelves of its intimate boutique with original gifts fashioned by American artisans and craftspeople. Shopkeepers stock unique items, from handcrafted jewelry and frames to elegant stationery, candles, and soaps. They also maintain a selection of accessories and dresses for special occasions, such as weddings and the purse-toss portion of debutante balls.