Batteries Plus, No. 19 on the Dun & Bradstreet AllBusiness AllStar Franchise rankings, connects to a network of 515 stores in order to stock more than 40,000 types of batteries and light bulbs and ensure that customers can special order obscure parts. Their batteries range from dainty watch batteries to 5,000-pound leviathans that can power forklifts, and an on-site tech center can design and assemble custom batteries or rebuild old ones. A diverse array of chargers keep systems juiced, and the shop’s bulbs range from fluorescent tubes to heat lamps. To safeguard the environment, Batteries Plus's staff recycles all types of batteries and bulbs rather than hauling them to landfills or feeding them to each other.
Alouette's ace jewelers fashion a wealth of adornments from a stock of Japanese seed beads, African bone beads, and numerous semiprecious and natural stones, such as onyx and tiger-eye. With staff creations and costume jewelry, Alouette embellishes necks, wrists, and gills for a plentitude of styles and occasions. The team also assembles custom rings or bracelets that conform to patrons' visions, and lead several jewelry-making classes to demystify the bead-stringing arts. To widen the crafting community, Alouette partners with Oklahoma Mineral and Gem Society, gathering students together during monthly sessions for demos and group assistance, helping patrons decide what to make after swiping the Hope diamond.
Bold, black lines splice Uptown Kids’ showroom into tidy planes. Amid this minimalist backdrop, the collection of colorful kids’ clothing practically vibrates. Designed by Rand Elliott of Elliott & Associates, the showroom reflects owner Carolyn Goldman's philosophy that clothing is like artwork and deserves a space that showcases it. This unique approach to fashion earned Uptown Kids a spot on the cover of Interior Design, as well as a slew of other positive press. In keeping with her philosophy, Ms. Goldman carefully selects bold, unique pieces by designer brands such as Little Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Diesel. The store also houses a collection of designer toys and accessories by P’kolino and Popochos to keep toddlers occupied and looking sharp during upcoming job interviews.
As parents explore the showroom, children can watch movies or tinker with toys in a spacious, transparent playroom. Additionally, the store hosts various kid-friendly events such as plays, concerts, and fashion shows.
So established is Circle K 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 Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including Ball Park hot dogs. 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.
Whether at the retail store or beneath the water's surface, Bluewater Divers' crew maintains a commitment to helping their customers live life to the fullest. The staff, which includes PADI-certified instructors as well as an aptly named director of happiness, leads scuba classes at heated pools, natural bodies of water, or inside their own imaginations. After students master beginner courses, instructors can help them obtain PADI certification for open-water diving in the deep blue or learn advanced skills such as rescue diving. It’s not uncommon for students to foster new friendships with other divers or their instructors, especially during the school’s regularly scheduled social events and diving trips.
An authorized dealer for many leading brands, Bluewater Divers’ staff keeps the shop filled with necessary scuba equipment and accessories. The crew also runs a demo department, which lets divers test gear before they commit to living inside a giant fishbowl.
At The Scuba Shack, the staff’s family-oriented lessons encourage divers to take social rather than solo ventures into the blue beyond. Each instructor carries an impressive résumé of underwater travels—the head trainer has been diving for more than 20 years and others have logged more than 1,000 dives. Captaining PADI-certification courses and specialty seminars—which cover topics such as night diving, photography, and fish identification—they take groups on open-water excursions to area lakes and Clear Spring Scuba Park. They prioritize educating their charges with safe and enjoyable teachings, rather than monotonous quizzes on whether the bends is a serious health issue or a 1980s punk band. With trips to dive sites in Fiji and Mexico, they introduce divers to the visual wonder of reefs and aquatic wildlife throughout the world.