The affable staff at GameMaster leads customers through a neon-lit showroom populated by billiards, foosball, and air-hockey tables for infinite in-home revelry. Pool balls fly across blue felt on the multipurpose Phoenix billiard table, which transforms into table tennis or a slide-hockey platform with a simple kiss from a frog. The sleek, modern Tucson billiard table reunites players with precious orbs through a league-style ball return, and pucks glide across the sleek, white, 7-foot Detroit air-hockey table, adding numbers to an inlaid LED scoring screen. Alternatively, the Calgary air-hockey table boasts an air-flow of 80 cubic feet per minute and an LCD electronic scorer. Inside the Maverick foosball table’s sturdy mahogany cabinet, counterbalanced wooden figures make daring saves as human players twist quick-grip handles. Customers can also learn to hit small targets or fasten pins to distant lapels by perusing the shops' selection of dart cabinets ($79.95+) and dart cases ($16.50+).
Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display to get results. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s experienced personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
At Underwater Connection, southeast Wisconsin’s only PADI five-star instructor-training center, an award-winning course director and a team of skilled instructors educate both undersea novices and emergency-service professionals in the art of scuba diving. Following safe, low-stress basic diving courses in a pool, teachers and students move to the open water to cover techniques that include rebreathing, underwater videography, and recovering toy-boat wrecks from flooded bathtubs. Underwater Connection provides all equipment for classes, relying on its factory-trained equipment mechanics and Aqualung Master Technician, who refill tanks and do in-house repairs on gear from brands such as Dive Rite, Poseidon, Oceanic, Aqua Lung, and Scubapro.
It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.