Selected for the Best of Twin Cities issues of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Minnesota Monthly, and named Best Children's Clothing Store in 2014 by CityPages, Jon and Wing Witthuhn founded Pacifier in 2004 in response to the lack of hip baby stores in Minneapolis, and the duo now has a second location downtown at the City Center Skyway, and recently opened a third location in Edina. True to their vision, the shop stocks a whimsical array of eclectic and modern children?s clothing and toys, nursery d?cor and furniture, and maternity items. Its selection of diaper bags facilitates the process of changing little loincloths, and baby bouncers inspire tiny feet to groove to the electric slide with rhythmic movements. Swaddlers keep kiddies warm as they sleep, and a Sophie the Giraffe natural teether sees babies through an important developmental change. In addition to its stock of baby gifts and toys, the shop purveys home-safety devices, including press 'n' pull plug protectors and video monitors.
Midwest Mountaineering can trace its origins back to 1970, when avid rock climber Rod Johnson found himself frustrated with the lack of climbing equipment available in Minneapolis. When Johnson returned from a voyage to California with a backpack full of gear, he decided to sell his accumulated goodies to friends and local climbers out of his own kitchen, calling his operation The Johnson Company. As his business grew, so did its inventory—expanding to include tents, skis, kayaks, and canoes. Rod’s business quickly became too big for his kitchen, eventually landing at its current location under the name Midwest Mountaineering.
Today, the store continues to equip outdoor adventurers with quality gear and apparel. A cheerful blue-and-red sign splays across its historic storefront, which houses racks of apparel and specialty equipment for an array of extreme sports that includes long-distance backpacking, paddling, and ice climbing. Kayaks and canoes, which customers may try out before purchasing during regular boat demonstrations, dangle from ceilings next to life preservers, and shoes, coats, and athletic gear line the exposed-brick walls. An enthusiastic staff of outdoor aficionados stands by to offer customers tips on finding optimal products and the best clothing lines to impress fashion-conscious wildlife, as well as lead regular instructional workshops, hands-on clinics, and special events.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
Champion Ballroom is the brainchild of twinkly-toed owners Robert and Jennifer Foster, who, over their illustrious 25-year career, have garnered three U.S. ballroom dance titles and enraptured audiences internationally on NBC, ESPN, and PBS. Accompanied by their daughter Caitlin, the duo cycles through private and group dance lessons in ballroom, Latin, salsa, swing, and tango techniques for both competitive and casual events. The studio’s free consultations work to ascertain students’ goals while introducing them to the instructors’ individual teaching styles, which, unlike most dance studios, do not incorporate weirdly aggressive games of Twister. Special guests often lead one-night-only workshops atop Champion’s 40'x80' dance floor, and live performances from local bands allow hoofers to put new steps to the test without having to provoke local dance crews into impromptu competitions.
At Claymate Creations, Anjee Mai Emerson celebrates her two passions: art and play. Inspired by her joy in creating sculptures, she uses her colorful creation haven to share that love with students aged 8 and older. She leads them in shaping polymer clay monster sculptures, motivating them to tap into their imaginations to bring one-eyed green gremlins or self-destructive socialites to life. In each three-hour playshop class or private party, up to six guests gather in this casual learning environment. Anjee encourages them to have fun playing with clay while they flex their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
She also showcases her own work throughout the studio, and sells her handmade monsters, earrings, magnets, and stationery at a handful of local boutiques.
The Urban Assault Ride challenges cyclists to speed from obstacle course to obstacle course across their city during eco-friendly scavenger hunts that benefit local charities. Teams draft a road map to try to thwart the competition and be the first to complete the race, pausing at a series of checkpoints, where they must surmount such active roadblocks as slip 'n' slides, bike jousting, and reciting the Iliad in Pig Latin. The first team to conquer each challenge and cross the finish line is declared the victor, but all participants celebrate their efforts at a lively after-party stocked with snacks, beer, nonalcoholic drinks, and prizes.