To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand’s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
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.
Selected for the Best of Twin Cities issues of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Minnesota Monthly, 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 décor 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.
When Mercedes Austin sees a piece of artwork, her imagination immediately breaks it down into pixels and rebuilds it as a tile mosaic. Recently, she executed this process by making a mosaic of a wall mural: She fabricated jagged tiles, arranged them to resemble the original, and grouted the piece together. The resulting mosaic speaks to her intuition as an artist, and also to the years she’s spent honing the craft.
At Mercury Mosaics’ studio, Mercedes and a team of “tile elves” share their passion in two ways: through mosaic classes and custom installations. Classes explore all facets of mosaic creation, from cutting and gluing to grouting tiles into a pattern that resembles a real-life object or fuzzy television screen. Installations, which are fully customized to the client’s specifications, add a distinctive flair to commonly tiled areas such as bathrooms, backsplashes, and fireplaces.
Ever since Jessica Fleming was 14, she has been attached to her camera. It's an extension of her body. Or a third eye, to be more precise. She doesn't leave her home without it, and even while home, it's probably never out of reach. Photography is more than a fascination—it's a passion.
When Jessica is behind the lens, everything becomes clear when seen through the camera's eye. That's why she uses it to document life and emotion in all their myriad forms. It informs her style, which is photojournalistic and documentary. With that approach, Jessica captures people in a natural state, finding beauty in the honesty of candid moments and self-expression. It's part of the reason she loves working with families, couples, and kids.
Everyone has a story to tell, and Jessica relishes the opportunity to help them tell it through pictures. She also helps tell the stories of marriage with wedding photography, and romance with boudoir sessions. She captures those and all stories with shoots arranged at her studio, the client's home, or at a park where kids can run and play and not have to miss their daily boot camp workout.
In 1952, after years of ferrying car batteries to wholesalers throughout Dallas in his trusty red Studebaker pickup truck, John Searcy opened a shop of his own. Now a national franchise with more than 300 locations, Interstate All Battery Center powers up gadgets from a catalog of more than 16,000 batteries. Specialized cells from an array of brands including Apple, Motorola, and Creative Labs power home electronics, including the cell phones and singing wall fish that run constantly in most modern households. Cordless tools purr warmly, and medical equipment, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs, continue their crucial functions with fresh energy. The shop also powers up vehicles from golf carts to vintage cars to RVs with batteries from Audi and other companies. The staff collects and recycles upward of 850 million pounds of batteries each year.