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.
Bent, set within the iron gates of the Dachau concentration camp during the Holocaust, begins with prisoners Max and Horst meeting each other for the first time. The two gay men are imprisoned, but the couple soon falls in love. Though they never touch each other, their passion forms a bond that comes to defy the despair and death that surrounds them on all sides. The Candid Theater Company has earned a reputation for tough, riveting dramas, and Bent promises to be no different. Buy extra Groupons and invite along some thought-provoking friends for after-show coffee and conversation.
The creative process can get complicated, which is why the staff at Color Me Mine breaks it down into four straightforward steps. Artists begin by choosing a bisque from an inventory that ranges from plates and mugs to animal figurines and picture frames. With paints and brushes in hand, they decorate the smooth, blank surfaces with designs and words. The staff fires finished pieces in a kiln to cure the pigments and make them food- and potion-safe before artists take their masterpieces home. In addition to hosting parties in-studio, Color Me Mine also shuttles supplies to homes and offices for events such as birthdays and bridal showers.
With a passion for boating the waters of Lake Minnetoka to take in views of the region's natural beauty and lush green landscapes, Wayzata Bay Charters' owners charter their 60-foot lake cruiser to make the experience accessible to all. The owners decked out their two-level cruiser—which can host up to 60 people—with a full bar, two satellite TVs, satellite radio, a 2,000-watt sound system, and enough helium balloons to keep both the boat and the party afloat. Believing a jaunt on the lake makes for an ideal event whatever the occasion, they've designed packages specifically for weddings and bachelorette parties, and they still offer public cruises to assure everyone has a chance to take to the water.
Several years ago, Ken Smith and Chase Williams were typical door-to-door salesmen. In need of a gimmick to boost sales and a quicker mode of transport, the duo tried riding Segways and immediately fell in love. Eventually, they turned their love for the two-wheeled transporter into their current venture, All American Segway. Their company provides all manner of Segway engagement, including guided Segway tours that offer rolling educations in local history and wildlife. Customers can also discover the revolutionary devices on their own by renting out Segways for recreational use, private parties, or as a friend for a lonely office chair or shopping cart.
Though most stationary bikes are just that—locked into place, as if bolted to the trail—Pedal Wild employs a fleet of RealRyder bicycles, which facilitate leaning and turning motions that work both core and leg muscles. Inspired by the more realistic workout, students keep each other motivated to keep pedaling during cycling classes led by the gym's experienced instructors. Workouts range from 45-minute express classes to intense 90-minute combinations of cycling and TRX.