The seasoned racers at Right Fit Running know the mechanics of an excellent stride, the structure of sneakers, and the joys and trials of pounding the pavement. As runners themselves, they're fit to equip fellow athletes with shoes, apparel, and gear that enhance performance. When runners need new shoes, sales associates begin by evaluating foot shape and pronation. When runners want to scale up from half marathons to full marathons, the experts suggest energy supplements and performance-enhancing gear, such as compression socks and jet packs.
A participant in HGTV's Landscape Smart, Lawn and Landscape Gardens imbues its services with 19 years of knowledge as they craft unique designs and maintain lush lawns. Its brigade of yard artists pledges allegiance to the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association and continually takes continuing-education classes to stay ahead of industry advances. Refusing to sacrifice quality for profits, the company limits the number of new customers it takes on each season to make sure each one gets enough attention and hand-typed secret-admirer notes. In addition to beautifying neighborhood yards, Lawn and Landscape Gardens extends their service into the community at large, sponsoring courses at the University of Minnesota's agricultural school and assisting schools with garden projects.
Within his private studio, Professional Picture Framing Association member Joe Weinbeck handcrafts elegant frames to protect oil paintings and prints. Equipped with conservation framing know-how and hundreds of frames from six different suppliers, Joe introduces artwork to new habitats that shelter the pieces from harmful UV rays and hostile eye contact. Archival-quality mats from Peterboro and Crescent give diplomas or photographs the space they need, and four grades of glass or acrylic glazing protect wandering fingers from sticky globs of paint. Joe can also showcase his talents with large-format framing for epic Led Zeppelin posters or blown-up versions of Robert Plant's braces-laden middle school photo.
At Gander Mountain's indoor archery ranges, bowmen sheltered from the elements send arrows whistling toward targets year-round. During one month of unlimited access, clients can work to boost their range, improve accuracy, and nail a prize circle to stuff and mount on their living-room wall. Customers can redeem up to three Groupons to maintain Robin Hood physiques throughout the harsh winter with multiple months of practice. Though not included in today’s Groupon, the range also features a variety of archery services such as tune-ups, custom-built arrows, and spaghetti strainers for recapturing runaway bowstrings.
After a round of renovations, owners Mike, Al, and Jamie filled the shelves at Metro Wine and Spirits with libations for all tastes. Wines from such makers as Blufeld and Ecco Domani bring with them the flavors of Europe, while the popped cap of a Surly craft beer hisses "I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night_." Liquors by such favorite brands as UV stand ready for inclusion in cocktails. Visitors dropping by the shop may even find themselves swept up in a tasting or a contest to identify wines by cork texture alone.
With shows throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, Lisa Nelson collaborates with clients to create customer-designed pieces of wearable art, fashioned from sterling silver, copper, and gold fill and hand stamped with words and symbols. Celebrate a birthday or first skydiving date with a necklace, bracelet, or pair of lucky ear parachutes bearing amulets such as a large, gold-filled circle ($50), a tiny silver dog tag ($20), or a copper square ($35–$45) dangling from a sterling-silver chain ($32–$60). Once you've selected the base for your body garnish, Lisa will adorn your chosen piece with a name, a pair of names, or a favorite quotation from A Tale of Two Cities. Popular stamps are always on hand to spark inspiration. Call to arrange an in-studio visit to peruse current offerings ($45–$75) or craft a signature work. As pieces are custom-made, this Groupon can result in a unique and personal Valentine's Day gift.
Bead Basics lavishes jewelers of all skill levels with the necessary equipage and abilities to craft their own bead masterpieces. Instructors string together a monthly calendar of more than 25 classes that teach up to 16 students at a time techniques or specific projects such as Beading Basics, Tila Spiral Bracelet, and Viking Knit. The online catalog's virtual glass cases brim with exquisitely crafted pieces and the requisite tools for shaping bracelets, stringing necklaces, and swapping out the queen's jewels with decoys.