So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
The Little Guys Home Technology adorns abodes with home theaters and other audiovisual equipment through a dedication to customer service. Rows of obedient Klipsch, B&W, and Velodyne speakers ($99+) line the showroom as valiant audio soldiers that protect and serve by imbuing each note of the Lamb Chop theme song with eardrum-tingling tonal clarity. Alternatively, a set of headphones forge a more direct audio-to-eardrum connection ($29.95+), and the LG, Sony, and Panasonic TVs splash living room walls with sharp, clear, and colorful imagery ($399+). Finally, customers can test home-theater technology in a series of "lifestyle rooms" rigged with realistic interior accessories such as fake fireplaces, potted plants, and unwashed dishes you plan to clean just as soon as this episode is over.
Your one-night Vintner's Getaway package includes a tour of the Crown Valley Winery, wherein a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide will lead you through the behind-the-scenes areas of the 55-acre winery, taking you step by increasingly zigzagged step through the wine-making process. Along the way, you'll get an up-close look at the massive tanks, the wine-storing oak barrels, and the bottling line before sampling the creations in their final form. You'll also enjoy a separate tour of Crown Valley's champagne house, complete with tastings of its effervescent, fizzy-lifting drinks.
When you only eat popcorn drizzled in butter substitute at the movies, you're missing out on the cinematic snack's potential. That's why Holly's Popcorn owner Steve Hamilton decided to create a line of gourmet popcorns made with recognizable ingredients, from real butter to brown sugar or Wisconsin cheddar—the only currency used in Milwaukee. Hamilton uses these to create a range of popcorn flavors, from the classic Chicago style with cheese and caramel to the gourmet peanut butter chocolate drizzle. Holly's Popcorn offers more than indulgent treats. In addition, the popcorn master has also created Fittpop, a healthy, air-popped popcorn seasoned only with a dash of sea salt.