It's 7 p.m. on a Monday, and the Fitness KICKS studio is a flurry of sweaty, motivated students and swaying punching bags. This is the scene of a cardio-kickboxing class, where certified trainers lead students through high-intensity kickboxing drills and training exercises on the 27 heavyweight bags. Come Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the atmosphere transforms when yoga instructors take over and lead yogis through flowing poses designed to enhance relaxation. The energy-charged atmosphere soon returns, however, when coaches take over to conduct rigorous total-body conditioning sessions, kettlebell workouts, Kempo karate, and jiujitsu classes.
As students bustle about in group classes, other members churn out muscles with the studio's collection of weightlifting equipment, ellipticals, and bicycles. Some opt for personal-training sessions, during which top trainers help clients work out safely by guiding them through custom exercises and checking their gym sneakers for smuggled in cheeseburgers. Still other members sit down to chat with the trainers about nutrition, discussing diet tips and custom meal plans.
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
When people are ill, they usually either make a doctor's appointment or lie in bed and wait it out. Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy has created a third option. Visits to its stores, which are scattered across the western US, are more casual than a doctor's visit but less passive than bed rest. Each location's team of health experts, including credentialed pharmacists, naturopathic doctors, herbalists, nutritionists, and more, consult with customers?no appointment needed.
But Pharmaca aims to serve its customers every day, not just on sick days. Its stores have been drawing droves of clients since 2000, partly because they meet so many needs in just one spot. In addition to a full-service pharmacy, Pharmaca offers organic and food-based vitamins from MegaFood and New Chapter; professional-grade skin care and cosmetics from Jane Iredale, Sanitas, and Dr. Hauschka; and therapeutic-grade supplements from Metagenics and Thorne Research. Customers can also choose from an assortment of homeopathic remedies, herbal formulations, medical supplies, toiletries, gifts, and fair-trade chocolates.
The skin specialists at Soluna Skin Care don’t subscribe to the trend of treating skin with burning lasers and harsh chemicals. Instead, they rely on hands-on facial treatments developed through natural, tried-and-true ingredients, such as baking soda, vitamin C, and herbs. Through each clinical facial, herbal peel, and deep pore cleansing facial, aestheticians slather on naturally derived products such as Epicurean Discovery and Cosmedix, which eschew all irritants and acids for natural enzymes.
Two moms founded Milana C., naming the boutique clothier after their three children—Mia, Lana, and Charlie. The shop stocks brands including Alexis Bittar, alice + olivia, and Splendid. It also hosts occasional events, which in the past have included a girls' night out that blended networking opportunities with spray tanning, a more effective pairing than editing your resume inside a tanning bed.
Beauty specialist Vimaa Patel opened the original iBar to concentrate on threading, body art, and permanent makeup. Now with four different locations, Vimaa ensures her staff is practiced in the ancient technique of eyebrow threading—gently pruning and shaping brows with cotton strings—by requiring potential team members to have at least two years of experience. The technicians also enhance eyes and brows with permanent-makeup treatments and personalize shoulders, ankles, and calves with temporary body art, such as birds, blossoms, or safe combinations.
iBar's intensive focus on a handful of treatments let the staff master their craft, and customers took notice. Within four years, the beauty haven expanded to four locations, each of which maintains the rigorous quality and boutique ambiance of the original.