When the judges; scores came in, Sugar Rush Bakery's Andrew Mincher finished in second place on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Going into the competition, he thought, "This is what I do and I thought, I’m going to have fun doing it." His positive attitude—and his recipe for banana-rum cupcakes with peanut-butter buttercream frosting—paid off.
The recognition came as a hefty endorsement for the brand-new owner of the former Di Monda Bakery. Mincher recently bought out the business with his dad and brother so that he could make cupcakes his way. Inside, customers find him doing exactly that, whipping together delicious cupcakes and other sweets such as cookies and fresh-baked breads. He decorates his creations with chunks of chocolate or cheerful frosting faces that seem to ask, "Do I look cute in this foil?"
Stretching back three generations, the family behind Apollo Cleaner performs all services in-house and employs effective-microorganism dry-cleaning technology. The technology was developed by a professor of horticulture in Japan to help farmers cultivate fecund soil; however, dry cleaners also use the method to eliminate odor-causing mold, fungus, and bacteria from clothes.
In addition to reviving everyday garments, Apollo's techs clean leather, preserve wedding gowns, and repair duds with alteration services. They also back their work with a guarantee: if the customer isn’t completely satisfied, Apollo staffers will return to work to remedy the situation; and if they uncover a manufacturing defect during the cleaning process, they will contact the manufacturer to learn how to best repair the garment.
Nutritionist and exercise physiologist Michelle champions healthy eating and weight loss under the name Nutrish Mish. Rather than eliminating her clients' favorite dishes from their diets, she adapts them into individually tailored meal plans, turning relationships with foods into positive friendships with predinner hugs. In addition to regularly scheduled visits—which also include diet and body-composition analysis—she offers supportive virtual concierge services through phone, text, and email.
Even in his days on the police force, Michael Gould found himself working with dogs. As a lieutenant, he commanded his department's canine unit, and this affinity for dogs serves him well as the owner-operator of Hounds Town USA. Born from a dog-training business, Hounds Town USA is not just a place for dogs to hang out while their owners are away. Here, in the large, temperature-controlled facility, they satisfy their pack instincts with a group of like-minded pooches. They chase one another, flop down for naps together, and discuss methods for getting the cookie jar off their owner's kitchen counter. All staff members have been thoroughly trained to interact with a pack of dogs, and they supervise this pack constantly, encouraging good behavior with physical and verbal praise. Because all pups are given a temperament test before their first day, they're assigned to a playgroup that matches their playing style and preferences, even if they really just want to play House.
Longtime Levittown resident Demetrios Zirogiannis has dutifully provided dry-cleaning and tailoring services for his fellow denizens for more than 40 years. He and his team use eco-friendly solvents and chemicals in their many services, which include stain removal, cleaning suede and wedding gowns, and altering garments to fit the changing body of a werewolf. Some of their work can be performed same-day, with complimentary pickup and delivery services further easing customers’ busy schedules.
Named 2011’s Best Camp on Long Island by the Long Island Press, BounceU Farmingdale’s summer day camp transports kids to an inflatable, climate-controlled playground where they bounce from side to side in a safe, stimulating environment. From 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, kids can imagine they're synchronized leapers in Michael Flatley's Riverbounce as they carom around the inflatable stadium, expending energy and cultivating creativity with every leap. From giant-gloved boxing jabs to bounce-assisted slam dunks, exercise meets imagination through games and artistic activities designed to engage young minds. While campers trample through inflatables, the attentive BounceU Farmingdale staff monitors the rebounding playground at all times, ensuring that the facilities are safe, clean, and thoroughly buoyant.