The staff at New Balance isn't concerned with simply selling shoes—their mission is to pair customers with the footwear that will carry them comfortably through life’s arduous steps. Understanding that an ill-fitting pair of athletic shoes can cause pain to joints and potentially damage knees, hips, and the back, associates measure the length and width of each client's foot and conduct a gait analysis to chart the trajectory of their stride when walking normally or running through ball pits. The data are collected to help the staff match clients with their ideal shoe, keeping them running longer and looking good while doing so.
Owned and operated by experienced runners, Columbus Running Company strives to support the benefits of walking and running by providing a wide variety of gear, personalized service, and community support. The store is stocked with goods that range from the necessary basics to accessories bursting with more technology than a remote-controlled hummingbird. Slip on a pair of sleek Saucony Guide 4 ($99.99) or Brooks Adrenaline GTS ($100) foot helmets and test them out on the in-store treadmill before setting out to find the meaning of life on a literal cross-country run. The Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp illuminates nighttime runs, making joggers visible to drivers and spontaneously appearing portals to the underworld visible to joggers ($29.99). For shins and calves that are feeling down in the dumps, Zensah compression sleeves provide needed support with gradient compression and strategic ribbing that increases blood flow, making muscles feel as limber as a spider monkey sipping on a wine cooler ($39.99).
Though fourth-generation dairy farmer Jim King and his wife, Angel, craft the artisanal cheeses at Blue Jacket Dairy, it’s fair to say that the creamery is a fifth-generation family business. The youngest members of the King clan are already hard at work sticking labels on finished wedges of cheddar, quark, and mozzarella. The King family uses small-scale equipment to produce both fresh and aged cheeses, including its signature Gretna Grilling—a semisoft, halloumi-style cheese made with pasteurized whole milk. In addition to chèvre, mozzarella, and feta cheeses, Blue Jacket’s team makes small batches of Fresh Cheddar Curds, which it prepares plain or flavored with dill, chipotle, garlic, or ranch.
Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, the nationally recognized and trusted franchise now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. Equip a corrective pair of Essentials frames starting at $99.95, or slip on a pair of designer eye enhancers, such as those by Anne Klein and DKNY ($149.95+) or Versace ($205+). Single-vision lenses adjust a singular field of vision. While prices and availability may vary by location, they usually start at about $120 (basic uncoated plastic) and $215 (scratch-resistant plastic) for PearleTHIN, whereas specialty PearleTHIN anti-glare complete lenses ($315) are lightweight heavyweights.
One of the East Coast's best-known members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's Wholesale Club serves more than six million members in 201 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, savvy shoppers knock out most of their errands in a single stop. In the same visit, members can stock up on economy-sized groceries–including USDA choice meats, farm-fresh produce, and everyday essentials–grab name-brand electronics, get their vision checked at BJ's Optical, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of the club's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's Wholesale Club's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $3.2 million to charitable organizations.