One of the East Coast's best-known Members-only wholesale retailers, BJ's serves more than six million Members in more than 200 clubs as far west as Ohio. Within these sprawling locations, BJ's helps provide more selections to savvy shoppers looking to 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, and even plan a vacation through BJ's Travel. Each service makes up a single part of BJ's well-rounded retail experience, but simplifying shopping isn't BJ's only goal; in 2012 alone, the company donated more than $2.2 million to charitable organizations.
Erma “Mama” D’Avolio arrived at Ellis Island in 1935 from Collarmele, Italy, with an armful of children and a headful of recipes that soon gained her notoriety throughout Little Italy. Though an excellent cook who honed her skills over decades in the family restaurant, Erma swore that her delicious dishes had but one secret: the highest quality olive oil she could find. Inspired by her example, her grandson Danny Gagliardo opened D’Avolio Olive Oils & Vinegars to honor her and offer the best varietals from around the world. The store sources its extra-virgin olive oils from California-based Veronica Foods, whose husband-wife duo has spent decades roaming the globe to find the most interesting oils.
Elsewhere in the store, balsamic vinegars come ready to drizzle over desserts, flavored salts offer zesty alternatives to bland white crystals, and ready-to-eat appetizers cut down on party prep better spent hilariously coating the foyer floor in olive oil. While shopping, guests can avail themselves of the helpful staff for suggested pairings to help experimental cooks create the perfect dish.
If you can name it, the staff members at Village Sweet Shoppe have probably dipped it in their housemade chocolate. They dip everything from the mainstays of strawberries and housemade sponge candy to more inventive options such bacon and personalized wine bottles for party favors.
The Lackawanna headquarters of Phoenix Scuba and Water Sports is situated so that it attracts both Canadian diving enthusiasts who drop in from the Niagara Peninsula as well as divers from throughout western New York State. Recreational-minded beginners hop into an indoor pool to build skills and underwater experience before venturing out to the open water on one of the company's scuba charters. Meanwhile, Phoenix's veteran instructors work with professional divers-in-training who are trying to become certified. Instructional programs are also offered in adaptive diving, which trains those with physical disabilities to safely enjoy the joys of scuba. Through the years, the resident community of adaptive divers has made trips to exotic locales such as the Cayman Islands, where divers explore the ocean's depths and play Battleship underwater.
For years, Rebecca Ruger collected the smooth pieces of glass that washed up on Lake Erie’s beaches. It started out as a pastime, but one day, she had a creative impulse and used some of the pieces to make a piece of artwork as a gift for her boyfriend. After that, she continued to create glass-based artwork, selling the pieces at craft shows alongside her jewelry-maker daughter. The work began to grow in popularity, and today, Ruger owns her own art boutique—Beach Bum Glass Cottage.
According to metroWNY, Ruger and her boyfriend now spend more than 20 hours each week scouring the Hamburg beaches for the glass, driftwood, and fossils that she uses to make the artwork and jewelry in her shop. Ruger also supports other local artisans by stocking handmade products that range from dog treats to soy candles.