EAA AirVenture Museum exhibits more than 20,000 aviation artifacts and approximately 225 aircraft spanning the colorful history of human flight. Visitors can fulfill needs for imagined speed by gazing upon WWII-era fighter planes such as the majestic Spitfire or the muscular F-51D Mustang, inspired by the engineer's deep friendship with Pegasus. Specimens such as the skeletal Fike Model C and the appropriately named Stits Sky Baby, built in 1952 to be the world's smallest airplane, represent more experimental chapters in aviation history. Today's Groupon also includes a ride for two in a MaxFlight simulator that swings and rolls as it responds to complex stunts and aerial maneuvers.
The Exclusive Company—a Wisconsin-bred music-and-movie retailer—has given the gift of song since 1956, earning a Best of Milwaukee award from Shepherd Express readers in 2011. Passionate staffers guide visitors toward sprawling collections of rock and jazz and bins brimming with DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and loose 8mm slides from Kenny G's summer vacation. In addition to peddling new vinyl releases such as El Camino by the Black Keys and Revolver by T-Pain, the shop functions as a trading post, helping to find loving homes for preowned films and music. All used discs are carefully buffed into shape before meeting their new owners, and each comes backed by a money-back guarantee, which promises store credit if a preowned item exhibits biting tendencies. Most used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl cost less than $20.
At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Inside a tasting room constructed from the salvaged beams of an old barn, visitors to Vines & Rushes winery can sample the fruit of the Prellwitz family's labors. Made from hearty grapes that are built to withstand cold Wisconsin winters, their wines and cider range in style from dry to sweet, with red and whites that focus primarily on grapes.
From a single shop in Columbus, Ohio in 1971, Lion's Den has grown into a 40-location adult empire. The secret to the company's success is simple enough: Lion's Den tries to offer something for every adult that enters one of their stores or browses the virtual shop, including men, women, and couples. Their inventory reveals toys, lingerie, and gifts for bachelor and bachelorette parties, plus hundreds of other items. Sales staff strive to create a comfortable, professional environment in each store, standing ready to answer questions with knowledge and sensitivity.
Exposures ensures special photos and keepsakes arrive safely in the future with stylish albums, frames, and other personalized gifts. Handcrafted around the globe, the company's collection of leather albums and scrapbooks protects snapshots and snippets behind acid-free pages. But sometimes, milestone moments require more than just pictures. That's why Exposures stores unique knickknacks inside shadowboxes, and transforms baby shoes into pieces of bronze art. The company also stitches together custom pillows, which come especially in handy when you can't remember an anniversary or your fiance's name.