To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
Taste of Europe's shelves are filled with edible nostalgia. Owners and friends Gene Basov and Marat Tsitolovsky grew up together in Ukraine, and now stock their Overland Park grocery with traditional candies, smoked sprats, and other comestibles that are bound to make Eastern European transplants feel a bit at home.
?I enjoy dealing with people and taking them back to their childhood ? down memory lane,? Basov told The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. Customers often come into the shop to request specific European foods, and Basov searches until he finds them.
English tea, French truffle salt, and Israeli jams are a few delicacies to be found on the shelves. There's also a deli stocked with European sausages and Kosher meats, and a bakery section filled with traditional cakes and pastries. Though the market caters to customers with European ties, it also welcomes shoppers who simply want to try something new, or who wish to impress friends with souvenirs from imaginary vacations.
For more than 60 years, Zeke's Paint & Design Centers have been outfitting do-it-yourselfers with the paints and tools they need to give their homes chromatic makeovers. Zeke's preferred brand of paint, Benjamin Moore, can be mixed to perfectly match the preexisting colors on walls or breathe new life into boring pieces of Renaissance artwork. The store's commitment to professional-grade products doesn't stop at paint; finely bristled brushes, rollers, and supplies from brands such as Purdy and Corona ensure even coats and minimize the need for later touchups. Resident experts share helpful tips for do-it-yourself projects and can even point visitors in the direction of trusted professionals for more complex jobs, such as re-creating The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of a dog's house.
With its showroom's contemporary setup and staff's personalized attention, Romanelli Optix diverges from the average optical center. Backed by more than 25 years of combined experience, Roman Beznovsky and Felix Milman opened the first Romanelli Optix in 2004. Today, the duo populates three Kansas City–area locations with frames in more than 60 brands such as Maui Jim, Tiffany & Co., and Fendi. At each location, customers are guided carefully through the options based on a variety of factors, including their prescriptions and facial features. Onsite adjustments make the process even easier, including meticulous custom-cut assembly performed in nearby boutiques.
Wurstle endeavors to revolutionize the classic American hot dog by concocting a menu of completely customizable and mess-free gourmet sausages. Three types of baguette encase half a dozen sausage choices—each MSG- and filler-free —in standard, junior, or mini-sizes, which customers can each crown with an array of toppings such as homemade mustard, spicy ketchup, or Wurstle-kraut. The kitchen crew trades in their deep fryer for the oven, complementing their hand-held feasts with healthful baked accompaniments of french fries, Nutella puffs, and piping hot sodas.
At Rick's Tailoring and Menswear, Old World-style service is alive and well in the 21st century. The shop's haberdashers pay special attention to clients as well as the quality of fabric they sell. Such fabrics include cashmere and australian wool with pick-stitch edging and half-canvas construction. They ensure a suit for virtually every body type and fashion sense, and tailor each to fit perfectly. They also customize sports coats, tuxedos, and casual wear to accommodate each customer's angles, contours, and neck bolts.