Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Long rumored to be the home of eerie happenings, a lonely stretch along Highway 61 has begun to attract even more sinister attention with the arrival of The Haunting Experience on Highway 61. Drawing from the site’s fabled past—including tales of cannibalism and mysterious disappearances—three haunted houses illicit goose bumps by way of deranged clowns, men with chainsaws, and ghosts plagued by unfinished business and half-completed doctoral theses. While waiting to enter the spooky abodes, guests can fortify their spirits by a bonfire and munch on snacks from the Ghoulish Grill and frosty mugs at the beer tent. Aside from these terrifying attractions, guests seeking a tamer experience can venture through a corn maze during the daytime, solving clues hidden within its paths to win prizes.
The Green Guardian nourishes landscapes with an approach that shuns harsh chemicals in favor of effective, all-natural fertilizers, herbicides, and pest-control solutions made from edible ingredients. A proprietary line of products includes vegan herbicides that fertilize lawns as they kill broadleaf and certain grassy weeds, and granular fertilizers that nourish turf with feed-grade corn, soil conditioners, and naturally-occurring microbial stimulants. Pest-control products use odorless garlic to repel mosquitoes, billbugs, grubs, geese, and displaced vampire squid, all without leaving behind an unpleasant smell.
In addition to lawn-care packages and à la carte treatments, The Green Guardian is also registered with DuPont to remove and replace trees killed by the chemical herbicide Imprelis.
When Max Schneiderman began his family’s business, it was a grocery store first and foremost. Then Schneiderman’s began to carry a few furniture items and slowly these grew to overshadow the cans of soup and produce until the furnishings finally swallowed the foodstuffs whole.
Now, Schneiderman's Furniture has spread from the Iron Range to spots throughout the Twin Cities. The showrooms stock local and foreign furniture from more than 100 manufacturers. Many items in stock can be customized in color and texture to match a homeowner's current obsession with plastic flamingos.
Revak Nursery, a decades-old family pine farm, decks holiday halls with custom wreaths and decorations from its adjoining Christmas shop, which brims with thousands of ornaments and gifts. Customers can rifle through shelves of Russian woodcarvings, including a hand-painted pink Santa ($59.95), and fine European glass ornaments, such as a glossy white bauble with a beaded poinsettia ($17.95). An oval birch-bark container ($31.50) adds festive charm to homes with the intricate floral carvings on its lid and the stockpile of forged naughty-or-nice lists in its hollow core. A Pisa Pizza snow-village display ($35) showcases a miniature Italian eatery, with miniature diners inside feasting in celebration of their miniature holiday bonuses.
It's easy to get lost in the moment on Nelson's Apple Farm. Guests can wander through the golden-tinged foliage and breath in the autumnal air while exploring the various fall festivities. Children traipse through the five acres of wildlife preserve, or peer at many different animals in the farm yard, feeding goats from their palms or watching ducks play inspired hockey on the pond. They can pick their own pumpkins and choose from more than 20 different apple varieties from a 20-acre plot of apple trees, and, come winter, guests can track down their perfect Christmas tree from the 12 acres of growing evergreens. On the weekends, customers can also opt for wagon rides around the acreage.