It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
As an avid athlete in his spare time, Doctor of Chiropractic Kent Owens knows what’s at stake when it comes to maintaining a strong, properly functioning spine. At Dr. Owens’s own advanced chiropractic center, Core Family Health and Wellness, he puts his years of education—both on the field and in the classroom—to use as he gently adjusts spines and soothes aching muscles with massage therapy.
Though it is highly sanitized and filled with a dizzying array of advanced equipment, the ivory-toned clinic maintains a warm, non-intimidating atmosphere. This may be due to Dr. Owens’s friendly smile and demeanor as he sits behind the controls of a NASA-certified nerve-analysis machine or patiently explains to terrified clients why their x-rays look a lot like skeletons. Committed to holistic well-being, Dr. Owens also offers a weight-loss program that focuses on quickly pinching waistlines without relying on a crash diet. His doors remain open to clients with questions, and he even hosts a series of patient-appreciation events aptly entitled Dinner with the Doc.
Spokes have populated the space around 1630 West University Avenue for 65 years, turning stoically as numerous bike shops have come and gone. The spot’s newest cycling incarnation, Chain Reaction Bike Shop, owes its staying power to owner Raleigh Faust and his staff of experts who cater to collegiate commuters, recreational cyclists, and serious athletes alike. Inside the unvarnished wooden storefront, rows of rides from Scott, Jamis Bicycles, and Surly await ownership. Every bike purchased at the shop comes with a lifetime of free service adjustments, making owning a bike as hassle-free as combing a hairless cat. Technicians see to these new rides, taking more than a dozen measurements for individualized fittingsand performing maintenance services that range from spot repairs to comprehensive tune-ups.
At West End Golf Club, the 3,940-yard executive golf course, driving range, and putting green are all fully lit, allowing players to tee it up during the day or night. Scott Dombeck oversees the pro shop, which has been arming golfers with equipment from brands such as TaylorMade, Ping, and Wilson for more than 30 years. The shop also helps golfers shave strokes with custom club repair, private and group golf instruction, and associations for men and women.
Dave Bee, the owner of Schwinn Shop, was practically born on the bicycle saddle—two of his uncles own cycling dealerships, and he remembers being able to ride before he could even walk. His first set of wheels, a 1968 Schwinn Pixie, now hangs on the store's wall, along with wooden-wheeled bikes and quirky items ranging from a Pee-Wee Herman doll collection to turn-of-the-century skis. Bee calls his enterprise a "museum of sorts," a testament to the freedom of spirit one can only discover from behind the handlebars. Indeed, the store's bevy of new and used bicycles entices potential owners to trade in their gas-guzzling horses and set out for new adventures. From the modern Schwinn designs to an assortment of Giant mountain bikes, cruisers, and single-speed commuters, Schwinn Shop's inventory offers options to suit any riding style. For current owners, the full-service repair shop can cure any ailment, from misaligned wheels to graying tassels, and Bee and his team of cycling technicians can customize frames with colorful tires or parts and accessories from Shimano, Origin-8, and Odyssey. The staff also rent out hybrid bikes for leisurely rides around Gainesville, catering to customers unwilling to endure the sleepless nights of ringing bells associated with bike ownership.
The staff at Cave Country Dive Shop is comprised of cave and technical divers who continually add to their combined decades of experience. They bring an abundance of credentials to the metaphorical table, including NACD cave diver certification and training from the U.S. Navy. This unity of experience and training manifests itself as teaching prowess as the team makes use of numerous springs and underwater caves for conducting all levels of PADI & DSAT scuba programs. Classes head out to open waters found at locales such as Santa Fe River or Ginnie Springs to explore crystal-clear springs and sinkholes with 80-100 feet of visibility and approximately 72-degree waters year round. The aquatic experts teach equipment functions and other essential scuba knowhow in one of two onsite classrooms, further prepping students for real diving conditions by being filled with water, oysters, and taffy.
In addition to instruction, Cave County delivers air from high-volume and high-pressure compressors that are routinely monitored and maintained. Equipment upgrades hang from the walls or virtual window displays online.