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.
Biketek welcomes all cyclists for supplies, repairs, and tune-ups, whether they ride recreationally or compete in triathlons. In addition to road, triathlon, mountain, single-speed, and hybrid bikes from Felt, Jamis, and Raleigh, the shop stocks a sizeable collection of gear from Giro, Sidi, Topeak, and Shimano. GU and Hammer Nutrition products, meanwhile, give riders the power necessary to win races and corral herds of stampeding tricycles. For six months after they purchase a new bicycle, buyers can come back to the shop for free maintenance and fit adjustments.
On the upkeep side of Biketek’s coin, technicians repair and maintain rides with tune-ups, part installations, and other services. They also fit bikes to riders with Body Scanning CRM technology, which uses software and noninvasive laser-pointer body measurements to determine the ideal saddle height, angle, and fore-aft position, as well as handlebar height and rotation. Although everyone can purchase a fitting session, Biketek offers one free to anyone buying a new road, triathlon, or cyclocross bike.
Dominique Ponko sits at the head of the class, leading yogis through muscle-lengthening postures with the steady flow of her deep, rhythmic inhales and exhales. It’s been a long journey for Dominique. She first sought out yoga at the age of 26 to help her cope with life-threatening seizures and a slow-growing brain tumor. Yoga comforted her through three difficult years, welcoming her into a space for healing spiritually before she was able to find the proper medicine to help her heal physically. Though still a little shaky, Dominique has triumphed and opened four yoga studios—voted Best of the ‘Burgh in 2010—to inspire her students to ease their ailments, build strength, and find inner peace.
During her studio's heated Vinyasa-flow classes, an enthusiastic and supportive instructor guides students through a series of strengthening postures that work to increase flexibility and build muscles. Warm, balmy air courses through the studio, pricking beads of sweat on brows to help detox bodies and loosen stiff muscles into deep, soothing stretches.
White delivery vans scrawled with purple and teal lettering roll into driveways twice a week, hauling dirty clothes away and returning them clean and fresh. The magic happens at Four Seasons's Squirrel Hill headquarters, where a second-generation owner helms an array of dry and water-based cleaning services. He and his cleaning team inspect each piece to single out stains before subjecting them to a dry-cleaning machine with organic-based fluid and other eco-friendly techniques. During their specialty Execu-Shirt regimen, techs hand-scrub collars and cuffs, replace missing buttons, and quiz them on Fortune 500 companies before ironing and folding or hanging them. They also tailor ripped seams and sagging hemlines, store furs in a temperature-controlled vault, and preserve wedding gowns with a museum-style, acid-free protection process.
Painters, graphic artists, and architects have found the tools of their trade at the one-stop Top Notch Art Centre since 1971. A floor-to-ceiling picture window beckons passersby on Craig Street, where shade trees shelter a block of historic buildings and small businesses, including a rare bookshop and a cobbler for broken dreams. Inside, the staff leads 2-D artists toward the right brush for watercolor or oil from their selection of Winsor Newtons, or printmaking papers from Arches Cover and BFK Rives lines. The store also makes an effort to seek out artisanal brands, such as Gamblin Artists Oils and Mt. Vision Handmade Pastels. Bookbinders can pick up screw posts and glue, and drafters can run their fingers over delicate, smooth vellum and curl them around the curves and angles of nine types of stylus guides. Past the tall, narrow aisles, a framing shop encases completed works of art in glass and caution tape to prepare them for display.
Over the past two decades, Chef Frank Imbarlina has honed his culinary acumen throughout the Northeast, helming a Manhattan catering service and creating several restaurants with lauded menus and concepts. At The Epicure's Palate, Imbarlina employs his gastronomic wisdom to expand beyond the offerings of standard restaurants or catering companies. His staff of personal chefs tailor to each individual’s dietary needs, creating unique menus of natural and organic foods. Wine or beer dinners treat intimate crowds of friends to exotic varietals and craft brews over a personally prepared meal, or the chefs can whip up a wine or beer tasting that spreads the joys of imbibing to as many as 200 people. In-home demonstrations include explanations of techniques and ingredients used in the preparation of artisanal cocktails and exotic cuisines, culled from such disparate locales as Syria, Malaysia, and the neighbor’s kitchen.