An authorized Verizon retailer, Wireless Warehouse outfits shoppers with feature-laden phones and a wide range of service-plan options. Sleek touchscreen devices from Samsung, Motorola, and Apple take center stage at each of their four locations, alongside tablet computers and cases that protect phones from falls or transform them into butterflies.
The staff at Potomac Outfitters arms outdoor enthusiasts with high-quality outdoor adventuring apparel and gear from trusted outfitters including Patagonia and Superfeet. In addition to stocking running shoes, luggage, and clothing for both men and women, they also maintain a specialized collection of kayaking and standup paddleboarding equipment. Their water-ready stock includes wetsuits, throw ropes, and protectant spray, which guard vessels against waves with teeth.
Mattress Source's knowledgeable staff pairs customers with one of a wide selection of firm and flexible beds that augment deeper slumbers. Sealy luxury firm mattresses ($449.99+) allays stressful nights by supplying supple support, manufacturers' warranties, and a cache of warm kittens to rest at the end of each bed. Silk woven jersey knit surrounds a layer of memory foam on the Stearns & Foster x-firm mattress, which gently pillows joint pain and absorbs excess body heat ($1,219.99+). At 26 Charlotte-area showrooms, shoppers can take inventory of each mattress' aptitude in hypnosis or chat with affable staff members about desired levels of firmness.
Ice Dream transforms ordinary frozen water into delicious shaved snow ice, a low-calorie confection invented in Taiwan. Instead of slathering a glacier in hot fudge, guests can enjoy icy ribbons infused with mango purée, matcha green tea, or a sweet and creamy milk flavor. Eating snow ice unearths an array of textures, from a dense and chewy beginning to a smooth, sherbet-style ending, and is less taxing than wrangling protesting herds of snowmen. Low-fat scoops masquerade as ice cream in chocolate-sauce gowns, and a pineapple-kiwi combo mixes tropical flavors with arctic temperatures. In a nod to its Taiwanese origins, Ice Dream desserts can also get an Asian twist with red azuki beans or cubes of almond jelly.
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 our planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in 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 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 a UK-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 Blue Corn 3-in-1 deep-cleansing scrub mask often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, and other national publications.
When it comes to footwear restoration, the experts at Cobbler’s Bench Shoe Repair don’t just go through the motions. Instead, they put in the extra effort to return each pair to a like-new condition, a quality instilled by the company’s founders, Charles and Sara Stern, in 1946. All repairs are completed within three days and use equal or better materials than the original manufacturer, which helps protect shoes from environmental damage and teasing from snobby loafers. Cobbler’s Bench also maintains an offsite plant with special equipment to carry out particularly complicated repairs.
A well-placed splash of sparkle from Ice can transform even the dowdiest duds into formal wear while drawing the human eye to any place you want it to go. Draw attention to your slender wrists and away from your third eye with a 925 bangle studded with clear cubic zirconias ($52) or a large stone bracelet ($50). Likewise, you can show off the toned earlobes you worked so hard to achieve at boot camp with some platinum-bonded hoop earrings shining with Austrian crystal ($48). And nothing says "Hey, look, décolletage!" like a five-flower, cubic-zirconia necklace ($52). You can also get a two-tone black onyx pendant ($36) or square and round stackable rings ($32) without breaking your bling budget. The website offers only a sampling of what you'll find in-store, so be ready to browse, just like when you spent two hours at the pet store because you couldn't figure out which puppy took your wallet.