A bearded and scruffy Shawn Hash launched his outfitting business 20 years ago with a spartan collection of four bicycles, two canoes, and a pickup truck. Tangent Outfitters now oversees a small flotilla of aquatic craft as it leads guests to all the outdoor adventures the New River and its surrounding valley have to offer. Tubing trips afford a leisurely 1- to 2-mile jaunt down the river, with plenty of pit stops at sunny beaches, swimming holes, or riverside nail salons. Instructors bring a slice of Hawaiian watersports to Virginia with standup paddleboard lessons or teach guests to snag unsuspecting smallmouths with guided fishing trips. The surrounding mountainous trails invite bikers to speed through their dirt-stained paths, and the riverbeds host seven different types of kayak and canoe day trips. Adventurers can stock up on excursion rations at Tangent's onsite deli.
After a dozen years in the restaurant business, Roya Gharavi had an epiphany: instead of traveling far and wide to gather specialty ingredients and kitchen tools, why not bring those things to her? The idea took root; in 2000, she sold her restaurant, and the Gourmet Pantry was born. After outgrowing its first location, the business expanded into a second location in 2006, where Roya finally had the space to construct a kitchen and bring her dream of founding a cooking school to fruition. Today, the shop is stocked floor-to-ceiling with cookware and is equipped for cooking classes as well as a variety of special events such as wine tastings and cheese-eating contests.
With more than 350 stores throughout the country, Play It Again Sports could easily have the feel of a personality-free big box chain store. But each facility is locally owned and operated, so the emporium, which is chock-full of new and gently used sports equipment, has the comfortable, lively atmosphere of your favorite baseball glove’s living room. Inside, shoppers can stock up on fitness gear, lacrosse equipment, baseball gear, tennis rackets, and yoga mats. Or they can sell any of their own quality equipment and grant it new life beyond a closet, cluttered garage, or tiny apothecary vials.
Tiger Paintball's airball field was born from a custom design that its owners toiled to perfect. Unwilling to settle on offering a standard airball experience, Tiger’s team came together to sew the turf’s bonded surfaces together, carefully construct a rain-drainage system, and map out obstacles in a ways that eliminates visibility issues. With all that planning in place, now players are free to race across the inflatable-barricade-littered blue, red, yellow, and purple surfaces to blast at their opponents. The airball field hosts refereed bouts both by appointment and during weekend open play, and a separate shooting range accommodates guests looking to improve their aim before games. The pro shop sells gear, including markers, goggles, and high-pressure air systems, from trusted manufacturers such as Tippmann, Planet Eclipse, and Ninja Paintball, which makes all its equipment from recycled nunchucks.
GNC's opulent aisles display a wide variety of vitamin and mineral and herbal supplements, as well as sports nutrition, diet, energy, bodycare, and other health products. The Mega Men Sport multivitamin ($19.99 for 90 caplets) supports muscle recovery and energy levels while aiding speedy male metabolisms without dangling steaks in front of their treadmills. Fuel feats of female strength with the Women's Ultra Mega Active multivitamin ($19.99 for 90 caplets), ideal for vigorous women. Two pounds of Pro Performance 100% whey protein ($35.99) distract taste buds with the flavor of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry while smuggling 20 grams of high-quality protein into the body in each scoop. Promote healthy bones with a calcium supplement, such as coral calcium, sustainably harvested from the Okinawan Sea to provide a healthy 2-to-1 ratio of calcium and magnesium.