When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.
The Music Store nurtures aspiring musicians with an exhaustive collection of instruments and broad teaching resources. More than 40 teachers share their skills during lessons for classical and contemporary instruments, and sheet-music-literate students can learn new songs by sight from a selection of more than 800 titles. Staff can also order any music still in print and start the musical journey with the purchase of new and used pianos and band instruments. Grownups slowly slash chords with the purchase of a new guitar, whereas child-size guitars come equipped with Pop Rocks–flavored fingerboard.
Yakety Yak Wireless specializes in cell phones. The shop stocks new and used models from brands such as Verizon, Samsung and Apple; the technicians inside it, meanwhile, can draw on more than two decades of combined experience to fix old phones. Their repairs address problems from cracked screens and water damage to faulty sensors and speakers that blast the chicken dance during important calls. Yakety Yak Wireless also vends accessories such as cases and earbuds.
Featured in Style Magazine and The Loomis News, The Tin Thimble's mother-daughter duo earns attention for passing on stitching skills to aspiring threadmasters. Drawing on more than 40 years of sewing experience, Sharon Mansfield commandeers the lessons, acquainting newbies with the parts of the sewing machine and imparting basic techniques such as zig-zag stitching and piecing together torn-up lottery tickets. The goal of the lessons is to handcraft a garment from beginning to end, from cutting out the pattern and sewing it according to the proper measurements to adding on hems, buttons, snaps, or zippers.
Von Housen Mercedes-Benz's vehicular geniuses pamper the most mobile member of the family with an eight-hour inspection and detailing package. During the vehicular makeover (a $255 value), a thorough scrubdown sweeps grime and dust away before gentle wax seals out future interlopers to maintain the paint’s just-washed luster. Crumbs meet their match in the form of hungry vacuums, while car stylists hide wear and tear by shampooing frazzled carpets and giving comb-overs to balding floor mats. A rubber and vinyl protection guards non-metal parts of the exterior, and the tire shine waxes grubby wheels into lustrous spinners. Window washers remove evidence of splattered insects, while auto internists clean the engine compartment in preparation for the maintenance inspection.