Green thumbs gain inspiration from garden furnishings and decorative wrought-iron pieces stockpiled inside Ingrid’s Secret Garden. Mini roses, indoor bulb arrangements, and topiaries bloom as shoppers peruse eco-friendly gardening accessories and organic products including pottery and planters, gardening tools, and organic teas and spices. A selection of ornate birdhouses sport curved balconies, miniature french doors, and other decorative flourishes to welcome chirping birds and garden fairies discussing which mythical crew member of the Dawn Treader is the cutest. Once customers have inspected the indoor inventory, they can follow the path behind the family-owned shop and discover a Tudor-style greenhouse packed with hanging baskets, annuals, and other vibrant plants.
The International Star Registry outfits customers with gifts not found on this planet. Literally. The company, which since 1979 has named stars for millions of recipients worldwide, including celebrities, dignitaries, and royalty, allows customers to name a star after themselves, a family member, loved one, or co-worker. With information in hand, they publish it in Your Place in the Cosmos for registration in the U.S. Copyright Office. Individuals whose names served as the inspiration also receive a custom package that contains a certificate proclaiming the star's name, a booklet on celestial bodies, and a sky chart that shows the star's coordinates, saving them from having to tether it to a fence post for future findings.
Size is no object at SkipperBud's, where all forms of aquatic fun line their shelves, from water-wings on up to yachts. Though the shop doesn't actually line the walls with multi-ton vessels, it does store smaller recreational vehicles in dry stack, pulling entire boats off high shelves with an enormous, specially outfitted forklift. Inside the store proper, staff keeps neat displays of more conventionally-sized gear, including watersporting apparel such as skis and life vests to boating accessories, such as anchors and bumper stickers to slap on the bottom of a ship's hull that say, "If you can read this, you are a really smart fish."
To keep boaters covered in the office, SkipperBud's deals in a variety of storage and maintenance packages. They shield private vessels from the elements during winter months in vast warehouses, and perform tune-ups and major repairs to engines and fiberglass hulls.
When Chicagoans think of the Glunz name, they think of a good drink. It's hard not to when the family has been active in the wine business in the Chicago-area since 1888. In 1992, the family formed Glunz Family Winery & Cellars, a winery based in their hometown of Grayslake.
In the 20 years since that decision, they have created a roster of elegant table wine, fortified wine, specialty seasonal wine, and reserve wine, which includes chardonnay, pinot noir, and a zinfandel blend. They age their tawny port in specialty barrels for 10 years and isolate the sweetness of more than two pounds of raspberries to create every bottle of their dessert wine. Like a puppy dressed in an ugly christmas sweater, their traditional glogg—a blend of port, dry red wine, spices, and an orange peel—adds cheer to the dreary winter months.
Their true speciality, however, is their first family wine. Every spring, the family calls upon a 19th-century recipe to make their May wine, which is imbued with the fresh spring flavors of crisp green apples and cinnamon. At the winery's tasting room, guests can try samples of this wine and the others.
Yes, newly-managed Rock Chevrolet sells Chevrolets, along with the parts needed to make replacements or just have a few extra mufflers on hand. But beyond the sea of gleaming paint and chrome that fills the lot, auto techs gladly take in vehicles of just about any make or model for service. In addition to repairs, they make sure cars are cruising safely and eco-efficiently by changing oil (synthetic blends come standard), replacing air in tires with more-stable nitrogen, and full-vehicle tuneups.
The staffers at Pazazz! line the shelves with colorful gifts and collectibles, such as housemade baby blankets, candy, and spa gift baskets. Customers may also opt to coordinate their nails with new pairs of themed flip-flops by getting a pedicure at the in-store nail salon, featuring polishes from Essie, OPI, and China Glaze.