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Local businesses like this one promote thriving, distinctive communities by offering a rich array of goods and services to locals like you
Someone walking up to Cole Hardware for the first time might think they've stumbled upon a modern art gallery instead of a hardware store. Their front window displays everything from Pollock-esque paintings in gilded frames to chandeliers built from Christmas ornaments to a fine-dining table setting re-created with only tools. In fact, all of the eye-catching installations are created using exclusively Cole Hardware merchandise.
But the displays are also a testament to how the shop has set itself apart in other ways?for nearly 100 years, Cole Hardware has been known for exceptional customer service. What started out as a one-man operation with the motto, "There are no strangers here, only friends we haven't met yet," has grown to a family of stores that also provides home repair services and commercial supplies. Their retail inventory is expansive and competitively priced thanks to backing from Ace Hardware, which has helped the company garner awards from SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
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.
Blurb has seen a lot of press and was featured in Newsweek; Blurb can be seen in a variety of videos here:
Even before you climb inside, the GoCar is clearly a car with a personality. The petite, three-wheeled two-seater has a hood that slightly resembles an eager-to-please smiley face, and an open top that seems custom-made for letting the breeze ruffle your hair. Then the real fun begins: built with the company's own software and a compassion for the voiceless robots of America, a talking GPS system guides two-seater GoCars through the city streets of San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon with cheerful, info-rich narration. Second only to having a knowledgeable local jog alongside your minivan, tours zip along at drivers' own pace and accommodate as many pit stops as time allows.
With a faction of former law-enforcement agents and licensed private investigators at the helm, International Spy Shop stands as a mecca to surveillance and security with its arsenal of custom equipment and investigative services. Clients can detect and eliminate bugs and hidden cameras with the staff's professional advice and the equipment brimming from the shop's shelves and display cases. If home surveillance is what a customer needs, the staff can equip them with digital recorders and nanny cams. The shop also performs High Tech Electronic Harassment Countermeasures, which include detection and shielding from microwave weaponry. An airsoft shooting range allows clients to practice their marksmanship and compete with friends, and younger private eyes can practice their secret-agent skills with tricks, toys, and spy gear.
Every day, San Francisco Soup Company’s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company’s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.
Food & Wine magazine has drawn editor-in-chief Dana Cowin's expertise of all things edible for 17 years. The monthly publication introduces readers to unique ingredients and up-and-coming chefs, as well as home-entertainment tips and wine-pairing advice. Restaurant reviews suggest new eateries to try when you don't want to dirty your dishes or attempt to pronounce “worcestershire sauce,” and articles about international food provide constant culinary inspiration.
"Travel + Leisure is a celebration of travel," says editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod. Browsing the magazine's table of contents reveals the truth of this statement; an affection for the road shines through in articles about domestic and international destinations, tech tips for sightseers, and glossy photos of stunning locales. Writers bring to life seasonal festivities around the world and weigh in on the best hotels, resorts, and wax museums with unobservant guards. Themes covered include adventure vacations, eco-travel, and kid-friendly trips.
The friendly family of florists at Abigail’s Flowers doles out festive foliage for any occasion. From proms and weddings to "get wells" and birthdays, Abigail’s arranges bouquets primed to please recipients and proximal bumblebees. Arrangements are organized by price range, and all showcase bright flora such as roses, sunflowers, white lilies, and blue hydrangea. Abigail’s also offers specialty services such as gifts, plants, dried floral arrangements, and local delivery.
Combining personal training with play-care, The Grateful Dog caters to canines with an active and stimulating schedule plus a 1:6 handler-to-dog ratio. Over the course of each 12-hour play-care session, day-tripping doggies will enjoy two to three walks, including jaunts to breezy Fort Mason, as well as one-on-one time with a trainer and play time with a handler. The Grateful Dog also pampers pups with organic treats, filtered water, and mini massages before letting them loose to run in circles and bark at invisible aliens free of guilt or any sense of propriety.
Within a 17th-floor penthouse, Spa J'Adore's wide windows allow rays of sunlight to illuminate Buddha photos, exposed-brick walls, and brilliant orchids. Their décor, a combination of urban chic and zen sensibilities, reflects the massage practice's dual focus on Western and Eastern traditions. To that end, massage therapists are equally adept at deep-tissue and Swedish treatments as modalities from Thailand and Japan. The staff also paints on tans with brushes instead of sprays during body-bronzing sessions, which create a smoother, more natural appearance. After their treatments, clients can lounge on the spa's balcony, sipping herbal tea from heavy clay cups and relaying semaphore messages to hikers on distant mountains.
Recently profiled by The Atlantic for its members' innovative inventions, TechShop’s supportive community of inventors, artists, technicians, and alchemists share their excitement about the next big idea in an environment limited only by their collective imagination. The 17,000-square-foot smorgasbord of inventive creativity beckons people of all skill levels to its DIY confines, where members can wield tools not found in most private workshops, slicing through steel with a plasma cutter or accessing 3-D design software to finally realize the goal of crawling inside the Internet. Hands-on classes jump-start creative juices, introducing students to vocational skills including welding, soldering, and woodworking. Neophyte inventors aged 12–17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to ensure they don't break physics.
The Hot Tubs on Van Ness Avenue in Russian Hill (with a twin spa over in Berkeley) are a lovely spot to steal off to for a little unwinding. The well-appointed spa-like space does little more than offer up private rooms for a few friends – or romantic partners – to enjoy a hot tub soak, but that’s more than enough. Each room holds up to six people and contains a single tiled basin filled with exquisitely hot water, a sauna and a table for maximum relaxation. Don’t worry about the high turnover in each room, either – the water is filtered completely every six minutes. Prices are reasonable too, and include an extra half-hour of soak time if booking before 5 p.m. With cream-colored walls lining the common areas of this industrial space and friendly staff on hand, it’s no wonder a warming soak feels so good.
Step 1. Purchase your Groupon using the buy button on this page.Step 2. Pull up your Groupon with our mobile app or by going to My Groupons (or to My Gifts if you are giving this as a gift) and clicking the print link.Step 3. Visit the redemption page on Groupon's partner site, RedTag.com and click "Redeem My Groupon."Step 4. Enter the redemption code located in the center of your Groupon into the "Do you have a coupon code?" field, click "Apply," and proceed to checkout. Create an account for redemption. Step 5. Enjoy!
Step 1. Purchase your Groupon using the buy button on this page.Step 2. No need to do anything else! By purchasing this Groupon and providing your name and shipping address, you've completed the order for your breathalyzer and it should ship within 7-10 business days.Step 3. Enjoy!