Heidi Lamar didn't know much about spas when she first purchased Spa Lamar. As she explained to reporters from Skin Inc., "not coming from a spa background, there were things I didn't know I couldn't do." Unhindered by industry conventions or previously fixed ideas, Heidi set about filling her 14,000-square-foot spa with innovative amenities—from a luxurious waterfall-fed pool to an onsite yoga and dance studio. She also cultivates locals instead of the typical resort crowd, banishing cacti from the decor in favor of a Caribbean-style ambiance that, as she told the Arizona Republic, caters to those who already live in Arizona and want to get away to a tropical island. Today, her media-lauded spa is the largest privately owned spa in Scottsdale and is frequented by locals, including members of the Phoenix Suns Dancers.
Before treatments that include massages, acupuncture, mani-pedis, and facials, guests garbed in fluffy complimentary robes duck into the steam room. They sample wholesome lunches and fruit plates from the tropical tea bar and relax in the sauna while waiting for a haircut or warm algae wrap. Sunbathers float around the pool on loungers, whereas others simmer in a bubbling whirlpool. Unlike many traditional spas, Spa Lamar is completely coed, making it an ideal place for couples that are on a first date or permanently trapped together inside a horse costume with a broken zipper.
Jacqui Bergmann had a lot to contend with—a divorce, depression, and a two-packs-a-day smoking habit. As she drove her son to the gym, she wondered what she should do to turn her life around. As it turns out, the answer was at the gym. Watching her son take a boxing lesson, Jacqui decided she wanted to give it a try. She traded her cigarettes for boxing gloves and felt her negative thoughts fade away to be replaced by a sense of confidence and empowerment.
Today, as owner of Glove Game Boxing, Jacqui gives guests this same feeling of empowerment through 30- and 60-minute boxing classes. Her team of trainers holds group and one-on-one lessons for men and women of all ability levels and goals, whether they just want to get in shape or to compete in amateur or professional circuits. They teach the same exercises used to drill the gym's pro pugilists—students learn about punching combinations, for example, and the importance of throwing at the X on King Hippo's stomach. The trainers emphasize proper form and technique so participants get the most out of each workout while minimizing the chance of injury. They also offer special training packages, including parent-child, postbaby, and wedding-day-countdown boot camps. To keep clients focused on the training and not the paperwork, Jacqui forgoes things such as long-term contracts and membership fees.
At the age of 14, Baltimore Yoga Village founder Anjali Sunita traveled to India, where she discovered the joys of simple living mixed with the sorrows of yearning for a greater purpose. After years of expanding her education and worldview through reading and the guidance of a college mentor, Anjali found peace within the rigid discipline and spiritual focus of a South Indian ashram. Soon setting her mind to sharing the physical and mental benefits of yoga with others, she taught in private homes and underserved schools before opening her own pair of studios known collectively as Baltimore Yoga Village.
There, a team of certified yoga instructors oversees a supportive community dedicated to peace, health, and spiritual growth. Whereas many studios’ teachers spend too much time teaching students to knit their own mats, Baltimore Yoga Village’s programs focus on the ancient practice of Hatha yoga, which includes deep breathing techniques, yoga postures with attention to physical alignment, and guided relaxation. The staff also leads regular workshops in a variety of topics, from Thai-yoga bodywork to meditation through devotional songs.
As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
Countless repairs and home-remodeling projects can undoubtedly trace their lineage back to Paul's Ace Hardware, which began doling out DIY equipment and home-improvement supplies in 1956. Founded by Paul E. Dauwalder, the shop quickly expanded from its original 1,800-square-foot space, branching out to five shops that now operate beneath the expert eye of Paul's granddaughter. Cleaning products, outdoor equipment, and pool supplies are just a fragment of the stores' inventory, with power tools awaiting steady hands, fishing gear beckoning lake dwellers, and building materials—including the Tempe location's 56,000 square feet of lumber—standing poised and ready to be assembled into dams by handy beavers. Still in the city of its founding, the Scottsdale location has moved and upgraded to its own building.
At One Love Yoga, co-owner Margot Meissner pairs a deep love of fitness with a burning desire to help others find inner peace. She draws upon teaching certifications in yoga, Pilates, and aerobics, as well as a degree in social work, to shepherd students toward happier, healthier states of being in hot- or power-yoga sessions. Along with her partner Jim Hurst and a team of seasoned instructors, Meissner works to cultivate a warm and welcoming atmosphere, giving each client’s power animal a firm handshake upon arrival and offering gentle hands-on adjustments during class. The team also extends its focus and know-how to mat-based Pilates lessons and Latin-infused Zumba sessions. After classes, they invite students to linger and chitchat with their classmates or peruse the studio’s selection of yoga gear, apparel, and gift items.