With four professional wash stations, commercial-grade spray heads, and high-velocity air dryers, Candy's Dog-O-Mat equips owners to reclaim pups from the forces of filth. A secure, gated bay encloses the washing area, allowing customers to bring their entire Iditarod team at once. Removable doors and telescopic ramps facilitate the canine's entry into a raised, stainless-steel tub, which is cleaned and disinfected after each use. Tokens buy seven minutes of washing or drying time each, and may be used across multiple visits (valued at $5).
The Benchmark Outfitter equips customers with element-tested adventure gear, packing caravans with accessories ranging from sleeping bags to outdoor attire. Ladies surmount Mother Nature’s challenges enrobed in a cotton North Face logo tee ($20) and Patagonia lightweight bottoms ($45) with fast-drying, moisture-attacking polyester fabric. A men's multifunctional friction belt ($20) keeps pants in place and doubles as a lash strap during climbs or lasso during duels with wild cowboys. To lug all your gear with ease, fasten on a Burton Treble Yell pack ($34.95), which has room for a laptop, water, or drums full of trail mix. Adventures also find seasonal paraphernalia tucked within the shop’s confines, with skis for winter’s snows, tents for summer’s sun, and nets for spring’s leprechaun hunts.
Jacob Shoushan is on a mission—to not only outfit people's feet with comfortable and long-lasting shoes but also to support underserved American children. His company, Jacob Shoes, slips canvas footwear in an assortment of colorful patterns onto customers’ feet and donates $1 for every pair purchased to Save the Children. This worldwide organization provides underserved children with food, school supplies, clothing, and medical attention in order to ensure a better life and help break the cycle of poverty. Patrons can feel good about buying a pair of fiery red Jessicas or some black-and-white striped Alexanders, knowing their purchase is being used for the betterment of tomorrow.
This independent running specialty store equips feet for their hard knock lives with gear from brands such as Adidas, Merrell, and New Balance. Casual wearers can peruse the lifestyle section for Chaco and Teva brand shoes, while running enthusiasts armor up for the tracks with broadsword-proof headbands or Nike, Asics and Saucony shoes. The Running Spot's experienced staff members combines their knowledge and custom shoe-fitting technology for a double whammy of expertise in finding the best fit and type of shoe for their customers.
Woodcraft and its dedicated staff have fulfillled woodworking needs since 1928 and now house an inventory of more than 20,000 woodworking tools backed by a 90-day guarantee. Whittlers with an eye for detail can carve delicate self-portraits into the undersides of neighbor's benches with the eight-piece detail-carving tool set ($23.50), outfitted with 5-inch handles for extra control. CAD-generated project plans such as the Curley maple rocking-chair plan ($19.95) prepare furniture makers with the necessary instruction to populate front porches with gently swaying accouterments. Dull blades get whipped into woodcutting shape with the Sharp-n-Easy two-step knife sharpener's ($4.99) coarse ceramic rods, which keep fingers and prehensile tails safe with a non-slip grip. Keep windpipes clear with a toxic-dust respirator ($39.99), which blocks 99.97% of toxic dusts such as lead and asbestos.
For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.