It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
For the past 29 years, John and Loie Laimon have proudly contributed to the tight-knit fishing community that surrounds them by running their own fishing-and-bait business. Whether they are selling U.S.-made, handcrafted baits or other handpicked products, renting pontoons for small groups, or winterizing boat motors by fastening Santa hats to them, the Laimons approach each service personably and attentively. This approach has helped them grow to two locations on Pewaukee Lake.
No ski lessons. No beginners allowed. All ungroomed terrain. Averaging 273 inches per year, Mount Bohemia is a snow-covered haven for seasoned skiers, eschewing bunny slopes for 500-plus acres with two chair lifts filled with 90 runs?most of which are rated for experts. The mountain's 900-foot vertical drop, noted for being the tallest in the midwest, has won it many fans, including MSN Travel, which named it on its list of 10 Undiscovered Ski Spots in 2006. They were also rated number one for best powder skiing east of the rockies by Powder Magazine.
Refreshing zephyrs glide off freshwater lochs and onto SkipperBud's, an all-purpose marina on the shores of Lake Mendota. New and used boats from high-end brands such as Starcraft and Sea Ray bob beside the sprawling facilities, where savvy salespeople bring decades of know-how to the 40-year-old company. Engine parts, safety tackle, and watersports equipment are also on hand, as are adept boat mechanics trained to tinker on most boat models and engine types. Indoor storage facilities fend off the icy barks of Old Man Winter, and, in the summer, make for easy access to Lake Mendota's launch points.
The sudden roar of gunfire rolls over Richmond Hunting Club's facilities, which sprawl across 850 untamed acres. The club's location nearly adjacent to Chain O' Lakes State Park draws sportspeople of all levels who can spend time shooting skeet, boarding a loyal hunting dog at the onsite kennel, paintballing, or stocking up on ammo at the pro shop. Outdoorsy folks who frequent the club often tie up their mountain goat outside and congregate inside the Bar & Grill, refueling weary trigger fingers with buffalo burgers and pheasant pot pies in a classic hunting-lodge setting.
EyewearPlanet.com's frames hail from labels such as Ray Ban, Oakley, and Serengeti. The team outfits the stylish frames with an array of prescription lenses, too, such as single-vision lenses and bifocals. It complements its traditional glasses with other, more specialized eyewear, ranging from ski and tactical goggles to an array of sunglasses, including the Ray Ban Wayfarer RB2132, Oakley Fives Squared Prescription, Serengeti Aviator, and AO Original Pilot.