Born from the imaginations of two brothers running a flower shop, Edible Arrangements has grown from a single neighborhood storefront in Waltham, Massachusetts, to more than 1,100 locations throughout the globe, sending clusters of fresh fruit to deserving loved ones throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Produce artisans arrange delicious bundles of candy-dipped apples, strawberries, and bananas alongside carved melon slices and morsels of orange, grape, and berry, combining the eye-catching color of a floral bouquet with every human's unconscious desire to feast on that bouquet. Guests stop in the store to enjoy fresh-fruit smoothies and salads or pick up baskets to present to sweethearts, friends, or family in person. For web-based gift giving, helpful package tracking allows customers to keep tabs on their remotely ordered bounties of seasonal citrus bouquets and cocoa-covered berries.
Against a backdrop of lush trees, paintball players belly-crawl through gigantic concrete pipes, wade waist-high through wetlands, and pop off rounds from behind disabled Army jeeps. The battlegrounds are so elaborate, in fact, the Butte County sheriff's office and SWAT teams train on them, using the wooden huts as cover and the large tin barrels as the rhythm section for their reggae bands. Citizen players 10 and older, however, navigate the obstacles during fast-paced woodsball and speedball matches as referees monitor to ensure fair play. There's even a field specifically for target practice so gamers can knock the rust from their muzzles. Meanwhile, lights emblazon the speedball field during night matches of adrenaline-fueled play.
The atmosphere in which one tastes a wine can be just as important as the wine's actual taste. Knowing this, the owners of Naggiar Vineyards and Winery housed their tasting room inside a picturesque Tuscan-style stucco building on the shores of a small pond, accenting its interiors with heavy wood ceiling beams, polished tile floors, and long tables surrounded by ornately upholstered chairs. Outside on the patio, servers ferry appetizers and tapas between wrought-iron café tables and around a monolithic stone fireplace. In this outdoor space, live bands play every weekend, and warm-weather wine festivals spill out onto the lawn when mom kicks them out of the basement.
With three KCRA-3 A-List Best Winery awards from 2010 to 2012, it's no surprise that Naggiar Vineyards and Winery puts even more care into its wines. Aided by in-house wine consultant and U.C. Davis graduate Derek Irwin, the staff cultivates more than 160 acres of vineyards. They harvest the grapes by hand and only at night, ensuring the fruits are packed when it’s cool, arrive at the cellar for pressing early in the day, and don't fall prey to vegetarian hawks. This painstaking process results in a spectrum of small-batch wines, each made from the estate's best grapes—which include varietals native to Italy, Rhone, and Bordeaux. The winery also hosts an annual winefest.
Posh Puppy Boutique started small. A mother saw the joy her daughters found in dressing up their pet chihuahuas and realized the potential of a dog-focused boutique. From this initial epiphany, the business ballooned into an emporium that stocks more than 15,000 items, including attire that has graced the pages of Everydog Magazine, the animal stars of Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and countless canine politicians.
Though they still stock plenty of dog costumes, Posh Puppy Boutique's canine fashionistas aim to bring a touch of style to all aspects of a dog's life. They keep the web store filled with the hottest pet fashions, which range from understated knitted sweaters to formal wedding attire for when a dog finally decides to bark "I do." The website's virtual aisle ways also beckon owners and pups to sniff out everything from training equipment to eco-friendly bedding and holiday-themed treats.
April Swanson founded Bellissima Boutique as a creative outlet for the handmade headbands, jewelry, and other accessories she creates during her spare moments as a stay-at-home mom. Swanson moors her signature flower headbands with stretchy crochet, topping everything off with a rainbow of gerbera daisies, peonies, and whimsical flowers with zebra-stripe petals or jewel centers. In addition to her handmade creations, she stocks kufi and military-style hats, jewelry from Betsey Johnson, and purses adorned with rhinestones and ruffles. She also curates items for little girls, such as Hello Kitty earrings and tutus for the next time Mikhail Baryshnikov comes over to babysit.