Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
Sports Authority's ski and snowboard rejuvenations mend mountainside wear and tear to help improve performance during gravity-fueled sojourns. Stonegrinding sessions score underside surfaces with striations, cutting down on suction and allowing the precise directional control needed for conquering moguls, slaloms, and decorative rosettes on slope-sized birthday cakes. P-Tex candles provide restorative wax drips across battered board bottoms, filling in gashes and gouges created by errant roots, protruding rocks, and bites from board-eating snow leopards.
Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
As an offshoot of Sierra Trading Post, Derailed.com holds fast to the same business model as its parent company: bargaining with top brands to procure overstocks at heavily discounted prices. But like a youngest sibling taking up juggling cats, it strives to differentiate itself from its older counterparts. It stands out with a youthful vibe thanks to skate, surf, and SUP apparel and the staff's laid-back attitude. They'll happily answer questions and make recommendations on their throngs of camping gear, running shoes, collegiate attire, and bicycle accessories from brands including Hurely, Billabong, and Teva. Though their merchandise boasts an average discount of 48% off the retail value, shoppers can save even more—customers receive a $10 coupon when they sign up for emails, and clients of the Give & Go Referral program get a $20 egiftcard when the friend they referred uses their own $10 email coupon.
In the late 1960s, Lewis Grant sought out a plot of land in the Rocky Mountains foothills to grow his own vegetables and brought the wisdom he accrued during a career as a university professor and his son Andy to help with the humble undertaking. The duo took to tilling the land, and over the next few decades, Andy expanded his father’s plot to the 2,200 acres that currently make up the CSA-certified organic farm. Heading a farming community with more than 4,500 members, a dedicated staff of educators and farmers cultivate the farm’s pasture-raised livestock and more than 150 breeds of organic vegetables such as squash, herbs, and 34 varieties of corn and heirloom tomatoes. Every year, the staff gives visitors a hands-on education about the nitty gritty of farm operations and gives them the chance to defeat their cows in starting contests during a spring agricultural festival set against the mountain landscape.