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.
Children seem to grow out of an outfit just as soon as it's purchased, which makes Once Upon A Child a good option for savvy families. The store sells gently used kids' clothes, as well as toys and accessories such as cribs and strollers, and staffers inspect goods to make sure they meet safety standards. Once a child is done with an item, parents can bring it back to Once Upon A Child to make some extra money.
For decades, JCPenney Portraits has welcomed families into its friendly studios, where professional photographers expertly photograph subjects of any age. Digital cameras, professional lighting, and a wide selection of backgrounds all work together to ensure a professional, personalized look for every family portrait, school picture, business headshot, or baby announcement. To customize the session even more, the staff also encourages guests to incorporate items with special meaning such as a baby blanket or a family heirloom. From a first baby portrait to senior pictures and engagement photos, JCPenney Portraits helps to preserve special family memories to come.
After the final flash, clients and a team member head to the viewing kiosk, where they can select their photos and customize them. Beyond traditional printed portraits, memories may also be preserved on high-resolution CD, gallery wraps, wall art, or through JCPenney Portraits' archival program, which allows clients to store and share their portraits online.