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To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?

Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.

14000 Lakeside Cir
Sterling Heights,
MI
US

Iosif and Ella Meluta’s son, Alex, was diagnosed with asthma when he was 6 years old. To combat the disease, the Melutas sought out the therapeutic effects of salty air, taking him on seaside vacations, visiting salt rooms throughout the United States and Canada, and traveling to Eastern Europe’s salt mines. Eventually, Iosif and Ella created a salt-infused microclimate right in the Detroit area, the Salinair Salt Room, which Alex could incorporate into his everyday life. Nowadays, thanks to regular salt-room sessions, Alex is pursuing his dream of playing pro tennis.

The salt room’s healing properties are not just available to Alex. Clients of all ages who are struggling with conditions such as asthma, common colds, and stress can lounge in its zero-gravity chairs as they nap or surf the web during halotherapy. The therapy simply entails breathing the room’s air, which is suffused with salt microparticles and negative ions that soothe respiratory systems. As sessions unfold, adults can enjoy the relaxing effects of dimmed colored lights and music, and kids can play with Alex and his stash of toys.

42610 Van Dyke Avenue
Sterling Heights,
MI
US

The 300-foot straightaway comes to an end in one of six wheel-testing curves. The Honda 6.5-horsepower engine hums in anticipation. The moment foot touches pedal, hydraulic brakes give their answer and the racing wheels cling to the textured concrete as the go-kart deftly whips through the turn. Coming up on the end of an eight-minute streak of adrenaline, racers zip past the final stretch of the 1/5-mile race track, tearing ahead of each other as the computerized timing system clocks each score to fuel future bragging rights and rematch challenges.

From Kart 2 Kart's caf? and bar, applause rises as family, friends, and opponents sizing up the competition send their appreciation down to the track, which they've been watching as they nosh on a selection of snacks and beverages. Juniors, meanwhile, wait their turn to hit the blacktop in age-appropriate Formula-K karts. Before strapping in, all racers receive instruction and a safety lesson, during which they learn how to operate the equipment, then strive to set records that can earn them a spot on the website's scoreboard.

42705 Van Dyke Ave
Sterling Heights,
MI
US

The sounds of stretch-induced groans and enthusiastic high-fives echo throughout the workout rooms at New World Fitness, an all-purpose facility that opens its doors to members of any age and fitness level. Though each of the gym’s group fitness classes blends a results-oriented workout with a healthy dose of social interaction, the similarities tend to end there. Toning workouts such as the Ab Blaster target core muscles with short, intense exercises—a marked contrast to the relaxed stretches of a yoga session that slowly eases tension out of overworked limbs. Feet lead the way through aerobics classes based on the movements of martial arts and dance. The gym’s indoor pool hosts an aquatic-therapy program alongside joint-friendly Aquafit classes, after which guests can dry off with a sprint around the indoor track.

38904 Dequindre Road
Sterling Heights,
Michigan
US

Strings of colored lights twinkle from the rafters of Gator Jake's Bar Grill Patio, where walls of retro neon and pressed-metal signs lend the dining room a vivacious vibe. The menu brings creole and southwestern perspectives to the table, providing etouffees, steak-fajita subs, and barbecue chicken monterey to complement a glass of Beringer wine, a specialty cocktail, or a beer called Guinness, Killian's, or Corona. Wall-mounted flat-screen televisions broadcast major sporting events as the sounds of clacking pool balls, whirring darts, and songs from the jukebox and periodic live entertainment fill the air. Open until 2 a.m., Gator Jake's—which took third place in the 2011 Detroit A-List's race for Best Sports Bar—welcomes patrons to stay for a late-night birthday party or celebrate the opening of a foreign stock exchange far, far away.

36863 Van Dyke Ave
Sterling Heights,
MI
US

Chili Pepper's Tanning Inc. Megastores’ trophy case is getting full—in addition to being named one of Detroit’s best tanning salons three times in a row by CityVoter, it has acquired accolades from Local 4 and CBS Detroit, which commends its spray tanning. Its growing awards reflect Chili Pepper’s growth; since opening in 2002, Chili Pepper’s has expanded to 15 locations, spreading across Detroit like the buffalo pox.

In every location, five levels of tanning beds turn skin a sun-kissed gold or deep bronze. Mystic Tan sessions let customers avoid things associated with booth and outdoor tanning—UV rays and pool lifeguards who push you in the water to practice saving you. No matter which option they choose, patrons can turn to knowledgeable Smart Tan–certified staff members who help clients decide what is best for their tanning goals.

44699 Mound Rd
Sterling Heights,
MI
US