Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
The crackle of Fireside Hearth & Home's fireplaces have filled the soundscapes of households across the country for more than 60 years. Today, their well-stocked showrooms feature a variety of advanced gas, electric, and wood-burning models from top designers such as Quadra-Fire, Heat & Glo, and Heatilator. In addition to fireplaces and accessories, they offer a number of decorative surrounds and mantels built with stone, wood, or casted material to gussy up any new or existing hearth. At attractive display areas fashioned to look like natural household settings, attentive staffers stand by to answer any questions, offer installation guidelines, or share tips on repelling pesky Santas.
A participant in HGTV's Landscape Smart, Lawn and Landscape Gardens imbues its services with 19 years of knowledge as they craft unique designs and maintain lush lawns. Its brigade of yard artists pledges allegiance to the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association and continually takes continuing-education classes to stay ahead of industry advances. Refusing to sacrifice quality for profits, the company limits the number of new customers it takes on each season to make sure each one gets enough attention and hand-typed secret-admirer notes. In addition to beautifying neighborhood yards, Lawn and Landscape Gardens extends their service into the community at large, sponsoring courses at the University of Minnesota's agricultural school and assisting schools with garden projects.
Like sword makers in a samurai movie, Eversharp’s skilled artisans toil over blades to ensure that each one is flawlessly straight and sharp. Their shop, hailed as one of the nation's largest Wusthof retailers, houses specialized knives and knife sets suited for any need, be it cutting a turkey, slicing bread, or carving a jack-o’-lantern into the spitting image of Alex Trebek. In addition to supplying cutlery, the staffers sharpen blades on a rolling grindstone and host knife-skills classes that prepare students to tackle any cooking emergency with gusto.
Started in 1998, Fired Up Studios has quickly evolved from a small pottery studio to an art center with classes and a gallery. Despite this growth, its mission remains the same: to raise the spirits of anyone who enters. In the 7,200-square-foot studio, experienced potters provide a judgment-free creative outlet for students and visiting artists alike, inviting them to have fun and experiment with the studio's collection of pottery wheels, kilns, and glazes. These potters also teach students how to throw clay, shape up elegant bowls and vases, and sculpt pixelization onto nude figures.