Operated by a family with more than 80 years of experience in furniture retail, Artis Home Gallerie outfits homes with opulent chairs and tables from upscale brands such as Stickley and Harden. Elegant interiors find the ideal appointments with leather or stylishly patterned sofas ($3,000–$3,600), and bodies weary from holding floors in place find comfort in chairs with intricate Morris upholstery and tiger-print styles ($1,900–$2,500). Knowledgeable designers squire visitors around geometric coffee tables bearing colorful glass vases and fluid sculptures, and a fanciful wine-barrel lamp ($625) illuminates abstract paintings and landscapes. Meanwhile, dining room tables admire their silky dark-wood reflection in mirrors framed by metallic curlicues.
At Matthias Arabians, seasoned horse trainers Leon, Lon, and Kim Matthias teach visitors the art of steed steering in a scenic setting. In one-hour riding lessons, students of varying equine aptitude can take the reins of safe learning mounts, absorbing instructors' wisdom until their horses glide over terrain as smoothly as refurbished hovercrafts. Topics covered may range from horse-care fundamentals to proper discipline or mastering a stately trot, but all are presented with expertise and a sense of humor.
Though many students come to Mathnasium having fallen behind their classmates, a mathematically advanced child sparked the learning program’s creation. As founder Larry Martinek’s young son, Nic, developed an appetite for higher-level math concepts, Larry found himself developing an entirely new teaching language to explain them in an age-appropriate way. The kind of instincts he sought to build up couldn’t be nurtured by drills and rote memorization. Instead, they required a deeper understanding of the principles at the root of mathematical operations, delivered in a way that grade-school kids could apply throughout their academic careers.
In just a decade’s time, Larry and his team have established Mathnasium centers in most U.S. states and more than a dozen other countries. At each, instructors with high level math skills develop custom learning plans for students in grades K–12 based on The Mathnasium Method. The system combines an education strategy of conceptual, tactile, and visual techniques with a curriculum structure that ensures kids can count, think proportionally, and tell the difference between a multiplication sign and a plus sign by scent alone. Instructors allow some time each session to help students with the concepts in their math homework, and the centers regularly check report cards and standardized tests as further measures of progress.
Under the watchful eye of Canine Country Club's dog wranglers, dogs enjoy the comforts of home with personalized attention and the chance to play and socialize with similarly tempered mates. While spacious kennels provide a peaceful respite for napping or shy pups, the majority of the facility's 4,000 square feet of climate-controlled indoor space is open and spacious enough for endless games of Red Rover. Just outside, grass and shady trees emulate Fido's favorite park in the facility's 2,500-square-foot yard, lined with an 8-foot-high privacy fence and monitored by staffers trained in dog behavior and pack dynamics. After pooches have enjoyed long days spent chasing dust bunnies, Canine Country Club's groomer restores dogs' coats to their original luster by bathing, trimming, and fluffing them from head to toe. Furry friends in the market for skills from basic manners through advanced tricks hit the books under the trained eye of certified dog-behavior specialist Jessica Lohry, learning during evening classes, board 'n' train stays, or play 'n' train daycare.
Julie Riley-Glenn’s love of animals emerged in childhood as she helped her parents care for the show dogs they bred. In 2001, she followed a dream and founded Shear Pawfection pet spa. Now a member of the Iowa State Professional Dog Groomers Association and the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, Julie lathers up dogs with all-natural products and assigns two groomers, or Siegfried and Roy, to every cat. The groomers stock specialized products for each type of skin and coat, and they upgrade traditional services with extras such as fur-friendly blueberry facials.
Between services, pets romp in the spa’s cage-free lounge, and caretakers walk dogs that stay longer than three hours. In addition to professional grooming services, Shear Pawfection offers walk-in do-it-yourself pet washing with access to professional grooming equipment.
Helmed by a pair of Iowa State University graduates, Family Pet Veterinary Center keeps furry friends in good health at three locations across the Des Moines area. A third-generation veterinarian, Dr. Jen Emerson-Mathis joins forces with Dr. Ashley Williams to deliver medical, surgical, and diagnostic services to beloved animals. With their team, doctors Jen and Ashley go the extra mile by making sure clients understand every facet of their pet’s medical condition, and every step of the treatment process. Even more, the Family Pet facilities provide boarding packages, as well as on-site grooming for dogs, cats, and CEOs who need a break from making so many decisions.