Though he couldn't have known it at the time, Adam Caldwell arranged what arguably could be considered one of the most successful first dates in modern history. He not only ended up marrying his date, Danna, but also had such a memorable time with her in the frozen-yogurt shop that the two of them were eventually inspired to start their own. They opened Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in California in 2007, and within just a few years, found themselves with a family of hundreds of thriving stores sprinkled all around the world and featured on Undercover Boss.
As the Menchie's brand grew, Adam and Danna kept a simple mission in mind: to make their customers smile. An adorable cast of animated characters is featured throughout the locally-owned and operated stores, including on the colorful spoons, and customers can have fun creating endless frozen-yogurt combinations or just grab a cup of freshly cut fruit for a quick snack. There are almost 100 rotating yogurt flavors, and of course, there are plenty of toppings as well, displayed in help-yourself bins filled with fresh fruit, nuts, cereal, and candy.
The yogurt is made from fresh milk from a California dairy, and it is free of the artificial growth hormone rSBT. All the yogurt is kosher with live and active cultures and probiotics, and certain flavors accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets.
Sticks sprung from humble origins when, in 1992, Sarah Grant began carving ornaments and candlesticks from birch, poplar, and driftwood in a small studio in Des Moines. As her work began to attract national interest and demand for it grew, Sarah enlisted the aid of other local artists and expanded her inventory to include handcrafted heirloom-quality furniture, whimsical sculptures, and intricate keepsakes.
Today, the artists’ work is showcased in more than 100 galleries across the country. Their installation projects have even decorated the walls of Blank Children’s Hospital, the Animal Rescue League of Central Iowa, and the student center at Iowa State University.
Sticks artists can often be spotted by the shores of local rivers, gathering driftwood for their work. They assemble the wood into custom-designed tables, beds, and armoires within their spacious, light-filled studio before painting them with colorful, whimsical designs, from smiling suns and moons to lush landscapes. The versatile artists even take their tools and paintbrushes to homes, businesses, and underground mad-scientist labs to craft custom art installations and interiors.
Ticket stubs, needlework, oil paintings: the experts at The Great Frame Up have handled them all, turning them into wall-ready hangings. Their selection of hundreds of frames, matting options, and varieties of glass makes it easy for clients to find the right colors and textures to complement their artwork. In addition to custom framing, the professionals offer conservation framing for paintings with monetary value or used napkins with sentimental value. Three-dimensional objects are also a specialty: The experts can slip hockey pucks and musical instruments into acrylic cases or send clients home with one to keep empty in anticipation of finally acquiring that unicorn horn. Inside the store, customers can peruse a selection of ready-made frames and framed art work.
Blond Genius covers lower halves in a fresh assortment of high-end designer denim. Its Denim Bar stocks more than 130 fits and styles for women sizes 0–20, as well as 25 styles for men sizes 29–40. The shop shows off styles from brands such as Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, True Religion, and Joe's Jeans. Blond Genius also custom tailors jeans, sculpting denim to shorten a hem or replicate Michelangelo's David. While women can do a front flip into a pair of Big Stars ($90) or climb leg-opening-first into AG Bell Flares ($215), the denim dealer also stocks styles for men, including the AG Protégé ($178+) and 7 for All Mankind Austyn jeans ($189+). Petite and extra-long jean lengths are also available.
Me ‘n Mommy To Be owner Nettie Byerly understands little ones sprout in what seems like no time at all, so she eases the swift passage of time and inevitable outgrowing of clothes and toys with a stock of new and gently used items. Maternity wear outfits quickly growing bellies, and a vast selection of kids’ clothing for infants to teens—including designer brands such as Gap Kids, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister Co.—covers fast-growing limbs. A rotating variety of toys are on hand to entertain youngsters as they move from a fascination with dinosaurs to an interest in tracking the fruit-snack futures market. In addition to toys for purchase, an in-store playroom packed with whimsical diversions occupies little ones as parents shop. Me ‘n Mommy To Be also rents strollers, cribs, car seats, and other child-friendly contraptions, letting parents test-drive different brands before making a purchase and helping grandparents prepare for energy-filled visits.
Wine connoisseurs keep the shelves of WineStyles stocked with more than 300 vintages, many of which are rare or exclusive to WineStyles. Culled from large and small vineyards around the globe, the bottles are all labeled with their unique flavor profile so visitors can ready their taste buds accordingly. Amid the cellar's Old-World ambiance, connoisseurs pair visitors with wines to suit their tastes and help them customize gift baskets.
For the WineStyles Wine Club, the chief taster selects two vintages each month. When members arrive to pick up their bottles, they also receive the taster's notes, which describe the wine's region of origin and what the wine would sound like if it were a saxophone solo.