Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Art Supply Warehouse's massive floor space comes crammed full of paints, pencils, sculpting tools, brushes, charcoals and pastels, and canvas. Sketch a sketchy character with a 12-piece set of Staedtler Lumograph pencils ($15.46) and a brass sharpener ($6.98), or stare at the color wheel (with color-mixing workbook, $9.99) long enough to reveal a Magic Eye image of more colors. Ready-made frames ($9.99–$49.99) can be a fancy home to any finished piece of art or discarded candy wrapper.
Few kids get to play in a castle, but Jump High Rentals makes it so anyone can play in a castle equipped with an inflatable slide or pool. Arriving to parties with their air-filled cargo, expert techs set up obstacle courses, dolphin water slides, or standard bounce houses, adding carefree fun to any celebration or SAT-prep course. Then, when the party is done, the techs collapse the jumpers and carry them away.
Field Time Sports and Guns equips customers for outdoor pastimes with its full stock of hunting gear, camping gear, and firearms. The shop’s arsenal includes handguns, shotguns, and tactical rifles, but Field Time doesn’t focus solely on firearms: it also features an impressive archery department. Here, customers can have Field Time’s technicians perform repairs, after which they try out their tuned-up bows at an expanded onsite practice range.
Every season brings a new collection of glittering baubles to Bling. From delicate chandelier earrings to metallic bangles and spiked cuffs, Bling supplies fashion jewelry for just about any occasion, except for a date under a metal detector. The store also branches off into bejeweled accessories, including crystal-laden clutches and patterned iPhone cases.
For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.