What began in 1984 as a home business with a single phone has grown into a go-to source for women's apparel with retail stores across the country. Headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, Coldwater Creek curates a varied selection of elegant but comfortable clothing, ensuring closets stay stocked with more than just the relatives who only get pulled out around the holidays. You'll find everything from sweaters and jackets to jeans and dresses, as well as jewelry, handbags, and other extras for accessorizing new outfits. And if you can't make it to one of Coldwater Creek's physical locations, just head to the website to find the perfect cardigan, cashmere sweater, or pencil skirt.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop’s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Batteries Plus, No. 19 on the Dun & Bradstreet AllBusiness AllStar Franchise rankings, connects to a network of 515 stores in order to stock more than 40,000 types of batteries and light bulbs and ensure that customers can special order obscure parts. Their batteries range from dainty watch batteries to 5,000-pound leviathans that can power forklifts, and an on-site tech center can design and assemble custom batteries or rebuild old ones. A diverse array of chargers keep systems juiced, and the shop’s bulbs range from fluorescent tubes to heat lamps. To safeguard the environment, Batteries Plus's staff recycles all types of batteries and bulbs rather than hauling them to landfills or feeding them to each other.
Still Posh crams closets with trendy apparel, accessories, and original jewelry from renowned brand names. Customers can conceal upper torsos within the folds of a classic tank top rather than risk breaking the strict shirt policies of most family-friendly restaurants ($28). Clotheshounds can cushion collars in a selection of scarves ($12), cloak gams in Nikibiki ribbed leggings ($18), or store milk money in the pocket of a Spy-C pocket tee ($30). The gift of a necklace-and-earrings set ($18) can express romantic intentions to a special someone or help win extra servings from the lunch lady on Sloppy Joe Mondays.
The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center educates old ranch hands and rootin’-tootin’ greenhorns about the cattle drives of the 19th and 20th centuries with multimedia presentations and interactive exhibits. Wannabe bovine chaperones can try their hand at roping a steer, learn how to tell the age of cattle, and watch animatronic cowboys discuss life on the trail and successful ways to impersonate humans. Inside the multisensory Experience Theater, viewers are transported along on a cattle drive as they smell the flowers of the prairie, hear the sounds of cattle, and feel the wind and water of a storm. An interactive video game lets kids play the part of a rancher trying to get a herd to the railroad, and a branding station helps exercise creativity by marking property, such as video games or siblings.
Since R.E. Dennard opened his first store in 1890, Dennards Farm & Western Wear's family owners have been outfitting farmers and cowboys in a range of durable stable supplies and western threads. Men's and women's jeans by Cinch and Cruel Girl ($39.95–$59.95) swathe legs in style durable enough for equine adventures or nights on the town. Industrious toes can peruse the selection of footwear, such as men's waxy brown Justin work boots ($89.95), or design a pair of custom cockroach killers with a choice of leathers, patterns, and John Wayne catchphrases. Meanwhile, trusty steeds adorn themselves in an array of tack such as Futurity nylon sheets ($39.95), wooden 3-inch bell stirrups ($49.95), and antique arena show spurs ($34.95), which flaunt a stainless-steel trim to keep heels flashy as they goad show horses and sluggish cab drivers alike.