Since its establishment in 1936, Schaefer's has acquired a wealth of notoriety for its comprehensive yet complex assortment of complementary flavors. The drinkporium stocks hundreds of bottles of globally acquired wines, and fills aisles with unusual and exotic beers. The spirits department lines up anything from top-shelf whiskey to high-proof elixirs. And the gourmet goods section hosts fine, finger-friendly apps and pairables, such as imported French Saint-André cheese ($14.99 per lb.), Cacciatore artisan salami ($18.99), chocolates, and dips, making customers want to hold back a few shillings in their satchels. Because Schaefer's maintains its commitment to diversity and quality, items such as wine, beer, and liquor bottles range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars each.
Customers can be reunited with their beloved garments the same day if they drop them off at Chicago's Discount Dry Cleaner or Kenny the Kleener in the morning on Monday–Saturday. The staff responsible for this quick turnaround has been at it since 1981, dry-cleaning delicate fabrics and laundering more resilient clothing such as knit shirts or hats that double as tea cozies. Besides cleaning clothes, they can alter garments to better fit customers' silhouettes and preserve wedding gowns.
The highly trained technicians at Duxler Complete Auto Care tinker and tweak vehicular devices to keep them running, rolling, and stopping safely. During the 45-minute process, a certified mechanic will perform an oil change (a $10 value) to exorcise demonic motor oil from engines and replace it with up to five quarts of blessedly standard oil (a $12.95 value). Along with topping off all fluids, each oil change includes a complimentary vehicle inspection, in which experienced minds check the tires, brakes, suspension, steering components, wiper function, warning lamps, lights, and exhaust system for any underlying issues or cable-chewing gremlins. For a smoother ride and to extend the lifespan of automobiles' fireproof feet, tire rotation is also included (a $20 value).
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
Akira swaddles customers from clavicle to toe with a collection of trendy apparel from more than 200 designer brands crafted by foreign, domestic, and Chicago fabricsmiths. Women, men, and mannequins can browse a selection of clothing and accessories that includes the signature looks of Jeffrey Campbell and Boy London. Akira has cooperated with such endeavors as Generation Y, which fosters artistic expression in Chicago public schools.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.