Knox Nursery, Inc. started in 1962 on the Knox family's porch. Although the family-run nursery has grown to encompass more than 23 acres since then, the second-generation owners haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings, still emphasizing the down-home customer service that made the business what it is today. They and their staff lovingly harnesses the Floridian sunshine to produce plugs and liners, cultivating more than 5,000 plant varieties ranging in size from young ones destined for greenhouses to 4-inchers perfect for landscaping.
At the retail center, staffers stand ready to help green-thumbed shoppers to navigate the selection of annuals and perennials or pick out shrubs to block views of money-filled swimming pools from jealous neighbors. Palms, trees, and vegetables await their chance to fill out gardens or finish landscapes.
The home-objects experts at TLG Home Furnishings pack their showroom with a selection of name-brand gear for domestic dining, lounging, and sleeping. For convenient decorating, TLG lets customers choose their home accents a la carte or cart home a multi-piece-package bedroom or dining set. Customers can solicit the sage design wisdom of the in-store staff or utilize the company's Create Your Own Space online tool, which allows shoppers to sample endless furniture combinations and try out different styles of ottoman toupees.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
Eager to assist home-improvement and upkeep projects, neatly arranged drills, garden hoses, paintbrushes, and other hardware sundries populate the shelves at family-owned Avalon Hardware. Stacks of mulch team up with rakes and watering cans to keep landscapes lush but tidy, and fluorescent light bulbs promise to emit steady, more sustainable light in homes. Customers can also swing by to grab gallons of PPG Porter paint, which staffers mix to exact specifications after a small sacrifice of crayons to a prism spirit.
The seasoned technicians at Sams Gas efficiently refill 20-pound propane tanks, perfectly designed for gas grills. Whether customers own their own propane reservoirs or buy one from Sams, a technician will fill it to the brim with fresh-from-the-farm propane gas, lauded for being nontoxic and having minimal effect on the environment or the indigenous dryer-sheet trees that spring up in lint filters.
Dealer Direct Transmission & Automotive is staffed by car-smart ASE-certified mechanics. The friendly Dealer Direct technicians will give your car a complete oil and filter change to ensure that the vehicle's black heart is supplied with the purest of alien black oils (a $24.50 value). A complete diagnostic check (an $85 value) gives cars an inside-out physical assessment of their ability to play Little League this year, and a tire rotation (a $30 value) ensures that each tire gets a fair chance to spin shotgun. Finally, an exterior car wash (a $9 value) aligns your car's inner beauty with its outer appearance.