So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for?fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
The three generations of diamond doyens at Martin & Martin, Inc. have paired patrons with jewelry, timepieces, and other finery since 1950, dealing directly with foreign suppliers and diamond cutters in locales such as Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and Belgium. Exchange vows with a selection of bridal jewelry, including the 16-diamond, 18-karat white-gold wedding ring ($500), or apologize to fingers for hours wasted wrestling pickle jars with a white gold ruby ring ($500). A rectangular white dial graces the face of Movado's ladies' Esperanza watch ($657), and an 18-inch strand of multicolor Chinese freshwater peals ($500) complements bare necks or upscale car antennas.
There's more than one way to appreciate a bouquet. That's the idea behind Avenue Flower Shop & Wine Bar, a successful floral shop that has recently opened a tasting room where visitors can sample wines from Europe, South America, South Africa, and the Columbia Valley. Perhaps unsurprisingly, flowers decorate almost every corner of the space, from the hardwood bar that rests atop small neoclassical columns to the tables that stand draped in black tablecloths. On some nights, wine flavors and floral aromas mingle with live harmonies from local blues and jazz ensembles, which creates a casual atmosphere and teaches lilies music theory. Avenue Flower Shop & Wine Bar also recently branched out into gaming with the addition of five video poker machines.
It's unlikely that the same outfit would be assembled twice at Angelique's Boutique. The staff regularly updates its collection of women's fashions, sourcing eye-catching jewelry, shoes, clothes, and accessories. On a typical day, the shop's racks and shelves might reveal everything from skirts and strapless dresses to embellished vests. This eclectic selection, along with the staff's helpful suggestions, allows customers to easily come up with their own looks. In this way, the staff hopes the outfits that emerge from their dressing rooms serve as visual expressions of each customer's personality.
However, a trip to the boutique isn’t necessary to start dreaming up wardrobes. Angelique's Boutique's fashion experts update their Facebook page regularly with photos of the latest arrivals.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Since 1988, Pet Supplies Plus has welcomed millions of furry critters of every stripe?from llamas and monkeys to potbellied pigs?into their animal-friendly stores. The shop is designed so that both pets and their owners can easily navigate the inventory of more than 10,000 items. Wide aisles give leashed pups enough room to roam, colorful signage keeps shoppers moving in the right direction, and low shelves allow dogs to sniff out their preferred brand of rawhide chew.