Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients? tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin?s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios?s chariot within 46 seconds.
When Linda and Brian Sayre started Sayre Carpet Care, their goal was not to be the biggest cleaning company, or the cleaning company that uses the flashiest giant squirt guns, but, instead, to be the highest quality cleaning company. Today, Sayre Carpet Care dependably purges carpets of accumulated dust, dirt, and stains, engendering customers’ trust by expertly revitalizing homes. Linda takes orders and runs the books while Brian heads a staff of IICRC-certified technicians. Once teams arrive at a home, the powerful engine of a truck-mounted Hydramaster machine heats and pressurizes water, which is then fired into carpet fibers along with a specially treated cleaning solution. The water is then extracted, pulling with it any trapped dirt, stains, and allergens while softening carpet fibers and extending their lifespan. Brian and Linda can also lend their staff’s cleaning talents to tile and grout, as well as the carpeting of cars, RVs, and boats.
In 1950, a man named Ernest Ellis started a car wash in Grand Rapids. There were no motorized brushes or automated sprays back then; instead, cars would drive through the building as staffers positioned along the route used steam guns, wash tanks, and hand mitts to wipe away dirt and Dewey for President fliers from automotive exteriors. After a name change, a panoply of new locations, and many upgrades to what was often the most cutting-edge wash technology in the country, today's Southland Auto Wash maintains its high-tech approach to cleaning with automated wash tunnels, in-depth detailing, and luxurious extras including its own signature tire protectant. This passion for meticulous care, along with the wash's extensive water-conservation projects, earned the sudsatorium a nod as Grand Rapids Magazine's Best Car Wash for more than 14 years straight.
No two pizzas are created alike, but most of them look about the same. Not so at Jet?s Pizza, a carry-out and delivery-only establishment created in 1978 by brothers Eugene and John Jetts?their signature pie layers tomato or barbecue sauce and melted mozzarella cheese within the crispy, brown right angles of a deep-dish square crust. But the crust?s charms don?t end there; diners can ?flavorize? it for free with seasonings such as shredded parmesan or the Turbo Crust, a blend of butter, garlic, and romano. These extras are what make Jet?s pizzas special; John Jetts says ?If you're eating one of our pizzas and you don't have a smile on your face, then something is wrong." In addition to pies, Jet?s serves four flavors of chicken wings, subs, and breadsticks at locations spread across 13 states and two extrasolar planets.
Although 36th Street Lounge features a number of high-topped tables and booths, sitting is far from the only option. Live bands perform throughout the week and energize the crowds with high-octane sets. Other nights, DJs keep heads bobbing with eclectic mixes and karaoke allows guests to show off their ability to read. In addition to dartboards and a handful of arcade games—such as Golden Tee and Ms. Pac-Man—the bar features two pool tables.
The 36th Street Lounge kitchen crew whips together a menu of somewhat elevated bar fare. Fettuccine noodles arrive slathered in savory alfredo and sizzling fajitas receive dollops of teriyaki sauce. Regardless of the menu's inspirations, each dish pairs well with a drink from the bar. Bartenders pour frosty drafts of iconic brews and mix a number of cocktails using flavor-infused liquor.
Jersey-style subs may be Boardwalk Subs’ food forte, but the staff’s true specialty is its attention to customer service, as showcased by its nomination for the Grand Rapids Celebrated Service award. In between friendly smiles and polite conversations, the kitchen crew at the family owned eatery focuses its attention on handcrafting 25 types of toasted or grilled subs and pairing them with fresh-baked cookies and warm soups. After baking fresh bread each day, cooks slice open each 15-inch roll before stuffing it with savory meats, such as salami, capicola, and roast beef, and seven kinds of colorful vegetables. The sandwich artists then top the savory layers with one of 12 sauces and seasonings such as celery salt and italian spices.