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2560 28th St., 303-442-7309
During the course of reporting on the hassles Club Nitro was having with the city, Boulder Weekly had the chance to interview a Boulder City Council member about the proposed effort to regulate businesses that offered “adult content.” Curious, we asked what kinds of businesses that might include. Would that be just strip clubs or would it include businesses that sold porn, vibrators, sex swings, flavored lubes, colorful condoms, butt plugs, glass dildos and adult board games? The poor, hapless City Council member stammered a bit and then resorted to the euphemism often employed by older Boomers: marital aids. Marital aids? What the hell is a “marital aid”? Is that a fancy term for “divorce lawyer”? A reporter tried to explain to this embarrassed council member that people from GenX onward talk about sex toys with the same ease with which they discuss the weather. You might hear a 30-something woman say something like this: “I was using a Pocket Rocket, and it was great for inside the car or at the office, but I wanted to try something new. So I went to Fascinations to get a Rabbit Habit, and, baby, that thing made me scream. Have you tried it yet?”
Yes, Fascinations is once again Boulder Weekly readers’ favorite place to go when they want to get on with getting off. Whether you’re looking for a bit of solo fun, a sexy gift, or supplies for a party, Fascinations has just about everything you fantasize about — and then some. It’s also a favorite shopping stop for B-dub staff. Been there, tried the fuzzy handcuffs. And, hey, City Council folks — thanks, but we don’t need your regulations.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
1421 Pearl St., 303-443-3683
Runner-up: Art Mart
Honorable Mention: Michael’s Arts & Crafts
Art is a peculiar thing — nearly impossible to define, yet filled with a world of criticism and variety. Writer and social activist Thomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” And that’s about as good a definition as you’ll ever get. But what makes Boulder Arts & Crafts stand out is the incredible variety of art on display. Patrons can view visual art, handle pottery, try on jewelry or test out furniture. And that’s just for starters. Blown glass, sculpture, photography are also available for potential buyers. An artist cooperative since 1971, Boulder Arts & Crafts is one of the oldest art co-ops in the country. This means that the work being showcased is intimately tied to the 42 artists who run the gallery. It also means that when you purchase art and handiworks from their Pearl Street locale, not only are you gaining a treasure, you are also supporting the artists of Boulder and the Rocky Mountain Region. And we can’t think of a better place to get lost or found.
AUTO DEALER — NEW
2465 48th Ct., 303-443-3250
Runner-up: Flatiron’s Acura and Subaru
Honorable Mentions: Gebhardt BMW/Isuzu/VW and Fisher Chevrolet/Geo/Honda
When Henry Ford perfected the large-scale production-line manufacturing of automobiles in the early 1900s, he started a love affair between Americans and cars that has lasted for more than 200 years. From the original Model-T to the Dodge Charger to the Subaru Outback to the Audi Q5, Americans swoon over well-made automobiles. Once upon a time, a man riding into the sunset on his horse was the ultimate expression of individualism and freedom. In this day and age, replace the horse with a Hummer, and you’ve got a modern Western for a new generation.
Boulder Toyota has taken home this award several times, and they continue to dominate the category. They are the leading Toyota dealership on the Front Range, and they offera huge selection combined with a friendly, professional sales staff. So if you’re feeling like a cowboy, but you’re not interested in purchasing chaps and spurs, get on down to Boulder Toyota and find the ride of your life.
AUTO DEALER — USED
Blue Spruce Auto Sales Inc. / Super Rupair Inc.
4403 Broadway, 303-938-0580 / 1309 Yarmouth Ave., 303-444-7473
Runner-up: Boulder Toyota
Honorable Mention: Fisher Chevrolet/Geo/Honda
Buying a car is a big decision. What make, model, year? What color? New or used? And then, if you choose to buy a used car, there’s a whole other list of concerns. We all know the stereotype: the used-car salesman who hustles you to buy a car that looks shiny and perfect, but turns out to be a total lemon. To avoid this unfortunate scenario, go to this repeat Best of Boulder™ winner, and you can be sure to get a great deal and a great car. With a sales approach that is low-key, personable and knowledge-based, Blue Spruce gives you all of the information needed to make an educated decision that you’re comfortable with. Since 80 percent of the business they do is repeat or referral business, you can be sure you aren’t getting cheated. And that means driving away with more than a new-to-you car. You get to drive away with confidence in the purchase you’ve made.
2504 Spruce St., 303-449-6632
Runner-up: Blue Spruce Auto Sales, Super Rupair
Honorable Mention: Swedish Motors
Once again, our readers give Hoshi Motors the lead spot in this category. Specializing in Hondas, Subarus, Acuras and Toyotas, Hoshi has been fixing up Boulder’s cars for a quarter century, and several of their employees have worked there for more than a decade, making for a reliable, experienced repair team that you can trust with your vehicle when it does the unforgivable and stalls at the intersection of Canyon and Broadway during rush hour. Hoshi’s staff prides itself on honest estimates and quick quality service. The one drawback is that they specialize only on certain makes, but if you drive a Honda, Subi, Acura or Toyota — and, really, most of you do — Hoshi is the place.
BATH AND BODY
1647 Pearl St., 303-442-5164
2700 Broadway, 303-442-0589
645 S Broadway St., 303-867-3400
Runner-up: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary
Honorable Mention: Lush
It’s not as simple as soap and a daily vitamin anymore. The bath and body market has drastically expanded over the years to provide us all with a never-ending list of nourishing products: body scrubs, cleanses, loofahs, eye cream, liquid aminos, facial sprays, etc. But with the expansion of that market has also come the need to profit by cutting back on quality. Many major suppliers of bath and body products have no problem dowsing your skin with parabens and other chemicals, or testing their so-called miracle products on animals. To counteract that trend, Boulder’s recent addition of Pharmaca is here to help. A confluence of everyday pharmacy needs and organic alternatives make this shop the ideal locale for maintaining your health. Pharmaca carries a wide variety of both the nation’s most popular organic brands, as well as locally made products. And with the increasingly noticeable drawbacks to everyday chemical exposure, buying these types of products isn’t just a luxury — it’s a necessity.
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-1822
Runner-up: Home Depot
You gotta love a place that features a $50 carbon monoxide sensor alongside a diecast 1933 Willys Coupe model car on their website sales page. McGuckin Hardware (and sorry, but everyone calls it McGuckin’s) is about as close to a Boulder retail institution as you can get, founded in 1955 by Bill McGuckin within about a block of its current location, and now delving deep into yard products, pet stuff, toys, kitchen supplies, sporting equipment… and yeah, the true stuff of which hardware dreams are made: screws, planks, hammers, tubing, paint and lawnmowers. More than 60,000 square feet of the everyday, the unusual, the important stuff and the what-the-heck indulgences, McGuckin’s is both a legendary Boulder space and a drop-jaw cool place to stroll through, especially around the holidays when the amazing ornament and holiday figurine displays come out, and the springtime when the flower and plant displays go up on the south side of the store. And this year, Home Depot comes in as runner-up, featuring that got-everything massiveness that makes it a mandatory every-weekend pilgrimage for homeowners and contractors. Big box, but it works. Nice people, there, too.
839 Pearl St., 303-444-4196
Runner-up: Full Cycle
Honorable Mention: Bicycle Village
Holy Lycra! Has anyone taken a good look at how many people fly around on two wheels in this town? It doesn’t matter if you’re an Olympic trainee or a still flopping around on training wheels. Roadie, mountain trekker, cruiser… anyway you look at it, this is cyclist heaven. There are bicycle lanes and bicycle groups and bicycle secret handshakes (unreadable to those who rely on anything other than their own thighs to get from one point to another) and, of course, bike shops. And University Bicycles rounds out at the top of the best place to get your ride on. Located conveniently on Pearl Street, University Bicycles has been shifting gears since 1985 and knows a thing or two about the field. You can rent or purchase from their vast selection of bikes, or take a quick glance at whatever gear you might need. But even better is the fact that you can get custom hook-ups so your ride is not only perfectly suited to your needs, but the most original in town — a necessity when everyone else in town is cycling, too.
Weaver’s Dive & Travel Center
637-V S. Broadway, 303-499-8500
Ocean First Divers (FKA, Scuba Joe)
3015 Bluff St., 303-440-8882
The process of creating the BOB ballot each year is far more arduous than our readers could possibly imagine. One of the trickiest parts of this endeavor is deciding which contestants should be represented in the multiple-choice options, and we can assure you that every possible effort is made to ensure the utmost in accuracy and fairness. To be both accurate and fair, we must admit that we made a mistake.
In the landlocked state of Colorado, there are all too few world-class dive shops. In Boulder we are truly blessed to have three, er, two, er three, er two. According to the 2009 BOB ballot there are three, alphabetically: Ocean First Divers, Scuba Joe and Weaver’s Dive Shop. And all three received strong and enthusiastic support from our largest voter turnout ever. There’s just one problem: Scuba Joe no longer exists. Oops! Our bad, but no biggie, right? Just eliminate the votes Scuba Joe received and move ahead with a winner and runner-up from the remaining two worthy shops, Weaver’s and Ocean First. But here’s where the SCUBA tank begins to run out of air. You see, Ocean First is the reincarnation of Scuba Joe and, therefore, has a claim on the votes that were cast for Scuba Joe. But hold on. How can we count votes for a business that no longer exists? That wouldn’t be fair to Weaver’s. Quite the conundrum, and one that we have not confronted in the 13 years of Boulder’s only Best of Boulder.™
The bottom line is that we owe everyone involved an apology, starting with you, our reader. We goofed by leaving Scuba Joe on the ballot in the first place and cannot in good conscience award a clear winner. But is that the worst thing under the sun? The answer lies in Nippon Professional Baseball, or NPB, the highest level of baseball in Japan. It seems that in Japan it is honorable for a game to (gasp!) end in a tie. If the score is tied after nine innings of play, up to three additional innings are played, after which the game may end in a tie. After giving this contest its “extra innings” we have declared a draw and congratulate both of our deserving winners.
CLOTHING — KIDS
Rocky Mountain Kids
2525 Arapahoe Ave., H12a, 303-447-2267
Runner-up: Ginger & Pickles
Honorable Mentions: Savers, Childish Things
Did you know that in the first year after birth, the average child will grow about 10 inches in length? In the second year of life, children typically grow another five inches. And by the time they are 7 years old, kids usually grow about two inches each year. It seems like a pretty reasonable rate of growth, but if you are a parent, it can feel like your kids grow two inches every other week. And that means that before your kids can even wear holes in the knees of their cute little jeans, they need a new pair. Oh, and let’s not even start on shoes! The good news is that the constant shopping means that you get to keep up with the fashions in a way you hardly ever have the opportunity to do as an adult. And, according to our readers, the best place to find those fashions is Rocky Mountain Kids, a totally hip boutique that boasts more than 3,500 square feet of apparel, footwear, accessories and necessities for kids of all ages.
2525 Arapahoe Ave. #E31,
Runner-up: American Furniture Warehouse
Honorable Mention: Concepts
A chair isn’t just a place to sit. A table isn’t just a board with four legs that keeps your food off the floor. Furniture adds personality and life to a room. Imagine walking into Buckingham Palace and seeing the Queen sitting in a lawn chair. (Yeah, actually, we’d kind of like to see that, too.) It’s important to choose your furniture with care, because your couch and coffee table will leave a lasting impression on the people who visit your home.
Indochine is one of those rare establishments that is completely and totally Boulder. In 1995, owner Hugo Brooks decided that the Front Range needed a store that provided Asian furniture, handcrafted items and antiques at affordable prices. Hugo travels all over Asia and the Pacific Rim in order to supply his customers with authentic, unique furnishings that you can’t find anywhere else in Colorado. If you’re thinking about bringing the world into your living room, Indochine is a great place to start.
Eads News and Smoke Shop
1715 28th St., 303-442-5900
Runner-up: Johnny’s Cigar & Martini Bar
Honorable Mention: Smoker Friendly
Smokers used to get a lot less guff than they do now. Back in 1913, the same year that Eads News and Smoke Shop first opened, you could smoke pretty much anywhere you damn well wanted to — hospitals, a preschool, the fire station. And while it’s probably best that those rules have changed, a good smoke can be a great thing. Whether you’re on the hunt for a rare brand of cigarettes, or simply need a nice cigar to celebrate, Eads should be your first stop. Even if you’re a bit scared of the smoke, you still have to hand it to Eads for having a massive selection of newspapers (yes, they are still around) and magazines — every topic under the sun, and rare and collector issues to boot. So, even if you might not be able to light one up wherever you please, you can still find a purveyor of finely rolled leaves at Eads.
1710 29th St. #1118, 303-449-4575
Runner-up: Urban Outfitters
Honorable Mention: Jacque Michelle
Fashion is a peculiar thing. You have to be stylish, but without looking like you’ve tried too hard. It’s a fine line, catwalked by waifish models on the runway. But trying to find a personal niche at a decent price without all the sour looks and starvation isn’t always easy. We don’t all have the time to hire stylists, nor the wallets for designer duds. Enter Anthropologie. Housed inside the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, this women’s clothing store offers style to the young, old and every woman in between. With a mixture of original patterns and mix-and-match accessories, Anthropologie exudes flair. In a town of casual-meets-creative, this is a joint that has Boulder fashion nailed to a T. It’s rustic without being ragged, hippie without being hobo, and trendy without being tacky. In other words, you’ll look like you aren’t even trying.
1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847
Runner-up: Art Mart
Honorable Mentions: Bliss, Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
The first thing you’ll notice when you step inside this year’s Best of Boulder™ winner, The Peppercorn, is that you will probably have to spend a couple hours in the store to get a good look at, oh, probably about 25 percent of the stuff they have for sale. And then you hang a left and see that there’s a whole other huge room full of even more stuff. And then you notice that there are stairs. And they go up to yet another room full of cool stuff to check out. The moral of this story: Peppercorn has a lot — and we mean a lot — of cool things to buy for the people in your life who already have everything. We do have a word of caution for those who are going into the Peppercorn to purchase a gift for someone else: There is a very good chance that, in addition to the fine gift you get your friend, you will also walk out with a new kitchen gadget, cookbook, sheet set, photo album, or some other nifty little thing you didn’t know you needed. If you have remarkable restraint, you might be able to resist all of these great things, but we haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t at least picked up a fancy chocolate bar when they checked out.
2905 Pearl St., 303-545-6611
2584 Baseline Rd., 303-499-7636
1651 Broadway St., 303-442-0909
Runner-up: Sunflower Market
Honorable Mention: King Soopers
It’s hard to believe that Whole Foods began with a single locale started by a couple of 20-somethings who lived in the store and showered in the Hobart dishwasher. (We’re not making this up.) Back then it was called SaferWay, a spoof on Safeway. Since then the Austin, Texas, store has expanded throughout the country and is now a publicly traded corporation with 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. The secret to its success is apparent when you step through the door. Organic produce, surprisingly fresh fish, olive bar, hard-to-find European cheeses, artful flower arrangements, natural healing remedies and beauty products — the place is just appetizing from one end to the other. If you need a quick bite but prefer something healthful to a drive-through hamburger, they have a very large and delicious selection of pre-cooked meals of all styles and flavors from sandwiches to noodles to sushi, as well as an unbeatable salad bar. The store is always busy, but there is always an open or quick-moving checkout lane.
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