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Two Men and a Truck
6280 Arapahoe Rd., 303-443-9911
Runner-up: Taylor Moving
If it’s been a while since the last time you’ve relocated, then maybe you’ve forgotten just how much it sucks. We are here to remind you. It sucks. Bad. Between packing every one of your worldly possessions, putting a million boxes (plus furniture and random junk) into a truck, and trying to navigate the giant metal box on wheels through the city — well, it sucks. Fortunately for anyone considering a move, there is Two Men and a Truck. Their friendly customer service and attention to detail mean that, not only are you and your moving experience in good hands, but so are your things. Now, you might think that two men and a truck might not be sufficient to move all the crap you’ve accumulated over the years, but we assure you, they will get the job done. We once watched one of the two men lift and carry a clothes dryer. Yes, the whole dryer. It took them less than an hour to empty an entire two-bedroom apartment — which is about one-tenth of the time it would have taken us — giving us time to focus on unpacking. It was worth every penny just to see the guy carry a dryer.
Robb’s Boulder Music
2691 30th St., 303-443-8448
Runner up: HB Woodsongs
Musicians have a quasi-mystical attachment to their local music store, and some of them were a little sad and skeptical when Robb’s Boulder Music left their longtime home on Canyon Boulevard, next to Liquor Mart, and moved out to 30th Street. But these things have a way of working out, and Boulder’s most complete music store has settled in and found its feng shui. Strings, guitars, drums, amps, keys, sheet music, electronics… From Gibsons to didgeridoos, Korgs to ukuleles, Robb’s is the kind of place that just oozes harmony and that shared obsession players have with playing/jamming/composing. Great staff, repairs and instruction, as well. A place like Boulder, lubed up by some of the greatest music on the planet, needs a top-quality music store, and Robb’s is it. HB Woodsongs is likewise a Boulder treasure, one of the best local outlets for acoustic instrument sales, repair and instruction.
NATURAL FOODS STORE
2905 Pearl St., 303-545-6611
2584 Baseline Rd., 303-499-7636
1651 Broadway St., 303-442-0909
Runner-up: Boulder Farmers’ Market
Honorable Mention: Sunflower Farmers Market
Long before every grocery-store chain started coming out with their own higher-priced organic brands, Whole Foods was here to pave the way and raise the standards for what goes into our system. And what’s even better is that they have more than one natural subset brand streamlined into their store. Their employees are the most amiable lot, willing to answer any questions with a surprisingly vast amount of knowledge, always eager to special order a product that will best suit your needs. Whole Foods nourishes your body with meat substitutes, fresh produce and free-range meats, and a whole slew of food and body products meant restore your body to something more, well, whole. In this category, however, we also have to applaud our runner-up, the Boulder Farmers’ Market, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s not even a “store,” but a locally empowered outdoor market. The Boulder Farmers’ Market big summer swing stretches well into fall, and offers two days a week of local, organic farmers. If you really care about what you eat, you’ll want to know where your food comes from. And the BFM is the perfect way to buy fresh vegetables, support local agriculture and ask the cultivators any questions you might have about their products. Most will even invite you back to the farm.
Ellie’s Eco Home Store
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-952-1004
Runners-up: Sunflower Farmers Market,
The Essence Studio (tie)
Honorable Mention: The Nail Studio
In the increasingly competitive world of “green” and in the midst of a tough economy, Ellie’s Eco Home Store swept in to garner the title of Best New Business, meaning it must have impressed a lot of Boulder Weekly readers the day it opened its doors. This store is exactly what Boulder needed. For a city that boasts its devotion to eco-friendly practices and services, we always seemed to be lacking a one-stop eco store for our homes and workplaces. At Ellies, you can get what you need without having to compromise your environmental ethics. Like what, you ask? Try these on for size: organic linens for babies, recycled rubber flooring, locally made concrete countertops, non-toxic cleaning products, recycled roofing, compostable party supplies and plant food. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are items for your pet, for your office and for your skin. In other words, you name it, it’s there.
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-447-0210
Runner-up: Pearle Vision
Honorable Mentions: Envision, Wink
Small, massive, rectangular, heart-shaped — it doesn’t matter what the style, but you have to admit that glasses are a more defining feature than most accessories out there. How would John Lennon or Buddy Holly or Ira Glass stand out in our depictions of them if it weren’t for their very distinctive eyewear? Keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder people are picky when it comes to their optical store — and perennial BOB winner Aspen Eyewear could be labeled a Boulder institution. A family operation, the store’s third-generation owners take the time and care to ensure you have the best spectacles around. Their on-site custom lab earns top marks for precision in optical lenses, and their selection of frames is unparalleled in town. Even if you want something a little less memorable than Buddy’s four-eye frames (say, an elegant designer brand that are a tad less obtrusive?), we can’t see a better option.
Humane Society of
2323 55th St., 303-442-4030
Runner-up: PC’s Pantry
Honorable Mention: Whole Pets
Recently, a little, black puppy named Bo made the national news when he was adopted by the Obama family. Bo is a Portuguese Water Dog (or “Portie”) that was welcomed into the White House after being rejected by his former owners. Not bad for a canine: You get turned down by some random family, but then fortune smiles on you and suddenly you’re hanging out in the Lincoln Bedroom as First Dog. If the White House were in Boulder, we’d suggest that President Obama (that’s still fun to say) bring Sasha and Malia to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley to shop for Bo’s toys and treats. Once again a reader fave for Best Pet Store, the Human Society offers an array of pet supplies and toys that offer conscious pet guardians a way to support the Humane Society’s mission further.
PC’s Pantry for Dogs & Cats is a locally owned bakery that cooks up treats for the family’s furriest members, including “barkday cakes.” For pet guardians concerned about their cat or dog’s nutrition, it’s a no-brainer.
Mile High Pipe & Tobacco
1144 Pearl St., 303-443-7473
Runner-up: Eads News and Smoke Shop
Honorable Mentions: The Fitter, Freaky’s
Mile High Pipe & Tobacco rose to No. 1 in this category last year and have held onto their crown for a second consecutive year — and that’s saying something in this town. Walk into this underground lair on Pearl Street, and it’s like stepping into a pipe-smoker’s heaven. With one of the widest selections of handmade blown glass, you’re sure to find a pipe that has not only the right fit, but lots of personalized flair to boot. In addition, they have an eclectic selection of trinkets and gifts for the free-spirited folks in your life. Eads News and Smoke Shop, a long-time Boulder institution, takes runner-up honors this year with its selection of supplies for the pipe smoker, including an array of fine loose-leaf tobaccos.
Angie Star Jewelry
1807 Pearl St., 720-565-0288
Runner-up: Hurdle’s Jewelry
Honorable Mentions: Walters & Hogsett, Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery
People have been adorning themselves since some guy thought that sticking a particularly fine-looking bone through his nose would give him a better chance with the cave women than the men who didn’t have bones in their noses. Bones have since given way to gold, diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones. But here in Boulder County we know the cost of mining for silver, gold and gemstone isn’t cheap on human beings or on the planet. And that’s one reason Angie Star Jewelry has won top honors with Boulder Weekly readers for five years in a row. With nationally acclaimed designs, this Pearl Street shop is unparalleled in terms of quality and originality. In addition to their in-house selection, shoppers can also order custom-made designs — ideal for any bride-to-be that wishes to have her moment in the sun. Add to all of this Angie Star’s use of recycled gold and green ethics, and there is no reason not to display their designs.
1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847
Runner-up: Bed Bath & Beyond
So you’re not Hosea Rosenburg. That’s OK. You can still live out your Top Chef fantasies, with a little help from The Peppercorn. Spatulas, frying pans, whisks, cutting boards, fondue pots, measuring cups, steak knives… these items can help you turn cooking into an art form. The Peppercorn has long been the place county residents go when they need high-quality supplies for the kitchen and dining room. The store carries a wide variety of unique cookbooks, dinnerware, ergonomic utensils, knives, and everything else you need to cook, serve and entertain dinner guests. Yes, you can find this stuff at a department store, too, but it won’t be of the same quality, nor will it offer the sense of style, that you’ll find on display at The Peppercorn. That’s why this Boulder establishment turns up again and again as the winner in our annual readers’ polls.
2425 Canyon Blvd., 303-443-2421
Runner-up: Victoria’s Secret
Honorable Mention: The T-Bar
A bit of advice: If you don’t feel sexy in what you’re wearing underneath your clothes, chances are you’re not going to feel sexy at all. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to do your errands with an uncomfortable medieval-style corset underneath your blouse — a simple bra-and-panty set should do the trick — but it also shouldn’t be in mismatched, faded duds that even you can’t stand. The truth is this: making your goods look good (even if no one else can see them) makes you feel good. And that’s where Christina’s Lingerie steps in to help. Our consistent winner in the lingerie category, Christina’s is here to boost your confidence with a wide array of unmentionables. Whether you’re interested in a modest, cute set or a spiced-up lacey negligee, this favorite naughty shop can supply. With a helpful, knowledgeable staff, you won’t be able to find a better place to give your self-image a boost, regardless if it’s for a hot date or just a trip to the grocery store.
1750 15th St., 303-449-3374
Runner-up: Superior Liquor
Honorable Mentions: Boulder Wine Merchant, North Boulder Liquors (tie)
Technically speaking, Liquor Mart is Boulder’s first post-Prohibition liquor store, setting up shop at its present location in 1968 when the town went from dry to… well, whatever you call not dry. The years have been generous and successful. Boasting 1,500 beer products and 6,000 varieties of wine spread over 30,000 square feet, Liquor Mart is a sort of spirits singularity, warping time and space one keg at a time. They are the largest liquor retailer in the county and one of the largest in the nation, but somehow, there’s always a parking space in their modest 17th and Canyon lot. And Liquor Mart is also an active community presence as well, contributing generously over the years to local nonprofits like Boulder Philharmonic and Hospice of Boulder County. If it’s legal and liquid and makes you feel nice, Liquor Mart has it. End of story.
REAL ESTATE GROUP
Re/Max of Boulder
2425 Canyon Blvd., #110, 303-449-7000
The city of Boulder and Boulder County make a lot of Best-of lists. Forbes named Boulder the Best Place for Singles. Retire Magazine named it in its list of Top Places to Retire. Outside Magazine named it Best All Around Town. It’s also been called the No. 5 spot for Empty Nesters (Kiplinger), the Top Cycling City (Bicycling Magazine); and the No. 4 Green City (Yahoo) — to name just a few. If you’re going to invest in real estate in this highly desirable area, it makes sense to have the best real estate agent you can find at your side, someone who knows the county and its history, someone who can make sure you end up investing your money in a house that not only feels like home, but is worth every penny you put into it. Our readers say that Re/Max of Boulder is the real estate group to go with if you’re in the market to buy or sell a home in the county. An icon since it opened its doors in 1977, Re/Max of Boulder is recognized as one of the top 500 power brokers in the United States. RE/MAX of Boulder also has a mortgage broker, insurance service, title company and a concierge service on site, to provide one-stop shopping at its office. Does it get easier — or less stressful — than that?
Boulder Running Company
2775 Pearl St., # 103, 303-786-9255
Runner-up: Pedestrian Shops
Boulder County is a runner’s nirvana, and not just because it has so many mountain trails and 300-plus days of sunshine. Everything a person needs, from altitude to expertise to gear, can be found here in Boulder County. Combining expertise and gear, Boulder Running Company caters not only to elite athletes, but also to your average runner, climber, hiker and biker. The people who work there read feet like some people read brain waves, and they know their shoes. And we mean they know their shoes. They can tell you which shoes are best for you, given the activities and terrain you’re hoping to tackle and the particular weirdities of both your feet and your gait. It’s not just guesswork. They have a high-tech video-gait assessment system, which gives the staff even more information to better suit your shoe buying needs and concerns. Anyone who’s had a stress fracture or plantar fasciitis from overuse and improper footwear knows that you don’t want to mess around when it comes to your feet. They may not be your most attractive feature — ever hear of a “pedicure,” dude? — but they’re one of the most important.
Boulder Ski Deals
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-938-8799
Runner up: Christy Sports
Honorable Mention: Neptune Mountaineering
We remember the days when Boulder Ski Deals was a cluttered, ramshackle little outfit at the corner of Pearl and Folsom, with a kind of a ski-bum’s-basement vibe and equipment piled unceremoniously all over the place. It has since grown up (and moved to the former Gart location) to be HQ for Boulder snow-sports junkies, but still beaming with that casually fanatical devotion to all things thin-air-chill. Ski Deals always has a mile-wide selection of in-season skis, boards, clothing and sundries to outfit the frozen slope acolytes, expert fitting and advice, and great pre- and post-season sales. No surprise the place regularly shows up in the credits of Warren Miller films. The guy who sold us our last pair of skis from Ski Deals, someone who’s never seen us ski, promised we’d love them, and we did… and he finagled a great deal on them.
1740 30th St., 303-938-2889
Runner-up: The Apple Store
Honorable Mention: Listen Up
Sometimes, there’s a reason to go to the big chains: selection, selection, selection. Best Buy has every toy a growing, middle-aged boy or girl could want, from mobile phones to flight simulators and widescreen TVs — and throw in a box set of the Akira Kurosawa movies that spawned Star Wars and all the Spaghetti Westerns. So what if it’s big? Since when did size matter? It’s about high-speed laptops, Guitar Hero and widescreen TVs — higher resolution, bandwidth and baud rates. Jealous, yet?
2735 Iris Ave., 303-444-7380
Runner-up: Tribal Rites Body
Piercing & Tattoo
Honorable Mention: K&K Piercing & Jewelry
Remember that uni-colored (black, faded to blue) tattoo of an anchor on your grandfather’s shoulder? You know, the one that sagged on his skin, and, if pointed out, would provoke long-winded stories about the good old days on the dock? Well, tattoos have come a long way, baby. No longer the amateurish basic outlines that look like you got them in prison, tats are now complicated, Technicolor works of art. And since your skin is the canvass, finding an excellent tattoo artist is absolutely necessary to ensuring the highest quality. It’s a competitive field, but Bolder Ink has found a strong following among local residents. Their artists are careful and exact, bringing your visions to life with custom tattoos that will give you something to talk about with your own grandchildren one day.
3215 28th St., 303-440-6811
Runner-up: Barnsley Tire
Many people do not realize that Discount Tire is in fact one of Boulder’s most celebrated homegrown local businesses. That is not apparent to most people because along with being a Boulder-bred business, Discount Tire also happens to be America’s largest independent tire company. It may seem like a big chain tire place from the outside, but once you step in it is clear to see why this place has achieved so much. They have great prices on all kinds of tires, from all seasons to studded snow tires, not to mention fast and friendly service. If you have a leaky tire, they’ll plug it for you free of charge. Since spring came during the winter and now winter has hit during the spring, no one knows exactly what to expect this summer or fall — more thunder snow, perhaps? — so you’d better have some good tires. Tip: Because Discount Tire is incredibly popular, it’s often very busy. If you get there a few minutes before the place opens, you’ll be one of the first 10 or so in line and will probably have your new tires and be on your way to work by 9.
Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-0780
Runner-up: Into The Wind
Honorable Mention: Playfair Toys
With more than 30 years in the same location and still managed by its founder, Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe has grown to be the wise, matronly grande dame of Boulder toy shopping, but nonetheless balances its selection of handmade and wooden toys with more modern, educational toys, as well as kid’s room décor and lots of books. And some oddities, too. We especially like the plush microbe toys. What 4-year-old could resist palling around with a soft, cushy doll modeled after the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) microbe — y’know, sharing some animal crackers with it, taking it to the movies? A rare blending of tradition, education, humor and plain old fun puts Grandrabbit’s on top again this year. And for the kids who spend a little too much time indoors, blipping away on games or computers, take them to our runner-up, Into The Wind, quite possibly the best kite store in the time zone, which happens to be one of the windiest places in America. PlayFair Toys rounds out this year’s winners, taking the violence and sexism out of the toy box so that kids can just be kids.
1933 28th St. # 200, 303-753-8800
Runner-up: James TravelPoints
Honorable Mention: Boulder Travel
Sure, AAA is first in the phone book. But it’s also first with Boulder Weekly readers when it comes to travel. Yes, the American Automobile Association has made a name for itself when it comes to handling all kinds of locomotion, whether by land, air or sea. They’ve got you covered whether you’re making a road trip back east to see Civil War battle sites, flying to Paris to sample the cafes of the Champs-Élysées or taking a whale-watching cruise to Alaska. When you get wherever you’re going, they’ll be happy to help you get a discount on a hotel and a rental car. They’ve got TripTiks to help you get where you’re going and TourBooks and CampBooks to show you what awaits you when you get there. And then there are the campgrounds and restaurants they rate, the gas stations whose prices they monitor, and their special vacation packages. They do all of this while still giving jump-starts, fixing flats and towing that car you just totaled.
1717 Walnut St., 303-938-1924
Runner-up: Rags Consignments
Honorable Mention: Savers
There was once a pair of pants that loved to be worn. These pants liked to attend concerts and hang out in coffee shops and go to baseball games. The pants didn’t mind that their owner would occasionally spill a beer on them or would often quickly remove the pants and throw them on the floor during clandestine romantic encounters. The pants just wanted to live la vida loca. However, one day the owner of the pants decided to buy new clothes, which made the pants feel unwanted. The pants hung morosely on a hanger for several months in the closet until they were taken to Buffalo Exchange. And a miracle happened. A young woman saw the pants hanging there amid other new and recycled fashions, and she thought the pants were sooooo cool. She bought the pants and began wearing them to concerts and coffee shops and baseball games. And in return, the pants made sure her butt always looked great.
Every year, thousands of pairs of pants suffer abandonment in Boulder County. To rescue these pants and other articles of used clothing, and perhaps pick up something new, visit the Buffalo Exchange.
Feather Thy Nest
1825 Pearl St. #B, 720-406-8781
Runner-up: The Bookworm
In America, we’re obsessed with new things. We live in the New World. We love that new car smell. We have geographical locations called New York, New Jersey and New Mexico. We idolize Wayne Newton and Paul Newman. There’s nothing wrong with things that are new, but let’s not forget the value of things that are used. An old baseball glove is much more effective than a brand new one. A new puppy is great, but an old dog doesn’t pee all over your kitchen floor. In an age where sustainability and recycling are more important than ever, shouldn’t we get over our obsession with new things and start learning the value of something that’s a little bit used? Feather Thy Nest offers a great selection of new, antique and consignment furniture and home décor for the shopper looking for something unique. The store also carries gifts and accessories, with new inventory arriving daily. If you’re looking to offer Grandma’s chest of drawers to someone who will appreciate it or hoping to find just the piece for that empty corner in the living room, our readers say visit Feather Thy Nest.
1661 28th St., 303-440-4448
Honorable Mention: North Boulder Video
Believe it or not, there was once a time in history when dinosaurs roamed the earth and home entertainment systems did not exist. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. During these dark days, Neanderthals painted crude pictures on cave walls of buffalo and VCRs. This was way back in the Paleolithic Era, also known as the 1940s. But things changed. First there came the age of the Betamax and then VHS, which has now become the age of the DVD and the Blu-Ray.
As you can tell by its name, Video Station has been entertaining folks since the day of the VHS. Talk about old school! They’re still in business because they have the most amazing selection of videos and DVDs anyone could imagine. Not only do they have all the latest films out of Hollywood, they also have obscure classics and indie movies that all true cinephiles should know and love. Their staff is packed with film geeks who know almost everything there is to know about movie trivia, and if you’re having trouble deciding on a movie, they make great recommendations. Don’t sit at home painting on your cave like a loser — visit the Video Station and join the 21st century.
1650 28th St. #1232, 720-406-5234
Honorable Mention: T-Mobile
There are many effective ways to communicate. You can talk or write or use sign language. If you’re a dog, you can go “woof woof” to tell your owner that little Timmy fell down an abandoned mine shaft. If you’re a bird, you can sing a song to your beloved. When we were children, we used to take a piece of string and connect two tin cans, which is extremely effective if the person you want to talk to is less than 20 feet away. However, in the adult world, sometimes we need to communicate with someone in Denver or New Jersey or Tokyo. And that takes a hell of a lot of string.
Verizon Wireless is where Boulder Weekly readers go when they want to communicate with each other and with the world outside our little, mountain enclave. They keep us connected to the emerging global landscape at a reasonable price, and they’re always thinking of innovative new ways to keep their customers happy. So unless you’ve got some cans and a crap-load of string at home, you might want to find out what Verizon has for you. A new Blackberry, perhaps?
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