The Read Queen in Lafayette is East County’s best bookstore and best new business
Deirdre Appelhans and Barbra Huntting, proprietors of The Read Queen in Lafayette, weren’t looking to open a bookshop; it was more like a twist of fate.
Appelhans walked into The Book Cellar in Louisville in early spring of 2019 and was told the bookshop was closing, the building had been sold and the owner was retiring. Appelhans was looking for a career change after two decades-plus in clinical academic research, and now an opportunity had appeared, as if summoned.
Appelhans shared her idea to relocate the inventory and reopen as a new incarnation with her friend Barbra Huntting, and “she wanted to get involved immediately as soon as she heard about it,” Appelhans says.
The two found their ideal location in Lafayette, a turn-of-the-twentieth-century building that once housed the town’s hardware store and lumberyard. “It wasn’t occupied, it hadn’t been used as a retail space before, so it needed down-to-the-studs remodelling,” Appelhans says.
But the location in Old Town Lafayette was ideal, and, Appelhans says, “the community had been wanting a bookstore for a long time. The building owners and the City of Lafayette and then the community of Lafayette were just so incredibly welcoming; it really facilitated us in our project.”
Work began on overhauling the building in October 2019, with tweaks like adding a cafe to the plan (“in case the books don’t sell,” Appelhans laughs) lengthening the construction phase. Then, in March 2020, with the bookshop still being remodeled, the pandemic hit. Supplies took longer to arrive. Crews couldn’t work simultaneously, and few people could work in the same building at the same time.
“We were just so scared,” Appelhans recalls. “Like, ‘Is this how it’s going to end?’”
But, she says, the community had been watching the project come together and was ready to support it. While The Read Queen couldn’t open its doors quite yet in May 2020, it began selling books through bookshop.org, a nonprofit website that allows independent bookstores to profit from online sales.
“That literally allowed us to pay our rent the first month, when the pandemic hit,” Appelhans says. “That was incredible.”
The Read Queen opened to the public on June 19, 2020, no grand opening, no advertisements. “It was just putting up a sign that says ‘open’ and hoping people found us,” Appelhans says. “And they did. It’s all been word of mouth.”
Fast-forward 16 months, and The Read Queen is firmly rooted in the Lafayette community. So much so that Boulder Weekly readers didn’t just name it the best bookstore in East County, but also the best new business.
This is due in part to the bookshop’s involvement in the community. There are book signings and author talks, sure, and occasionally live music in the expansive parking lot. But The Read Queen goes further, hosting children’s artwork on its windows for Lafayette’s Halloween window painting contest, and this coming February participating in a project where people write love letters and will hang them on the walls of The Read Queen.
The bookshop itself is a mix of new and used, less nonfiction than fiction on the shelves, a nice poetry section and an extensive children’s section, along with a unique selection of puzzles and gifts that Appelhans curates herself. “I do all the buying of all the books and all the merchandise in the store, so it’s really important to me to carry things that aren’t available on Amazon as much as possible.”
The Read Queen is a dream come true for Appelhans and Huntting, though actually reading a book cover-to-cover is off the table at this point, with both women working seven days a week, often 14 hour days.
“I’ll frequently go a month without finishing a book,” Appelhans says. “But I read about books. I talk about books with people all the time. And I think it’s maybe the best thing in the world to be talking with a customer about what they’re looking for, and finding something they’re not expecting—connecting that person with a great book is just fantastically rewarding.”
—Brendan Joel Kelley
BEST NEW BUSINESS
The Read Queen
129 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, 303-974-5978
The Read Queen
129 N. Harrison Ave., Lafayette, 303-974-5978
Longmont Winner: Barbed Wire Books
Louisville Winner: Little Horse Books & Vintage
Valley Subaru of Longmont
1800 Industrial Circle, Longmont, 720-539-7321
Broomfield Winner: Audi Flatirons
East Boulder Winner: Fisher Honda
We must say, we’d be surprised if our readers’ favorite new auto dealership wasn’t a Subaru dealer. When you live in a mountain town (or a mountain-adjacent town, as the case may be), that all-wheel drive, standard on every Subaru model, can be an absolute necessity. When you’re shopping for a new vehicle (2022 models are on the way!) chock full of the latest technology for your entertainment, comfort, and safety, BW readers think you should look to Valley Subaru of Longmont first. They’ll take your trade-in, help you get financed, even get you set up for a test drive via live chat on their website—Valley Subaru has your fix when you’re chasing that new car smell.
1325 Main St., Longmont, 720-340-4292
Gunbarrel Winner: Gunbarrel Import Motors, Inc.
Frederick Winner: Green Eyed Motors
Shopping for a used vehicle has only gotten more difficult over the course of the pandemic—chip shortages have led to dwindling supplies of new vehicles, which led to greater demand and higher prices for the automobiles still prowling the streets in good health. Those factors can be intimidating for the folks who need to go drop some dough on a pre-loved vehicle. Who can you trust? BW readers endorse Victory Motors in Longmont, where you can find (at the time of this writing) everything from a Buick to a Bentley, a Mazda to a MINI, with plenty of Chevys, Fords, Toyotas, Subarus, and many more from which to select your new chariot.
Louisville Tire & Auto Care
1190 Griffith St., Suite 1, Louisville, 303-665-4902
Lafayette Winner: Stan’s Automotive
Broomfield Winner: Christian Brothers Automotive
When your car or truck breaks down, or your old four-wheeled friend needs some help so it can pass an emissions test, you need a team of mechanics you can trust. At family-owned Louisville Tire & Auto Care—once again voted the best in East County by BW readers—you know you’re in capable hands. Open since 1993, Louisville Tire & Auto Care can help you with anything from routine maintenance to new tires, an oil change, serious engine work, brakes, and more, and they service all makes and models of cars and trucks. Call them today to learn for yourself why they’re named the best auto service year after year.
889 E. South Boulder Road, Louisville, 303-665-6343
Longmont Winner: Longmont Bicycle Company
Lafayette Winner: Foxtrot Wheel & Edge
Louisville Cyclery is justifiably proud of the fact it’s the oldest bicycle shop with the same owner over the years in Boulder County. In fact, the shop has been helping cyclists with their equipment since 1980, longer than many of its patrons have been alive. Their level of expertise is top-notch, which is why BW readers voted Louisville Cyclery the best in East County—but they’ve also got you covered when it comes to beginner cyclists or entry-level kids’ bikes. And while you’re certain to find the new mountain bike or BMX or e-Bike of your dreams, they’ll also service or repair your current ride, along with a broad selection of accessories to customize your two-wheeled steed.
1213 Ken Pratt Boulevard, Longmont
2025 Main St., Longmont, 720-491-3727
Lafayette Winner: 95th St. Car Wash
Louisville Winner: Speedy Sparkle Car Wash
When your car is looking shabby, you can feel shabby. But for just $5, you can shine your ride up real nice at our readers’ favorite car wash, Breeze Thru. With a couple of locations around Longmont, Breeze Thru makes it easy to stop in and get your car cleaned inside and out with a basic wash. Pay a little extra and get sealer wax, high pressure cleaning, and triple foam polish. Or go all out and get a “Premium Shine” including weather guard wax, wheel scrub, mag chloride remover, foaming pre-soak bubble bath, and ceramic sealant. Your car will be looking nice, and you’ll be feeling nice.
Pitter Patter Children’s Boutique
931 Main St., Louisville,720-485-3129
Longmont Winner: Once Upon A Child
Lafayette Winner: Sister Carmen
There’s a lot of guesswork involved in children’s clothing. Will little Susie like this shirt; will baby Beauregard spit up all over this onesie? The answers to these questions, and more, are “probably.” But you can take some of the work out of dressing children by buying high-quality clothes that kids will feel comfortable in and love wearing. Our readers say you can do that at Pitter Patter in Louisville. Whether you need to overhaul your children’s wardrobe or buy a one-off gift for a friend, don’t take any chances—head to Pitter Patter, where you know you’ll get something that’ll last.
Jax Outdoor Gear
900 S. Highway 287, Lafayette, 720-266-6160
Louisville Winner: Acme Fine Goods
Longmont Winner: Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply
For a Colorado guy, JAX Outdoor Gear is the ideal place to get clothes—it sells fashionable, durable and affordable clothes. Whether a guy needs something for a hike, something for the office or a heated hunting hoodie, our readers say JAX is the place to go. Boots? You betcha, JAX has those too, along with a wide selection of footwear for all occasions. Take it from our readers—when you need to update the wardrobe, menfolk, head to JAX.
Arc Thrift Store
1349 E. South Boulder Road, Louisville, 303-666-8060
Lafayette Winner: Goodwill
Louisville Winner: Found Underground Consignments
When you buy clothes at arc Thrift Store, you can feel good about both making a sustainable choice, and also about spending money with an organization that enhances the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. With multiple stores across Colorado, arc is the largest employer of people with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and many other intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state. Plus, these folks are tireless advocates for those in our community who need support the most. So shop with a good conscience at arc Thrift Store.
Eleanor and Hobbs
901 Front St., Suite 100, Louisville, 720-708-3016
Lafayette Winner: Due South
Longmont Winner: Fabulous Finds Upscale Consignment
Write-In: Ivy Rose
Ladies, we know there are plenty of big box stores where you can shop and find something to wear for that special event, work or just around the house. But why give your hard-earned money to people in corporate offices far away from where you live, work and play? With attention to detail, independently owned Eleanor and Hobbs curates a unique collection of clothing. So try new styles, trends, or buy the perfect gift at this locally owned and operated boutique.
Longmont Mac Repair
1600 Hover Street, Unit D-2, Longmont, 303-827-3131
Lafayette Winner: uBreakiFix
We’ve all been there: You’re putting the finishing touches on a project and that Pinwheel of Doom won’t go away until, boom, the screen goes black and the computer won’t turn back on. When this happens, our readers head to Longmont Mac Repair. A helpful staff is there to help you understand why your computer suddenly stopped working. And they’ll do it with speed and efficiency, which is why BW readers keep voting them Best Computer Repair in East County year after year.
305 McCaslin Boulevard, Suite 5, Louisville, 303-926-9120
Lafayette Winner: John’s Dry Cleaners
Longmont Winner: Francis Street Cleaners
Finding a good dry cleaner is no small feat. We’ve all had that favorite dress come back with spots, or a rip in grandma’s quilt. But that doesn’t happen with Continental Cleaners, our readers’ favorite East County dry cleaner. For more than two decades, this local shop has been serving the community with its quick turnaround, environmentally friendly policies and an ingenious flat rate per garment that makes it easy to know exactly what you’re getting into every time you drop off a load.
1640 Baseline Road, Lafayette, 720-438-0707
Longmont Winner: Ollin Farms
Erie Winner: Anderson Farms
Louisville Winner: 7th Generation Farm
Jason and Natalie Condon, the owners of Isabelle Farm, have farming in their genes. Jason’s family has been farming in Boulder County since 1859. Natalie spent summers in Switzerland working on her cousins’ dairy farm. The Condon’s bought property in East Boulder County in 2004, and have been growing organic produce and raising animals sustainably since 2005. With more than 80 varieties of produce, a farm stand (with online order available), and locally made soaps, pottery, beeswax candles and more, it’s no wonder our readers love Isabelle Farms.
103 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-9599
Louisville Winner: Old Friends
Lafayette Winner: The Purple Poppy
Finding the perfect gift can be tough, but not when you go to Cheese Importers. This reader favorite carries a unique and delicious collection of products from around the world. Choose from delicious cheeses, salamis, sauces, pasta, sweets, soaps, kid’s toys and more—there’s really something for everyone. You can go into the store, order online or call in a custom order. It’s pretty much your one-stop-shop for gift-giving.
Multiple locations, East County
Runner-Up: Sprouts Farmers Market
Second Runner-Up: Natural Grocers
King Soopers is a quintessential piece of most Colorado communities. You get to know the different stores around town, their layouts, the discounts . . . the staff. Sometimes you and the cashier chat about plans for the holidays, the deli manager knows exactly what kind of turkey you like, and there always seems to be an attendant in the parking lot ready to take your cart when you’ve finished loading groceries in the car. There’s comfort in the routine of going to your neighborhood King Soopers—it’s easy to take for granted. But in the face of so much hardship and uncertainty this year, we know we’ll never take that comfort for granted again.
1727 Main St., Longmont, 303-776-5173
Runner-Up: Jax Ranch & Home
Second Runner-Up: Home Depot
Ace Hardware has been a staple since its opening; it has multitudinous departments and nearly 200,000 items. With their expansive inventory and dedicated staff, there’s almost nothing they can’t do. From cleaning supplies to power tools, pet supplies, and even a plant nursery you can leave with your whole list checked off. When our East County readers have home improvement projects, Ace is the place.
500 Interlocken Blvd, Broomfield, 303-438-6600
Longmont Winner: Courtyard by Marriott
Niwot Winner: Niwot Inn
The Omni Interlocken is an award-winning hotel located in Broomfield, a convenient location between Boulder and Denver. It boasts panoramic views of the Rocky mountains and offers numerous onsite experiences and luxuries that will sweep you off your feet—our East County readers certainly feel that way. Take the time to ski at one of the many mountains located nearby, relax at the spa, play a round of golf at their 27 hole championship course or take a swim in one of their two heated pools. It’s the perfect destination for weddings, family getaways or simply for a much needed retreat. Their staff are dedicated to making your stay memorable and relaxing so it’s no surprise readers have voted the Omni Interlocken the Best of East County.
101 S Public Rd, Lafayette, 303-665-5313
Longmont Winner: Snyder Jewelers
Louisville Winner: Eric Olson Master Jewelers
Write-In Winner: Thalken
Anspach’s Jewelry was founded over 60 years ago by Glen and Dee Anspach and has continued to be a staple in the Lafayette community. They started their business based on the model “Our Sincerity is Your Security” to demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and service. They offer a wide selection of wedding and engagement rings, jewelry repair and custom designs. The store has since been taken over by the Anspach’s son and grandson, Graig Anspach and Ty Kuppinger, both of whom are accomplished goldsmiths and designers. They’ve carried on the store’s legacy of commitment to customer satisfaction and the production of quality jewelry, continuing to make Anspach’s jewelry the gem of Lafayette—just ask our readers.
Murgallis Law Firm
945 Front St, Louisville, 303-444-4353
Runner-Up: Law Offices of Peter M. Anderson
Murgallis Law Firm in Louisville lives by the motto “small firm—big commitment.” It’s the perfect way to summarize their work ethic and dedication to each and every client. They’ve represented cases from all kinds of backgrounds including family, civil, criminal and personal injury matters. They are committed to providing excellent service to all their clients and take on tough cases with expertise and assurance. Their work speaks for itself, and they are the perfect team to have in your corner when facing the daunting legal system. The votes are in and the people have spoken, Murgallis Law Firm has been designated the best in East County.
100 Superior Plaza Way, Suite 100, Superior, 303-499-6600
Longmont Winner: Wyatt’s Wet Goods
Lafayette Winner: Atlas Valley Purveyors
Superior Liquor is the perfect place to shop for quality wine, beer, and liquor at reasonable prices. Its staff is friendly and knowledgeable and can offer great suggestions and recommendations on both food and spirits. They have an outstanding customer loyalty program that gives you rewards with every purchase ensuring you’ll keep coming back. Check out fun suggestions like their wine blog, offering insight into the wine of the week’s origin and flavors. Moreover, they are deeply committed to the community and have been actively supporting charities and nonprofits within the community since they opened their doors in 2000.
Two Men And A Truck
12520 Grant Dr Ste 300, Thornton, 303-578-4017
Runner-Up: Johnson Storage & Moving
Second Runner-Up: Boulder Valley Transfer
Two Men and a Truck is a locally owned and operated moving company that’s been proudly serving the community since 1996. They are dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and satisfaction and to making sure your move is as stress-free as possible. Their staff are all full-time professionally trained employees. Their services include local moves, long-distance moving, package services, boxes and supplies, and business services. They’ve won countless awards for their services and professionalism and have a great customer service representative team that are always in your corner. For the next move, small or large, skip the hassle and call Two Men and a Truck.
500 S Arthur Ave., Suite 700, Louisville, 303-665-7733
Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Music
Longmont Winner: Jensen Guitars
There’s no better place for your rock and roll needs than Wildwood Guitars in Louisville. The staff is passionate about music and experts at what they do, and can provide you with the perfect gear whether you’re experienced or just starting out. They’ve got it all, from electric guitars to amps, acoustics, effects, and accessories. They also sell vintage and used guitars and gear in amazing shape. Make sure to check out their blog for insight into the best Fender amps, interviews with rock icons, new music recommendations, and more. If you’re thinking about getting some new gear, find out for yourself why readers chose Wildwood Guitars as the best in East County.
NATURAL FOODS STORE
1745 Main St., Longmont, 303-684-8200
Runner-Up: Sprout’s Farmers Market
Second Runner-Up: Whole Foods
Natural Grocers is a community grocery store that has been providing its customers with the highest quality produce, dietary supplements, body care, and free nutritional education for over 50 years. The produce is all 100 percent organic and is harvested using sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. They’re dedicated to seeing a better world, even if the changes have to happen on a small basis first. The store itself is dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint using green practices such as LED bulbs, motion detected lights, well-insulated buildings and using non-toxic construction materials. Whether the choices and changes are small or large, Natural Grocers are here to see them through. Their choices are impactful to the community both locally and globally.
615 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-6320
Longmont Winner: Eagle Vision & Eye Clinic
Lafayette Winner: Lafayette Eye Associates
Dr. Roffis has been helping folks in the Louisville/Boulder area correct their vision and maintain their eye health for over 30 years, which surely is among the reasons BW readers voted Eyeworks Louisville the best in East County. But getting the prescription right is just the start: Eyeworks Louisville also offers a vast selection of eyeglass frames at competitive prices, as well as contact lenses, and if your glasses need adjusted or repaired, they’ll help you with that too. When East County residents need help with their vision, it’s clear to see why they choose Eyeworks Louisville.
Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies
1200 S. Hover St., Suite 160, Longmont, 720-354-4940
Louisville Winner: BlackPaw
Lafayette Winner: The Happy Beast
When it comes to caring for our four-legged family members, only the best will suffice. At Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies, voted the best pet store in East County by BW readers, that means offering a wide selection of foods and treats for your loveable beasts, along with all the pet toys, beds, homes, and other paraphernalia necessary for your pets’ wellbeing and happiness. If your pet has a food issue, the knowledgeable associates at Chuck & Don’t will help you with a meal plan that works. Looking for all-natural pet food or alternative health remedies for your furry friend? They’ve got that too.
REAL ESTATE GROUP
724 Main St., Louisville, 303-974-5005
Runner-Up: RE/MAX Alliance
Second Runner-Up: 8z Real Estate
RE/MAX Elevate has been central to Louisville real estate since its founding in mid-2019. Its realtors have over 100 years of combined experience, and are active in Louisville, Boulder, Superior, Lafayette, and other Boulder County locales. With this level of commitment to customer service and long standing expertise, it’s no surprise Boulder Weekly members have voted RE/MAX Elevate the best of East County once again.
Brown’s Shoe Fit Company
373 Main St., Longmont, 303-776-2920
Broomfield Winner: DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
Lafayette Winner: Jax Outdoor Gear
Louisville Winner: Runners Roost
Brown’s Shoe Fit has been providing for all of Longmont’s foot-related needs since 1946. Located in the heart of downtown Longmont, the staff is knowledgeable when it comes to finding the perfect shoe for the whole family. Brown Shoe’s Fit carries a diverse selection of footwear including athletic wear, work boots, dress shoes and more. They offer the ability to customize each shoe including the choice to adjust the width and insert for the most comfortable wear. With their long standing expertise and commitment to their customers comfort, it’s no wonder our readers named them the best in East County.
Recycled Records LP
1067 S. Hover St., #C, Longmont, 720-291-7000
Louisville Winner: Little Horse Books & Vintage
East Boulder Winner: Sweetwave Audio
Recycled Records is a favorite among the audiophile community—their commitment to quality and diversity is what makes them stand out from the competition. Each record they acquire is cleaned by their ClearAudio Double Matrix UltraSonic cleaner to ensure quality sound for every customer. Furthermore, their collection is beyond impressive with over 100,000 vinyl records, 20,000 CDs, 40 turntables, and 15 receivers. There’s something for everyone here, with a large assortment of new and used vinyl with genres ranging from jazz, classical, rock and roll, and more. Make sure to stop by and speak to any of the friendly and knowledgeable staff about any of your audio questions.
Empire Storage of Louisville
1391 Empire Rd., Louisville, 303-604-1391
Longmont Winner: Clover Basin
Lafayette Winner: Elite Storage
Empire Storage of Louisville is a family owned and operated facility open seven days a week. It offers a number of different options for self storage but what truly makes it stand apart is the commitment to customer service. Knowledgeable staff members are on hand to assist customers with any questions or problems that may arise and personal property is given the utmost security. Each storage unit is equipped with state of the art security features including individual alarms for every unit, individual codes for gate access, and digital video surveillance throughout the facility. In addition, they carry dollies, U-Hauls, and moving and packing supplies to assist you with your move if needed. With this level of commitment, it’s no wonder readers voted Empire Storage the best of East County.
565 E. South Boulder Rd., Louisville, 720-985-4259
Longmont Winner: Tribal Rites
Lafayette Winner: Blackbird Ink
InkSmith is a tattoo and piercing shop located in Louisville. It offers a number of different services, including custom tattoos, piercings, little lobes (piercings for those 12 and under), full body waxing, and eyebrow tinting. They have a commitment to the quality of their work and their customer satisfaction. All piercings are safe, implant-grade jewelry that fits your personal style. Every tattoo, small or large, is customized until it reaches the customer’s satisfaction. The staff has an impressive number of years experience and is constantly expanding their knowledge and bettering their craft. If you’re searching for a new piercing or tattoo, look no further, InkSmith is the reader’s choice and their talent speaks for itself.
740 Highway 287 North, Lafayette, 303-248-5680
Longmont Winner: Big O Tires
Louisville Winner: Louisville Tire & Auto
Open six days a week, Discount Tire has on-hand expertise for all types of service including wheel and tire installation, rotation, balancing, repairs, and more. As for your winter needs, they’ve got you covered: Discount Tire carries the largest selection of snow tires and the best prices around. They’ll also help you buy and install new snow chains and tires or add studs to your tires for the best and safest traction. Their customer service is unrivaled and the reviews speak for themselves. That’s why, once again, BW readers voted Discount Tire the best in East County.
124 W Dillon Rd., Louisville, 303-666-6134
Longmont Winner: The Little Dog
Lafayette Winner: Smoker Friendly
Havana Manor is Colorado’s premier cigar lounge, offering a wide selection of cigars as well as a lounge to stay and enjoy yourself. Their prices range from $1 to $50, ensuring that every customer can find the cigar for them. As for equipping yourself, Havana Manor carries humidors, cutters, and lighters to fulfill all your cigar needs. If you need a safe place to store your stash, look no further, they also offer private humidified lockers to protect your cigars from the dry Colorado climate. If you want to hang out, Havana Manor offers lounges equipped with leather couches and flat screen TV’s to create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy your cigar. Simply put, it’s a tobacco lover’s paradise.
Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe
14644 Orchard Pkwy. #1000, Westminster, 303-815-1500
Longmont Winner: Atomic Goblin Games
Grandrabbit’s Toy Store is a specialty toy store with a wide range of educational and fun toys for any occasion. Lynne Milot founded the toy store in 1977 on the belief that every child should be prioritized on a global and local level. They have a deep commitment to their community and offer a wide range of events at many of their stores. Events include storytimes, game days, reading club programs and bunny bucks incentives. Additionally, in adherence to their belief that all children should be granted priority, Grandrabbit’s will donate toys and gift certificates to local qualifying organizations. Make sure to check them out to see all the wonderful things they’re doing for children and the community!