2560 28th St., 303-442-7309
Second Place: Pleasures Boutique
Journalism research does not have to be boring, mind-numbing work. Case in point: this blurb. Whoever said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” wasn’t researching Fascinations’ website. Trust us, it’s more like a thousand pictures are worth one word, “sexy.” And why not? Sex is good, sex is fun, sex after dropping a few bucks at this year’s winner, Fascinations, is even more fun … or at least more interesting … or maybe a little daring, but only if that’s what you’re into. These folks have it all when it comes to sex. They’ve got toys, bondage and fetish products, lingerie, lubricants, erotic books and videos and something called “electro sex.” Don’t know what that is? Might be time for a little research of your own. Note: Research at second-place finisher Pleasures is also not mind-numbing.
Arts and Crafts Supplies
2525 Arapahoe Ave., Unit D1, 303-443-1822%u2028
Second Place: Michaels
Third Place: Hobby Lobby
Fourth Place: Meininger
Fifth Place: Guiry’s Color Source
We all know the green vests, right? You walk into McGuckin Hardware, and you are surrounded by them. It’s not just that this store has everything in the world, it’s that there is always a knowledgeable staffer in a green vest who is ready to point you in the direction of what you need. And when it comes to arts and crafts, this incredible store seems to always deliver the goods, whether it’s for your kid’s school project or your own hobby. We love this place so much that sometimes we go there for groceries and forget that they don’t sell milk. Yet.
839 Pearl St., 303-444-4196
Second Place: Boulder Cycle Sport
Third Place: Full Cycle
Fourth Place: Bicycle Village
Fifth Place: Community Cycles
It’s 75 degrees outside, sunny, minimal wind — you know, typical Boulder weather. You just ate blueberry oatmeal and half a grapefruit and you’re ready to conquer Four Mile Canyon on your brand new Bianchi. You go to clip in but your bike sinks an inch; you’ve got a flat. Never fear, University Bicycles is here! Walk on down to the corner of Pearl and 9th and find a bike tube vending machine outside, just in case you got that flat at 7 a.m., and rows upon rows of rentals, commuter bikes, road bikes and custom builds. Whether you’ve been stoked to ride since you could walk or haven’t ridden a bike since before puberty, University Bicycles’ services and knowledgeable staff will get you pumped to pedal. What more could you ask for from Boulder’s best bike shop?
BOULDER BOOK STORE
1107 Pearl St., 303-447-2074
Second Place: Barnes & Noble
Third Place: Bookworm
Fourth Place: Trident Booksellers and Cafe
Fifth Place: Red Letter Secondhand Books
As devoted supporters of the written word, we have to admit that this particular category is near and dear to our hearts. Bookstores are a refuge from bright screens, a place where reading is a tangible activity and where knowledge has an inky, woodland smell. But before we get too sappy about our love of print, we have to recognize our fabulous winner, Boulder Book Store. The city’s largest independent bookseller is a staple in the community, with its extensive selection of local authors and inviting ambiance. And Boulder Book Store’s friendly staff is always eager to help the avid readers find a title or simply welcome tourists exploring the Pearl Street Mall.
2500 Pearl St., 303-443-1715
Second Place: Photocraft
Third Place: Costco / Target (tie)
Fourth Place: Walgreens
Once upon a time, in a land far away, people took photos with something other than their phones. Actually, a lot of people still do take photos with increasingly affordable and accessible digital cameras designed to make just about anyone look like a pro. And they also still look at photos on something other than a computer screen. So when you’ve got that National Geographic-worthy image, or even just a fantastic moment captured between your new niece and your grandmother, and you’re ready to see it printed and framed in all its glory, you’ll want to take it to Mike’s Camera.
Their photofinishing tones and custom effects can add some flair, and they’ll print on a variety of surfaces, including canvas, metal and even make life-size wall clings. Load your photos online and pick them up when you get an email that they’re ready. What could be better than that?
ALBUMS ON THE HILL
1128 13th Street, 303-447-0159
Second Place: Bart’s Music Shack
Third Place: Absolute Vinyl
In this day and age, it’s a damn shame that most kids get their music downloaded from iTunes or some other Internet music provider. Back in our day (you whippersnappers) we had things like records and eight-tracks and cassettes and even things you might remember called CDs. There was just something about going down to your local record store, flipping through the new releases and the used albums, finding a gem, opening the liner notes, feeling the physical accompaniment to your music as you listened. Albums on the Hill can still give you that feeling. Don’t lose it.
ROBB’S BOULDER MUSIC
2691 30th St., Boulder, 303-443-8448
Second Place: HB Woodsong’s
Third Place: The Drum Shop
Fourth Place: Wildwood Music
Fifth Place: Miller Music
Want to be a rock star? Many scores of Hendrixes-in-training have passed through the doors of Robb’s Boulder Music throughout the years, wide eyes staring at the walls of Les Pauls and Fenders. Acoustic guitar lovers have options galore, too, and for the gigging musician, Robb’s hosts luthiers — that’s a fancy word for a person who fixes stringed instruments — for both instruments and amps.
BOULDER SKI DEALS
2525 Arapahoe Ave., #E 10, 303-938-8799
Second Place: Christy Sports
Third Place: Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)
Fourth Place: Larry’s Bootfitting
Fifth Place: Neptune Mountaineering
Need a good wax job? Not that kind of wax job, the ski kind. If so, these guys have you covered. And while you’re dropping off the old slats for a tune-up, you might as well pick up a few things, like everything you can possibly imagine that has to do with snow sports. Boulder Ski Deals takes its name seriously, and carries pretty much everything and every brand you need to hit the slopes, from equipment to clothing to the best tune-ups in town. They also have a great kids program that lets you exchange gear annually as your little shredder grows. Our readers live to ski, so their opinion matters, and they say that BSD is the best around.
1740 30th St., 303-938-2889
210 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-485-5939
Second Place: The Apple Store
Third Place: Listen Up
Fourth Place: Car Toys
Fifth Place: Radio Shack
when you got your first record player? OK, we’re dating ourselves
here. How about cassette deck? CD player? And what are those newfangled
things called? Oh yeah, iPods. Well, regardless of what generation you
belong to, our voters agree that Best Buy has the newest
technologies, best prices and a friendly staff to help you figure out
how to work your new gadget, whether it’s a digital camera or a
flat-screen TV. And speaking of iPods, our runner-up, The Apple Store,
is a super-fun place to shop as well. It’s like a playground for
grown-ups. Without the swing set.
GRANDRABBITS TOY SHOPPE
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-0780
Second Place: Into The Wind
Third Place: PlayFair
Fourth Place: Karliquin’s Game Knight
Fifth Place: GameStop/Time Warp Comics (tie)
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that toy stores really are for kids, especially when anything giant, inflatable or equipped with lightning speed becomes a part of the equation. But the truth is, toy stores are for kids, and the kids are what it’s all about. Boulder’s own Grandrabbits Toy Shoppe has been putting kids first since 1977. And they don’t just stock the supplies to keep your favorite kids entertained and amused. For over 25 years, the toy store has been donating an average of $25,000 per year to Colorado schools. The toy store also strives to support parents in raising global citizens and to make all children — regardless of national origins — a global priority.
THE VIDEO STATION
1661 28th St., 303-440-4448
Second Place: Fascinations
Third Place: Blockbuster
Some video rental shops have endured the digital transition towards free entertainment. For the first-place winner, The Video Station, it could be because they’re an independent local business with an extensive selection. Although the Daily Camera reported in January that the Video Station was moving to East Boulder, an employee affirms that the Video Station is still in its 28th Street location, where it has been for 23 years. You can find movies you can’t find elsewhere, either online or at other video rental stores. And The Video Station’s selection of documentaries is especially impressive.
STAFF PICK: Skate Shop
1505 Pearl St., #103, 303-443-1245
For nearly a decade, Meta Skateboards has been dedicated to building and supporting the skateboarding community in Boulder County. If you’re new to town or just visiting, and you’re not sure of where the hot spots are for skateboarding and who to watch out for as your sliding down that rail, the good folks at Meta are more than willing to give you the lay of the land. They have great boards and everything you need to keep yours up and running.
STAFF PICK: Best Place to Get Supplies for a Love Letter
TWO HANDS PAPERIE
803 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-0124
I tell ya, the Broncos sure should trade up in the draft this year to get a cornerback, don’t you think? They might need to talk with the Dolphins in order to land… OK, gentlemen, now that there are no women left reading this, here’s what you gotta do if you need an old-fashioned adrenaline-shot-to-the-heart in your relationship: Go to Two Hands Paperie, buy yourself some awesome rubber stamps and hand-crafted stationery, write the sweetest, most darling love letter you can, buy a metal seal and some wax, seal that thing up, and voilą, you have yourself a love letter straight out of Jane Austen. Pair this with a fancy dinner downtown, and, well — you can thank us later.
STAFF PICK: Drum-Related Customer Service
THE DRUM SHOP
2095 30th St, Boulder, 303-402-0122
Most Boulder drummers have a special place in their heart for Billy Hoke, owner of The Drum Shop. He seemingly knows everyone in town, and for good reason: His store is the first stop on any local drummer’s list should something go wrong. Bust a head the day of your gig? Billy’s got many options to replace it, and he’ll even put it on your drum for free and give it a quick tune with his handy torque drill. Catch him after hours before he leaves and give him a good enough sob story, and he’ll probably wait a few minutes just to help you out of your jam. His shop is a fixture of the music community, and for good reason.