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Home / Articles / Special Sections / Best of Boulder /  Best of Boulder 2012: Retail (continued)
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Thursday, April 26,2012

Best of Boulder 2012: Retail (continued)

By Boulder Weekly Staff

Mattress Store

VERLO MATTRESS FACTORY STORE

3080 Valmont Rd., Suite 130, 303-447-1154

Second Place: Urban Mattress

Third Place: Denver Mattress Co.

Fourth Place: Mattress King

Fifth Place: Boulder Furniture & Mattress

Remember when a mattress was nothing more than a square box of padding that you stumbled onto at the end of the day? Unless, of course, you were an adolescent into black lights or a gold-chained, red-sports-car-driving, midlife-crisis male, in which case a waterbed was your bed of choice. The mattress was, without question, the single most boring and least thought about piece of furniture in the house. But that was before some scientist somewhere figured out that getting a good night’s sleep was as important to our wellbeing as food and avoiding asbestos.

Now our mattresses bend, fold, form to our bodies, adjust to our individual preferences for soft or firm, and even allow us to jump up and down on our beds without spilling wine. We’re not sure how that last one improves our lives, but it’s pretty cool. Wake up America, the mattress is boring no more, and our readers say that Verlo is their favorite place to improve their sleep lives.

Moving Company

TWO MEN & A TRUCK

6280 Arapahoe Rd., 303-443-9911

Second Place: Taylor Moving

Third Place: Moving Connection

Fourth Place: Boulder Valley Transfer

Fifth Place: A Boulder Moving Company

We hate moving, you hate moving. In fact, the experts say it rates as the third-most stressful experience we have to go through in our lives, trailing only a death in the family or divorce. This is why we so appreciate the companies in this category. If it weren’t for the good folks at companies like Two Men & a Truck and Taylor Moving, we might hate moving worse than our ex-spouses.

Just so you know, the reality of the winning company is that it now has a fleet of more than 1,400 trucks, not one, and more importantly, a 96 percent referral rate — the latter meaning that that “two men” clearly don’t do their hiring out of that pool of luggage abusers at the airport.

Natural Foods Store

WHOLE FOODS

www.facebook.com/WholeFoodsBoulder, 303-545-6611

Second Place: Vitamin Cottage

Third Place: Alfalfa’s

Fourth Place: Sunflower

Fifth Place: Boulder County Farmers’ Market

Boulderites love their natural, healthy food. Everything from fresh, organic veggies to tofu to local, lean meats top grocery lists. To the many foodies who call Boulder home, variety and selection are almost as important as the quality of the food itself. And this year’s winner for best natural foods store, Whole Foods, has it all. Whole Foods’ recent vast expansion on Pearl makes grocery shopping more of an experience than a chore. Patrons can enjoy gelato or sip on iced coffee while shopping, grab a vitamin-packed lunch-on-the-go, and sample everything from meats to cheeses to the culinary delights that the deli boasts. And the shopping experience culminates with the option of donating bag credits to the many charities — both local and international — that the company supports. Yeah, we’d say that visiting Whole Foods to stock up on natural, whole foods is a whole lot more than a chore.

New Business

ALFALFA’S

1651 Broadway, 720-420-8400

Second Place: Cured

Third Place: Spanish Institute

Fourth Place: Shine/Snooze (tie)

Boulder’s best new business was founded in the early 1980s. Alfalfa’s, as a concept, is about as new as the Walkman, but it’s Boulder’s best new business because it’s the best renewed business, having established its Broadway location in 2011 after the first iteration of Alfalfa’s consolidated with Wild Oats more than a decade ago. It’s a lot like when 28-year-old “rookie” Ichiro Suzuki, with nine years of experience in Japan’s baseball leagues, won rookie of the year in the U.S. Sorry, actual new guys.

New or just new-ish, Alfalfa’s is a much-loved Boulder spot for local, organic and sustainable groceries, as well as special events just about every weekend. No such mental time travel is necessary for runner-up Cured, Pearl Street’s specialty cheese, meat and wine shop that offers food classes, wine tastings, dinners and beer pourings.

Auto Dealer — New

LARRY H. MILLER TOYOTA BOULDER

2465 48th Court, 800-716-1724

Second Place: Fisher Auto Honda Kia

Third Place: Boulder Nissan

Fourth Place: Flatirons Imports

Fifth Place: Gebhardt Automotive

So you’ve been waiting to buy that new car because you’re just sure that RTD is going to make your commute all easy and fun with that new train of theirs. After all, you’ve been paying for that train for nearly a decade. Well, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that train has left the station … and it’s not headed your way. But don’t despair, they tell us that train will be ready to go sometime after 2042.

Here’s a suggestion for between now and then, since it’s likely that you’ll still need to get around over the next 30 or so years. Our readers think that buying a new car at Larry H. Miller Toyota Boulder is pretty painless. In fact, several said they found it a downright enjoyable outing. Miller Toyota Boulder must be doing something right; they won last year as well.

Kitchen Supply Store

PEPPERCORN

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Second Place: McGuckin

Third Place: Sur La Table

Fourth Place: Bed Bath & Beyond

Fifth Place: Savory Spice Shop

It is physically impossible to quickly zip in and out of this Pearl Street shrine with a gift for a friend. It’s far more likely that you’ll leave Peppercorn with 20 different hot sauces even though you’re allergic, a spectacular French press even though you don’t drink coffee, paisley print cloth napkins even though you don’t entertain, a marble cheese slicer even though you’re lactose-intolerant, and a lobster-shaped butter dish even though ... wait … never mind, that’s something you’d actually use. If you’re bored, it’s a great place to walk around and feel inspired. If you’ve got a broken heart, they’ve got a great knife selection for you to browse. If you’ve just fallen in love, it’s the perfect spot to create a registry (and then get dumped for moving way too fast).  Peppercorn too packed? Head over to runner-up McGuckin, where you’ll probably see the same kind of crowd, looking at a similarly awesome selection of items.

Optical Store

ASPEN EYEWEAR

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Suite E-23, 303-447-0210

Second Place: Wink Optical

Third Place: Boulder Vision Center

Fourth Place: Envision

Fifth Place: College Optical

Remember when wearing glasses was something that could get you punched in the face? Or at least made fun of? And then some haute couture designer decided that glasses could be sexy in addition to serviceable? It’s probably the greatest gift haute couture gave to the people. And if you want to get the latest in eyewear fashion trends in Boulder, our Best of Boulder voters recommend Aspen Eyewear. But if you’re going for weak eyesight incognito and are looking for contact lenses, which Aspen Eyewear does not offer, check out runner-up Wink Optical.

Pet Store

HUMANE SOCIETY OF BOULDER VALLEY

2323 55th St. Boulder

303-442-4030

Second Place: PetSmart

Third Place: PC’s Pantry

Fourth Place: Whole Pets

Fifth Place: Only Natural Pet Store

Not only does the Humane Society of Boulder Valley have a healthy selection of pet toys and treats in quite possibly the smallest retail space of all our winners, they’re also staffed with some of the sweetest folks around (most of whom are volunteers). And what Boulderite doesn’t love lavishing their four-legged friends with goodies, especially when portions of every sale go to help HSBV’s animal rescue efforts? It’s easy to be charitable, but difficult to choose from all the awesome items, especially when some of the treat bins are at snout-level, perfect for pilfering Fidos to reach while their owners’ backs are turned.

Real Estate Group

RE/MAX OF BOULDER

2425 Canyon Blvd., #110, 303-449-7000

Second Place: Wright-Kingdom

Third Place: Pedal to Properties

Fourth Place: Keller Williams

Fifth Place: Colorado Landmark

Real estate in Boulder County is a funny thing. Not funny ha-ha, but funny strange. We have the Boulder bubble, in which there are rich people, renters and not-rich people who just happened to buy their property like 40 years ago, when it was more affordable. Then, outside of the bubble, there is that layer of open space, and then there are the communities where the rest of us can afford to live, like the L-towns. Luckily, our home values haven’t plummeted as much as in a lot of other markets in the country. When it comes time to dealing with the county’s unique real estate dynamics, for the third year in a row, RE/MAX of Boulder has been crowned king. And rightfully so. In 2010, RE/MAX produced more than twice the number of listings and sales for residential and attached dwellings in Boulder and Broomfield counties than its closest competitors.

Flower Shop

STURTZ & COPELAND

2851 Valmont Rd., 303-442-6663

Second Place: Boulder Blooms

Third Place: Fiori Flowers

Fourth Place: Lafayette Florist

Fifth Place: European Flower Shop

Flowers make people happy. In fact, we’d all probably be a little bit happier if we were given or gave flowers a little bit more. Mood improvement through the good feelings that plants and flowers create is what Sturtz & Copeland specializes in. The locally owned florist and garden center is well known for its excellent service and award-winning selection of flowers and plants. Eight full-time designers are on hand to create gorgeous bouquets of fresh flowers for weddings, birthdays or simply a gesture of appreciation, love or friendship. Let this serve as an inspiration to buy someone you love some flowers soon. It’s sure to make you both smile a little bit brighter.

Shoe Store

BOULDER RUNNING COMPANY

2775 Pearl St., 303-786-9255

Second Place: Pedestrian Shops

Third Place: Two Sole Sisters

Fourth Place: Shoe Fly

Fifth Place: Famous Footwear

Being surrounded by Boulder’s excess amount of physically fit, healthy-looking people can make even the laziest person feel like they need to get out and go for a run. Boulder Running Company contributes to the active atmosphere in town with its wide selection of running, hiking and everything-in-between shoes. With free video gait analysis for customers and an attentive staff that seems to know pretty much all there is to know about foot transportation, the shoe store is a perfect fit for any sporty Boulderite.

Ski/Snowboard Shop

BOULDER SKI DEALS

2525 Arapahoe Ave., #E10 303-938-8799

Second Place: Christy Sports

Third Place: REI

Fourth Place: Larry’s Boot Fitting

Fifth Place: Neptune Mountaineering

Local favorite Boulder Ski Deals is known as the one-stop shop for everything ski/snowboard-related. It should come as no surprise that the best winter sports shop in Boulder is run by Specialty Sports Venture (a subsidiary of Vail Resorts), one of the premiere ski corporations in the biz. Shoppers there know they’re in good hands; not only is the staff knowledgeable and stoked about the product, but they’re selling it at reasonable prices. If you find your planks cheaper somewhere else, they’ll match it. Not ready to commit to the winter sports lifestyle? Swing by for your equipment rentals here.

Tattoo Parlor/Piercing

BOLDER INK

2735 Iris Ave. 303-444-7380

Second Place: Rising Tide Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio

Third Place: Tribal Rites

Fourth Place: Claw & Talon Tattoo/K&K Piercing (tie)

Need to get your girl’s name tatted on your neck? Or a self-portrait that you painted tatted on your back? This year Bolder Ink is celebrating 17 years in Boulder and another year as the best tattoo shop in town. The shop is home to excellent artists who do excellent work and will even help you by not letting you get terrible tattoos — like the previously mentioned ones — on your body (for your own and the shop’s sake). They will, however, let you pierce anything you want …

Rising Tide Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio has only been around since 2008, but is on its way up in the ranks, placing second in our survey.

Tire Shop

DISCOUNT TIRE

3215 28th St., 303-440-6811

Second Place: Barnsley Tire Co

Third Place: Big O Tires

Fourth Place: Tire Source

Fifth Place: Peerless Tyre Company

Well there are birds which fly in the air, seldom lighting, but often hovering. Now I think this is a question not to be hovered over, not to be brooded over, and not to be dealt with as an infinitesimal quantity of small things. It is a case calling for a manly admission and a manly defense. I ask again, if there is anybody else than Charles Goodyear who made this invention, who is he?”

—Daniel Webster, arguing for Charles Goodyear during his patent infringement trial in 1852

As you can see, from the very beginning, tires and the materials from which they are made have been embroiled in controversy. So it should come as no surprise that our “best of” voting in the tire shop category was close, with Discount Tire just edging out Barnsley as the readers’ choice for buying a new set of tires, Goodyear’s accidental gift to the world. We can only hope that the controversy that this category has stirred up in the populace doesn’t spill into the streets. Let’s cross our fingers.

Tobacco Shop

EADS NEWS & SMOKE SHOP

1715 28th St., 303-442-5900

Second Place: Johnny’s Cigar Bar

Third Place: Mile High Pipe & Tobacco

Fourth Place: Smoker Friendly

Fifth Place: The Fitter

Whether you’re a chain smoker, a cigar connoisseur or just enjoy an occasional Lucky Strike, you probably already know all about Eads News & Smoke Shop, the winner in this category once again. If you haven’t yet paid a visit to their walk-in humidor or pored over their wide selection of pipe tobaccos, cigarettes and cigars, perhaps it’s time to check out this veritable Boulder establishment. Plus, the largest selection of magazines and newspapers in Boulder County makes Eads a welcome retreat for those lamenting the decline of print media. In second place is Johnny’s Cigar Bar, the best place in Boulder to enjoy live music, a drink and a Montecristo.

Stereo/Electronics

BEST BUY

1740 30th St., 303-938-2889

Second Place: Apple Store

Third Place: Listen Up

Fourth Place: Absolute Vinyl

Fifth Place: Car Toys

Sometimes, the best place to get a car stereo, a big screen TV or accessories for whatever electronic devices you have is the biggest store with the most options. Even Boulderites can appreciate some convenience, and Best Buy provides that. Almost everything you may need to spice up your car or home sound system or update your out-of-date DVD player with a Blu-ray player is available at Best Buy. Even if you want to “think different” and get a PC, Best Buy has a slew of them. Second place, of course, belongs to the Apple Store, where everything you would need to have an Apple electronics-filled home is available.

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