Best of Boulder 2011 County – Retail




2560 28th St., 303-442-7309

Runner-up: Pleasures

Gone are the seedy, dimly
lit sex stores selling peep shows in the back room (unless you feel
like taking a trip down Denver’s Colfax, at least). The winner of this
category, Fascinations, scores major points for its décor and
fun selection. Bright lights and clearly defined sections ensure a
comfortable environment, while late hours guarantee that the perfect
toy, costume or naughtily shaped candy is available whenever the mood
strikes. The sales staff at Fascinations are walking encyclopedias of
sex, rattling off facts about every product in a professional,
attentive matter meant to stave off embarrassment and put you at ease.
Most of their stuff isn’t cheap, but the quality and the open
atmosphere are worth the extra few bucks. The runner-up spot goes to
Pleasures — a great name for a store that sells everything you could
desire to maximize your sensual fun.


McGuckin Hardware

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-1822

Runner-up: Michael’s

Any store that carries sketch pads, paintbrushes and beads can be considered an art supply store, so we were impressed when McGuckin Hardware’s
selection included a variety of plasters, wire and pottery supplies, to
name just a few examples. What really sets this hardware store’s art
selection apart, however, is that we can’t think of any other place
where you can pick up basic supplies, any kind of light to see what
you’re doing, drills and hammers to manipulate raw materials into new
and exciting forms, heavy-duty extension cords to take these provisions
wherever inspiration strikes, circular saws to cut up your work in an
artistic rage, staples and grout to put it back together, picture
frames to display it when you’re finished, mailing supplies so you can
ship it to your grandma, and shower heads to clean yourself up
afterward. For a more traditional arts-and-crafts experience, check out
our runner-up, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, which claimed third place.
Meininger took fourth place, while Guiry’s came in fifth.


Boulder Toyota

2465 48th Ct., 303-443-3250

Runner-up: Runner-up: Fisher


We all know cycling is
next to godliness, and EcoPasses are the coolest badges you can flash
after a CIA ID card. But this is America — huge, sprawling America. And
as hard as it is to admit, our public transit systems aren’t quite up
to snuff yet. RTD is awesome, don’t get us wrong, but most of us still
need to own a car. So unless you’re Will Toor, get yourself over to Boulder Toyota
for a hot ride at a screamin’ price. With all the latest models and an
expert sales staff, the folks at Boulder Toyota will make sure you
drive away in a car that’s perfect for you and your budget. Founded in
1968, runner-up Fisher Chevrolet/Geo/Honda/Kia offers lots of options
for the new-car buyer. Flatirons Acura/Subaru rolled into third (did we
use that joke already?), Gebhardt BMW/Isuzu/VW parallel-parked at
fourth and Pollard Jeep backed safely into fifth.


Fisher Chevrolet/Geo/Honda/Kia

6025 Arapahoe Road, 855-219-2886

Runner-up: Boulder Toyota

The great thing about used
stores of any kind is their variety. Used clothing stores carry just
about any brand, from the shi-shi to the thrifty. Thrift stores carry a
range of goods covering the usual (kitchen tables, old magazines,
lamps) to the bizarre (exercise equipment from the ’50s, heart-shaped
pancake molds, those faceless Amish dolls). At Fisher Chevrolet/Geo/Honda/Kia,
you will find a great selection of reliable, affordable used cars
backed up by more than 40 years of service in the Boulder community. As
you might have guessed from their name, Fisher deals in a number of
quality makers, perfect for the undecided, “I’ll know it when I see it”
type of car shopper. For all you Toyota lovers, there’s runner-up
Boulder Toyota (which also specializes in new cars). Third place goes
to Blue Spruce Auto Sales, fourth to Pollard Jeep, and fifth to Super


Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy

1647 Pearl St., 303-442-5164

(plus two other locations in Boulder)

Runner-up: Sephora

The care and keeping of
the body ought to align with the needs of the environment and
sustainability of society. After all, what you put on your body
shouldn’t harm your body — or anyone else’s. Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy offers
bath and body products designed to improve the natural beauty of
customers and the earth through wholesome, natural ingredients. The
business first opened in Boulder 11 years ago and has since expanded to
many different locations, sharing the relevance of alternative medicine
and holistic health care around the nation. Stores and home offices of
Pharmaca are run by certified practitioners and professionals and are
carbon-neutral, offsetting any waste in a manner that is
environmentally friendly. Boulderites preserve their natural beauty by
consuming Pharmaca’s socially conscious and aromatherapeutic products.
Brands that include Pharmaca’s own, as well as Jurlique, Dr. Hauschka,
Burt’s Bees, Alba and Avalon, are used to scrub, exfoliate and
moisturize the body to a state of health and radiance. Sephora, home to
beauty products of all kinds, including organic options, is our
runner-up. In third place is Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary, a downtown
Boulder mainstay. Bath and Body Works wins fourth place, and
ever-lovely Lush takes fifth.


Bart’s Music Shack

236 Pearl St., 303-444-1760

Runner-up: Albums on the Hill

When Bart’s CD Cellar and
Record Shop closed last year, Bart Stinchcomb, who founded the store in
1991 and sold it in 2006, returned to the music store business by
opening Bart’s Music Shack last summer. With the advent of MP3s
and iPods, the shop is put together on a smaller scale, selling used
CDs and vinyl dedicated to the hardcore music fan who still enjoys
feeling something physical in his or her hands and loves reading liner
notes. So if you still have a CD player or a turntable, Bart’s is the
perfect spot to find some classic tunes from yesteryear. The runner-up
is the renowned Albums on the Hill, a Boulder institution that is still
going strong, while Absolute Vinyl, which also opened last year, came
in third. The corporate stores, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy, came
in fourth and fifth, respectively.


Hoshi Motors

2504 Spruce St., 303-449-6632

Runner-up: Super Rupair

That strange sound coming
from the engine. Those squeaking brakes. That taillight that won’t come
on no matter how many times you change the bulb. Sometimes cars need a
little TLC. Our readers say that when it comes to caring for ailing
cars, Hoshi Motors is the best. The mechanics there can help
fix your ride with their high-touch service, whatever the problem. With
a reputation built on 22 years of quality work, they’re a company our
readers trust. The runner-up is Subaru specialists Super Rupair (and,
yes, the name is spelled right!). If you don’t own a Subaru or want to
trade yours up, they also buy and sell used models. Also check out
third place 28th Street Garage. Swedish Motors came in fourth, and
Chan’s Foreign Car won fifth.


University Bicycles

839 Pearl St., 303-444-4196

Runner-up: Full Cycle

There are more than 300
miles of sprawling asphalt lanes, concrete routes and mountainous dirt
trails within Boulder’s city limits, so it is no surprise that
thousands of parked bicycles can be found lining the streets on any
given day. This town runs on bikes, so if you haven’t hopped on yet
(pardon the pun), head to University Bicycles to buy, rent or
tune up. The oldest bike shop in town, University Bicycles has the
inventory and the expertise to send you on your way with the perfect
match to hit the trails. There is certainly no shortage of options for
finding a ride in Boulder. Stop by runner-up Full Cycle for an expert
staff of commuters and racers alike who have spent an average of 10
years in the business. There’s also Boulder Cycle Sport, which was
founded by two CU grads in 2005 and came in third. Rounding out the
category are fourth place Bicycle Village and fifth place Community


Boulder Book Store

1107 Pearl St., 303-447-2074

Runner-up: Barnes & Noble

A Pearl Street Mall staple, the Boulder Book Store
receives this year’s honor of best bookstore in the county. Its
comfortable atmosphere and vast collection of volumes keep visitors
enthralled for hours as they navigate through the shelves looking for a
good story — and every accessory that might go with it, from bookmarks
to reading lights. Established in 1973, the store has a unique sense of
local pride and history, with an historic upstairs ballroom that hosts
more than 150 author events each year. The attached Bookend Café is a
great spot for avid readers to settle in with a thick book and a cup of
coffee, taking in the sun and the sights on a warm Boulder afternoon.
Barnes & Noble — with its cozy fireplace — takes second place in
this category, followed by a used-book lover’s paradise, Bookworm. West
end favorite Trident Booksellers and Café takes home fourth place, with
Lefthand Books in fifth.


Mike’s Camera

2500 Pearl St., 303-443-1715

Runner-up: Wolf Camera

Nothing makes a Boulder
hipster weep like an SLR slipping from the back of a fixed-gear
bicycle. When disaster strikes with a shattered lens, fractured
aperture thread or distorted film, Boulder mothers, students, hipsters
and even professional photographers turn to Mike’s Camera for
solutions. Mike’s Camera first opened in 1967 and has since expanded
into three superstores, solving Colorado’s camera needs every day of
the week. The knowledge and precision of its employees is what sets
Mike’s apart from other camera retailers and repair shops. Questions
are answered in a concise manner and repairs are explained in thorough
detail, in part because every staffer must maintain their status as a
Certified Photographic Consultant throughout their employment. Boulder
has long agreed that Mike’s Camera is the best source for moral support
in purchasing or remedying visual technology. Wolf Camera takes
runner-up, and third place goes to Photo Craft Laboratories. One Hour
Photo Express nails fourth and Costco grabs fifth.


Atlas Flooring

4920 28th St., 303-442-3221

Runner-up: Ellie’s Eco Home Store

We were going to make a clever Atlas Shrugged reference here, but in the end decided that Atlas Flooring’s
quality, selection, service and many years of customer satisfaction
could speak for themselves. (Besides, Rand can be kind of a downer.) So
if you’re looking for tile, carpet, wood, tiles, cabinets or pretty
much anything a dedicated DIYer needs for a home improvement project,
Atlas Flooring is nothing to shrug — we mean sneeze — at. Founded in
1958, Atlas Flooring has been providing great customer service for
longer than many of us have been alive, and if you’re the picky type,
they have thousands of flooring samples on display. A good floor should
last a lifetime, after all, and no one wants to be stuck with crummy
carpet or terrible tile. For those of you who want a “green” floor in
just about any color, stop by runner-up Ellie’s Eco Home Store before
they close May 7, or third-place finisher Go Green Flooring. Carpet
Exchange and Boulder Stove and Flooring round out the top five in
fourth and fifth places, respectively.


Eads News & Smoke

1715 28th St., 303-442-5900

Runner-up: Johnny’s Cigar Bar

While smoking rates have
been steadily declining and many people have turned to running, biking
or other stress-relieving outlets, some of us still enjoy the
occasional smoke break. The hands-down winner for Boulder’s best
Cigar/Cigarette/Tobacco Shop is Eads News & Smoke, the
perennial winner in this category. The store’s selection is wide enough
for a regular smoker who’s always looking to try something new, but it
is also a good place to pick out the occasional celebration cigar or
pipe tobacco for your grandfather. In our modern age, we can get almost
any information imaginable online, which is what makes Eads News &
Smoke’s variety of newspapers and magazines unique. It specializes in
the tangible: a paper in your hand and the smell of cigars and pipe
tobacco in your nostrils. Johnny’s
Cigar Bar is our runner-up this year, while Mile High Pipes &
Tobacco took third place. Smoker Friendly came in fourth place, while
fifth place was claimed by Barlow’s Premium Cigars & Pipes.



1805 29th St., 303-449-4575

Runner-up: Coldwater Creek

Colorblock silk, painterly
jersey, and beaded chiffon — oh, my! While the array of styles,
abundance of charming knickknacks and that intoxicating aroma may seem
like heaven, this oasis is real at Anthropologie. The
best part? Clever uses of elastic and ties hidden among tops and
sundresses alike assure that you’ll find options that fit perfectly and
are remarkably comfortable no matter what your style. Distinct touches
from whimsical (yet completely practical) merchandising to what-to-wear
checklists mean you’ll be ready to put all of your finds to everyday
use, which is kind of the whole point, right? Look for future closet
staples at our runner-up, Coldwater Creek, or channel your inner
hipster at third-place winner Urban Outfitters. For true Boulder style
be sure to check Patagonia, which took fourth, or fifth-place winner


Recreational Equipment Inc., (REI)

1789 28th St., 303-583-9970

Runner-up: Patagonia

Guys, don’t believe the
recent spate of Hollywood rom-coms: slacker guys in grubby jeans and
wrinkled T-shirts do NOT get to go out with women like Gwyneth Paltrow
and Jennifer Aniston. We’re not sure what happened to movies between
the days of Cary Grant and Seth Rogen, but here in the real world,
women still prefer a guy who knows how to dress himself. No one wants
to be seen with a guy who looked like he slept in a hamper. So if you
want to set your sights a little higher than the stoner chick with no
style, stop by Recreational Equipment Inc., aka REI. It makes
complete sense that a store selling outdoor gear and clothing would be
tops in this town — the fittest in the country. In Boulder County,
fitness is fashion. Visit REI, and you’ll not only look good, you’ll be
ready for some outdoors adventures, too (always a plus when it comes to
impressing the ladies). The same can be said of runner-up Patagonia,
another man-friendly shop that can get you looking sharp. To add some
more variety to your wardrobe, check out third-place finisher Weekends,
fourth-place Buffalo Exchange and fifth-place Urban Outfitters.


Rocky Mountain Kids

2525 Arapahoe Ave., #H12a, 303-447-2267

Runner-up: Childish Things

Kids grow up so fast, and
kids clothing is so cute that it’s truly a shame when they grow out of
that darling skirt or adorable little vest. It’s enough to make you
want to have more children, just so that wardrobe gets used again and
again. Most of us aren’t the Duggars, though, and having a huge brood
isn’t really an option. Instead, just do your shopping at family-owned
and -operated Rocky Mountain Kids, home of cuter-than-cute
fashion for all ages. And while it will still be hard to part with that
party dress that no longer fits, finding a replacement outfit couldn’t
be easier — or more fun. Runner-up Childish Things can make your little
one lovely, too, and be sure to check out Ginger & Pickles and
Poppy, which tied for third, as well as fourth-place finisher Little


The Ritz

959 Walnut St., 303-443-2850

Runner-up: Candy’s

Kids are so lucky. They
get to play dress-up any time they want. Adults, on the other hand,
have to wait for a special occasion — Halloween, costume party, bank
robbery (just kidding!). But with all the cool costumes, props and
makeup at The Ritz, you just might find yourself making a few more excuses to don a scary mask or a ridiculous wig. A new Pirates of the Carribbean
movie is coming out? Pirate-themed party! Turner Classic Movies is
having a James Bond marathon? Sixties-style martini party! Arbor Day?
Trees-and-lumberjacks party! OK, some excuses work better than others.
But whatever your occasion, The Ritz is the place to go when in need of
costumes or other fun attire. Runner-up Candy’s has an impressive
collection of costumes as well as clothing. Third place goes to
Theatrical Costumes, fourth to Savers (a great place if you feel like
getting creative) and fifth to Goldmine Vintage.


Apple Store

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Runner-up: Best Buy

With the increasingly
growing number of Apple products seen throughout Boulder, the best
place to buy these technology-driven gadgets is at the source directly.
The Apple Store offers friendly and fast service from
knowledgeable employees. The store is basically a toy store for adults,
and it is nearly impossible to walk in without playing with some sort
of new and exciting computer feature. Consumer beware: When you decide
to make a “quick stop” at the Apple Store, you may become inclined to
buy yourself a sleek new iPad or a miniature iPod. Prepare yourself.
For a wider range of computer products, the second-place winner Best
Buy is also a great place to purchase a computer, whether it is a
Macintosh or a PC. The Mac Shack, located on University Hill, is a
convenient place for students to buy Apple products and accessories and
was ranked in third place by readers. PC Brokers Boulder got fourth
place, while fifth place went to Office Depot.


Apple Store

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Runner-up: Mac Shack

Way back in the days of
the cavemen, people didn’t need specialized repair shops. Your tools
were something like a stick, a bigger stick and (if you were lucky)
some rocks. If your stick broke, you found another. If you lost your
rock, ditto. Those simpler times can sound very appealing when our
present-day, high-tech gadgets start giving us trouble. There are few
things more frustrating than a computer that doesn’t do what it’s
supposed to — or stops doing anything at all. But instead of going back
to living in caves and wearing animal skins, just take your modern
problems to the Apple Store, and they’ll have you back up and
running in no time. You can make an appointment for your ailing Mac
with the geniuses at the Genius Bar. They’ll tell you straight up if
your computer needs to be sent in for repairs — or whether you need a
new one. Ah, civilization. If you’re on the Hill and have a computer
crisis, stop by runner-up Mac Shack. Third place goes to Boulder Mac
Repair (are you seeing a theme here?). PC users can check out
fourth-place Boulder PC and fifth-place PC Brokers.


Weaver’s Dive & Travel Center

637 S. Broadway, 303-499-8500

Runner-up: Ocean First

Colorado is known for many
things, but great beaches and oceanfront views are not among them. It’s
got to be hard having a hobby like scuba diving or snorkeling when you
live in a land-locked state. On the other hand, it’s the perfect excuse
to take vacations to exotic tropical locales. After all, how can a
skier justify a $1,000 plane ticket to Europe when we have such great
resorts practically in our backyard? Divers planning their next — or
first — trip to the Bahamas have a great resource at their disposal: Weaver’s Dive & Travel Center.
In addition to diver education, they offer full-service travel planning
and equipment. And despite our arid, ocean-less landscape, Boulder
County has two more great dive shops: runner-up Ocean First and
third-place Flatirons Scuba.


Sturtz and Copeland

2851 Valmont Road, 303-442-6663

Runner-up: Fiori

Catching the bouquet for this year’s Best Flower Shop award is Sturtz and Copeland,
a company that has been a part of the Boulder community since 1929. The
flower shop creates arrangements for all occasions, ranging from modest
planted perennials to extravagant wedding table centers and bouquets.
But the employees at Sturtz and Copeland are more than just florists;
they are a group of green-thumb enthusiasts who also work to maintain
the company’s garden center, which includes a greenhouse. For those of
you who are able only to keep plants alive for as long as the lifespan
of your average carnival goldfish, these horticulture experts are full
of information on everything from fertilizer to garden maintenance.
Runner-up this year is Fiori Flowers with their chic centerpieces, and
third place goes to Boulder Blooms. Lafayette Florist picks up fourth
place, and Art of the Flower wins fifth.


Art Cleaners

2610 Baseline Rd., 303-499-7030

Runner-up: Environmental Cleaners

Boulderites have never
been afraid to put in a little extra effort to make their everyday
lives a little greener. It’s no surprise that Boulder’s top-voted dry
cleaners incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their
work. This year, readers voted Art Cleaners as their favorite
place to drop off their slightly worn or all-out filthy clothes. The
company has been finding new ways to get the stains off of your
favorite garments since its founding in 1921, most recently by
converting to a GreenEarth Cleaning system. It also offers free pick-up
and delivery, so you can save yourself an errand and spend more time
getting your clothes dirty again. Taking second place this year is
Environmental Cleaners, while third place went to John’s Cleaners.
Readers put Boulder Cleaners in fourth place, while fifth place was
claimed by Dependable Cleaners.


Ellie’s Eco Home Store

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-952-1004

Runner-up: Patagonia Boulder

We are mourning the May 7 closure of the winner in this category, Ellie’s Eco Home Store,
where customers could be confident they were being green and saving
green. And they could even be painting green — in shades of Chile
Verde, Sweet Basil and Tavern Green, to be exact. Ellie’s Eco Home
Store has had the products necessary to build — and fill — a completely
eco-friendly house, right down to the mattress. The store has only been
open since 2010 and knew how to cater to a Boulder audience. Ellie’s
selection and prices gave them a nudge over runner up Patagonia
Boulder, the organic outfitter on Pearl that stocks clothing for the
Boulder outdoor enthusiast, as well as travel (and surfing!) gear for
our adventures away from home. Coming in third place was Rebecca’s
Herbal Apothecary, and in fourth place is Only Natural Pet Store.
MomentuM came in fifth place.


Munson Farms

Valmont Road and 75th Street,


Runner-up: Haystack Mountain

Goat Dairy

In Boulder County, where
environmental consciousness is a badge of pride, farms have steadily
amassed a large following of earth-loving devotees drooling at the
thought of locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers. If the improved taste
isn’t enough to convince you to join the herd, then there are numerous
economic, political and environmental reasons to purchase produce and
other products from a local farm the next time you go grocery shopping.
Munson Farms gets our readers’ nod for the second consecutive
year. Though they sell a variety of veggies and herbs, they are most
famous for their peaches-and-cream corn, which, when in season, tastes
like the kernels of the gods themselves. Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy
is this year’s runner-up. Abbondanza came in third, and Cure Organic
and Boulder Community Gardens tied for fourth. Anderson Farms got fifth.


American Furniture Warehouse

Mutliple locations,

Runner-up: Clutter Consignment

Up until you graduate from
college, and maybe — maybe — for a few years after that, you can get
away with using Craigslist to decorate your home or apartment. There
comes a time, however, when it’s time to upgrade. Cinder-block chic
doesn’t really hold up well when you’ve got a steady job and some
actual grown-up taste. For more selection than the average human mind
can comprehend, truck on over to American Furniture Warehouse,
which is even bigger than the name implies. From foyer to family room,
AFW has everything you need to give your home a makeover at a
reasonable price. Also check out runner-up Clutter Consignment, or pop
into third-place HW Home on Pearl Street. Fourth-place Concepts and
fifth-place Woodley’s also offer a good selection of furniture so that
your living room pieces actually match.


The Peppercorn

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Runner-up: Bliss

Buying the perfect gift
can be the biggest headache, and choosing something that won’t have the
recipient requesting a copy of the receipt can be tricky. Luckily, the
seemingly infinite selection of trinkets, kitchen tools and nosh at The Peppercorn makes
this a much more manageable task. Whether choosing coasters, plates and
table linens for that hostess with the most(ess); or selecting
innovative tools, cookbooks and barbecue sauce for the master griller;
or spoiling yourself with a new espresso machine; you’ll find
everything under the sun at this Pearl Street haven, truly a Boulder
institution. For an array of artistic stationery, jewelry and home
accessories, stop by our runner up, Bliss, on the east end of Pearl
Street Mall. There is no better place to pick up one-of-a-kind items
crafted by local artisans than third-place winner Art Mart. Jacque
Michelle won fourth place, while Boulder Arts & Crafts took fifth.


Whole Foods Market

2905 Pearl St., 303-545-6611

Runner-up: Sunflower

As a culinary phrase,
“food porn” was first penned in part by Chef Jim Lahey in 1996. The
term refers to the astounding and inspiring visual presentation of
dishes and products that can provoke — almost compel — one to eat. Whole Foods Market,
with its recently renovated and expanded Pearl Street location,
embodies the term perfectly. Both foodies and health nuts can find
solace in the brightly colored and well-organized aisles of this huge
market. Produce and grocery items are only part of the experience here,
since a hot bar and salad bar offering food priced by the pound, a
deli, a bakery and a sushi station are among the many options.
Second-place Sunflower has a similar, health-conscious mission coupled
with affordable prices. Third place goes to King Soopers, and Vitamin
Cottage comes in fourth. Ideal Market rounds out the group in fifth


McGuckin Hardware

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-1822

Runner-up: Home Depot

Was there any doubt who would win this category? In 1955, McGuckin Hardware
opened its doors with only four employees and a mission to offer
personalized service and experience. Today, with nearly 300 employees
and a store covering more than 60,000 square feet, it is no secret that
McGuckin Hardware has everything you possibly could need — and then
some. Just know that when you walk into the store for a box of nails,
you will probably walk out with a wall clock, pet shampoo and the metal
walking stick that you just had to have. Second place went to
Home Depot, a hardware store that will likely have every item you need
for your current project, and a knowledgeable employee who can tell you
the exact parts you will need for your future home improvement plans.
Lowe’s got third place, while Guiry’s Color Source took fourth place.
Readers gave Table Mesa Hardware fifth place.


The Peppercorn

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Runner-up: Clutter Consignment

Cooking and home decorating enthusiasts alike will find The Peppercorn to
be the mecca of all things domestic. If Martha Stewart lived in
Boulder, this is where she would hang out. There is simply no other
store offering the same selection and aesthetic appeal of this Pearl
Street staple. From top-quality pots, pans and pasta-makers to
hard-to-find cookbooks, table linens and kitchen gadgets, this store
has everything. Don’t get too caught up downstairs, though. There’s a
second floor, showcasing the best of bedroom couture. If you’re looking
more for large furniture items, head to second-place winner Clutter
Consignment, where inventory changes daily. Third place goes to
American Furniture Warehouse, with HW Home in fourth and the Amazing
Garage Sale in fifth.


Mr. Pool

2347 South St., 303-443-0821

Runner-up: Mountain Mist

Hot tubs are the picnic of
pools. Sure, you could just take a really hot bath indoors, just like
you could eat your meal indoors at a table like a civilized person. But
where’s the fun in that? Your friends certainly can’t join you. Ever
tried drinking beer and playing poker with six other people in your
tub? We didn’t think so. If you’re ready to turn your hot soak into a
party for 10, talk to Mr. Pool. They’ll get you set up and
leave your neighbors suffering from hot-tub envy. Runner-up in this
luxurious category is Mountain Mist, with Heat Wave Stove & Spa
taking third, Quality Pools & Spas in fourth and our bon ami International Hot Tubs taking fifth.


St. Julien Hotel & Spa

900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696

Runner-up: Hotel Boulderado

Boulder has a lot of
natural beauty. But when you’re from out of town and you’re not used to
the winter cold and the lack of oxygen in the mountain air, sometimes
it’s best to just relax and admire the view through your hotel window.
This year, readers voted St. Julien Hotel & Spa as
Boulder’s best hotel, where even locals and die-hard outdoor types love
to book a room. St. Julien is known for luxury in all aspects, from the
spa to the pool to the food to the suites and guest rooms themselves.
The hotel also features a venue with regular musical performances,
including some notable jazz acts, and the T-Zero Lounge offers
signature martinis, cocktails and more. Taking second place this year
is Hotel Boulderado, while third place went to Boulder Outlook Hotel,
known for being the city’s first zero-waste hotel. Readers voted
Chautauqua’s rental cottages in fourth place, while fifth place was
claimed by Boulder Marriott.


Way to Grow

6395 Gunpark Dr., 303-473-4769

Runner-up: Boulder Hydroponic

Reading about all of the
homesteading, urban farming and backyard chicken-raising going on, it’s
no wonder apartment dwellers are feeling a bit left out. With no yard,
let alone a spare half-acre or so, what’s an urbanite to do? Sure,
there’s always the farmers’ markets for getting local, organic fruits
and veggies, not to mention community supported agriculture. But when
you want to get your hands dirty (or at least wet), only growing your
own produce will do. That’s where Way to Grow comes in,
bringing farming indoors for all of us living in 700 square feet or
less with nary a plot of land to our name. With proper lighting, a
little care and some patience, you can be your own Johnny Appleseed (on
a slightly smaller scale, of course). Runner-up in this growing
category (sorry, we couldn’t resist) is Boulder Hydroponic. Third place
goes to the Candy Shop, fourth to Lyons Indoor and fifth to One Love.


The Nail Studio Boulder

3280 28th St., 303-444-4841

Runner-up: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary

Independent businesses are
the lifeblood of our country, the American dream embodied in personal
ownership. Independent businesses put money into the local economy
instead of shipping it out of state and give a town a unique flavor.
Boulder County has strong independent businesses from Boulder to
Longmont, and the competition in this category is fierce. The Nail Studio Boulder wins
this year. It offers manicures, pedicures and private parties for
weddings, events and just because. Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary, known
for its quirky, natural products and classes, is this year’s runner-up.
Note that this category is write-in only, and The Adventurous 500,
Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt, MomentuM and Boulder’s only independent
newspaper tied for third place. And if you don’t know which paper that
is, here’s a hint: You’re holding one of its publications.


Angie Star

1807 Pearl St., 720-565-0288

Runner-up: Hurdle’s

In the Twilight Zone
episode “The Rip Van Winkle Caper,” four men steal $1 million in gold,
and then cryogenically freeze themselves for 100 years, figuring by the
time they woke up, no one would even remember the robbery and they’d
get away scot-free. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to them, scientists
had created a way to manufacture gold in the intervening century,
rendering the bandits’ haul worthless. Gold is, of course, still
valuable in our time. But mining for it is very destructive to both
people and planet. Angie Star Jewelry, a team of professional
jewelry designers, craft beautiful jewelry from ethically sourced
metals and materials, and they also offer custom-made jewelry, as well
as classes for anyone interested in jewelry making. The result is a
store filled with truly unique pieces that reflect the buyer’s
personality without harming the environment. Hurdle’s Jewelry is the
runner-up in this lovely little category, Walter’s & Hogsett Fine
Jewelers is third, Art Mart is fourth and Boulder Arts & Crafts is


The Peppercorn

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Runner-up: Bed Bath & Beyond

Adults love playing with
stuff as much as your average child, but since it’s not so acceptable
to openly admit such, we created the word “hobby.” And what good is a
hobby if you don’t have awesome toys? Cooking is the number one hobby
for many of us these days, and for all of your culinary needs, check
out The Peppercorn, which readers deemed the best place around
town to stock your kitchen. From ultra-sharp German knives to anodized
aluminum pans, Peppercorn has everything you need to give Emeril
Lagasse a run for his money. Check out their enormous bookshelf full of
different bottles of hot sauces if you’re looking for something to kick
your food up a notch. Runner-up Bed Bath & Beyond is another viable
option, and Savory Spice, What’s Cooking and Chef’s Mart rounded out
the third-, fourth- and fifth-place spots.


Christina’s Luxuries

2425 Canyon Blvd., 303-443-2421

Runner-up: Victoria’s Secret

Despite what Victoria
might be alluding to, it’s no secret that ladies love lacy things.
Shopping for them, however, is an entirely different matter. Christina’s Luxuries remains
Boulder’s only independent business that specializes in fitting ladies
in lingerie, and helping their partners distinguish between the
elusively named g-string and v-string. Boasting high-end brands like La
Perla and Simone Perele, Christina’s Luxuries has been open for 31
years in Boulder, battling the economic downturn that plagues so many
small businesses with the knowledge that sexy is sustainable. The store
began exclusively as a lingerie retailer, but has since expanded to
carry fashions as well. Dresses by designers like Nicole Miller and
Fresh Laundry are there to cover up Boulder before revealing what’s
beneath that little black dress. For something for everybody, check out
America’s lingerie staple and Boulder’s second favorite, Victoria’s
Secret, in the Twenty Ninth Street mall. Fascinations can put on a
pretty third-place ribbon, and Naughty But Nice can dress up (or down)
to celebrate fourth place. Newcomer BoulderFields, specializing in
helping women who have been “blessed by the chest fairy” to find the
perfect fit, takes fifth.


Liquor Mart

1750 15th St., 303-449-3374

Runner-up: Superior Liquor

For every devotee to the
devil’s drink, a trip to the liquor store is like a trip to the candy
store — a giant, liquid candy store you need to be 21 to enter. Size
matters here, and there’s no one in town remotely close to Liquor Mart,
Boulder’s first stop for sauce. With a massive selection of every type
of alcohol imaginable, from 18-year-old scotch to saffron-infused
liqueur, Liquor Mart’s 30,000-plus square feet of retail space is bound
to have the most obscure alcoholic beverage you could possibly want.
Their massive beer fridge boasts some outstanding regional obscurities,
from the yeast-free Lambic beers of Belgium to the latest creation from
the mad beer scientists of Boulder’s Avery Brewing Company. Runner-up
Superior Liquor earns reader accolades through its great selection and
personable service. Boulder Wine Merchant takes third this year, while
readers voted Pettyjohn’s fourth and Boulder Wine & Spirits fifth.


Two Men and a Truck

6280 Arapahoe Rd., 303-443-9911

Runner-up: Taylor Moving

Unless you have a lot of
burly friends and several cases of beer to go around, moving is hard.
It’s bad enough for college students moving a dorm-full of belongings
once a year. For those of us with a family and a house, it’s so
daunting we just might reconsider moving at all. Or we could just call Two Men and a Truck,
which actually employs far more than two men and has a fleet of much
more than one truck. Started by two brothers and proudly sporting the
logo Mom designed for them (two stick men in a moving truck — it’s
adorable!), what started as a tiny business in Lansing, Mich., is now a
thriving company boasting a fleet of more than 1,300 trucks. And you
wondered how those two guys in that one truck seemed to get around the
way they do. Runner-up Taylor Moving, a local institution for more than
15 years, does much more than their name implies: residential and
commercial, both local and national, truck rentals, packing services,
climate-controlled storage and more. (That’s probably a lot to fit in a
name, though.) Third place goes to Berg’s Small Moves, and there was a
tie for fourth between Boulder Valley Transfer and A Boulder Moving Co.


Robb’s Boulder Music

2691 30th St., 303-443-8448

Runner-up: HB Woodsongs

Even musicians just stopping in to pick up some strings often find themselves plugged into an amp at Robb’s Boulder Music
for a good 20 minutes before leaving the store. The shop boasts a wide
selection of stringed instruments, ranging from traditional electric
and acoustic guitars and basses to the more nontraditional
mandolin-banjo hybrids and ukulele-banjo hybrids. Percussionists, DJs
and sound engineers will be sure to find equipment to suit their sonic
needs as well. Given the wide range of instrument pricings and styles,
Robb’s Boulder Music is a perfect place to find the right gear to play
live, or just to play around. Taking runner-up this year is HB
Woodsongs, known for its wide selection of acoustic instruments and
affordable rent-to-own options, while third place went to The Drum
Shop. Readers ranked Wildwood Music at fourth place, while Miller Music
claimed fifth.


Boulder County Farmers’ Markets

13th Street between Arapahoe and Canyon in Boulder, and 9595 Nelson Rd. in Longmont, 303-910-2236

Runner-up: Whole Foods

The spring, summer and fall are when the farmers come outside to play, and Boulder County Farmers’ Markets
are the best places to catch up with them and their food. This year the
Boulder market will have more room for pedestrian walkways and more
farmers. Along with new vendors selling lamb, bison and canned goods,
the market will be extending its season all the way to the week before
Thanksgiving. So you might as well mark your Wednesdays and Saturdays
as your grocery shopping days. Boulder’s favorite grocery store, Whole
Foods, was the runner-up, and the Vitamin Cottage took third place in
our survey. Sunflower Market was voted fourth, while Sprouts placed


Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)

1789 28th St., 303-583-9970

Runner-up: Boulder Army Store

We breathe the
intoxicating fumes that rise up from hot asphalt as we run mile after
mile, eat fresh powder as we glide down rugged slopes, hear the sound
of our bike chains clinking as we power up yet another hill, and sleep
under a mixed canopy of pines and stars before waking at dawn to start
again. Time outdoors is a mandatory part of life for bona fide
Boulderites, and running shoes and polar fleece rank among our most
prized possessions. We don’t mess around with our gear, so we go to Recreational Equipment, Inc.
(lovingly referred to as REI by the co-op’s devotees) for the
necessities of a life in motion — whether that means a Nalgene to stay
hydrated at the office or a backpack designed with as much attention to
structure as the Brooklyn Bridge. You’re sure to find tools for the
great outdoors at our runner-up, Boulder Army Store, a long-time
Boulder institution. Neptune Mountaineering takes third place this
year, while Patagonia takes fourth and Boulder Ski Deals claims fifth.


Alpine Auto Detailing


Runner-up: Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt

Opening a new business is
both the fulfillment of a dream and a struggle for many entrepreneurs,
who often learn on the fly (painfully, at ungodly hours) the ins and
outs of running a small business. It’s a stressful time — not all new
businesses survive, and the economy isn’t helping anyone’s chances.
This year’s winner, Alpine Auto Detailing, has the perfect
business model for today’s fiscal climate. Little more than a truck
attached to a trailer, Alpine Detailing will drive a pickup truck and a
trailer almost anywhere on the Front Range and bring interior and
exterior detailing services directly to the consumer. With low overhead
and environmentally friendly cleaning products, Alpine Auto Detailing
is poised for success. Runner-up Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt is making
waves in the sweet dessert scene. Mary’s Market and Deli came in third,
The Nail Studio came in fourth, and Campus Street Sportswear came in


Aspen Eyewear

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Suite E-23,


Runner-up: Envision

We’re not sure when it
happened, but sometime between the 1950s and now, glasses got sexy.
Long gone are the nerdy, bookish associations of wearing specs. Now
it’s all fashion, all the way, especially if you shop at somewhere as
chic and trend-setting as Aspen Eyewear. Celebrating its 25th
year in Boulder, Aspen offers top-of-the-line frames, highly trained
staff and stellar service. Picking out just one great pair here is so
hard that you wouldn’t be blamed if you decided to take two (or three
or …), and having different styles to go with your different outfits
never hurt either. Envision garnered the runner-up spot, Boulder Vision
Center got third, College Optical was chosen fourth, and Pearle Vision
came in fifth.


Humane Society of

Boulder Valley

2323 55th St., 303-442-4030

Runner-up: PetSmart

Disney had it wrong. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley
is actually the happiest place on earth. And while none of these furry
friends sing, dance or talk in cutesy voices, these happy dogs, cats
and the occasional hamster or bird are all ready to put a smile on
their soon-to-be-owners’ faces. All dogs and cats up for adoption are
spayed or neutered, vaccinated and come with microchip identification.
If you see a pet you just can’t pass up, make sure to put it on hold or
take it home that day, because animals go fast in this critter-loving
county. The Humane Society also boasts a veterinary clinic, as well as
training and behavior classes. You can check out photos of adoptable
animals on their website, Chain store PetSmart
got second place. PC’s Pantry, which smells so good you might mistake
it for a human-targeted bakery, takes third. Whole Pets nabs fourth,
and Only Natural Pet Store earns fifth.


Boulder Running Company

2775 Pearl St., 303-786-9255

Runner-up: Pedestrian Shops

Boulder Running Company
is like eHarmony for your feet — they’re determined to find each foot
its perfect match. And while some of us may be looking for a lighter,
younger model, others are just as happy to stick with the more casual
walk-on-the-beach type. There are options for those of us who run, walk
and work in Boulder. Boulder Running Company will hook you up with just
what you’re looking for — and it should work out better than that first
date with Ron in accounting. The runner-up this year was Pedestrian
Shops, another place for those of us who squeal over Birkenstocks the
way others might scream for Louboutins. Coming in third place was
Two-Sole Sisters. Shoe Fly came in fourth place, and Famous Footwear
took fifth place.


RE/MAX of Boulder

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

Runner-up: Wright-Kingdom Real Estate

When they say Boulder is
in a bubble, they’re not kidding. Our fair town is in all sorts of
bubbles — political ones, economic ones, you name it. While most people
use these terms to disparage certain lifestyle choices, one bubble even
the most zealous haters can be glad we weren’t in was the real estate
bubble. Home prices in Boulder are pretty darn close to what they were
five years ago, compared to places like Miami, where prices are still
down 20 percent to 40 percent from pre-crash prices. That’s good news
for homeowners and means an investment in real estate in Boulder County
is still a solid one. For the second year in a row, readers voted RE/MAX of Boulder
as the best Realtors to guide you through the complex maze that is
buying a home. Runner-up Wright-Kingdom Real Estate was followed by
Pedal to Properties in third place, Keller Williams Realty in fourth
and Walnut Realty in fifth.


Eads News & Smoke Shop

1715 28th St., 303-442-5900

Runner-up: Mile High Pipe

Eads News & Smoke Shop,
our readers’ favorite place for tobacco, is also its favorite place for
pipes. A landmark with the lion’s share of local grit, Eads tops last
year’s winner, Mile High Pipe, with their selection of tobacco pipes
and smoking accessories. The shop also features a walk-in humidor as
well as some of the harder-to-find brands of smokes. And as the name
implies, Eads is also just as famous for its huge magazine and
newspaper selection, both domestic and international. For a truly
sophisticated smoking experience, pick up a copy of Le Monde to peruse
while you enjoy your Chateau Fuente and a nice brandy. Ah, classy. Mile
High Pipe takes second, followed by The Fitter in third, Freaky’s in
fourth, and a tie for fifth between High On The Hill and Little Dog.


Boulder Ski Deals

2525 Arapahoe Rd., 303-938-8799

Second Place: Christy Sports

There is something to be
said about a local ski shop that has the ability to get you more pumped
about your ski day than you already were. Boulder Ski Deals has
employees that not only know their products, but also have a contagious
excitement for all things snow. You will be fitted with quality
products to suit your needs, whether you are renting for a day or
purchasing for many seasons to come. The runner-up, Christy Sports,
also has a diverse range of excellent ski and snowboard products and an
enthusiastic staff. Third-place winner REI is a perfect place to get
your gear tuned, structured and waxed for the next powder day. Fourth
place went to Neptune Mountaineering, and fifth was claimed by Larry’s
Boot Fitting.



2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-0780

Runner-up: Into The Wind

Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe is
on a winning streak. It’s been voted the best toy store/children’s
store by at least one Boulder publication every year for more than 30
years. And not much has changed since. The store has remained in the
same location since its founding, is still managed by its founder and
remains independently owned. Its huge selection of toys range from
traditional stuffed animals and wooden toys with a handmade feel to
more modern, educational toys and everything in between — a plus for
parents, grandparents or a new uncle or aunt who’s rusty at toy-buying.
Taking second place this year is Into The Wind, a store known for
outlandish kites, quirky games and an all-ages feel, while PlayFair
Toys claimed third place. Readers voted Crawdaddy’s into fourth place,
while fifth place was claimed by Ginger & Pickles.


Best Buy

1740 30th St., 303-938-2889

Runner-up: Apple Store

Sure, Best Buy is
technically a big box store, but you can fit a lot into big boxes, like
a 52-inch plasma television or a top-of-the-line, high-efficiency
washer/dryer combo. Best Buy also has the goodies that come in smaller
boxes: MP3 players, HD camcorders, laptops and more. And while parking
may be a bit tricky at the 30th Street location, that big yellow tag is
hard to miss. There’s also a store on Highway 119 in Longmont. For the
Apple purists out there, our runner-up, the Apple Store, is sure to
please. It’s almost like walking into a real-life iPod commercial. On
any given day, half the people in there probably just want to play with
the floor models. Listen Up takes third place, Car Toys fourth and
Radio Shack fifth.


Bolder Ink

2735 Iris Ave., # A, 303-444-7380

Runner-up: Tribal Rites

Attitudes about tattoos
have changed a lot over the years and still differ from country to
country. While most of us would probably look askance at a surgeon
covered in tats, we don’t think twice about an NBA player covered in
ink or local musicians sporting piercings in crazy places. And if you
think the U.S. is still too puritanical when