Best of Boulder 2019 — Retail

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Hazel’s Beverage World employee Dustin Kraft.
Susan France

Liquor

HAZEL’S BEVERAGE WORLD

1955 28th St., 303-447-1955

Silver: Liquor Mart

Bronze: Superior Liquor Market

Boulder’s largest liquor store is hard to miss. Pull into the shop, just off 28th and Pearl streets, make your way through the sliding glass doors, and enter a paradise of alcohol. No annoying neon signs competing for your attention. No dusty, sky-high shelves crammed with bottles you can’t reach. Hazel’s Beverage World is a refined experience, a “Boulder original” in that there is only one store, and for the past seven years it’s been serving the best deals and highest-quality selections to any folks in town, online or within their scope of their incredible delivery service.

Christina’s Lingerie employee Andria Folk . Photo: Susan France

Lingerie

CHRISTINA’S LUXURIES

2425 Canyon Blvd., Suite 100, 303-443-2421

Silver: Victoria’s Secret

Bronze: MayBee by Fascinations

This woman-owned and -operated business serves the greater Boulder area’s lingerie, swimsuit, fashion attire and toiletry needs. Some feel like entering Christina’s Luxuries is like entering a paradise of female-focused accessories, where everyone is welcome and individuality is celebrated. Our readers couldn’t agree more. Within the store’s sexy, fun and colorful inventory is the essence of the divine feminine, and the inspiration behind Christina’s: comfort, pleasure and spirit.

Photo: Susan France.

Farm

MUNSON FARMS 

7355 Valmont Road, 303-442-5330

Silver: Cure Organic Farm 

Bronze: Aspen Moon Farm

Write-in: The Diaz Farm          

Munson Farms grew from a small corn stand on the Pearl Street Mall in front of the Boulder Courthouse to a giant in Boulder farming, with stands at the corner of 75th and Valmont and a continual presence at the Boulder Farmers Market since 1978. Bob Munson passed away in 2015, but Munson Farms lives on, and we like to think that Bob lives on with it. Around Boulder Weekly, we look forward to fall at Munson Farms when you can get lost in the corn maze, take a hayride, pick your own pumpkin or buy a variety of pre-picked ones. Obviously our readers agree.

Dry Cleaner

ART CLEANERS

1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit 6., 303-447-8700

Various other locations around Boulder County

Silver: Boulder Cleaners 

Bronze: John’s Cleaners & Laundry

The folks at Art Cleaners know that a sustainable business model means being environmentally sustainable too, so they developed an eco-friendly cleaning technique that uses no hazardous chemicals, is non-polluting and non-toxic. It’s easier on your clothes, so they come back softer — rejuvenated, even. We imagine that’s part of the reason why our readers call Art Cleaners their favorite dry cleaner. Maybe it also has something to do with the eight locations and free pick-up and delivery.

STAFF PICK: Best Use of Wood and Strings

LARRY’S GUITAR SHOP

508 Fifth Ave., Longmont, 720-340-4169, larrysguitar.com

There are stores that transcend their retail purpose. Larry’s Guitar Shop in Longmont is one of those establishments. Sure, Larry will show you his great collection of new and used stringed instruments from guitars to fiddles to banjos to ukuleles to weirdly shaped things we don’t know the name of, but that’s just the beginning. Larry’s also does repairs and offers lessons. On a recent visit, Larry didn’t have exactly what we were looking for so he suggested checking with his competitor a few blocks away and offered to call down and see if they could help. At Larry’s it’s about the music and the quality of life playing an instrument can bring. And Larry gets the idea of community. That’s why his shop hosts live music every Thursday night. All of us benefit from having great local businesses like Larry’s in our community, so get out there and support them. 

Photo Credit: Susan France

Music Store

WOODSONGS

3101 28th St., 303-449-0516

Silver: Wildwood Guitars 

Bronze: The Boulder Drum Shop 

Write-in: Boulder Guitars     

For more than 45 years, Woodsongs has been serving Boulder County in various musical capacities. What started as Folk Arts Music in the 1970s has grown into a fully-fledged instrument retailer, repairer and music school. The rental suites include guitars, banjos, mandolins, band and orchestra instruments, ukuleles and much more. Educationally, Woodsongs provides lessons and also music books of all shapes and sizes. Repair teams share the store space, too, so this is truly a one-stop shop for all things music in Boulder.

Law Firm

FRASCONA, JOINER, GOODMAN & GREENSTEIN, P.C.

4750 Table Mesa Drive, 303-494-3000

Silver: Holland & Hart LLP

Bronze: Caplan & Earnest LLC

You’ve got to love a law firm that has a stated philosophy of: “It is only worthwhile practicing law in a firm to which we would enthusiastically refer our parents, children, and friends. We must provide high quality legal services at reasonable rates. We are committed to remain on the cutting edge of technology to better serve our clients.” And at Boulder’s Frascona, Joiner, Goodman & Greenstein, P.C., clients come with all kinds of legal needs. If it requires an attorney, chances are these folks can help you out. They handle all aspects of business law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning, divorce and family law, trust and estate administration, employment law, taxation, foreclosure, association law, construction law, water law, oil and gas law, and intellectual property law. And if it isn’t listed here, our readers tell us chances are this firm can still help, so give them a call and find out.

Moving Company

TAYLOR MOVING AND STORAGE, LLC

4949 N. Broadway, 303-443-5885

Silver: The Good Move, LLC

Bronze: Flatirons Moving 

Write-in: Free Range Movers

There are a few things — like all-inclusive hourly rates, professional disassembly and reassembly teams, and interstate travel — that we suspect our readers are impressed with in regards to Taylor Moving and Storage, LLC. Its fleet of hard-working, experienced and reliable movers eases the stress of transition that would otherwise be mentally and physically exhausting. All-inclusive packages are available for folks looking to have movers take care of everything, but for the do-it-yourselfers out there, there are a few tiered options, too, like renting trucks, equipment or requesting guidance.  



Full Cycle employee James Keller assists client Tom Verden with a tune-up. Photo: Susan France

Bicycle Shop

FULL CYCLE 

1211 13th St., 303-440-7771; 1795 Pearl St., 303-440-1002

Silver: University Bicycles

Bronze: Bicycle Village

Write-in: Velo Stop

Boulder County is a bicyclist’s heaven — miles of great roads and trails to ride, challenging hills and climbs to ascend, beautiful destinations to reach. It’s no wonder, then, why we’re so lucky to have such a strong community of bike shops. But our readers say there’s none better than Full Cycle. It’s easy to see why. Bikes, gear, clothing, beer, events… Full Cycle’s got it all. You can either rent, drop off your bike for a tune-up, get a bike fit, or stick around for trivia, live music and open mic night. It’s more than a bike shop… it’s a community.

Mattress

DENVER MATTRESS COMPANY

1945 28th St., 303-413-1314 

48 Ken Pratt Blvd., Suite 100, Longmont, 303-774-1150

Silver: Verlo Mattress 

Bronze: Urban Mattress

There’s been a lot of talk about sleep in the past year — now we know (thanks, Joe Rogan and Matthew Walker) that we can’t bank up our sleep or try to make up a week of poor sleep choices with a long weekend snooze. Every night matters. At Denver Mattress, you’re offered expert advice on what mattress will yield you the best night’s sleep, every night. The store is equipped with a simple “test” that determines your Custom Sleep Profile. Using this information, the fine folks at Denver Mattress can help determine the exact type of mattress and pillow that fits your profile.

Carpet/Flooring

ATLAS FLOORING INC.

4920 N. 28th St., 303-442-3221

Silver: Carpet Exchange

Bronze: Floor Crafters Hardwood Floor Company

There’s something endearing about a decades-old local business that’s still at the top of the game. Atlas Flooring Inc. has been providing Boulder County homes, businesses, stores, restaurants and everything in between with quality carpets, tiles, wood floors and more for over 50 years. The go-to place for contractors, designers and do-it-yourselfers, its inventory is hard to beat along the Front Range, and the store displays thousands of samples with unique options and styles for special order projects. There’s a reason Atlas is our readers’ choice for best flooring once again. 

STAFF PIC: Place to Shop to Kill a River

WALMART

Various locations around Boulder County

You know the old saying: “Kill two birds with one stone.” Well, that saying has never been more applicable than when you shop at Walmart. (Editor’s note: If you’re reading this blurb and struggling to feed your family and pay rent or medical bills, please ignore this political commentary that is aimed at those whose lives afford them the luxury of actually choosing where they spend their money. You do what you have to and good luck.) Now, where were we? Oh yes, shopping at Walmart. Not only does giving this place your money kill off local businesses, it’s indirectly on its way to wiping out the Colorado River. The Walton Family Trust (the people behind Walmart), which obviously exists because so many people have given their cash to Walmart, is currently impact investing (along with other billionaire opportunists) in Colorado River water and infrastructure. The intent is to make sure cities along the river will continue to have enough water to grow, even if it means others who don’t have the money will lose out on this water sweepstakes for profit. So why haven’t you heard about this? Because the Walton’s are smart. They are giving money to all the newsrooms, academic centers and environmental groups who should be sounding the alarm. The hundreds of millions the Trust is spending to buy this silence is a penance to the profits they hope to eventually make. Shop wisely.

Mile High Pipe & Tobacco Manager Brad Costa Photo: Susan France

Pipe Shop

MILE HIGH PIPE & TOBACCO

1144 Pearl St., 303-443-7473

Silver: The Fitter

Bronze: The Little Dog

Write-in: The Farm

There’s an art to blowing glass pipes, of course, but there’s also an art to selling them. Mile High Pipe & Tobacco nails the art of displaying, understanding, selling and caring for the range of pipes it carries. You’ll find basic pipes and accessories on the shelves along with exquisitely ornate pipes that show off personality and pizazz. Metal pipes, plastic pipes, glass pipes — you name it, Mile High Pipe & Tobacco is the place to shop.

Jewelry Store

HURDLE’S JEWELRY

1402 Pearl St., 303-443-1084

Silver: Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery

Bronze: Walters & Hogsett

Write-in: Bliss           

If you live in Boulder and wear jewelry, chances are somebody named Hurdle had something to do with it. That’s no exaggeration. Hurdle’s Jewelry has been making and/or selling jewelry in this County since 1947. That’s 72 years-worth of gold, silver, diamonds, watches and other sparklies for you math-challenged folks. In all seriousness, since Chester and Bernice Hurdle moved to Boulder from Missouri and bought the local jewelry store nearly three quarters of a century ago, folks around here have been buying their fine jewelry from any one of three generations of the Hurdle family. If you drop in these days, be sure to say hello to Keith Hurdle, the current gem-stone patriarch. If you’ve been around as long as this family-owned business, you are absolutely doing everything right from selection to service to price and quality.    

Sturtz & Copeland General Manager Connie Smith Photo: Susan France

Florist

STURTZ & COPELAND

2851 Valmont Road, 303-442-6663

Silver: Fiori Flowers

Bronze: Boulder Blooms

When our readers are looking for the perfect floral arrangements for their big day — whether that’s marrying a sweetie or retiring with a bang — Sturtz & Copeland is the first place they call. The award-winning, experienced designers can create beautiful arrangements in a variety of styles for any occasion, from a simple gesture to enhancing precious moments and milestones of life. These folks use high-quality fresh flowers and foliage that arrive daily, so you can always expect the best.

McGuckin employees Skippy Kaiser, Dagny Pottersmith and Mike Gillette Photo: Susan France

Hardware

MCGUCKIN HARDWARE

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Suite D1, 303-443-1822

Silver: Home Depot

Bronze: Ace Hardware

So, it’s the middle of summer and your spoiled brat says he wants to go outside side and build a snowman. Don’t despair helicopter parent, just run on over to the place that has everything, literally everything: McGuckin Hardware. Grab a humidifier, a snow making machine, a snow shovel, a water hose, a bag of charcoal for the eyes, a sled and a new winter coat and watch that kid make a snowman. What? No snow-making machine. Just let the good folks at McGuckin know they didn’t have something and chances are, they can get it in for you. Seriously, we agree with our readers, this is the greatest store ever for everything. 

Computer — Repair

APPLE STORE

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Silver: Boulder Mac Repair

Bronze: The Mac Shack

The Apple Store makes getting your Mac fixed a breeze.You can make a reservation online at an Apple Store near you or send your device into an Apple Repair Center. Once it gets there, specially trained Apple technicians will lovingly take your computer and treat it like it’s their own, making sure you get the help you need. They don’t call it the Genius Bar for nothing. 

Clothing Store — Women’s

NORDSTROM RACK

1601 29th St., 720-887-3588

Silver: Anthropologie

Bronze: Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)

Write-in: ARES Thrift Store

Aman will never love you or treat you as well as a store,” writer Sophie Kinsella says in her tell-all Confessions of a Shopaholic. And while we’re not condoning any form of addiction here, she may just have a point. The women of Boulder County say Nordstrom Rack is the place to shop. From top of the line designers at affordable prices, there’s no shortage of activewear, dresses, tops, jeans, leggings, shorts, skirts, swimwear, sweaters, sleepwear and hosiery, in plus-size, petite and maternity styles. It’s time to shop ’til you drop. 

Lucky’s Market employee
Mike Phillip. Photo: Susan France

Grocery Store

LUCKY’S MARKET

3960 Broadway, Suite 104, 303-444-0215 

695 S. Broadway, 303-218-4875 

700 Ken Pratt Blvd., Suite 201, Longmont, 303-827-3684

Silver: King Soopers

Bronze: Trader Joe’s

With its roots right here in North Boulder, Lucky’s Market is one of those local-kid-makes-it-big stories. There are now three Lucky’s in Boulder County; North Boulder, South Boulder and Longmont. There’s a new Lucky’s in Fort Collins and now with the backing of a grocery industry leader, we expect to see more Lucky’s popping up everywhere. And why not? Each store has kept the local, high-quality everything, friendly employee feel of the original location. Each store feels like a neighborhood grocery of days gone by that carries exactly what you, a health-conscience consumer, want. Going to Lucky’s never feels like a chore. Just stopping by to say hello and pick up a few meals worth of wholesome chow for the week is a delight. If you shop at Lucky’s, you know exactly what we’re saying. Good choice, readers.  

Natural Foods

NATURAL GROCERS

2685 Pearl St., 303-402-1400 

100 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 303-926-1600 

1745 N. Main St., Longmont, 303-684-8200

Silver: Lucky’s Market

Bronze: Whole Foods Market 

It can take a while to find the astragalus and refrigerated, sprouted flours around town. But walk into Natural Grocers, and you have seemingly every health-based food at your fingertips. For anyone conscious about the businesses they support and the food they eat, shopping here is easy. Everything is vetted and held to strict environmental and health standards. You could grab anything off the shelves and feel confident you’re doing your body a service. But if you are looking for one particular item, the friendly and knowledgeable staff is always happy to help you find that specific vitamin, one kind of organic salsa or delicious prepared foods. 

Hot Tub/Jacuzzi

MR. POOL, INC. 

2347 South St., 303-443-0821

Silver: Mountain Mist Pool & Spa

Bronze: Heat Wave Stove & Spa

Colorado isn’t one of those places where every house sports a swimming pool in the backyard. We’ll leave that to Phoenix or Orlando or some other patch of land God intended to be uninhabited. No, in beautiful Colorado our back decks come equipped with the water hole made for four seasons — the hot tub. Stressful day… hit the hot tub. Greatest day ever… celebrate by hitting the hot tub. Snowing… hot tub. Raining… check for lightning… then hit the hot tub. Every day is hot tub day in Boulder County. And when it comes time to buy your little package of aqua pleasure or replace that 1970’s model that you wore plum out, our readers say give Mr. Pool, Inc. a call for the best deals on quality hot tubs and Jacuzzis. 

Hotel

ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA

900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696

Silver: Hotel Boulderado 

Bronze: Chautauqua 

How far would you travel for the chance to stay in a world-class hotel and spa that features everything from amazing rooms with fantastic views to impeccable service, five-star restaurants, live music, dancing and every kind of make-you-feel-fantastic-and-renewed spa treatment Conde Nast ever dreamed up? Well, if your answer is 25 miles or less and you live in Boulder County like our readers, you’re in luck. The St Julien Hotel & Spa in downtown Boulder is just such a place. Think about it: Why should only people who don’t live here get to enjoy our finest getaway treasure? Stop whining about too much work and not enough fun and book a great weekend of pleasure at the St Julien. Leave the car at home, take the bus, and if you do manage to leave your beautiful room, everything you could possibly need or want is within walking distance. 

Bookstore

BOULDER BOOK STORE

1107 Pearl St., 303-447-2074

Silver: Barnes & Noble 

Bronze: The Bookworm 

What a gem Boulder Book Store is. First, it’s just an enjoyable place to spend a few hours, perusing books, periodicals and other literary accoutrements. Second, it’s constantly bringing in some of the best writers around for book talks and signings. Third, the selection is massive, yet well-curated, and the staff is eager to help guide you toward your next book purchase. Fourth, Boulder Book Store was named Publishers Weekly’s bookstore of the year, so you know it’s not just our readers who appreciate all the shop offers.

STAFF PIC: Place to Recover after a Trail Marathon

BOULDER ACUSPORT

3400 Table Mesa Drive, Suite 201, Boulder, boulderacusport.com

Next time you wake up feeling like you can barely walk down the hall to make your morning coffee after a day shredding the trails, go see Ginna. She’s the mastermind behind Boulder Acusport, where she integrates sports medicine and traditional acupuncture to help athletes recover faster, build muscular resilience and correct new or lingering injuries. You can tell her all your aches and pains and she knows the magic touch that’ll get you back on your feet, and on the trails again, in no time.

Bart’s Record Shop owner Will Paradise Photo: Susan France

CD/Record Store

BART’S RECORD SHOP

1625 Folsom St., 303-444-1760

Silver: Albums on the Hill

Bronze: Absolute Vinyl Records & Stereo

In case you haven’t heard, vinyl is making a comeback. It’s not just for collectors and baby boomers anymore. There’s something uniquely satisfying about listening to your favorite album on a record player — a fullness, a nuance to the sound. And whether you’re looking for an old classic or your favorite band’s latest release, most recordings are available on vinyl today. Head over to Bart’s Record Shop, our readers’ pick for best place to peruse new and used vinyl, plus you can check out turntables, cassettes, posters, CDs and more while you’re at it. Times may be changing fast, but there’s no reason to walk away from the good thing that is vinyl. 

Photo by Susan France

Costume Shop

THE RITZ

959 Walnut St., 303-443-2850

Silver: Theatrical Costumes, Etc. & Trendy Boutique

Bronze: ARES Thrift Store

The Ritz is our readers’ favorite costume shop for one simple reason: It has everything you could ever need to create the costume of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for an ugly Christmas sweater for your office holiday party or looking to take playa fashion to the next level at Burning Man, The Ritz has what you need: theatrical makeup, wigs, gloves, hosiery, boustiers, corsets, tutus, tiaras, costume jewelry, boas, top hats, fedoras, bowlers, derbies, crinolines, fairies, pirates, flappers, gangsters, zoot suits… Trust us, you’ll find what you need. 

Auto Service/Repair

HOSHI MOTORS

2504 Spruce St., 303-449-6632

Silver: Super Rupair

Bronze: Fisher Honda Acura

Write-in: Boulder Hybrids   

We’ve all been there. You’re driving out to the airport to pick up Aunt Sally and your car breaks down in the toll lane on Highway 36. No? That was just us that one horrible time? Regardless, if you own a car, you know it needs fixing from time to time, and so it pays to have a service and repair shop you can trust to do the work well, on-time and affordably. Our readers say Hoshi Motors is their choice for such an auto shop. They specialize in Honda, Acura, Subaru and Toyota repairs, so call beforehand to see if they can help out your car situation.

Clothing Store — Children’s

ONCE UPON A CHILD 

700 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303-772-5437

Silver: Childish Things Boutique

Bronze: Pitter Patter Children’s Boutique

Write-in: ARES Thrift Store

Raising a child ain’t cheap. According to the U.S. government, the average cost of raising a child these days is $233,610 and that’s without the cost of higher education in an age of increasingly competitive universities and college acceptance scandals where the ever-richer bribe these institutions in ways most of us regular old middle-class citizens can’t even fathom. So why break the bank buying your little rugrat pricey clothes they’ll just grow out of in a few months or years? That’s why Once Upon a Child is our readers’ go-to place for children’s clothing. A place to buy clothes for all ages and stages, a place to both buy and sell gently used clothing, these cost savings might just help decrease your child’s student debt in the future. Think about that. 

Arts & Crafts Supplies

MCGUCKIN HARDWARE

2525 Arapahoe Ave., Suite D1, 303-443-1822

Silver: Michaels 

Bronze: Guiry’s

McGuckin Hardware has just about everything. Lawn care equipment, plants, clothes, holiday trinkets, on and on… if you can dream it, McGuckin’s probably got it. And at least one thing our readers go to McGuckin for is arts and craft supplies. It has all the paints, waxes, markers, pencils, coloring books, canvasses, tools, yarn, paper and notebooks you could ask for, and a knowledgeable, always-helpful staff ready to pare down that large selection into the items you need to get your arts and crafts project done. 

Pedestrian Shops Sales Associate Cyan Dennis Photo: Susan France

Shoe Store

PEDESTRIAN SHOPS

1425 Pearl St., 303-449-5260 

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-449-7440

Silver: Boulder Running Company 

Bronze: Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.

Let’s give it up for the Pedestrian Shops: This year is its 50th anniversary. Not an easy feat for a local, family-owned business. The flagship Pearl Street store has been slinging the most comfortable and fashionable footwear since 1969 — just think of all the styles and fashion influences that have come and gone, waxed and waned over the course of that time. The Pedestrian Shops have seen it all, and been there for our readers every step of the way.

Auto Dealer — USED

LARRY H. MILLER TOYOTA BOULDER

2465 48th Court, 888-699-0552

Silver: Fisher Honda Acura

Bronze: Super Rupair

Now, Larry H. Miller Toyota Boulder is our readers’ choice for best new car dealer, but it speaks volumes that the dealership is also our readers’ choice this year for the best place to buy a used car, too. That means our readers value the honesty, selection and quality of reflected in the cars on lot. You’ll have your pick of a wide range of pre-owned Toyotas, but the dealership also has cars from a variety of makers, at a variety of prices, so you can upgrade your clunker in no time.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics employee Ryane Oswandel Photo: Susan France

Bath & Body Shop

LUSH FRESH HANDMADE COSMETICS

1312 Pearl St., 303-444-5874

Silver: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary & Supply

Bronze: Pharmaca

There’s nothing better than a warm bath after a long day. Our readers say Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is the place to get all the supplies you need to take your bath to the next level, and keep your body feeling refreshed. They’ve got bath bombs and oils, bubble bars, shower gels, shaving creams, body cleansers and butters. Plus, when you’re done cleaning up, Lush has lotions, creams and hand- and foot-care items that’ll have you feeling just fine.

Company Owned by Female CEO

SHINE RESTAURANT & POTION BAR

2480 Canyon Blvd., Suite M1, 303-449-0120 

Silver: ARES Thrift Store

Bronze: Wallaroo Hat Company

The age of #MeToo and the Women’s March has brought greater awareness to the gender gap and workplace discrimination that a lot of women experience every day. While these movements have shed light on the fact that we still have a long way to go, it’s important to highlight the success of women when we see it, showing what’s possible when women are given the chance to lead, and the vital part they play in creating a thriving community. The “Blissful Sisters,” triplets Jessica, Jill and Jennifer Emich, have long contributed their wit, wisdom and talent to the Boulder community through their restaurants. Their latest iteration, Shine Restaurant & Potions Bar, offers extensive menus, community events, Shine potions and herbal tonics. The future is female. 

Computer — Retail 

APPLE STORE

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Silver: Best Buy

Bronze: The Mac Shack 

The Apple Store is our readers’ favorite computer retailer because you can get everything you need under one roof. Need a new desktop to get your graphic design business off the ground? The Apple Store has just the machine you need. Headed off to college and need a new, lightweight laptop? Pick up a Mac Air at your nearby Apple Store. Need a tablet for your cafe’s new payment system? Apple’s got iPads that’ll make business a breeze. The Apple Store also hosts sessions that teach you how to create, learn and do more with your Apple products. Our readers know a good thing when they see it. 

Rising Tide Tattoo Shop Tattoo Artist Taryn McElvany Photo: Susan France

Tattoo/Piercing Parlor

RISING TIDE TATTOO

3193 Walnut St., 303-500-5046

Silver: Bolder Ink

Bronze: Tribal Rites Tattoo & Piercing

Almost 10 years ago now, Rising Tide Tattoo expanded the efforts of founder Phill Bartell’s original one-man shop to include an art gallery within its walls — “our machines have hardly been quiet since,” according to its website. The parlor displays an inviting mixture of fine art and tattoo art, a light-filled space inspiring the artist in anyone who walks through its doors. The tattoo artists work closely with each client, ensuring their body art is unique and aligned with their vision. 

Optical Store

ASPEN EYEWEAR

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

Silver: Warby Parker 

Bronze: Boulder Vision Center 

Aspen Eyewear is no stranger to the pages of Best of Boulder. Since 1985, this one-stop optical shop has been serving Boulder County, helping to meet everyone’s visual needs. Updating a prescription? Aspen Eyewear has you covered. Getting your eyes examined for the first time? Head to Aspen Eyewear. Need a pair of eyeglasses repaired? This is the place. On the hunt for sunglasses? The largest selection of nonprescription sunglasses in Boulder sits under Aspen Eyewear’s roof. 

New Business

THE NATURAL FUNERAL 

102 W. Chester St., Lafayette, 720-515-2344

Silver: Kondition Fitness

Bronze: R Gallery 

The story of The Natural Funeral begins with Karen van Vuuren and Daniel Ziskin. While collaborating on ways to bring natural burial options to Boulder County, Karen, who is a natural deathcare educator, realized what the area really needed was a “green funeral home.” The two decided to create just that, a process more natural and sustainable than other funeral models currently available. It wasn’t long before Prescott Knock joined the team, adding more knowledge about end-of-life service possibilities and how to keep a sustainable, compassionate funeral ethos flourishing well into the future.

Mike’s Camera Store Manager Curtis Busack Photo: Susan France

Camera/Video/Photofinishing

MIKE’S CAMERA

2500 Pearl St., 303-443-1715

Silver: Costco Wholesale

Bronze: Photo Craft Imaging

Visual images not only capture priceless memories, but they preserve these moments so we can enjoy them over and over again, passing down stories from generation to generation. We are well into the digital age, and while the way we capture our images may be evolving, the art of photography is alive and well. That’s why Mike’s Camera is essential to the community. It’s a place that sells, repairs and rents camera equipment, as well as develops film and offers photo prints, custom framing and photo decor. Plus it has scanning and video transfer services to help preserve these memories digitally in perpetuity. There’s a reason a picture is worth a thousand words. 

Outdoor Gear 

RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT INC. (REI)

1789 28th St., 303-583-9970

Silver: Neptune Mountaineering

Bronze: JAX Mercantile Co.

Access to hundreds of miles of trails, dozens and dozens of climbing routes, mountain bike parks, frisbee golf courses and a plethora of neighborhood parks are all within easy reach of Boulder County residents. To make the most of these incredible opportunities at our doorsteps, our readers head to REI. Stocked not only with all the outdoor equipment you’d ever need, but also the knowledge behind the gear’s how and why. REI is on a mission to make you feel comfortable entering the outdoors no matter your prior experience.

Tobacco Shop

SMOKER FRIENDLY

1620 30th St., 303-449-7089 

Various locations around Boulder County

Silver: Mile High Pipe & Tobacco

Bronze: The Little Dog

For more than two decades, Smoker Friendly has been organizing an annual conference and tobacco festival to gather together and share knowledge with its more-than-800 stores around the country. They believe in the value of education and spreading the good word of safety and up-and-coming industry trends. As such, its staff is equipped with a wealth of knowledge to help serve you and all your tobacco needs.

STAFF PIC: Retail Outlet for Destroying the World

AMAZON.COM

Web browsers everywhere

We recently discovered this huge store that has nearly everything you need for less money than what those items would cost nearly anywhere else. There are bicycles and toilet paper, lettuce, coffeepots, chairs, vacuum cleaners, shotguns, cameras, jewelry, lawnmowers, tools, guitars, clothing and lots of weird Japanese candy plus another 500,000,000 or so other products. It’s awesome, and it’s called Amazon.com. The only downside to this place is that the more you shop here, the smaller the tax base where you live gets. Shop a little more and our local schools get worse and unemployment goes up. Keep on saving pennies and shopping at your convenience and pretty soon there won’t be any place left to shop in your own hometown. But what the hell, who needs local businesses, tax revenues and jobs when you can have cool, big-ass drones dropping boxes of crap you don’t need on your porch? But aside from all that, it’s really a great shopping experience. 

Lana Shores, Buyer for
Buffalo Exchange Photo: Susan France

Clothing Store — Used

BUFFALO EXCHANGE

1813 Pearl St., 303-938-1924

Silver: arc Thrift Store

Bronze: Common Threads Boutique Consignment

Write-in: Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop & Consignment Gallery          

Did you know that 15 million tons of used textile waste is produced in the U.S. each year? And the average person throws away 80 pounds of used clothing over their lifetime? Plus, depending on materials, these textiles can take hundreds of years to decompose. In the age of climate change, there’s no reason to be so wasteful. Luckily for us, that doesn’t mean wearing the same clothes for the rest of our lives. Thanks to Buffalo Exchange, our readers’ pick for best used clothing store in Boulder County, we can shop knowing we’re helping reduce textile waste and contributing, in however small of a way, to saving this planet. The more you know… (cue star-rainbow).

Furniture Store

WOODLEY’S FINE FURNITURE

1400 S. Main St., Longmont, 303-651-1015

Silver: Clutter Consignment

Bronze: American Furniture Warehouse

Our readers love Woodley’s Fine Furniture because it’s a family-owned store with six showrooms across the Colorado Front Range, including a warehouse in Longmont. Whether you’re looking for ergonomic office furniture or a new bedroom suite, you’ll find quality furniture in a wide variety of styles. Pair that with unmatched service and pricing, and you’ve got yourself a deal. You’ll have no trouble enhancing the current design of your home at Woodley’s.

Hydroponic Store

WAY TO GROW

6395 Gunpark Drive, 303-473-4769

Silver: Green Farms Feed & Seed

Bronze: Green Piece Pipe & Hydro

There’s an old saying, “Hydroponics is America’s future.” OK, we admit we just made that up, but the way this amazing process for making things grow is expanding and becoming more popular, it won’t be long until somebody actually makes that statement… and when they do, tell them you heard it here first. As the need to grow and produce plants and crops sustainably increases, hydroponics’ valuable role in that green process will continue to expand. And if you keep reading the word hydroponics in this blurb and you have no idea what we’re talking about, that’s just another reason why Way to Grow is such an important member of our business community. So whether you’re a beginner or an expert with a green thumb, Way to Grow has everything you need to be successful with hydroponics, including a friendly and really knowledgeable staff. The prices and selection are great — seriously great, as in, if you want to stock up on something like bat guano, this place’s got it. Now that’s selection.

Bike Repair Station

BOULDER OVERLOOK DAVIDSON MESA

(Highway 36 pull-out between Table Mesa and McCaslin)

So you’re biking up that hill, you know, that giant hill that hits you every time you try to bike southeast on the path adjacent to Highway 36, and you get a flat. A flat! In another city, your ride might be over. You’d have to call a friend, Uber or that person who owes you a favor, and get them to come pick you up. Thankfully, we live in Boulder, where bike maintenance stands are as ubiquitous as kombucha taps and crystal shops. Just roll your wheels up to the top of the hill, and a set of bike tools and a pump await you, ready to help your ride stay alive.

Peppercorn Sales associate Ryan Wappel. Photo: Susan France

Gift Shop

PEPPERCORN

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Silver: Jacque Michelle

Bronze: Bliss

If you actually love the person you’re buying a gift for, our readers recommend going to Peppercorn. This 12,000-square-foot business anchor on Pearl Street has been going strong since 1977, when Doris Houghland opened it as a small cooking school and gourmet kitchen shop. Today, Peppercorn has a gift for everyone, even those who aren’t so handy in the kitchen. Find towels, candles, bar glasses, specialty foods and an insane collection of the best of the best in kitchen wares.

Pet Store

P.C.’S PANTRY FOR DOGS AND CATS, INC.

2828 30th St., 303-245-9909

Silver: Humane Society of Boulder Valley

Bronze: PetSmart

Write-in: Struttin Pup

Back in 1998, Mary Lee began P.C.’s Pantry for Dogs and Cats, Inc. in a small house on Walnut Street. And clearly our readers are glad she did. Eventually PC’s success led to its graduation into a larger storefront, but Mary’s quality of care and attention to detail has remained steady ever since. From the beginning, all dogs and cats have been encouraged to visit the store with their humans — they might have some suggestions for the food, treats, playthings and accessories being selected on their behalf. Meow!

Real Estate Group

RE/MAX OF BOULDER

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

1320 Pearl St., Suite 100W

Silver: WK Real Estate

Bronze: 8z Real Estate

The real estate game can be daunting. That’s why the realtors at Re/Max of Boulder have tailored their approach to serving Boulder County residents to make the whole process as seamless and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, our readers are confident you’ll get the attention and expert care you deserve with the Re/Max of Boulder team every step of the way.

Auto Detailing

PUDDLE CAR WASH

3100 28th St., 303-447-9274

Silver: Boulder Auto Detail 

Bronze: Buffs Wash

The folks at Puddle Car Wash do a mighty fine job. They do thorough, speedy car washes and cleans, but our readers most appreciate their auto detailing work. Interior and exterior details are available, as are a la carte detail options, and no matter what you choose, you can rest assured the capable people at Puddle will have your car looking great. 

Auto Dealer — New 

LARRY H. MILLER TOYOTA BOULDER

2465 48th Court, 888-699-0552

Silver: Flatirons Subaru

Bronze: Gebhardt BMW & VW

Write-in: Audi Boulder          

You need a new car. Let’s say you finally saved enough for a down payment, or you’re ready to trade in your old car, or you’re just feeling like some new wheels will do you a world of good. Our readers say the place you ought to go to purchase that new car is Larry H. Miller Toyota Boulder. Honest service, reliable cars and a range of price points are some of the reasons our readers like to get their new vehicles here and no where else. 

Tire Shop

DISCOUNT TIRE

3215 28th St., 303-440-6811 

740 N. Highway 287, Lafayette, 303-248-5680 

379 S. Hover St., Longmont, 303-774-9869

Silver: Barnsley Tire Co.

Bronze: Big O Tires

If you’re anything like the majority of U.S. residents, you rely on your vehicle and its four wheels to get you around. And until our government (both local and national) stops messing around and provides clean, reliable and affordable public transportation, our need for cars isn’t going away. That’s why it’s important to know the name Discount Tire. Our readers know Boulder’s local Discount Tire store offers an incredible range of wheels and tires from numerous manufacturers. Bring in your vehicle and the fine folks at Discount Tire can help you with a suite of needs: new tires and wheels, tire rotation and balancing, tire inspection, flat repair, winter tire changes and more.

Video/DVD/Games

GAMESTOP

2760 Canyon Blvd., 303-440-1282 

545 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 303-666-7192 

965 Hover St., Longmont, 303-651-9877

Silver: Game Force

Bronze: GAMESPlus

There’s no better place to geek out about new videos and games than GameStop. As a hub for Boulder County’s digital world of gaming, GameStop carries industry-leading brands and games, plus state-of-the-line accessories. Our readers know something else, too: the shop also offers community, a place where like-minded folks gather and learn about new releases, strategies and industry news. Take a break after you beat the next level of your game and check out GameStop.

Kitchen Supply 

PEPPERCORN

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Silver: McGuckin Hardware

Bronze: Sur La Table

Write-in: Kitchen & Company

You know, we were just thinking that if we could get a new espresso maker, find a great cookbook on French pastry making, locate a beautiful serving tray and maybe a new tea set along with a new set of dishes and an apron with a clever foody phrase embroidered on it, we might just have all you folks over for an afternoon treat. But where on Earth could we find all that stuff? Well, our readers told us we could get all that and another 400,000 food and kitchen-related items at Peppercorn. But we’re just pulling your leg. We already knew that, so come on over Boulder County.

Ski/Snowboard Shop

CHRISTY SPORTS

2000 30th St., 303-442-2493

Silver: Epic Mountain Gear 

Bronze: Neptune Mountaineering

You can buy a whole lot online these days: puppies, freshly cooked dinner, Valentine’s day cards… you name it. But just because it can be convenient to sit behind a keyboard and anonymously research skis and snowboards and eventually buy yourself a setup, our readers haven’t forgotten the value of in-person fittings and expert advice. Our readers says Christy Sports is the perfect place to go in Boulder, as its ski and snowboard knowledge runs decades deep. Its got you covered for rentals, purchases, tunings and so much more.

Solar Systems

NAMASTÉ SOLAR

6707 Winchester Circle, Suite 700, 303-447-0300

Silver: Tesla

Bronze: Flatiron Solar

Namaste Solar’s 14-year track record of business success is likely a contributing factor to our readers’ decision in naming this Colorado-born-and-raised company as Boulder County’s best. But we also suspect the passion and the smiles of the people behind the company’s mission have been driving the county-wide affection. With a cooperative ownership model, the employees are heavily invested both literally and figuratively in the business’s success as an industry disrupter providing clean, renewable energy options for those along the Front Range. Stop here for answers to all your questions about solar compatibility, systems installation and more.

GrandRabbit’s Toy Shoppe employee Linda Jones Photo: Susan France

Toy Store

GRANDRABBIT’S TOY SHOPPE 

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-0780

Silver: Into the Wind

Bronze: Time Warp Comics

Any time of the year is a good time to enter the magical world of Grandrabbit’s Toy Shoppe. Our readers (and their littles ones) can attest to that. Toys big and small decorate the shelves of this Front Range community pillar. Educational toys, books, creative inspiration and so much more are available to peruse and test out for yourself (and the young ones, if in tow). The unique range of rotating merchandise has kept our readers coming back again and again as the generations turn.

Stereo/Electronics 

LISTENUP

2034 Arapahoe Ave., 303-444-0479

Silver: Best Buy

Bronze: Apple Store

There’s not a lot that ListenUp hasn’t done in the auditory world. These folks have created elaborate home theaters, outfitted bars and restaurants with audio and video systems, set up musical environments for churches, installed security systems… the list goes on. If you’re in the market for audio or video systems, residential or commercial, take the time to head into ListenUp’s store, where the mini theater pods let you experience systems in simulated environments.

Clothing Store — Men’s

RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT INC. (REI)

1789 28th St., 303-583-9970

Silver: Nordstrom Rack

Bronze: Patagonia Outdoor Clothing & Gear

REI has long held a mission to get people outside and protect wild places with a community focus that makes positive impacts year after year. But the co-op also carries brands with similar visions, a mixture of functional and trendy, practical and stylish. What’s better than a store that offers not only the best in outdoor gear but everyday clothing as well? For the Colorado man, especially one of the Boulder County variety, it’s no surprise this store is our reader’s top choice for clothing. It makes shopping that much more fun, and you never know what you might find. This is one ethical store our readers can get behind.