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Outdoor Gear

RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, INC. (REI)

1789
28th St., 303-583-9970

Second Place: Neptune Mountaineering

Third Place: Boulder Army Store

Fourth Place: Boulder Ski Deals

Fifth Place: Jax Mercantile

Somewhere, there’s a place where happy possibilities exist. Where the tools for every endeavor you choose to pursue are perusable, touchable, tangible — making your dreams of mountain ascents and steep, powdery descents that much more believable: Recreational Equipment, Inc., known by its co-op members and others as REI. If you’re not ready to buy, you can rent an assortment of supplies. If you don’t feel like you really know what you’re doing, there’s a line-up of educational classes. And when you’ve finally got your [financial] ducks in a row and you’re outdoors-bound, it’s at REI that you’re likely to stop to pick up the instruments to enable you to tackle the journey of your choice, well-dressed, warm and fully stocked. Unless, of course, you’re a climber and what you really want is that odd-size cam. In which case, our runner-up, Neptune Mountaineering, is the place to go.

Arts and Crafts Supplies

MCGUCKIN HARDWARE

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-1822

Second Place: Michael’s

Third Place: Hobby Lobby

Fourth Place: Guiry’s

Fifth Place: Meininger’s

As anyone who has ever been in kindergarten knows, there is nothing quite as awesome as a really good arts and crafts session.

Any quality arts and crafts endeavor requires a whole plethora of goodies –– paint, glitter, construction paper, glue, glitter, markers, colored pencils, glitter, glitter, glitter –– you get the picture. Though a hardware store is probably not the first place you might think to go to get your art on, the people of Boulder have spoken and named McGuckin Hardware the number one spot for arts and crafts supplies. And, of course, while you’re picking up all that glue and glitter, you can also pick up that power tool or socket wrench missing in your life.


Musical Instrumentals

ROBB’S BOULDER MUSIC

2691 30th St., 303-443-8448

Second Place: HB Woodsong’s

Third Place: The Drum Shop

Fourth Place: Wildwood Music

Fifth Place: Miller Music

Maybe you’re finally ready to live out your rock star dreams. Or maybe you’re just sick of Boulder’s music scene and are ready to start your own band. Or maybe, just maybe, you want to get your kid any and every instrument to see what sticks, with the hopes of being able to mooch off their fame and fortune for decades to come. Whatever the case may be, Robb’s Boulder Music store has got you covered. Not only does Robb’s have instruments ranging from your basic needs to start a rock band to didgeridoos and timbales, Robb’s also offers lessons, so you don’t have to figure out how to play an instrument on your own, as well as repair, when you do try to figure out how to play an instrument on your own and you break it. Second place went to HB Woodsongs, which has been selling instruments since the ’70s.

Auto Dealer — Used

BLUE SPRUCE AUTO SALES

4403 N. Broadway St., 303-938-0580

Second Place: Flatirons Imports

Third Place: Go Motors

Fourth Place: Smooth Motors

Used, pre-owned, odometer challenged, road veteran, well traveled, broken in, warmed up, experienced, however you choose to describe a used car, our readers think that Blue Spruce is the best place to buy one. It’s good to know there’s a place where buying a car that has already had the seat warmed up is easy even if you think the Blue Book is a melancholy tome.

Auto Service/Repair

HOSHI MOTORS

2504 Spruce St., 303-449-6632

SUPER RUPAIR (tie)

1309 Yarmouth Ave., 303-442-6508

Second Place: Pellman’s

Third Place: Green Garage

Fourth Place: Boulder Bump Shop

Fifth Place: Independent Motors

When your car is not running as smooth as usual, you search for the best auto service and repair shop in Boulder. If you have a Honda, Acura, Subaru or Toyota, at the top of the list is Hoshi Motors, an auto repair shop that has provided its customers with reliable service for more than 22 years. This year, however, Hoshi Motors is sharing the spotlight with last year’s runner-up, Super Rupair. The staff at Super Rupair has prided itself in being the Subaru experts in town. So if your car starts smoking, give either one of these places a call. If you own a car other than the aforementioned, take a look at this year’s second-place winner, Pellman’s.

Bath and Body Shop

PHARMACA INTEGRATIVE PHARMACY

1647 Pearl St., 303-442-5164

Second Place: Lush

Third Place: Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary

Fourth Place: Bath and Body Works

Fifth Place: Sephora

Sometimes people smell bad. Sometimes people smell good. Thankfully, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy is helping to grow this latter category with its natural, holistic bath and body products. Pharmaca’s huge selection of soaps, bath salts, shower gels, oils, scrubs and cosmetics are heaven for the habitual bather, and might even be able to convince some of the smellier folks around town that hope is at hand and it comes in a lovely package. This winning shop also has traditional pharmacy services, over-the-counter medications and alternative remedies.


Best Blended Business OSKAR BLUES, BREWS & BIKES www.reebcycles.com

Oskar Blues Brewery made a name for itself by daringly bottling crafted microbrews in cans. This bold move was cheered by river-rafters and campers everywhere who could upgrade to bringing Dale’s Pale Ale and Mama’s Little Yella Pils along for the ride, then crush the cans and pack them out. Yay, innovation! Once again, the fellas at Oskar Blues are playing with what you can do with metals. This time, they’re putting it to a use that will have more outdoorsy types excited: They’re making bicycles. It’s a hand-crafted, steel-framed bike with a belt drive and 29-inch wheels big enough to crush your beer cans. All hail the multitasking business.

Bicycle Shop

UNIVERSITY BICYCLES

839 Pearl St., 303-444-4196

Second Place: Full Cycle

Third Place: Bicycle Village

Fourth Place: Boulder Cycle Sport

Fifth Place: Community Cycles

Annual Bike to Work Days, aimless cruising on bike paths, and world-class athletes just begin to describe the community of cyclists in the Boulder area, but from training wheels to those training for races, University Cycles meets the needs of those who adore their two-wheeled wonders.

For advanced riders needing attention to detail, University Bicycles offers performance mountain and road rigs with service packages that include custom fitting and assembly for your next project. Which is why once again, University Bicycles has climbed the podium as Best of Boulder’s best bicycle shop from a deep pool of contenders. Bookstore BOULDER BOOK STORE 1107 Pearl St., 303-447-2074 Second Place: Barnes & Noble Third Place: Bookworm Fourth Place: Trident Fifth Place: Lefthand Books

Few things in the world compare to the magic of books — whether that notion has you singing along to Reading Rainbow’s theme song or recalling the Jorge Luis Borges quote that paradise must have shelves stocked with books. And in Boulder, for those bibliophiles interested in further building up their personal libraries, there’s Boulder Book Store. The tantalizingly shelved sets of new nonfiction and fiction, the thick supply of used books for those watching their pocketbooks first, and the pleasant corners and quiet nooks for browsing make Boulder Book Store an ideal shop for spending an hour contemplating the literary delights of the world.

Bonus points for (and by that we mean second place goes to) Barnes & Noble for a fine selection of mountaineering books and a stellar fireplace to curl up next to and get some reading done.

Camera/Video/Photofinishing

MIKE’S CAMERA

2500 Pearl St., 303-443-1715

Second Place: Wolf Camera

Third Place: Costco

Fourth Place: Target

Fifth Place: Photo Craft

OK, we all do it — fire off the occasional snapshot using our smartphone.

But face it, we live and play in one of the most picturesque regions in the world, with dramatic skies and textured slopes and cool wildlife, and that teensy three-megapixel thumbnail just isn’t always going to cut it. Real photography means real equipment, and for more than 40 years, ground zero for Boulder shutterbugs has been Mike’s Camera, a frequent winner in our photography category. With cameras and lenses, finishing and frames, darkroom services and classes, tripods and flak jackets, (and yes, even custom iPhone cases), Mike’s is that rare hybrid of consumer-friendly retail store and professional’s equipment outlet of choice, all spread across one of the great browsing floors in Boulder. Easy parking, a longtime Boulder tradition, great service and cool equipment — Instagram that!


Best Way to Support the Chinese Economy WALMART Various locations

The once-strong American economy continues to slide, thanks as always to unions, Obama, health care, gun control and socialism (also those pro-choice people).

And so more and more of Boulder County’s hippie freaks turn to the “buy local” movement. “Shop local,” we hear them drone. “Save the economy and support your community and blah blah.”

We don’t think so. We’ve had enough of this entitlement economy, and supporting our lazy fellow Americans is what got us this recession in the first place — whether they happened to be millionaire bank CEOs is irrelevant. We’re hereby jumping ship to a fast-growing, powerful, robust economy and society that isn’t hung up on silliness like coddling workers with “safe conditions” and “reasonable hours.” We’re on board, China, and we’re doing everything we can to send our dollars your way. That’s why when our mantels need a cheap plastic decoration, or when our pets need a cheap plastic toy, or when our children need a cheap plastic coat, we turn to WalMart.


Hardware Store

MCGUCKIN HARDWARE

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-1822

Second Place: Home Depot

Third Place: Table Mesa Hardware

Fourth Place: Lowe’s

Fifth Place: Guiry’s

McGuckin smokes the competition in this category every year. We like to say that if you can’t find it at McGuckin, it doesn’t exist. This place is that comprehensive. And it’s way more than hardware. They throw in a bunch of other stuff, too, like outdoor gear and, at Christmas time, those little ceramic houses with moving parts and lighted windows. Take your father-in-law there and he might stay for five hours and probably drop four figures. Plus, you can’t walk four steps without running into one of McGuckin’s hundreds of knowledgeable, green-vested helpers. We’re also kind of partial to third-place winner Table Mesa Hardware, since they are another independently owned, family business in our ’hood.

Clothing — Children’s

ROCKY MOUNTAIN KIDS

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

Second Place: Childish Things

Third Place: Gymboree

Fourth Place: Ginger & Pickles

Fifth Place: Poppy

Boulder’s smallest citizens want to look good, or at least the people who love them want them to. Keeping kids in style, function and comfort is the business of Rocky Mountain Kids, this year’s winner for best children’s clothing store. This locally owned retailer is run by a mother/daughter team (and now a young granddaughter) who

are dedicated to bringing top-notch, highquality apparel, accessories and footwear in small sizes to Boulder. Their staff provides excellent service and is committed to making shopping with kids, which we all know can sometimes make even the most patient of us a little crazy, a breeze.

Second place winner Childish Things is also a long-time Boulder favorite where parents can pick up some high-end, gently used clothing and footwear. The lower cost and reuse make Childish Things an attractive option for folks wanting to lessen the load on their wallet and the planet.

Computer Repair

APPLE STORE

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Second Place: Mac Shack

Third Place: iSupportU

Fourth Place: Boulder Mac Repair

Fifth Place: Free Range Geeks

There’s no denying the mega-fruit’s overall performance, especially with the newest top-tier products this year. But beyond its shiny gadgets, customers have come to expect intuitive, reliable use from everything Apple produces — including the service it provides. So when your Mac hits the deck, the obvious choice often leads to a hand-off with an Apple Store “genius.” Schedule an appointment online to queue your repair, then let the technical jocks get under the hood, or screen, as the case may be.

If customers are flocking to Apple for a new product and the computer is on the fritz, runner-up Mac Shack, located on the Hill, is another preferred choice for service and repair.


Best Place to Take Some Fashion Cues WALMART Various locations

Boulder has a well-documented fashion problem. GQ called it one of the worstdressed cities in the country last year, and we’ve got to say they have a point.

Nobody in Boulder seems to know the first thing about fashion. Which is pretty perplexing, considering the city’s got a few excellent models to follow not far away, and we may be getting one of our own soon. We’re talking about Walmart, of course, where low prices and incredible deals are just the beginning. Walmarts are also widely respected fashion meccas, places to check out your fellow shoppers for the latest style dos and don’ts. This year, sweatpants, Crocs and Taz tees are in — although when are they not? — while it’s a major fashion boo-boo to wear colors that go together or clothes that cover more than 85 percent of your lumpy flesh. Take a tip from your neighbors, Boulder: If it doesn’t say “TAPOUT” or “JUICY” somewhere on it, it had better at least be tie-dyed.

Clothing — Men's

RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, INC. (REI)

1789 28th St., 303-583-9970

Second Place: Patagonia

Third Place: Weekends

Fourth Place: Men’s Wearhouse

Fifth Place: Urban Outfitters

Whoever said your clothing can’t be functional and stylish? Boulder is consistently listed as one the fittest cities in the nation, so it’s no surprise then that readers have voted Recreational Equipment, Inc., aka REI, the best place in Boulder for men’s clothing. Whether you’re looking for boots, running gear, rain jackets or neoprene, the co-op franchise has tons of smart and spiffy options to get you looking your best and prepare you for your next outdoor adventure. Runner-up Patagonia also offers a wide selection of handsome clothing for the outdoor enthusiast.

Clothing — Used

THE BUFFALO EXCHANGE

1813 Pearl St., 303-938-1924

Second Place: Savers

Third Place: Rags Consignments

Fourth Place: Common Threads

Fifth Place: Boulder Humane Society Thrift Store

Do you know how awesome some of that unworn crap in your closet is?

Throw it all in a bag — shoes, jewelry, jeans, dresses, outerwear, the kitchen sink — and drag it all down to The Buffalo Exchange, where you’ll find out which of it is really crap, and which of it is really awesome. While you’re there, you’ll probably realize how uncool you and your wardrobe are, because they only accept and sell the peachiest of items. Hopefully, you’ll be able to trade some of your marvelous pieces in for some even more magnificent ones and, if you’re lucky, you might even earn some cold, hard cash on the spot. Whether you buy, sell or trade clothing or accessories there, you’re sure to leave that shop feeling more like a sweet-ass hipster than when you entered. While you’re out on your shopping trip anyway, may as well stop by runner-up Savers, and donate anything that the Buffalo Exchange didn’t accept. You’ll receive a Savers coupon just for donating. Our best advice is to use this on their very eclectic cassette tape collection.

Clothing ­— Women’s

ANTHROPOLOGIE

1805 29th St. #1118, 303-449-4575

Second Place: Coldwater Creek

Third Place: Urban Outfitters

Fourth Place: Patagonia

Fifth Place: Prana

It’s no surprise that two stores from the popular Urban Outfitters apparel group made it into Best of Boulder. Anthropologie, with its refined, boho-chic sensibility, tops the list and beat out perennial favorite active-wear brands like runners-up Patagonia and Prana. Women shop at Anthropologie for on-trend pieces featuring feminine prints and flowing yet flattering silhouettes. Anthropologie’s clothing is effortlessly sexy, much like the Boulder woman, who would prefer to look like she spent the day in the mountains rather than getting ready in her bathroom (even if the latter is true). The store collaborates with up-and-coming designers for their “Made in Kind” collection, which treats clothes like pieces of art and not pieces of fabric. “Anthro” isn’t just about selling apparel, it’s about selling a lifestyle; grab a rustic chair or bright printed throw pillow from their home goods collection to complete your look.


Best Fair Trade Store MOMENTUM 1625 Pearl St., 303-440-7744

Shopping at Momentum improves the lives of real people from all around the world. We know it sounds like a brochure, but it’s true. The fair trade movement helps to eliminate the middleman. In other words, when you purchase a beautiful, handcrafted item via fair trade, a much larger portion of your money is going directly to the person who made it. By buying fair trade and creating employment opportunities for people who have been largely left out of, or exploited by, the economies in their home countries, those of us fortunate enough to live in Boulder County can make an enormous difference. Our dollars feed, house and educate people when we eat, drink, wear and gift fair trade. If you haven’t gotten on board with this future of retail yet, now is the time. And kudos to all the shops, from coffee to clothes, that are making fair trade a priorty in their their business decisions.

CD/Record Store

ALBUMS ON THE HILL

1128 13th St., 303-447-0159

Second Place: Bart’s Music Shack

Third Place: Absolute Vinyl

It’s a tough time for record stores and for people who shop at them. Not only will kids make fun of you for listening to, what is that called, a “compact disc,” it’s also tough to find your favorite music in what is considered an “ancient” format. Nowadays, iPhones, iPods and MP3s continue to be the devices a lot of people are using for their music consumption. So selling CDs and vinyl records is no easy task. And that’s why Albums on the Hill is once again the top spot to find the music you want on vinyl and CD. They don’t have cassettes, though. They aren’t that kind of vintage. But in case you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can also check out the second-place winner, Bart’s Music Shack, which has cassettes.

Computer — Retail

APPLE STORE

1755 29th St., 720-479-9451

Second Place: Best Buy

Third Place: Costco

Fourth Place: Mac Shack

Fifth Place: CU Bookstore

Why is the Apple Store the best computer retail store? Because everybody here owns a Mac, obviously. Step into any local coffee shop, deli or some spot with wi-fi, it’s filled with MacBooks, iPhones, iPads or some other device that starts with an “i” and has a half-eaten apple on it.

But don’t fret, PC users, Best Buy came in second place! Enjoy.

Costume Shop

THE RITZ

959 Walnut St., 303-443-2850

Second Place: Theatrical Costumes, Etc.

Third Place: Candy’s

Fourth Place: Goldmine Vintage

Fifth Place: Savers

What’s better than the best costume shop in Boulder carrying the best, most outrageous costumes? Well, that same shop carrying super funky and fashionable everyday jewelry, boutique clothing, nutty party supplies and fun little gifts. It’s things like this that provide the perfect excuse to visit The Ritz on a regular basis, a spectacular reason to start planning a themed shindig every weekend this summer, and the very, well, ritzy justification for dropping that well-earned (or inherited) dough. It’s guaranteed that you’ll accidentally leave with a bawdy hot pink wig, French maid outfit, or a grass skirt, when all you went in for was a bandana. Need some sweet costume gear, but don’t feel like sitting in downtown Boulder traffic? Spin your car around and drive all the way to South Boulder runnerup Theatrical Costumes, Etc., where you may find excellent party extras, cool costume accessories, fancy embellishments, campy costumes, etc.

Dry Cleaner

ART CLEANERS

Various locations in Boulder County

Second Place: Boulder Cleaners

Third Place: John’s Cleaners

Fourth Place: Environmental Cleaners/ Dependable Cleaners (tie)

Fifth Place: Cache

Driving on U.S. 36, with a cell phone nudged between shoulder and ear, and a piping hot caramel macchiato in hand, the last thing the early morning commuter thinks about when there’s a sudden stop on the highway is balancing a drink. So where does this cup of joe land when the car abruptly jolts? All over that clean shirt that was bought yesterday, of course. The coffee may be gone, but fear not, the shirt can be saved, thanks to dry cleaners like Colorado’s own Art Cleaners. This environmentally friendly cleaning service can wash everything from suede jackets to strawberrystained tablecloths, even wedding gowns.

Since 2003, their cleaning has been done by the GreenEarth Cleaning System, which replaces petroleum-based solvents with liquid silicone to help the Earth, one dirty piece of laundry at a time.

Farm

MUNSON FARMS

75th St. and Valmont Rd., 303-442-5330

Second Place: Haystack Mountain

Third Place: Cure Organic

Fourth Place: Abbondanza Organic Seeds & Produce

Fifth Place: Boulder Community Gardens

Boulderites love their local, and according to many of them, local begins with food — and food begins at farms. This year’s Best of Boulder winner, Munson Farms, has been hailed as a Boulder classic. For generations, the family-operated farm has been feeding us sweet corn, vine-ripened tomatoes and some of the juiciest peaches you can imagine — you know, the kind that explode in your mouth and dribble down your chin, sending you into a fruit-induced sense of ecstasy? The farm also grows a wide variety of other seasonal fruits and veggies, and is wellknown for its annual pumpkin patch festivities, a favorite for kids. They’re expecting to open the farm to the public in mid-July, but if you just can’t wait, look for them at the Farmers’ Market.

Toy Store

GRANDRABBITS

2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-443-0780

Second Place: Into the Wind

Third Place: PlayFair Toys

Fourth Place: Ginger & Pickles

Fifth Place: Karliquin’s

Kids love toys and we love our kids, so having a go-to toy store is a must for the many families that call Boulder home. This year’s winner, Grandrabbits, offers an array of educational and specialty toys — many of which are certified fair trade, which makes the socially conscious parents in Boulder feel better about how they’re spending their bucks. Around since 1977, Grandrabbits touts itself as a community institution and has been donating $25,000 a year to Colorado schools for the last 30 years, making this toy business, as well as its merchandise, sustainable, socially conscious and dedicated to learning and development ­— a combination that no doubt makes Colorado caregivers feel good.

Grocery Store

WHOLE FOODS

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

Second Place: King Soopers

Third Place: Alfalfa’s

Fourth Place: Sunflower

Fifth Place: Lucky’s Market

Boulder is noted for being a foodie’s town, but our obsession with good food is not limited to the restaurants we dine in. The many at-home chefs, health-conscious parents and on-the-go students have a couple of things in common: They like good food and don’t have a lot of time to find it. Selection, food quality and convenience may be some of the qualities that earned Whole Foods this year’s best grocery store. The newly expanded Whole Foods Pearl Street location offers patrons everything from freshly baked bread to locally sourced meats to a wide variety of organic produce. And the expansion also includes a massive food court where you can grab a tasty lunch or a take-home dinner for the family. There is also no shortage of excellent team members who help make shopping easy, enjoyable and fast for the on-the-go foodies who would rather spend their time preparing and eating food than buying it.


Best Place to Buy an Out-of-Print Book RED LETTER SECONDHAND BOOKS 1737 Pearl St., 303-938-1778

Behold, the virtue of a bin of books for $1 — brought to your home without shipping and handling charges.

Boulder boasts plenty of used bookstores, each of which has a special place in our bibliophile hearts for their leftist tendencies or their beat-poetry affinities. But Red Letter Secondhand Books, for its shelves of obscure field guides and a backroom for secretly browsing genre fiction, its array of art books up front and that aforementioned bin of discounted books, wins as the best place to go and browse among dusty shelves and take home a few literary surprises.

Gift Shop

PEPPERCORN

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Second Place: Bliss

Third Place: Art Mart

Fourth Place: Jacque Michelle

Fifth Place: Boulder Arts & Crafts

The Peppercorn is unparalleled, whether you’ve got someone special in mind or are just looking for an hour-long distraction on Pearl Street.

Independently owned and operated since 1977, the Peppercorn has nearly 12,000 square feet loaded with everything you never knew you needed.

With hard-to-find kitchen gadgets, spices, trinkets, linens and flatware crowding their shelves, chances are you’ll be leaving with a gift for yourself. Runner-up Bliss, located farther east on Pearl, is a chic boutique offering both new and vintage wares.


Best Camp Coffee THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT

This group almost got second place for best tent configuration in front of city hall, but with so many boutique coffee shops on Pearl Street, this was just too easy. Granted, the dedicated members of this movement have embraced worthy causes like opposing corporate personhood and the ridiculous local camping ban, but seriously. Are we really to believe that the eight grungy folks who poke their heads out of North Face shelters at the courthouse lawn can’t stroll down to the ATM and pull out $20 for a latte and bagel? This is Boulder, and while we can sympathize with those who are truly in need around the country and world, the real way we can make a difference is to write a check to a reputable charity and vote our conscience. But if things really get bad, we should join them and storm the castle.

Pipe Shop

THE FITTER

1352 College Ave., 303-442-4200

Second Place: Mile High Pipe & Tobacco

Third Place: Eads News & Smoke Shop

Fourth Place: Freaky’s

Fifth Place: High on the Hill

The Fitter, started by Colorado-native twin sisters, prides itself on its unparalleled customer service and minimal stocking of imports. The store has only one buyer, who works with local glassblowers. Close relationships with talented, local blowers have allowed the store to offer unique pieces found almost nowhere else in Boulder. Plus, the store gets first dibs on a lot of merchandise. But it really isn’t just all about the pipes at The Fitter. Staff members welcome hippies, frat bros and average Joes alike with warm smiles and kind faces.

Furniture Store

CLUTTER CONSIGNMENT

1909 Ninth St., 303-386-3423

Second Place: American Furniture Warehouse

Third Place: No Place Like Home

Fourth Place: Concepts

Fifth Place: HW Home

If you want to furnish your home with vintage, retro, classic or contemporary furniture, then Clutter Consignment is the place you should be shopping. The store requires that all items they buy be in good to great condition, so there is no question about the quality of this furniture. New inventory comes in daily. Even if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, there is bound to be something you’ll like. The buyers at Clutter price new items for consignors as fairly as possible. This allows the store to sell the items for a price that is good for both Clutter and the customer. Whether you’re looking to refurnish an entire room, or just get a new accent item, Clutter is sure to send you home happy.

Home Furnishings

PEPPERCORN

1235 Pearl St., 303-449-5847

Second Place: Clutter Consignment

Third Place: Concepts

Fourth Place: American Furniture Warehouse

Fifth Place: HW Home

Have a dinner party coming up? Visit Peppercorn for colorful and bright dinnerware that your guests won’t stop talking about. Just looking to revamp your kitchen? Peppercorn has all the appliances and kitchenware you will ever need. Located on Boulder’s historic Pearl Street Mall, Peppercorn is known for its variety of home décor, trinkets and other essential home needs. Its popularity and wonderful customer service have earned this independently owned store the title of Boulder’s best home furnishings store for another year. But if you’re on a budget and don’t mind purchasing pre-owned, head on over to runner-up Clutter Consignment for your interior design needs.

Hot Tub/Jacuzzi

MR. POOL

2347 South St., 303-443-0821

Second Place: Mountain Mist Spas

Third Place: Heat Wave Stove & Spa

Fourth Place: International Hot Tub

Fifth Place: Quality Pools & Spas

If you don’t own a hot tub, you probably imagine that you are missing out on evening sessions filled with scantily clad hard bodies and at least the possibility of being able to be transported back in time (if you missed the movie, you didn’t miss much).

This is not how it works. What you are missing is being able to relax beyond your wildest dreams. While your body heats, your head can be enjoying the gently falling snow, and it’s this temperature duality that makes hot tubbing such a unique experience. If that sounds good to you, our readers think that Mr. Pool is a good place to start your hot tub/jacuzzi quest.

Even if you don’t have a view, sitting in your own hot tub always makes the world seem like a more beautiful place, unless you’re wearing a Speedo.

Carpet/Flooring

ATLAS FLOORING

4920 28th St., 303-442-3221

Second Place: Carpet Exchange

Third Place: Go Green Flooring

Fourth Place: Carpet Mill Outlet

Fifth Place: Star Flooring

We all know that Zeus condemned Atlas to hold up the sky on his shoulders. But what is nearly always overlooked is the secret that made it possible for the burly Titan to support such a load without ill effect. Scholars now believe that the answer was superior flooring.

So whether you’re a Titan, or your old carpet has developed a singletrack connecting the refrigerator to the kid’s room, or you’ve just been blessed with a pet that should be wearing Depends, our readers think that Atlas Flooring can fix all your underfoot problems … except maybe Fido’s bladder. And just as a suggestion, most of our winners offer environmentally friendly options to place underfoot. So if you’re going to upgrade the old red shag carpet anyway, you might as well save the planet at the same time.



Hotel

ST JULIEN HOTEL & SPA

900 Walnut St., 720-406-9696

Second Place: Hotel Boulderado

Third Place: Boulder Outlook

Fourth Place: Boulder Marriott

Fifth Place: Chautauqua

Surprise! The St Julien Hotel & Spa takes first place as best hotel in Boulder.

The celebrity-worthy luxury of the St Julien sets these posh digs apart once again. Even for Boulder locals, it’s hard not to drool when walking by the St Julien’s tinted windows, tuxedoed valets and stone façade. The hotel’s downtown location makes it a great pick for the fashionably inclined, and the plush pillows of the St Julien’s beds are fluffy enough to send you to sleep like a kid after a long day of playing in the sand box.

Hydroponic Store

WAY TO GROW

6395 Gunpark Dr., 303-473-4769

Second Place: Candy Shop

Third Place: Boulder Hydroponic

Fourth Place: Family Hydroponic

Fifth Place: One Love

Need the gear to grow your greens and eat them too? Boulder voted Way to Grow as the best shop for hydroponic and indoor cultivating solutions. Plus, hydroponics systems are what NASA uses to grow food in space. Be space-explorer cool and rig up one of these systems, then water them while wearing that space suit that you have so few occasions to dust off.

Independent Business

ALPINE AUTO DETAILING

303-579-9398, www.alpinedetailing.com

Second Place: Momentum

Third Place: Cured

Fourth Place: Alfalfa’s

Fifth Place: Absolute Vinyl

Alpine Auto Detailing seems to have garnered the most positive remarks in the comments section of our retail category. People called it “an amazing service” and “the best detail I’ve ever had.” They said owner Tyler Clark “runs a tight ship” and “earned my business for years to come.” Somebody even said Alpine is the greatest

thing since sliced bread. Clark must be doing something right. And the concept is brilliant: You don’t go to him, he comes to you, toting a trailer containing all of his equipment and supplies. Now that’s service. The other independent businesses in the top five are all fine establishments as well, but we didn’t see Boulder Weekly in there for some reason. What are we, chopped liver?

Video/DVD

VIDEO STATION

1661 28th St., 303-440-4448

Second Place: Blockbuster

Third Place: Fascinations

Fourth Place: Video Vault

For those of you not riding the Netflix or Redbox chariot, or who are hoping to get off soon, Video Station is coming to your rescue. Video Station stands atop the peak of video rental glory, sword in hand, continuing to survive the digital apocalypse raining down on the weak and lazy. The store has more than 50,000 titles available for rent, including every new release hitting shelves. Independently owned and operated since 1982, why would you want to go anywhere else?

Used Treasures

BUFFALO EXCHANGE

1813 Pearl St., 303-938-1924

Second Place: Humane Society Thrift Store

Third Place: Savers

Fourth Place: Common Threads

Fifth Place: Bookworm

Used treasures are often the best treasures. Red leotards, leather ’80s-era pants, platform heels, jean jackets and funky purses can all be found in racks and shelves of vintage or consignment stores, and Buffalo Exchange came out on top as Boulder’s favorite place to look for someone else’s discarded stuff.

The thrill of finding a gem among the mix and mash draws in modern-day treasure hunters and hipsters on a budget. Buffalo Exchange buys, sells and trades clothing items and accessories, so head over if you’re in search of a new costume, a cool new outfit, or after you finally clean out all those clothes you still have from the ’70s.


Jewelry Store

HURDLE’S 1402 Pearl St., 303-443-1084

Second Place: Boulder Arts & Crafts

Third Place: Walters & Hogsett

Fourth Place: Angie Star

Fifth Place: Pennyweights

Blingin’ Boulderites picked Hurdle’s as their favorite jewelry store this year, proving that not only do we love buying from local and family-owned spots, but we like being unique (it’s also fitting that our first runner-up, Boulder Arts & Crafts, is actually a co-op owned by about 40 artists). Hurdle’s not only sells some of the top designer jewelry brands like David Yurman, Cartier and John Atencio, but they can be commissioned to design one-of-a-kind pieces for their customers. Or, if you’ve already got too many oneof-a-kind pieces cluttering up your house (and who doesn’t?), Hurdle’s Christina’s will buy your estate pieces to be sold on consignment. Keeping with the Boulder mentality, Hurdle’s explicitly states its policy against conflict diamonds on its website. Gotta love a full-service, local, family-owned jeweler with a conscience!

Adult Merchandise

FASCINATIONS

2560 28th St., 303-442-7309

Second Place: Pleasures

When you and your partner come together for “sexytime,” the best place to find things to spice it up is Fascinations. Whether it’s toys to play with, oils to rub on or videos to get the temperature rising (among other things), Fascinations has it all and more. If it has anything to do with sex, it’s there. And if you have any questions, the staff is just as freaky as you are, making the whole experience as comfortable as an orgy among friends. If you want to continue the sex store adventures in Boulder, check out Pleasures, our second-place winner.

Lingerie Store

CHRISTINA’S

2425 Canyon Blvd. #100, 303-443-2477

Second Place: Victoria’s Secret

Third Place: Fascinations

Fourth Place: Naughty But Nice

Fifth Place: BoulderFields

Underwear is always so much cooler than over-wear — but there’s only one sweltering lingerie store that makes underwear hot. Piping hot. Christina’s will let you get your panties in a sexy twist any day of the year, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Secretary’s Day, or just a plain old random Tuesday. Along with their spicy selection of loincloths, Christina’s also carries everyday women’s wear, so it really is the perfect destination to bring your boyfriend along for a shopping trip. You’ll still be able to shop for a cool sweater and jeans while your beau swoons over every kind of bra he never knew existed.

Liquor Store

LIQUOR MART

1750 15th St., 303-449-3374

Second Place: Superior

Third Place: Boulder Wine Merchant

Fourth Place: Pettyjohn’s

Fifth Place: North Boulder Liquors

So, you ask, how big is Liquor Mart and its selections of wine, liquor, beer, mixers and other alcohol-related items? Well, rumor has it that there are working gauchos in the Argentinian wine section and honest-togoodness monks brewing Belgian ales in the back of the beer cooler. Now that’s big. In all honesty, the store boasts Boulder’s largest wine selection, carries more than 1,500 varieties of beer and offers online ordering. And they card everyone. So if you’ve been feeling a little past your prime of late, wander on in and show your ID. Just keep telling yourself you still look 21.

Mattress Store

VERLO MATTRESS FACTORY STORE

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

Second Place: Urban Mattress

Third Place: Denver Mattress Co.

Fourth Place: Mattress King

Fifth Place: Boulder Furniture & Mattress

Remember when a mattress was nothing more than a square box of padding t

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