RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, INC. (REI)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ALPINE AUTO DETAILING
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?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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