Best of 2007 Real Deals

Apex Sports - PHOTO BY SEAN CAYTON

Place to Buy Motorcycles


Apex Sports

327 S. Weber St., 475-2437

apexsportsinc.com

At Apex Sports, youll find a clean showroom staffed by a family in matching T-shirts. The owners son-in-law, Mike Stokes, says that on most days, customers can even meet the grandkids. Apex is the only place Stokes has ever worked in his life, and hes been there for 35 years. He even drives his kids to school in a motorcycle sidecar on his Goldwing GL 1800. FG

Antique Store


Colorado Country Antique Mall

2109 Broadway St., 520-5680

Drop by Colorado Country Antique Mall, and if youre lucky youll get to meet husband-and-wife owners Bill and Carol Weber. Theyve been running this business for 12 years, and its easy to see that the friendliness they exude is passed down to all of their staff. The 10,300-square-foot building houses the wares of more than 35 dealers, all from Colorado. Whether youre looking for a primitive pie safe or an Elvis record cover, take a chance on Colorado Country the vendors offer a wide variety of hidden prizes. KA

Colorado Country Antique Mall - PHOTO BY BRIENNE BOORTZ

Local Outdoor Outfitter


Mountain Chalet

226 N. Tejon St., 633-0732

mtnchalet.com

There are known needs, there are unknown needs and there are needs you may or may not know you need. Mountain Chalet offers a range of stuff in every category, making it a hot spot for gear-heads, people who like to put hats on their heads and just about anyone who heads into the Colorado outdoors. New shoes that individually wrap each of your toes in a rubbery shell have apparently been hot sellers, enabling you to roam barefoot" in a safe and socially acceptable way. And whatever youre looking for, helpful salespeople will be on hand to help you find it. AL

National Chain Outdoor Outfitter


REI

1376 E. Woodmen Road, 260-1455

rei.com

If youre a sports enthusiast, REI is a playground. The department store offers pretty much any and all equipment necessary for anything you might do outdoors. Or indoors: Even though yoga isnt traditionally thought of as a sport, the wide selection of props and DVDs available is quite impressive. One obvious reason the store has such a wide selection of outdoor outfits is because it hosts trips around the world that feature outdoor activities in who-knows-what weather conditions. Closer to home, remember that while youre shopping for new goggles or a beanie to sport on the mountain this winter, REI also sells ski/snowboard passes. CR

Place to Buy Skis


Colorado Kite & Ski

2820 W. Colorado Ave., 633-6227

ckski.com

Mountain Chalet - PHOTO BY JON KELLEY

List of things to do before winter: Switch regular tires for snow tires; check furnace; get ski pass; get new Dynastar skis and Lange boots at Colorado Kite & Ski. According to owner Stan Wolf, his store specializes in Dynastar skis. This means he has the full line available, from beginner to advanced. And hes bought them at a lower price, meaning he can extend the discount to his customers. This isnt why most people are drawn to the store, however. The main reason people tell me they come here is because Im a local yokel," Wolf says. CR

Cell Phone Service


Verizon

Multiple locations

verizon.com

Can you say QWERTY? Verizon can, with its newest cool toy, the Voyager. This space-age device with a QWERTY keyboard (like the one with your computer), as well as countless other great toys, are just a few of the reasons Colorado Springs cell phone users love their Verizon. The service is another, says Verizons Colorado spokesman. We are proud of the type of service we offer, and we have some exciting devices coming out," says Bob Kelley. So we love the service, and we love the never-ending parade of devices. Repeat after us: Voyager, Venus, Pearl, Juke ... and those are just the newest offerings. DA

Phil Long Ford - PHOTO BY SEAN CAYTON

New Domestic Car Dealer


Phil Long Ford

1565 Auto Mall Loop, 572-2200

phillong.com

Heres how it happens: You buy a new car. You drive that car. You love that car. Eventually, you fall out of love with that car its too big, too small, too old, too worn-out. So you drive that car to a dealer and trade it in for another car. If you love the dealer where you bought that first car, you probably go back there for Car No. 2 and Car No. 3, and so on. Thats what happens with Phil Long Ford. The massive dealership was started in 1945, and since then, its grown into one of the largest businesses in Colorado. What makes a good dealership? Inventory, service, price, parts and honesty. DA

New Foreign Car Dealer


Heuberger Motors

1080 Motor City Drive, 866-6411

heubergermotors.com

Heuberger Motors - PHOTO BY L'AURA MONTGOMERY

Perhaps youve seen the statement Largest Subaru Dealer in America!" and assumed there was some fine print. Like, maybe Heuberger is Americas largest mid-market Subaru dealer. Or maybe it boasts the tallest management team, or the chunkiest. We take the question to business development manger John Adams: Whats the claim really mean? We sell more Subarus than any dealer in the country," he says. Thats it. No asterisks. Credit the intentionally low prices, the pressure-free dealership atmosphere and the name recognition. Heuberger sells certified pre-owned Subarus, but Indy readers love themselves some new Outbacks. KW

Place to Buy Scooters


Sportique Scooters

431 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 442-0048

sportiquescooters.com

Now, I cant say Im a big scooter enthusiast myself. But if I ever were to check out the scooter scene, Sportique is where Id go to get my info. According to service manager Jarrod Stuhlsatz, all the employees at the only scooter-only shop in town" are scooterists" who have been at the sport for more than 10 years. I would bet this means theyre not only kick-ass on scooters, but also, by default, extremely knowledgeable about the machines and the scene. CR

Adult Store


Christals
Sportique Scooters - PHOTO BY BRIENNE BOORTZ

2582 S. Academy Blvd., 393-9903

christals.com

Ive never been in an adult store before. Thats a lie. But Ive never felt comfortable in an adult store ... until Christals. Most adult stores are set up so that the aisles create little cubicles of creepiness. But store manager Rebecca Duran says Christals is organized so that people dont feel like they have to watch over their shoulder while theyre trying to shop." The store tends more toward mainstream than extreme fetish. But it does carry a wide variety; the vibrators, for example, come in hard plastic, cyberskin or glass, which is good for focusing on the G-spot and doesnt harbor bacteria. Is anyone else thinking Christmas gifts? FG

Florist


Platte Floral

1417 E. Platte Ave, 632-2607

plattefloral.com

A wise man once said, Flowers are pretty, and they make my wife forget shes mad at me." So wheres a desperate husband to go? Platte Floral, the winner of this category for four years in a row. Longevity and consistency is the key," says owner Mel Tolbert. Opened in 1921 in the exact same location it occupies today, Platte Floral not only offers a vast selection of flowers, but a wide variety of arrangements, tropical plants and accessories. So if youre trying to smooth things over and cant decide which one of the 12 types of roses to buy, maybe you should just pick up a fountain with fish that shoots water out of its mouth instead. TT

Place to Buy Skateboards


BC Surf & Sport

1710 Briargate Blvd., 590-7873

bcsurf.com or myspace.com/cs_skatepark

The lingo of skateboarders: trucks, decks, wheels. I had no idea until I talked to the BC Surf and Sport folk. The whole staff has been skating and working there for years, a nice combination for someone purchasing a skateboard. And theyre not the type to complain about the lack of a big-time skate park in the city, either. Theyve actually created a nonprofit organization to help the city build a state-of-the-art skate park and introduced city Parks and Rec people to Team Pain, a company thats built some of the best skate parks in the state. FG

Mechanic


Import Specialty Auto

2348 E. Boulder St., 633-3310

isarepair.com

Sure, your garage is a dump and the mechanic rubbed sweaty hands together when he quoted an outrageous price, but at least your car will be fixed. Right? Right? Well, worry no more take your imported car to ISA on East Boulder. The place just looks professional, and the folks there have spent decades tuning vehicles from most auto companies ending with a vowel. Beyond that, ISA can even shuttle you to work so you dont have to get your spouse/significant other/friend to help you out. AL

Used Car Dealer


Nevada Auto Sales

934 S. Nevada Ave., 635-2533

crazyherman.com

Nevada Auto Sales - PHOTO BY JON KELLEY

Believe it or not, Nevada Auto Sales will be hitting its 40th year of business next year. Back in January 1968, at the very same location you see today, Colorado native Mike Bonicelli co-founded the dealership with his dad, Joe. What makes them the best in town? We know how to finance cars," says Pete Hoermann, general manager. Pretty solid response from a guy more commonly known as Crazy Herman." Yup, there really is a Crazy Herman. Unfortunately, this is a phone interview, and I dont ask if he looks like the buff, animated superman found in the dealerships advertising. But hes been working at Nevada for 20-plus years, so nutty hero or not, he certainly knows his stuff. KA

Place to Get Your Car Fixed and See Ass Cleavage


Bill Criders Auto Repair

2875 Gunnison St., 473-6686

The quick turnaround and great rates at Criders are sweet, but even better is the ass cleavage youll seen when Beltless Bill (or any of his employees) turns around and bends over to swipe your credit card on a shorter-than-necessary desk. Customers see more crack than Chris Rock in New Jack City. TT

Local Furniture Store


American Furniture Warehouse

2805 Chestnut St., 633-4220

afwonline.com

Lions and tigers and ... a 100 percent genuine leather reclining sectional with matching coffee table for only $1,500! Remember the first time you saw a Jake Jabs commercial? There it was: A white-haired guy rolling around on plush sofas and hardwood dining room tables with a bunch of wild animals. What the ...? But that didnt stop you from checking out the 4th of July Sale. Or the Memorial Day sale. Or the Hawaiian Shirt Friday sale (or something like that). Like many a Coloradan, you became an AFW regular. You saved big. You told your friends. You helped make AFW a favorite, and Jabs a Colorado celebrity (albeit an eccentric one). JAS

Used Bookstore


The Bookman

3163 W. Colorado Ave., 636-0055

The Bookman - PHOTO BY SEAN CAYTON

Readers love a good story. So why shouldnt your local used bookstore owner have a tale of his own? Eric Verlo, owner of The Bookman, has made Indy headlines this year for his involvement in the St. Patricks Day Parade controversy. In his blog on notmytribe.com, Verlo says of the incident, Were we trying ... to call attention to the crime of war-making? Absolutely. Were we trying to change anyones opinion? Naw. We were crying out to the 70% of Americans who want peace and may be timid about expressing it." Controversial, maybe, but heres something we can all agree on: When you want to get lost perusing a great selection of used books, The Bookmans got you covered. ALL

Locally Owned Store for CDs

Locally Owned Store for DVDs


Independent Records & Video

Multiple locations

Independent Records & Video - PHOTO BY BRIENNE BOORTZ

beindependent.com

Independent Records has had a stranglehold on these categories since we introduced them and as a result, the companys one of our most decorated winners of all time. OK, its not like its got a ton of competition. I dont know if theres anybody else, really," laughs Indy Records vice president and co-owner Judith Negley. There is, by the way. But since opening its doors on Platte Avenue in August 1978, Independent hasnt looked back. There are now seven stores along the Front Range, each of which offers the buyer an alternative from the big-box-store norm. You do have a choice," Negley says. And thats nice." PF

Musical Instruments Store


Meeker Music

113 E. Bijou St., 471-8940

3604 Hartsel Drive, 534-9919

6330 S. Hwy. 85/87, 391-8922

meekermusic.com

Theres enough inventory to make the USC marching band jealous. Were talking more than 3,000 carefully cared-for instruments, ranging from the saxophone and guitar to the hard-to-find bassoon and didgeridoo, available for rental or sale. But the owner of the oldest music store in Colorado Springs says Meeker Musics success goes beyond inventory. The commitment to the parents is what makes us different," says Ken Hamman. Couple affordable rates with free maintenance, and parents know where to go for good deals on quality instruments. TT

Meeker Music - PHOTO BY JOHNNIE ENGER

Eclectic Art Store


Envi

2104 W. Colorado Ave., 352-7818

(New address as of Nov. 20: 12 S. 25th St.)

envi.biz/index.html

Envi, in Old Colorado City, offers the work of over 60 local artisans. Fun and funky, this shop is filled to the brim with paintings, clothing, jewelry, decorative items and much more. If youre lucky, you might catch co-owner Marci Featherstone painting a piece or two while you shop. KA

Place to Buy Art


Commonwheel Artists Co-op

102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008

commonwheel.com

Commonwheel Artists Co-op - PHOTO BY L'AURA MONTGOMERY

Some places just have a formula for success, and Commonwheel is one of them. A perennial Indy winner, this co-op knows what sells in the fickle art market. Diversification is the ace in Commonwheels back pocket. We have 35 different artists," says member Gary Vigen. We give a wide variety of media." Vigens own glass paintings are a hot item, along with the numerous shelves of ceramics and pottery. Its a cornerstone of the Manitou Springs arts scene for buyers and artists trying to get in on the co-op. But business aside, Commonwheels spirit has kept it at the hub since 1974. EA

Garden Supply/Nursery


Ricks Nursery

600 N. 18th St., 636-3085

ricksnursery.com

or

Ricks Garden Center

1827 W. Uintah St., 632-8491

ricksgarden.com

I grew up in a greenhouse. Almost literally. Every day after school (and usually on the weekends), my siblings and I could be found spacing pots, pulling weeds and filling customers plant orders. So its only natural that I now hate everything to do with plants. Good thing I married a horticulturalist. By far, his favorite place to shop for gardening supplies is Ricks. Find a wide array of plants, chemicals and soils, an extremely knowledgeable staff, and great prices at both separately owned locations. ALL

National Chain Bookstore


Barnes & Noble

1565 Briargate Blvd., 266-9960

795 Citadel Drive East, 637-8282

barnesandnoble.com

Buying books still seems something of an extravagance to me. I ask myself: Why slap down 20 bucks for something you can borrow at the library? The answer: Because sometimes, you just want that book. Barnes & Noble gets this. Robyn Brands, communications manager at the Briargate Boulevard location, says, We just do everything we can to get the book in the customers hands." While competitors share this claim, Brands says that Barnes & Noble has one feature that gives it an edge. Our customer service, hands-down." EA

National Chain Store for CDs


Best Buy

3150 New Center Point, 597-9519

7675 N. Academy Blvd., 593-0414

bestbuy.com

The Big Blue Box" is one of the most recognizable and frequently visited stores for media in the country, with sales last year of (insert Dr. Evil voice here) $30.8 billion. Yowza! For us locals, Best Buy offers a huge selection of well-organized CDs from the biggest names in music. Whether youre looking for Coldplays X&Y, the Black Sabbath box set or the Monster Booty compilation, you can find it here. TT

National Chain Store for DVDs


Blockbuster Video

Multiple locations

blockbuster.com

This is Blockbusters first Best Of" victory, confirming how successful the company has been in converting its first generation of video movies in VHS form to DVDs. Its not just about 8,000 locations around the world, with 15 in and around Colorado Springs from Fountain to Falcon, Rockrimmon to Stetson Hills. Its also about Blockbusters smart ideas, from eliminating late fees at company-owned stores to allowing movies, events and games rented via the Internet to be returned at retail locations. The company reported $5.5 billion in revenue for 2006 not bad for a company born just 21 years earlier. RR

National Chain Hotel


Marriott

Multiple locations

marriott.com

Marriott is probably the strongest brand in the hospitality industry." Thats according to Jim Breeden, the general manager of Colorado Springs only full-service Marriott (located at 5580 Tech Center Drive). Breeden says that Marriott will soon finish renovating that building, which is transforming it into one of the swankiest in the chain. The latest-model Marriott rooms are being installed. The lobby is becoming a great room." The health club is being upgraded. The hotel has added an on-site Southwestern restaurant, Zebulons Grille and Tequileria. And, Breeden says, the hotels excellent view of Pikes Peak is still a big draw. JAS

Locally Owned Hotel/Motel


The Broadmoor

1 Lake Ave., 634-7711

broadmoor.com

Few cities anywhere have century-old jewels in their midst, let alone five-star hotels. Gotta hand it to The Broadmoor. In the nearly two decades since the complex was taken over by the Gaylord family conglomerate out of Oklahoma City (but most known for Opryland in Nashville), management has succeeded in bringing the place to modernized but still top-level excellence. The company has succeeded in another way, which comes through here: It has the people of Colorado Springs believing The Broadmoor still is locally owned. Its not in terms of the bottom line, but in another sense, it truly does belong to the Springs. RR

Colorado Golf and Ski - PHOTO BY L'AURA MONTGOMERY

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