Best Of » Best Of 2004

Best of Goods and Services: Making us look good:

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Coming up roses  and sunflowers and daisies  at Platte Floral. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Coming up roses and sunflowers and daisies at Platte Floral.

Best Florist

Readers poll winner Platte Floral

1417 E. Platte Ave., 632-2607

Of course readers love Platte Floral. The locally owned flower shop has been in business for 70 years, and they've picked up a few tricks. They have learned that being a good flower shop doesn't mean just having a cooler full of vases of carnations. This shop showcases an extensive selection of flowers from around the world. For those in need of greens, tropical foliage and blooming plants are abundant in their greenhouse, as well as herbs.-- KL

Best Place For An Eclectic Gift

Readers poll winner Terra Verde

Eve Carlson started The Revolution. - BLANCA MIDDLEBROOK

208 N. Tejon St., 444-8621

Sometimes happiness is a sconce. Or a scarf. Or a pithy refrigerator magnet. Or finding any of these things for someone else when you're at your wits' end from shopping. Terra Verde's diverse stock of clothing, jewelry, furniture, home accessories and the like has been an anchor to downtown's always-itchy retail scene for years now, and their superb staff is always on hand to soothe frazzled shopping nerves. So wander in and take a gander at their huge array of continually imaginative stock. -- AR

Best Consignment Store

Readers poll winner The Revolution

1312 W. Colorado Ave., 633-1357

You say you want a Revolution? Well you got it and it's stocked full of hip, classy and professional new and slightly used clothing at affordable prices for petite, average and plus-sized women. Set in a comfortable transformed house on Colorado Avenue, the Revolution is a great place to shop not only for clothes, but also for hats, jewelry, shoes and all sorts of unique accessories. -- CSB

Best Music Store

Matt Usiack at Independent Records. - CREIGHTON SMITH

Readers poll winner Independent Records & Video

Four locations around town

After 26 years in business, Independent Records & Video can easily lay claim to being Colorado Spring's longest running and most respected independently owned chain of record stores. The local community is full of people who worked for Orville, Judy and Lewie over the years in their stores as teenagers and young adults, and for most of them, there is a real affection and appreciation for the time that was spent working for them. In the last 10 years, Independent took hits from the economy and major record label policies that marginalized the mom and pop stores and favored the corporate record chains. In spite of this, they not only managed to survive, but also to open new locations in Security and Denver in addition to expanding their locations in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Independent has always been an ardent supporter of the local music scene and underground music in general. And, they have continually been on the forefront of breaking many emerging national rock and rap acts over the years and have a solid reputation within the music industry for strong sales and an even stronger support of music and musicians. -- GE

Best Shoe Store

Readers poll winner DSW

7639 N. Academy Blvd., 264-8007

So the black-and-white striped bags look like referees' uniforms. Don't let them fool you into thinking DSW is an athletic shoe warehouse. Nor is it an off-price or outlet store that features last year's styles at a discount. Our readers know that DSW is the MVP of shoe stores in the Springs. They stock up-to-the minute styles from the likes of Nine West, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Cole Haan, Aerosoles and Tommy Hilfiger. The shoes are more expensive than the trendy, disposable shoes that don't last through the season; here you'll get quality that lasts. They have a beefy selection of athletic shoes, too. But to fully appreciate DSW, you'll need to know the difference between Steve Madden and John Madden.-- GTS

Stepping out at DSW. - SUNNIE SACKS

Best Toy Store

Readers poll winner Little Richard's Toys

324 N. Tejon St., 578-5848

From soft plushy creations for infants to drool on to microscope kits for the innovative preteen, Little Richard's is full of toys to stimulate young minds. You won't find plastic dolls that reproduce unrealistic female body images or toy machine guns that encourage violent behavior. Instead there are piles of puppets, Erector sets, fingerprinting kits, origami books, journals, puzzles and so many other creative toys that encourage children to learn and grow and imagine. -- SG

Best Natural Foods Store

Readers poll winner Whole Foods Market

7635 N. Academy Blvd., 531-9999

There's a reason why Whole Foods has pseudo-begrudgingly become nicknamed "whole paycheck"; its customers are so loyal that they can't resist forfeiting great sums of their respective incomes on a weekly basis -- and that's no complaint. The prices are fair and the offerings are staggering; people roam bug-eyed and O-mouthed down vast isles of edible happiness. There are delectable cheeses, fresh seafood and responsibly raised meats, as well as everything green. Hemp foods, soy alternatives, dairy- and wheat-free products, organic and eco-conscious goods, carobs, flaxes, sprouted grains ... the list is endless. Whole Foods' Colorado Springs location has been open less than a year, yet they've obviously already found their way into the hearts of consumers. -- MS

Cheeses, seafood and  pumpkins at Whole Foods - Market. - BLANCA MIDDLEBROOK

Best Speed Shop

Editorial pick Speed Workz

222 E. Cucharras St., 630-1900

If you wanna run with the fast and furious, take your bucket down to SpeedWorkz for the ultimate custom car makeover. These wrench monkeys do it all: paint, custom bodywork, graphics, suspension mods, outlandish interiors and go-fast engine work (including nitrous-oxide injection). Whether you want to do a street racing job on a late-model Acura import, get that '70 Cuda ready for the drag strip, or just make that '65 Ford Country Squire station wagon the baddest baby-hauler in the burbs, SpeedWorkz can put more pride in your ride. -- GE

Best Place To Buy Art

Readers poll winner Business of Art Center

Customer Michelle Murphy among the stacks of beer at Cheers. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Customer Michelle Murphy among the stacks of beer at Cheers.

513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861

What's the difference between the BAC and, say, a typical museum shop? At the BAC, you won't find any "Made in China" or "Assembled in Bangladesh" labels. Everything is one of a kind, created by local artists who are members of the BAC. And you won't find any leaden schlock, either -- if you want a picture of dogs playing poker, or a chainsaw-carved wooden screech owl, you'll just have to go elsewhere ... not that we at the Indy have anything against dogs playing poker with chainsaw-carved owls. -- JH

Best Garden Supply

Readers poll winner Rick's Garden Center

1827 W. Uintah St., 632-8491

Sometimes bigger is better. Take, for instance, Rick's Garden Center, where you can find bulk barrels of Rick's custom-made organic fertilizer, a massive variety of vegetable and flower seeds, countless species of shrubs and trees, bird baths, bird feeders and hangers, every soil amendment imaginable, a stunning greenhouse, a knowledgeable staff and more. Rick's has sealed its reputation with almost 55 years of meeting Colorado Springs gardeners' needs and their customers obviously appreciate it. -- KCE

C.K. and Joe Lejsek, Speed Workz resident lug nuts. - GAVIN EHRINGER

Best Vintage Clothes And Scene Hangout

Editorial pick The Leechpit

708 N. Weber St., 634-3675

Adam and Heather Leech's year-old annex-o'-fabulousness has lately proven a nexus for snappily dressed counterculture dudes and dudettes; kids from nearby Colorado College as well as fashionista townies have been drawn to the store for an array of vintage clothing and accessories as well as a space to gather with, look at and judge their scenester friends and rivals. The store's got enough apparel, collectibles, CDs, records, high-camp accoutrements and, like, stuff to occupy the burgeoning scene kids for up to hours at a time. Thanks for that, Leechpit. -- AR

Best Bread

Readers poll winner Panera Bread

1832 Southgate Road, 389-0808

1845 Briargate Parkway, 266-9200

Namico Cox points toward Wolfcreek Wonderland by Pat Geonetta at the Business of Art Center. - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Namico Cox points toward Wolfcreek Wonderland by Pat Geonetta at the Business of Art Center.

7344 N. Academy Blvd., 522-1100

Screw the Atkins Diet. All of that low-carb nonsense is just bound to make you cranky. Thinner, perhaps, but cranky -- and no one likes a Gloomy Gus. All hail delicious bread products! Panera Bread stores are a carbohydrate-lover's paradise: chock full of all manner of crispy and chewy breads, a veritable mlange of bagels, and delicious pastries. There are three Panera stores in town, on the polar ends of the city. The town's collective tummies are rumbling with delight. -- KL

Best Beer Selection

Best Wine Selection Readers poll winner Cheers Liquor Mart

1105 N. Circle Drive, 574-2244

Cheers Liquor Mart grabbed the chalice for both best wine store and best beer store, and a quick visit to their warehouse-style liquor emporium on North Circle Drive confirms why. Walls of reduced-price beer cases for people who buy their beer in bulk form customer aisles. Over in the wine section, reviews from Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator can be found under many bottles, appealing to highbrow customers and neophytes alike. Prices range from less than $6 to $60 and up. And when it comes to beer, there's an ample selection of domestic and foreign choices -- everything from Asahi Super Dry of Japan to German Warsteiner. Well lighted and clean, Cheers seems like a good place to load up before getting loaded. -- DW

Adam Leech, owner of The Leechpit. - CREIGHTON SMITH

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Best Wedding On The Cheap

Editorial Pick Green Mountain Falls Gazebo

Ute Pass Avenue and Lake Street, Green Mountain Falls

Green Mountain Falls Town Hall, 684-9414

Envision the mountains to your left and right as you walk across a wooden bridge to a tiny island in the middle of a pond, populated by your oldest and dearest friends and your loving family. Your best pal from middle school has been ordained so that he can preside over the wedding. The flowers are perfect, you look perfect and everyone has tears running down their cheeks. Your true love gazes into your eyes and whispers, "It's hard to believe that we rented this island for just $75 dollars an hour." -- SG

Best Place To Get Your Knit On

Editorial pick Green Valley Weavers

Chester Gillings and his London cab. - GAVIN EHRINGER

2115 W. Colorado Ave., 448-9963

The women at Green Valley Weavers are saints. At least, they have a saint's patience. Faced with a daily onslaught of knitters, crocheters and weavers of all experience levels and ages, they are able to answer every question with aplomb and humor. Even Kenya, the staff dog, radiates fuzzy serenity with her version of doggy yoga. They offer a wide variety of classes, and even have nights for like-minded crafty folk to meet and hold their own stitch-and-bitch sessions. Beyond the fantastically helpful staff, the store stock is a sensory dream, featuring the softest, craziest and most colorful of yarns. -- KL

Best Taxi Experience

Editorial Pick Chester's London cab

Available Monday through Saturday, afternoon to evening

510-0333 or Yellow Cab Dispatch, 634-5000, cab #873

Forget the gaudy stretch limos; if you want to arrive in style, hire Chester Gillings' London cab. This is the real deal: an Austin FX4, designed in the '50s and still used exclusively in Old London. Inside, there's enough headroom that a man need not remove his top hat, and there's sufficient floor space for a bale of hay (these were some of the odd legal requirements of London's Office of Carriages). Chester imported it to distinguish himself from our town's mini-van taxi brigade; he says one benefit is that even grumpy passengers get happy in his lorry. Price is regulated by local taxi tariffs. -- GE

Ed Johnson, Kevin Rodela and Russ Spaeth experiment with eggs at the Music Exchange. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Ed Johnson, Kevin Rodela and Russ Spaeth experiment with eggs at the Music Exchange.

Best Place We Can't Write About Again

Editorial pick Chinook Bookshop

Formerly at 210 N. Tejon St.

Winner, Best Book Store for '94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04

For 45 years Dick and Judy Noyes

Taught our town about books and joys

Now the shelves have been browsed for the very last time.

No more maps, no more books, no more plays or true crime.

O sweet local bookseller! We miss you so!

Kenneth P. Geohegan of All About Pets. - SEAN CAYTON

The customer service at Amazon is inhuman and slow.

We sat in your chairs and we pored through your pages

Your children's room was always full of kids of all ages.

From season to season the invisible man was lost in a book.

You were ours and we miss you -- the inimitable Chinook. -- BLS

Best Musical Instrument Shop

Editorial Pick Music Exchange

305 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 578-0883

This here is a rocker's neighborhood barbershop -- the place to go to trade jokes, stories, licks, advice, amps and guitars. With its crumbling ceiling,threadbare carpets and vintage Fender tweed amps, this guitarist's haven exudes a funky vibe perfect for garage band types, blues brothers, jazz cats and punk kittens. Owner Russ Spaeth gets sales assists from Ed Johnson and Kevin Rodela, both of whom play in popular local bands. ME sells everything from low-cost electrics and acoustics to vintage axes that will seriously splinter your budget. Basses, amps and accessories too -- no trumpets or trombones here. -- GE

Best Pet Service

Editorial pick All About Pets, PC, Mobile Veterinary Clinic

Kenneth P. Geohegan, DVM, 633-1010

Cats don't dig riding in cars. It's a natural law. Dogs -- fine; they hang their heads out and bark at stuff, but kitties they're like angry bees in a mason jar. Enter Dr. Geohegan: He'll save you the fuss of tweezering out cat claws from your forearms as well as the drive out to the vet. He brings his van to you. Spay and neutering, annual shots, and a whole spectrum of services are available. Give your pup or fur ball the gift of in-home care; this doc's got the right idea. -- MS

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