Best Of » Shopping & Services

Best Of 2015: Shopping & Services

The businesses that you hit up for gifts, glasses, grooming and more

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Tattoo Parlor
Piercing Parlor

Pens & Needles Custom Tattoo Co. - BRIAN TRYON
  • Brian Tryon
  • Pens & Needles Custom Tattoo Co.

Pens & Needles Custom Tattoo Co.

716 N. Weber St., #716, 473-8067; 3737 Drennan Road, 391-7367, pens-needles.com

Forget everything you ever thought you knew about the look and feel of a tattoo parlor: the hard waiting-room chairs, ticking fluorescent lights, and glumly painted walls. Pens & Needles turns the status quo on its head, in a big way. Comfortable waiting areas and confident, friendly support staff make guests feel at ease as they await their chosen body modification. "Sure, the atmosphere is cool," you say, "but what about the art?" Well, their team is GOOD, providing quality, safe, beautiful work you'll be proud to rock all the way to the grave. — Bridgett Harris

Tattoo Artist

Jeff Oelklaus, Bearded Lady Custom Tattoo Company

736 W. Colorado Ave., 964-1601, beardedladycustomtattoo.com

When I arrive at Bearded Lady, tattoo artist Jeff Oelklaus is working patiently through the staggeringly intricate outline that graces Jose Mata's forearm. Jeff's shop — opened in March after his amicable split from Pens & Needles — is thriving in OCC, with new clients like Mata as well as plenty of regulars. "I really cherish the people that I meet," says Oelklaus, who adds that he's tattooed multiple generations of the same family. And when it comes to his craft? "I like to do the things that make other artists say, 'Fuck that!'" — Bridgett Harris

Barbershop

Eden Salon & Barbershop - KAREN ROBARDS
  • Karen Robards
  • Eden Salon & Barbershop

Eden Salon & Barbershop

12 E. Kiowa St., 520-3336, edensalonandbarbershop.com

Eden's setting is much more artsy and elegant than its striped-pole category might suggest; the downtown salon even refers to its team of independent stylists as "Eden Angels." But look beyond the beguiling façade and you'll find a shop that offers the best of both worlds, with services ranging from that basic $17 men's haircut to those $110 eyelash extensions. You'll also find Wild Ginger Awapuhi keratin treatments, waxing, makeup and even bridal dress work, all of it guaranteed to make you walk out looking and feeling better than when you walked in. — Bill Forman

Hair Salon

Bangs Studio

2130 Vickers Drive, #109 (inside Phenix Salon Suites), 258-0314, bangsstudio.com

When Michelle Obama cut bangs into her famous FLOTUS coiffure, she made headlines around the nation. Maybe it was a slow news day, but we understand the power of the perfect hairstyle. At Bangs Studio, salon owner and stylist Lindsey Rees understands that power, too. "I always want to help people feel beautiful and creative in their own diverse ways," she explains in her web bio. So whether your vision of perfection includes new bangs, a little ombre color or a masculine manbun, you can trust Rees to help you find it. — Jill Thomas

Hairstylist

Sara Mascarenas, Eden Salon & Barbershop

12 E. Kiowa St., 520-3336, edensalonandbarbershop.com

If you ever browse Craigslist's "Missed Connection" ads, among the shout-outs to waitresses and supermarket checkers you'll notice a few posts from those pining for their hairstylists. Separately, we've also noticed that Sara Mascarenas keeps returning as a winner in this category. That got us wondering: Are her adoring throngs of loyal clients just a little bit in love? And if so, why? Sure, it's a hairstylist's job to stand close, run her hands through your hair, and listen attentively to your thoughts. But we believe it's simply that Mascarenas focuses her superior styling skills on making each client look and feel great. — Jill Thomas

Nail Salon

Beauty Bar

26 N. Tejon St., 473-8404, beautybar-inc.com

Fingernails are not simply tools for scratching random body parts. At Beauty Bar, they can be transformed into miniature masterpieces featuring sandy beaches, argyle, starry nights, ladybugs, Denver Broncos logos and much more. Also, while waiting for your little artworks to dry, you can enjoy a drink from the bar that gives the salon its name. So whether your appointment is on a Martini Monday, Wine Wednesday or Thirsty Thursday, getting your nails done will be a party. — Jill Thomas

Day Spa

Spa at Flying Horse - KAREN ROBARDS
  • Karen Robards
  • Spa at Flying Horse

Spa at Flying Horse

1880 Weiskopf Point, 487-2614, flyinghorseclub.com

From the moment you wrap yourself in a plush guest robe at the Spa at Flying Horse, you'll feel all your cares gallop away. (Sorry.) The spa strives for a vibe that's "posh, yet comfortable," with pampering options that include seasonal packages or custom massages, Swiss showers, sugar scrubs, mud wraps, body balms and paraffin dips. There's a full menu of hair services, facials, waxing, manis and pedis, and another menu of food and drink choices. You needn't be a country club member to visit — just call for an appointment, and enjoy the ride. — Jill Thomas

Holistic Practitioner

J.C. Body Care & Therapy

6165 Lehman Drive, #205, 593-0055, jcbodycareandtherapy.com

When Janey Sprouse opened J.C. Body Care & Therapy in December 2013, it was a one-woman show. Less than two years later, the firm's services have become so popular that Sprouse now heads a six-person staff. Together they offer an eclectic lineup of custom treatments, all intended "to promote relaxation and self-healing." The welcoming staff can help you design your own therapy plan with options including Thai Yoga massage, Swedish massage, prenatal massage, sports massage and couples massage, as well as specialty services like hot stone therapy, dry brushing, sinus massage and reflexology. — Jill Thomas

Doctor

Gina Bamberger, D.O.

1730 N. Corona St., 955-2495, memorialprimarycare.org

Sure, Dr. Bamberger keeps winning in this category, but at least one of the doctor's patients admitted to us that she refuses to vote for her. Wut?! Well, it turns out the patient isn't disgruntled, she just prefers to keep her doctor to herself. "Fewer patients means more available appointments," she says with a laugh, "and Gina is already very popular." Then again, having a skilled doctor might mean you stay healthier and don't need so many appointments. Either way, board-certified and reader-approved Dr. Bamberger continues to provide quality family medicine to the people of the Springs community she's been a part of since 1971. — Jill Thomas

Dentist

Broadmoor Dental

1930 S. Nevada Ave., 576-5566, broadmoordental.com

A clever man once said, "Be true to your teeth, and they won't be false to you." It's good advice, and to help you remain "true," Dr. Nicolas Pruett and Broadmoor Dental provide general dentistry and expert cosmetic work, restoration and repairs. One of the most popular procedures, "metal-free restoration," replaces old mercury fillings. Meanwhile, clients wanting cosmetic changes can get temporary veneers while they wait, allowing them to test a new smile and make adjustments before beginning any permanent procedures. — Jill Thomas

Child Day Care

Giving Tree Montessori School

1110 W. Moreno Ave., 630-3763, gtmschool.com

For longer than most of its students have been alive, Giving Tree Montessori has earned the status of Best Child Day Care among Indy readers. The west side school offers learning opportunities based on Dr. Maria Montessori's idea that "education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual." Attendees range in age from 3 to 7. But be sure to contact the school once your kiddo turns 2, which is when you can visit the facility and apply to join the wait list. — Jill Thomas

Pet Day Care

Camp Bow Wow

4295 Northpark Drive, 260-9247; 1020 Ford St., 573-9247; 18985 Base Camp Road, Monument, 632.9247, campbowwowusa.com/Colorado-Springs

The staffing level at this operation is better than that of many schools: one person for every 15 dogs in day care, says camp manager Tristan Frayser. And it's not just a sitting service. Camp Bow Wow employees do brushings, administer meds (injections excepted), and feed their canine clients special diets, if necessary. Pricing is all-inclusive, even covering the ability to video-monitor your pet. For overnight boarding, book early. Frayser says by late October, Bow Wow is booked for the Thanksgiving holiday. — Pam Zubeck

Pet Grooming Shop

Canine Design Salon & Country Club

856 Arcturus Drive, 227-7220, caninedesign.org

Margaret Heller has been at it for seven years, and her salon and country club offers the grooming gamut: Besides washing, haircuts and anal gland treatment, she provides nail clips for dogs, cats and even birds. And then there's the adjoining day care facility. Says Rich Tuttle of his dog O.D. (Other Dog): "He loves it here." And why not? It's the kind of place where "luxury suites" come with futons, an open play area and a "penthouse" where Fido can watch Disney movies all day. All dogs do go to heaven at Canine Design. — Pam Zubeck

Veterinarian

East Springs Animal Hospital - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • East Springs Animal Hospital

East Springs Animal Hospital

5629 Constitution Ave., 373-1576, eastsprings.com

Coming up on its 30th anniversary, East Springs Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, a distinction held by a minority of animal hospitals in the U.S. Certified veterinary technician Rachel Wills also tells us it's one of the few local practices that does orthopedic procedures, as well as laparoscopic spays and biopsies. Each of its five full-time vets has a dedicated technician, and together they treat dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rats, mice and "the occasional reptile," Wills reports. All that, plus laser therapy — we don't wonder why the hospital counts thousands of clients. — Pam Zubeck

Higher Ed for the Money

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 255-8227, uccs.edu

In-state UCCS students pay a little over $9,000 annually in tuition, but from the looks of it, that education helps them find jobs. The default rate on UCCS student loans is 2.9 percent, as compared to a national rate of 13.7 percent. "Investing in your education consistently returns in the form of higher lifetime income, lower unemployment and higher career satisfaction," Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak writes in an email. "Beginning in middle school, we tell students that college is possible with hard work and dedication. It's true. A UCCS education costs about the same as a new car. But after a few years of car payments, you have a used car worth a fraction of its original cost. Investing in education provides dividends the rest of your life." — J. Adrian Stanley

Higher Ed for Nontraditional Students

Pikes Peak Community College - BRIAN TRYON
  • Brian Tryon
  • Pikes Peak Community College

Pikes Peak Community College

5675 S. Academy Blvd.; 100 W. Pikes Peak Ave.; 11195 Hwy. 83, 502-2000, ppcc.edu

Since most of its students are nontraditional, Pikes Peak Community College is always looking for ways to accommodate busy lives. This year, communication director Allison Cortez says, PPCC began offering more "community classes," or classes that don't earn credits but are offered at a discount and intended for working people — in this case, entrepreneurs. PPCC has also beefed up its internship program, teaming with local businesses to ensure students get quality, paying gigs that work with their class schedules. Another change: Manufacturing students have a new opportunity to learn on-site at Springs Fabrication, which is partnering with the school. — J. Adrian Stanley

Cheers Liquor Mart - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Cheers Liquor Mart
In-Store Beer Selection In-Store Spirits/Liquor Selection

Cheers Liquor Mart

1105 N. Circle Drive, 574-2244, cheersliquormart.com

When you consider Cheers Liquor Mart carries more than 1,300 beer options and 3,200-some spirits in its 36,000-square-foot building, the reasons why the store won these two Best Of categories add up pretty quick. Of course, numbers aren't everything — Cheers is also a winner because it's known around town for supporting local brewers and distillers, as well as more than 40 Pikes Peak region nonprofits, such as National Mill Dog Rescue and Teens With Promise. — Kirsten Akens

In-Store Wine Selection

Coaltrain Wine & Spirits

330 W. Uintah St., 475-9700, coaltrainwine.com

Big changes have come to Coaltrain over the past year. A major renovation increased space by 4,000 square feet, allowing the store to add such features as a separate tasting room and a beer cave. Perhaps one of the coolest additions shoppers will find, though, is the temperature-controlled, high-end wine room. Office manager Chelle Mason says that room currently holds about 300 selections — and counting. Of course, the front room is still filled with wines from all over the world, with especially impressive offerings from France and Italy. — Kirsten Akens

Ethnic Market

Asian Pacific Market

615 Wooten Road, #160, 573-7500, asianpacificmarketco.com

Besides expanding the range of products available to Springs pantries and kitchens, the Asian Pacific Market brings a little slice of home to military families, exchange students, Broadmoor interns and everyone else who ends up here from abroad. It doesn't just stock typical East Asian brands and products; it sells European and Caribbean exports, too. Every day at Asian Pacific, a visiting student tows in American friends to share something she enjoyed in childhood or a military spouse picks up fresh ingredients to bring a beloved family dish to a new generation. — Griffin Swartzell

Gourmet/Spice Market

Savory Spice Shop - KIRSTEN AKENS
  • Kirsten Akens
  • Savory Spice Shop

Savory Spice Shop

110 N. Tejon St., 633-8803, savoryspiceshop.com

This shop opened six years ago in November, after Dick Frieg became so enthralled with the Savory Spice Shop in Denver that he asked about a franchise. Today the Springs store bests all other local options by selling 450 different spices, herbs and proprietary blends like Italian Black Truffle. "I bring it in fresh weekly, and we fill every bag or bottle that goes out of here," he says. The operative word is "fresh," he says, because spices go flat within months. "Ours," he notes, "are freshly ground in small batches." — Pam Zubeck

Garden Supply/Nursery

Good Earth Garden Center

1330 N. Walnut St., 473-3399, goodearthgardencenter.com

This year our readers confirm that when it comes to getting our hands dirty, nothing else seems as good as good ol' Good Earth. With over 40 years in business here, the west-side garden center has earned its position as the place to go for everything that grows best at our high altitude. Whether you are looking for fall pumpkins, heirloom tomatoes, locally grown garlic, bulbs or perennials, a piece of garden art or just a little growing advice, you can find it at Good Earth. Watch for their semi-annual urban homesteading fair with info on "free range worms," backyard chickens, rabbits and goats, plus locally raised eggs, meats and more. — Jill Thomas

Flower Shop

Springs in Bloom

318B E. Colorado Ave., 596-4806, springsinbloom.net

Poets tell us there is nothing quite like the sights and scents of spring to revive the human soul. So what to do when fall comes 'round? Simply visit Springs in Bloom, our readers' favorite family-owned and -operated flower shop, where your seasonal joie de vivre can last throughout the year. Whether you want to revive your spirit, remember someone special, offer condolences, apologize, celebrate or just get lucky, they've got you covered with fine flowers, plants and gifts. The downtown shop also offers a straightforward, no hassle "100% Satisfaction Guarantee." If you don't like it, they'll replace it. Now, if only we could do that with these chilly fall nights. — Jill Thomas

Landscaper/Company

Colorado StoneWorks Landscaping

21 Commerce St., 538-6016, springslandscaping.com

When Colorado StoneWorks Landscaping hired its first crew almost 10 years ago, co-owner Anne Campbell remembers, "We kinda agreed to do whatever anyone would give us." At the time that meant lots of lawn mowing, but the company quickly expanded to offer just about every outdoor service you might need — from custom landscape design featuring flagstone patios, retaining walls, water features, firepits and outdoor kitchens to lawn maintenance, sprinkler installation, fire mitigation and even snow removal. "Landscaping is a luxury business," explains Campbell. "People might install a new backyard or go on a vacation." So they work to ensure that when you invest in a Colorado StoneWorks yard, every weekend feels like a getaway. — Jill Thomas

Photographer

Photography by Kaylene

facebook.com/PhotographyByKaylene

Kaylene Rood has her lenses aimed high. "I think it would be really cool to be able to capture anything having to do with the Mars Discovery [mission]," she says when asked about the perfect photo opportunity. For now, though, she's happy to continue shooting the kinds of photos that keep her in the Best Of Colorado Springs ranks. Performing musicians provide some favorite photo ops — "Something about them giving it their all and being able to capture that moment for them is amazing," she says — but her talent stretches into wedding and portrait photography, too. Follow her on Facebook and watch for her free, impromptu, themed group shoots — they're out of this world. — Craig Lemley

Realtor

Joshua Noyes, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

238-2361, joshuanoyes.com

Choosing a home can feel a little like choosing a spouse — you REALLY want to find the right one, since you'll be spending so many hours together. Realtor Joshua Noyes, who specializes in first-time home purchases, military moves and out-of-state relocations, understands this sentiment. "I believe in taking time and making sure I listen to what my clients want," he says. "I would rather spend time looking at 30 or 40 homes to find the exact right one, versus pushing them into something 'good enough' and closing the deal. That's been one of the principles of how I do real estate from Day 1." Sounds like a good principle for dating as well. — Jill Thomas

Bank/Credit Union

Ent Federal Credit Union

Multiple locations, ent.com

It's surprising that the Ent we know and love — with more than two dozen service centers across Colorado and a nationwide ATM network — began in 1957 as a humble cooperative of 30 members with $602 in deposits. What's not surprising is that the member-owned credit union continues to grow. As a nonprofit, Ent can offer services with low or no fees, and rates on mortgages, loans and savings plans that are tough for profit-driven banks to beat. And if you live, work, worship or attend school in El Paso, Pueblo or Teller County, you can belong. — Jill Thomas

Mechanic

Aspen Auto Clinic

Multiple locations, 639-2922, aspenautoclinic.com

X-Files enthusiasts may trust no one, but all of us have to take a leap of faith every once in a while. That's especially the case when it comes to auto repairs, an area that, for many of us, is as mysterious as aliens and alchemy. A recent Gallup poll reported that just 29 percent of people hold auto mechanics in high regard, a statistic that's veering dangerously close to the 24 percent approval rating for journalists. But here in Colorado Springs, Best Of voters have consistently given high marks to Aspen Auto Clinic. Owner Greg Bunch started the business out of his garage in 2001 and has since expanded it to four Colorado Springs locations, none of which operate out of his garage. He also promises "better-than-dealership service," a pay-scale for mechanics that's usually higher, and, perhaps best of all, a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty on most repairs.— Bill Forman

New Foreign Car Dealer Service at a Dealership

Heuberger Motors - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Heuberger Motors

Heuberger Motors

1080 Motor City Drive, 475-1920, bestbuysubaru.com

As the owner of a Subaru from Heuberger Motors, I understand why the dealership has snagged its 11th straight win. Sure, it offers a great selection of vehicles, friendly salespeople, skilled mechanics and even a free coffee bar, but for me car shopping (and servicing) comes down to price. That's where Heuberger is hard to beat. I looked at several "gently preowned" Subies on Craigslist, but the prices were so close to Heuberger's deals that it only made sense to buy new. How do they do it? Quantity. Year after year, they sell more Subarus than any other dealership in the nation. — Jill Thomas

New Domestic Car Dealer

Phil Long Ford

1565 Auto Mall Loop, 855/405-2278, phillongford.com; 1212 Motor City Drive, 855/349-0693, fordmotorcity.com

Philip Long opened his first auto dealership in 1945, shortly after returning from 120 successful missions as a Hellcat fighter pilot in World War II. Over the next 70 years, that first dealership evolved into an entire Phil Long "family" of dealerships, including Ford, Chevy, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Hyundai, Kia and ValuCar. Yet our readers still think of Phil Long Ford first when they want to buy American. Fun fact: When Long passed away in 2001, his successor Jay Cimino campaigned for and received Colorado Historic Landmark status for the "Phil Long Ford" sign at the top of Motor City. — Jill Thomas

Used Car Dealer

Mile High Car Company

1480 Ainsworth St., 570-7800, milehighcarco.com

When I was a kid, used car dealerships were synonymous with goofy TV ads, hard-sell sales tactics, questionable vehicles and loud talkers in bad suits. It's hard to vanquish goofy TV ads, but generally, things have changed for the better. Online Blue Book values, web-based customer reviews, CarFax auto histories and inventory search engines have upended the industry and helped the reputable dealers rise to the top. So kudos to Mile High Car Company, where general sales manager Ray Martinez says he prides himself on running "the best car dealership in Colorado Springs." — Jill Thomas

Antiques Store

American Classics Marketplace

1815 N. Academy Blvd., 596-8585, americanclassicsmarketplace.com

Looking for a Star Wars figure from the 1980s? How about a stock certificate from before the Revolutionary War? Both, and thousands of other unusual items, can be found at American Classics Marketplace. Owner Gary Brookshire says the selection in his 65,000-square-foot store is so varied and surprising that several theater directors shop for stage props here. But what sets his place apart from others, he says, is an "awesome" staff of about 20 people who collectively bring hundreds of years' experience with antiques. Note: 10 of them work the floor at any given time, so you shouldn't need to hunt someone down for help. — Pam Zubeck

Jewelry Store

Luisa Graff Jewelers - KAREN ROBARDS
  • Karen Robards
  • Luisa Graff Jewelers

Luisa Graff Jewelers

5901 N. Nevada Ave., 260-0100, luisagraffjewelers.com

Luisa Graff's background in gemology dates to her childhood, when her father worked as a metallurgist in Peru. Today, her new and "previously loved" jewelry occupies a space approximately half the size of Machu Picchu. Graff offers military discounts, financing and a free warranty because she considers everyone who walks through the door to be family, says marketing manager Julie Braaten. You're also greeted as you enter, and treated to staff-baked fresh cookies. "We want to give everyone the attention they deserve," Braaten says. "From diamonds to design to repair, we're your advocate." — Pam Zubeck

Non-Chain Store for Women's Fashions Store for Accessories

Terra Verde

208 N. Tejon St., 444-8621, terraverdestyle.com

Many years ago, I told my husband if he ever wants to buy me a gift, all he needs to do is go to Terra Verde. It doesn't take much to hit a winner here, whether a super-soft scarf or a stylish hat or a piece of fashionable clothing or jewelry. I'd be happy to add pretty much anything from their collection to my closet, and have felt that way for the entire 23 years they've been open downtown. Side note: I shop here a lot because I know my friends feel the same way. — Kirsten Akens

Place to Buy Vintage/Secondhand Clothing Place to Buy Vintage Video Games

The Leechpit - KIRSTEN AKENS
  • Kirsten Akens
  • The Leechpit

The Leechpit

3020 W. Colorado Ave., Suite A, 634-3675, leechpit.com

A few years ago, local business entrepreneur, musical savant and former Indy columnist Adam Leech was worried when Colorado College refused to renew the lease on his downtown location. These days, it's looking like the school did him a favor. Moving to the west side has given him the kind of space he needed to properly showcase a retail playpen filled with vintage clothing, rare vinyl, old-school video games, Six Million Dollar Man dolls, and REAL Star Wars (emphasis his) collectibles. "We have doubled the selection of clothing, tripled the vinyl, quadrupled the toys and games, quintupled the stickers and pins," he says. "You don't even want to know what we sextupled." Still, Leech's underlying philosophy remains constant. "It's the grown-up Leechpit, for grown-ups who don't want to grow up." — Bill Forman

Place to Buy Eyewear

Abba Eye Care

Multiple locations

Your eyesight would have to be really, really bad to not find an Abba Eye Care location in southern Colorado — all the more reason to go there. With 14 locations from here to Alamosa, this Colorado-based chain delivers pretty much anything your eyeballs may ever need — they'll even help before and after Lasik surgery so you'll never have to see them again. Kidding aside, Abba has its sights set on giving back to this community, too, partnering with CASA of the Pikes Peak Region to ensure all at-risk children have access to court-appointed special advocates by 2020. — Craig Lemley

Non-Chain Book Store Place to Buy a Thoughtful, Inexpensive Gift LGBT-Friendly Business

Poor Richard's Complex

320-3241/2 N. Tejon St., 578-5549, poorrichardsdowntown.com

How you see Poor Richard's probably depends on how long you've been in town. Founder and co-owner Richard Skorman notes that the store was a meeting place for LGBT groups in the wake of the statewide passage of anti-gay Amendment 2 in 1992. Skorman stuck his neck out at a time when doing so was actually dangerous, and he faced down death threats because of it. Skorman's wife and the current co-owner of the store, Patricia Seator, remembers being scared during those times, though she didn't get heavily involved in the business until more recently. Those who came to town after the mid-2000s are probably more familiar with the Poor Richard's that Seator helped create — the café, gift shop and new façade are based on her design input. So is the paring down of the used book store, and the addition of new books to the inventory. — J. Adrian Stanley

Musical Instruments Store

Meeker Music

624 N. Tejon St., 471-8940; 3604 Hartsel Drive, 534-9919; 6330 S. Hwy. 85/87, Fountain, 391-8922, meekermusic.com

Sheet music. It's one of the first things you notice when you walk into a Meeker Music store, a way of distributing songs that goes back centuries, before the dawn of recording. You'll also see row after row of complete songbooks, ranging from Rachmaninoff and Gershwin to Neil Young and Lady Gaga. Over the last four decades, Meeker has expanded from one store to three, and it's still THE place to go for a broad range of school band instruments. For the musically minded of all ages, it's a trip back to a sweetly arcane world that never really went away. And for that, we can be thankful. — Bill Forman

Place to Buy Vinyl Store for Music, Movies & Video Games

Independent Records & Video - BRIAN TRYON
  • Brian Tryon
  • Independent Records & Video

Independent Records & Video

Multiple locations, beindependent.com

Even if Independent Records didn't have several area outlets, the Annex on Platte Avenue would probably be enough to win this category on its own. There, music fans and collectors can spend hours browsing through a sprawling collection of pre-owned, deep-catalog LPs, CDs, DVDs, books and magazines. Vinyl buyer Chuck Snow says '70s and '80s punk and New Wave tend to command the most attention, but notes that teenage girls have lately taken to buying up a lot of classic rock records, especially those of Fleetwood Mac, for reasons largely unknown. "The best albums are the ones that don't have warps, shredded covers, mold, cat pee or the Hantavirus," Snow advises. He adds: "Three albums I see in every buy are Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights, Kenny Rogers' The Gambler, and the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack." Fortunately, most local thrift stores will be happy to take those off your hands. — Bill Forman

Todays Health Care - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Todays Health Care
Medical Marijuana Winners Index

Warning: Your quest for medical marijuana is likely to take as long as Harold and Kumar's crusade for White Castle burgers should you follow voters' sense of direction in these categories. While Colorado Springs' street grid may not adhere to the most sensible layout, we still can't explain this conundrum. So we're not going to try. Instead, we'll simply repeat the warning using different words: Ignore the Central, South, North, West and East designations in the following categories. What matters is the lofty quality of the product. In this case, perhaps it's a little bit too high.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Central

1. Maggie's Farm Multiple Locations

2. WTJ MMJ Supply 1347 N. Academy Blvd. 646-8208

3. Todays Health Care 975 W. Fillmore St. 633-1300

225 S. Eighth St. 635-9002

2103 E. Platte Ave. 302-2032

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: East

1. Todays Health Care 975 W. Fillmore St. 633-1300

225 S. Eighth St. 635-9002

2103 E. Platte Ave. 302-2032

2. Cannibicare 1466 Woolsey Heights 573-2262

2. Livwell 570 N. Murray Blvd. 574-8443

3. A Cut Above 1150 E. Fillmore St. 434-1665

3. JP Wellness 1741 S. Academy Blvd. 622-1000

4344 Montebello Drive 622-1000

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: North

1. Medical Cannabis Caregivers 6020 Erin Park Drive, Suite A 264-6337

2. Todays Health Care 975 W. Fillmore St. 633-1300

225 S. Eighth St. 635-9002

2103 E. Platte Ave. 302-2032

3. Pure Medical 19 N. Tejon St. 634-7390

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: South

1. Maggie's Farm Multiple Locations

2. GrowLife 1516 Dustry Drive 635-1700

3. Naturaleaf 1004 S. Tejon St. 630-7300

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: West

1. Strawberry Fields 3404 W. Colorado Ave. 471-2837

2. The Herb Shoppe Medical Center 3020 W. Colorado Ave. 634-6337

3. Trichome Health Consultants 2117 W. Colorado Ave. 635-6337

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Central Medical Marijuana Dispensary: South Place to Buy Recreational Marijuana

Maggie's Farm

Multiple locations, maggiesfarmmarijuana.com

Just for the moment, let's ignore the top-shelf quality and enormous variety of products that Maggie's Farm stocks. Let's appreciate this, instead: The posted prices include all taxes. Yes, that $50 price for a gram of wax on the menu board means $50, all told — or $45, actually, with the 10 percent discount for Colorado residents. If marijuana weren't a cash-only business, maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal, but as things are, that little convenience makes the obligatory pre-purchase ATM visit less of a headache. Now, then, back to that quality and variety ... — Griffin Swartzell

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: North

Medical Cannabis Caregivers

6020 Erin Park Drive, 264-6337, mccaregivers.com

MC Caregivers focuses on providing the executive experience for its patients, whom manager Shannon Nance says skew a little older — mostly 35 and up. We've covered the privacy and discretion at their green-cross-free location before, but the draws don't end there. The dispensary's relaxation room features aromatherapy, massage chairs and free notary services. It's a holistic approach to patient care; as Nance says, "We're definitely into the edibles, vaporizing and using [cannabis] as a complete medication ... so [our patients can live] a more fulfilled life." — Griffin Swartzell

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: West

Strawberry Fields Alternative Health & Wellness

3404 W. Colorado Ave., 471-2837, strawberryfieldsmmj.com

According to Michael Foster, one of Strawberry Fields' managers, one word explains how this organic-minded store has stayed the best medical marijuana dispensary on the west side since winning this category last year. That word is efficiency. "We're efficient through and through," he says, "from our actual retail-type store, where we sell products to our medical patients, all the way to our grow facility ... we're trying to be better each and every second. Not each and every day, but each and every second." — Griffin Swartzell

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: East

Todays Health Care

2103 E. Platte Ave., 302-2032, todayshealthcaremeds.com

What drew manager Aaron Grubbs to join the company? "[THC has] a lot more professional image as far as dress code, cleanliness, the layout ... it's more of a good company feel," he says. It stays ahead with low prices and good sales, a strong return policy and a charity van service. Yes, for cancer patients and anyone else who can't drive because of a serious disability or illness — whether THC patients or not — the business operates a free, handicapped-accessible transportation service to and from medical appointments. "We work a lot with Penrose Hospital, Memorial Hospital and Rocky Mountain Cancer [Center]," Grubbs says. "It's our way of always giving back." — Griffin Swartzell

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