• L'Aura Montgomery

Tanning Salon

Tan Your Hide

Multiple locations


Indy readers believe Tan Your Hide is just as fantastic as the photographs displayed on the studio's Web site. (And that alone is worth a visit.) Celebrated for giving guests a luxurious, yet affordable experience, Tan Your Hide has won in each of the four years we've offered this category. After 27 years in the business, the industry leader boasts friendly service, European equipment and stylish yet comfortable locations around Colorado Springs. According to Sandi of the Southgate location, "We've got a lot of good employees that provide great customer service." LA

  • Brienne Boortz

Tattoo Emporium

West Side Tattoo

2031 W. Colorado Ave., 219-4800


These guys didn't grace the cover of one of last year's Best Of issues (in their undies, mind you) for no good reason. They were showing off their own ink after having earned West Side its third Best Of award in a row. Well, it's time to make that four. Owner Brian Moore still oversees the tight outfit of six skilled tattooers and Toast, one sharp piercer. He says business is as busy as ever; his highly recognized brother, Aaron Moore, is scheduling five months out. But that's old news. What's new? Moore says he's just expanded his West Side branded retail items to include original shirts, skateboard decks, dresses, jeans, sunglasses and more. As for the ink: "We're still focused on educating clients and getting people good work." MS

  • Brienne Boortz

Vintage Clothing Store

The Leechpit

708 N. Weber St., 634-DORK (3675)


Leechpit owner Adam Leech likes his varied roles: musician, entrepreneur, dad, Indy music columnist. And a similarly eclectic sense of style helps his business, which offers great vintage clothing and records. Leech buys the items himself, and always is looking for a way to expand the breadth of his selection; he says he's thinking of adding a bait shop. But as long as his jam-packed store remains free of mealworms, he'll retain his customer base, which includes Colorado College kids, Palmer High kids, regular townies and a guy who resells to teens in Japan. Leech says the one thing those kids all have in common is "they have better taste than kids who don't shop here." FG

Jewelry Store

Luisa Graff Jewelers

4663 Centennial Blvd., 260-0100


How could we not love Luisa Graff Jewelers? Its representatives travel the world yearly for gems to adorn your loved one, and they've created the area's fastest-growing family-owned jeweler. The attention to detail and dedication to customers make shopping for a new piece of bling fun and easy. Great service has helped the store maintain its reputation, and according to Luisa Graff herself, "The reputation we have earned is our biggest asset." For those of you who are just there while the shopping is occurring: There are cookies, café mocha, a leather couch and a 42-inch TV to make waiting more exciting. AA

Writers' PICK

Reason to Get a New Hobby

Silver Sparrow Beads

108 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1226

The first time I went to Silver Sparrow, I was tickled by the semi-precious stones, pearls, glass, wood and other specialty beads covering the store's shelves and tables. Owner Michele Underwood set me up with string and showed me how to measure for how many beads I'd need, and how to clamp on closures. Underwood sold her Duluth, Minn., store in September 2007 and saw the opportunity to move to Colorado, where she's always wanted to live. She says Minnesota winters are too extreme for her. Lucky us! FG

National Chain Store for Women's Fashions


Chapel Hills Mall, 1790 Briargate Blvd., 532-1400

The Citadel, 750 Citadel Drive East, 550-1159


Department stores are like toy stores for big people, especially when it comes to shoes and dresses. Despite its corporate-chain front, what sets Dillard's apart is "customer service," says Chapel Hills Mall manager Sharen Meeks. "We have people who are very knowledgeable about the products." What makes Dillard's hot right now is Ed Hardy anything, watches, handbags, clothes and top-brand cosmetic products. Next time you realize you need a little black dress or (attention: men) it's the day before Christmas and you're empty-handed, step into America's fashion playland. MM

Thrift Store

Arc Thrift Stores

2780 S. Academy Blvd., #110 391-7717

1830 W. Uintah St., 473-0502

4402 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 522-1203


Four of the last five years, you've chosen the Arc as your favorite thrift store. Maybe it's the $7 designer pants and skirts, or the retro scarves. Or maybe you like knowing that money you spend at the Arc goes to helping people with developmental disabilities live more fulfilling lives. But if you ever had the opportunity to visit the Arc as a young, broke person just setting out on your own, you know the Arc's real worth: It's truly a wonderland. Couches that swallow you whole. Coffee tables scratched, but sturdy. Plates bearing that lime-green floral trim that reminds you of Grandma's. Glasses once handed out with Happy Meals. One store, and all the ingredients for your first crib. JAS

Nail Salon

Salon 21

2119 Templeton Gap Road, 633-8480

Salon 21 has filed, chiseled and painted its way to this award for the second year running. Now working at a new location in the north end of downtown, Salon 21's bubbly personnel continue to make every customer's visit worthwhile. "We are very consistent, we offer quality service, and we try to take the time to make nails look perfect," says owner Tiffany Kadrmas, who brings 22 years of professional experience to the table. Regular clientele go there not only to receive optimum results, but more importantly, to meet up for nail-date discussion. Every girl needs her nail tech; Salon 21's consistency offers a great argument for making it your go-to. LA

Value Haircut

Cost Cutters

Multiple locations


"I've spent a fortune on haircuts," says Cost Cutters patron Sylvia Lynn. "I'm serious. Why spend $40 on a cut when you can come here? It's inexpensive, the stylists are nice and they do a good job." All of which is why Cost Cutters remains a cut above the rest. Walk-ins are welcome in this family-friendly chain. The jazzy salons combine a clean, contemporary look with no-hassle styling and affordable prices. Kids' cuts start at $12.95; adults' at $14.95. Other services include color, conditioning, perms, highlighting and waxing. Sign up online for monthly specials and a $2 coupon on your next haircut adding to the stylish savings you can find at this cost-cutting salon. CF

Writers' PICK


Shrap Metal

2928 Parker St., 963-3279


If movies have taught us anything, it's that a sweet sting always involves an AK-47-type gun, the weapon of choice for crazy mofos everywhere. And that's just what an eight-month undercover investigation yielded back in June, in addition to other guns by the dozen, weed, shrooms and hash all being sold by associates at ... wait for it ... Shrap Metal, which won our Piercing Parlor category in '07. Pending legal affairs have everyone on a gag order at the moment, but the shop's still open, with what rumors point to as an uninvolved faction of artists and piercers still running a legit business. MS

Hair Stylist

Jasin Serby, Gurtrude's House of Hair

31 E. Bijou St., 442-6769

"We're cussy and loud, and we'll blatantly tell you if a style's not going to work on you," says Jasin Serby, your choice for this year's top hair stylist. Apparently, that kind of frankness, paired with the personality of Gurtrude's owner John Eddy ("He's the loudest human on the planet," Serby says) create a fun atmosphere like no other. Serby, a Springs native, has been at Gurtrude's 10 years. He doesn't own a TV and doesn't subscribe to style magazines; he says he builds the haircut around the person. Nowadays, "no one wants to be neat. They want messier and edgier from lawyers to cocktail waitresses." (That said, five months ago, Posh Spice's wedge cut was all the rage.) For guys, $15 gets you a shampoo (and that quick head massage we all really go for), cut and cleanup. For ladies, $35 buys the same plus a more time-intensive style. MS


Nelson's Barber Shop

732 N. 19th St., 291-0312

Gone are the days when barbers augmented their grooming services with forays into tooth-pulling and bloodletting. Nelson's Barber Shop offers neither of the above. In fact, when not sculpting follicles, proprietor Mike Nelson spends his time fronting the Mike Nelson Band; previously, he led the Motel Kings and, before that, the Bastard Sons of Jose Cuervo. "I think it's obvious that all the best singers are barbers," says Nelson, citing the likes of Perry Como ("the original singing barber") and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys (just Wills, that is, not his Playboys). He adds: "It's like George Burns used to say: Too bad the only people qualified to run the government are driving taxi cabs and cutting hair." BF

Place for Eyewear

Charlotte's Optical Co.

76 S. Sierra Madre St., 473-8066


Usually, the word "gourmet" is associated with food. At Charlotte's Optical, however, "gourmet" describes elegant and unique styles of eyewear. With popular European imports like Judith Leiber and LaFont, Charlotte's is the perfect place for working professionals, says senior optician Sandy Kirkpatrick. It's also a great choice when you want to mimic someone famous: Kirkpatrick says the frames sported by Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin have recently been in high demand. Obviously, Charlotte's is the place to go when you want to look stylish and smart even if, like Palin, you're just fakin' it. ALL

Piercing Parlor

Holey Rollers

332 E. Colorado Ave., 577-9943


When turning over control of your body for a new piercing, you want to make sure the person on the other side of the needle is experienced and professional. At Holey Rollers, owner and piercer Marcea Flowers is both. Her safe and sterile downtown shop is celebrating 15 years, which is also how long she's been putting holes into people's bodies. While Flowers says "people ask for all kinds of crazy piercings" (some she won't do, like the backs of necks and Achilles' tendons), the most common requests around these parts are nostrils and navels. Make your Holey Rollers appointment today and pierce away, people. Pierce away. KA

  • Cayton Photography

Shoe Store

DSW Shoe Warehouse

7639 N. Academy Blvd., 264-8007


Twenty thousand pairs of shoes in one store. That's a different pair of shoes every day for nearly 55 years. DSW has everything, from open-toed heels to running shoes, in every color imaginable. Going into its fourth year in Colorado Springs, the store caters to a wide demographic. The affordable prices and sweeping selection make it easy for anyone to find something he or she likes. Knee-high leather boots? Check. Glittery flip-flops? Check. Nosebleed-inducing (but stunning) stilettos? Double-check. AA

  • L'Aura Montgomery

Hair Salon

Day Spa

Veda Salon and Spa

4697 Centennial Blvd., 265-5660

2110 Southgate Road, #201, 578-8332

7443 N. Academy Blvd., 314-1480


Refreshment: We all seek it in some aspect of our lives. And it's on the menu every day at Veda Salon and Spa. Walking through the front doors, you're welcomed by soothing earth tones on the walls. Calming music and intoxicating scents of essential oils, herbs and minerals used in aromatherapy treatments enhance the mood. And a massage warm stone, deep tissue, floating or otherwise completes the refreshment process. Plus, the staff is always learning about new styles, techniques, procedures and products, so you don't have to worry about looking like you stepped straight out of 1987. AA

  • Brienne Boortz

Store for Accessories

Local Store for Women's Fashions

Place for a Unique Gift

Terra Verde

208 N. Tejon St., 444-8621

This downtown specialty store takes home three Best Of awards this year and has been recognized in at least one category every year since voting began. "I think one of the reasons is that we keep the store fresh," says owner Chris Sondermann. "People like to come back because it's different every time." The store's colorful, eclectic mix of women's fashions, accessories and footwear, home furnishings, gift items, children's gear, books and cards reflects the broad tastes of a multigenerational team of buyers. "We like people to leave here with things they're real excited about," explains Sondermann. "That's what makes repeat customers, not just selling them on the moment, but selling them things that make them feel so good they come back over the long haul." JT

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