Insider Guide 2010
At Kendall York's new Manitou Springs store, every rubberband gun, robot and play kitchen was made right here in the U.S. of A. And prices start at just a few bucks.
Best Of 2012: Place for Eyewear
Operations director Alan Sindler says that the first ABBA location opened some 35 years ago. We didn't dare ask whether that strengthens any connection to the '70s Swedish pop superstars. In any case, ABBA now has 14 locations in the region, including seven in the Springs (with a new storefront slated for Powers and Woodmen), three of those on local military bases. Pretty sure it adds up to a winning equation, not least because the business remains locally owned in spite of the scale. Sindler says ABBA emphasizes "high-definition" vision, with lens designs, materials and treatments all lending to clearer optics. Plus, its opticians are better-trained than even the state requires. "We try to stay in the upper stratosphere in terms of customer service." — Wyatt Miller
Best Of 2012: Antique Store
While it's a frequent winner of the Antique Store award, a more fitting description of American Classics Marketplace might be Best Collection of Different Stores Under the Same Roof. "We have around 300 vendors in 65,000 square feet," says assistant manager Steven Brookshire. It can take hours to see it all, since there's something fascinating around every corner, up and down every aisle, and from floor to ceiling. And they're not just antiques. You get old mixed with new, and purely decorative with still-very-useful. Come to think of it, this one could also be a contender for Best Place to Go if You're Bored — it's a sure cure of that. — Kendall Kullman
Best Of 2010: National Chain Furniture Store
OK, so American Furniture Warehouse isn't truly a national chain, since all its stores are in Colorado. But its "local delivery" includes western Kansas and Wyoming, and it will deliver virtually anywhere else (provided you buy enough furniture and pay some extra fees). Regardless, Jake Jabs' juggernaut feels more "national" than "local" to us because of its low prices and ridiculous selection. Styles run from classic to contemporary, but actually, store manager Dale Pepper says the "Colorado" style is still widely in demand. It probably needs no explanation, but just in case: It's the lodge look, with bulky, wood-framed chocolate and natural-toned pieces. "You could be moving here from the most contemporary of contemporary" cities, he says, but in Colorado, "you feel the mountains, you look at the architecture of the homes, or even the apartments, and they're not set up to be that contemporary." It's a more "down-to-earth home style. — Bree Abel
Insider Guide 2010
he Antique Gallery is great for two reasons. If you know exactly what you're looking for, ask and you often shall receive. (The staff knows its product that well!) If you're not seeking anything specific, wind your way among antique furniture, jewelry, collectibles and art to discover that special something you didn't know you needed.
Many believe the key to business success is "location, location, location." For the Antique Gallery which moved out of the site of the old Ute Theater into a 10,000-square-foot building on Wahsatch Avenue the adage couldn't be truer. "The location here is so much more practical," says owner Jason Carr. "And, so much more comfortable," adds his wife and co-owner, Tina Carr. They don't miss the dark, drafty Ute Theater and its sloping floors, and neither do their customers. In just over a year since the move, the new building has helped the business attract more than 50 dealers and 100 consignors. "When you've got that many different dealers," says Tina, "the amount of inventory is just so varied that it really does impress the customer."