Best Of 2014

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Best Of 2014: Shopping & Services 

Non-Chain Store for Women's Fashions

Eve's Revolution

1312 W. Colorado Ave., 633-1357, evesrevolution.com

Stepping up from second place in this category last year, Eve's Revolution is a boutique that began as a consignment shop 14 years ago. It gradually shifted its emphasis to retail while still taking some resale items "that play well with our collections," says owner Eve Carlson, "like a great pair of Frye boots that's going to look really good with a jacket." The shop, which covers five rooms and about 1,300 square feet in a west-side Victorian, houses a fast-changing collection of unusual pieces. "You're not going to see yourself coming and going," Carlson promises. "We try to carry a little bit of everything, like really beautiful classic blouses that could be paired with boyfriend jeans and heels. You could take my pieces and go to work, or go out in them." New arrivals are often posted on Eve's Facebook page; trades, consignments and store purchases are by appointment only. — RM

Writer's Pick
Clothing Swap

Yobel International's Swap for a Change

swapforachange.yobelinternational.org

At the biannual Swap for a Change, the first rule given by organizers to the on-site attendees is: "Be nice." Which isn't necessarily a bad thing to say when you have a roomful of recycled clothes, shoes and accessories ... and about 50 women eyeballing what's around the next corner. For a donation of $10 (which includes snacks and beverages) to the nonprofit and at least five items to be contributed to the exchange, ladies of all ages and sizes can spend an afternoon "shopping" while supporting Yobel International's mission of relieving poverty around the world. — KA

Jewelry Store

Revolution Jewelry Works

5928 Stetson Hills Blvd., #110, 650-6000, revolutionjewelryworks.com

A custom jewelry design studio, Revolution Jewelry Works opened in November and has been getting buzz ever since. Jennifer Farnes, owner (and, she says, one of 150 full-time color-stone-cutters left in the U.S.), has been in the jewelry business for 11 years. Her head jeweler, Pedro Llanas, has been in for 15. She says they intentionally built their store unlike any other in the industry locally: The space has vaulted ceilings, no "cheesy lighting," and a wood-metal fusion design to give it, as she says, an "organic and kind of cosmopolitan" feel. No salespeople wander the floors, only people who work hands-on with the jewelry. And perhaps even cooler, if you order a custom piece, you can watch through wraparound windows as her staff pours the metal for it. — KA

Ethnic Market

Asian Pacific Market

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

You'd think there was a world coconut milk shortage from the price of those cans at some stores. But not at Asian Pacific Market, where a variety of brands of the sweet stuff can be bought on the cheap, amid various other deals. Frozen mochi? Check. Lime leaves? Check. Rice in huge canvas bags? Check. Soy sauce, fish sauce, and curry pastes? Uh-huh. And the market isn't just for the shelf-stable and frozen stuff. Need a giant fish for some reason? The Asian Pacific Market has so got you covered. Have a recipe that calls for an unusual fruit or vegetable? You'll probably find it here, and you may also be tempted to pick up the rest of your produce for the week once you see the prices. — JAS

Store for Accessories

Terra Verde

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

Terra Verde has won this category all five years we've had it. And really, why not? This store is simply jam-packed with unique earrings, necklaces, bracelets, scarves and trinkets for your hair. I've bought quite a few beloved things for myself there over the years. But I've purchased even more as gifts for friends and family, because I know I can find a variety of styles and colors in one place. I think the best testament to the store's quality is this: Just the sight of a Terra Verde box is often all it takes to get a squeal of approval from a friend or loved one. — JAS

Higher Ed for Nontraditional Students

Pikes Peak Community College

Multiple locations, 502-2000, ppcc.edu

It's a no-brainer in this category, given that nontraditional students make up the majority of the student population at Pikes Peak Community College. Roughly 25 percent of that population is military, says Allison Cortez, executive director of marketing and communications, and in the past year, PPCC has celebrated the opening of its new multimillion-dollar Military and Veterans Center at the Centennial Campus. It's also rearranged its remedial education programs for nontraditional students. One more boon for students traditional and non-traditional alike: The school has implemented a new curriculum with classes and tutoring revolving around entrepreneurship, where Cortez says they'll "learn about professional and life entrepreneurial skills to be better equipped in the community." — AP

Thrift Store

Arc Thrift Stores

Multiple locations, arcthrift.org

Arc Thrift Stores have swept this category for the past eight years, and it's no wonder why. Each of the four stores in town is large, clean and well-organized, with wide aisles and an abundance of merchandise that changes daily. Kathy McAdoo, director of community events, explains that proceeds from the stores' sales help fund the 12 Arc chapters in the state, which help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The stores also help their paying customers with a military discount, as well as 50 percent off most items for seniors every Tuesday, and for everyone who shops on Saturdays. — KK

Natural Foods Store

Mountain Mama Natural Foods

1625 W. Uintah St., Suite A, 633-4139, mountainmamanaturalfoods.com

Mountain Mama, a family-owned natural food store on the west side, finished second in this competition 14 times before taking our top prize. But to many locals it has always been No. 1. Jeff Fuller, the general manager, says the store has been around 35 years. He's been here for over 20, as one of many long-time employees. That's part of what makes Mountain Mama special. Another part: "We try to carry brands that we test and that we believe in," Fuller says. "We do our research and as far as, like, food and supplements and vitamins, we try to provide Colorado Springs with a really good way to sustain their health." Fuller says the reward for that has been steadily increased business, even as bigger, shinier competitors have moved in. — JAS

Place for Eyewear

ABBA Eye Care

Multiple locations

ABBA Eye Care means many things to Springs residents. For one thing, ABBA means Oakley — it's the biggest retailer in town, according to operations manager Alan Sindler. ABBA also means convenience — it has 14 locations in southern Colorado, with a new Security spot scheduled to open next summer. But ABBA also means caring. Last year, it partnered with CASA of the Pikes Peak Region to promote the Vision 2020 program. The goal is to have court-appointed special advocates for every abused or neglected child in the Pikes Peak region by 2020. — GS

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: North

Maggie's Farm

818 E. Fillmore St., 358-8849, maggiesfarmmarijuana.com

Maggie's Farm has thrived through quality and adaptability. "My biggest priority has been the production of my product," says owner Bill Conkling. "We're not a middle-man company." The Fillmore store carries all outdoor-grown Maggie's Farm strains, plus a selection of concentrates and edibles. All of the concentrates are made from Maggie's weed, too. Fillmore is Conkling's largest store in the Pikes Peak region — it has two waiting rooms and a wide selection of vaporizers and other smoking accessories. — GS

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: South

Maggie's Farm

1424 S. Nevada Ave., 328-0420, maggiesfarmmarijuana.com

Boy howdy, does the Springs love Maggie's Farm. Both of its Colorado Springs locations are your favorites for medical marijuana in their respective regions ... but it's hard to beat the original. The Nevada store was the first Maggie's location in the Springs, and it's celebrating its fourth birthday this year. According to budtender Sarah, this store treats a wide variety of patients. From muscle spasms to multiple sclerosis to cancer, patients with all kinds of challenges continue to come to Maggie's for their meds. — GS

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: West

Strawberry Fields

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

It all started in a closet, with six plants and one registration card, five years ago, says co-owner Mike (who chooses to withhold his last name). Today, Strawberry Fields is a juggernaut on the medical marijuana scene, offering employees a full retirement plan and setting itself apart among customers by selling "completely organic marijuana grown in soil and watered by hand." The west-side store boasts 30-plus strains, as well as a variety of oils, tinctures, balms and edibles. And though some Coloradans maintain a certain skepticism, "awareness regarding the benefits of this plant continues to grow," says Mike. "[It's] like pushing over a vending machine — it needs to be rocked back and forth a few times before it tips over." — AP

Place to Buy Motorcycles

Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson

5867 N. Nevada Ave., #150, 278-2300, pikespeakharleydavidson.com

A hog is a special thing, and a person should get one from a special place. Locally, that place is Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson. With a selection of bikes to satisfy most tastes, the place is wall-to-wall chrome and leather. Lots and lots of leather. Also, there's a motorcycle museum upstairs where you can see 60-plus original and restored vintage and antique bikes. And, really, what's not to like about a store whose phone-answering system includes an option to dial into the Hog Hotline? — BW

Writer's Pick
Mantique Store

Tao of Metal

220 S. Sierra Madre St., 229-6841, taoofmetal.com

You've maybe seen the Tao of Metal guys' über-cool metal bonsai tree sculptures at art shows around town, but have you visited Dave Chadwell and Alex Horaz's market/studio, tucked in by the train tracks downtown? Opened in February, the space could definitely be described as "mantiquey," with piles of rusty industrial odds-and-ends (priced by weight), unusual home décor (like a coffee-table-size, metal-piece chess set), old skateboards, vintage bikes and toy trucks. Not that women can't like this kind of place — I certainly do! It's just that the shop's less pristine and Precious Moment than your typical antique store. — KA

Flower Shop

Platte Floral

1417 E. Platte Ave., 632-2607, platteflorist.com

One of the oldest and longest-running businesses in the Springs is a flower shop. And though it's been operating at the same central location since 1921, Platte Floral is hardly looking to get by on pedigree. "We are open year-round, we deliver six days a week, and have a full-service green house for outdoor planting, too," says owner Mel Tolbert. Also, take note: Platte's website is just as easy to use as any of the national brands, with offerings organized by price, brand name and more. — MB

Place to Buy a Thoughtful, Inexpensive Gift
Non-Chain Bookstore

Poor Richard's Books & Gifts

320 N. Tejon St., 578-0012, poorrichardsdowntown.com

The growing gift section at Poor Richard's now takes up nearly half the business. Co-owner Patricia Seator says, "We choose products with both quality and price in mind, allowing anyone to find a nice gift at a great price." They also focus on products made locally or in the U.S.; most of the vintage jewelry case, for example, is filled with pieces by local artists. But despite the increase in wearables, home decor and Shakespeare-quoting wallets, you can rest assured that there's no shortage of reading material. Poor Richard's always has a steady stream of pre-owned tomes replenishing the floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and Seator says they are starting to add more new books to the selection. — DM

Landscaper/Company

Patton Professional Lawn & Landscapes

50 Mount View Lane, 271-6357, mymowcrew.com

Taylor Patton worked on several landscaping crews before going solo, but his decision to open his own business in 2011 still was bold, considering he's only in his early 20s. And that boldness has been rewarded. Patton Professional has already grown to between 12 and 20 employees (depending on the season) and offers mowing, trimming, irrigation, landscape design and installation. Basically, Patton's company will do whatever is needed to keep lawns green and trimmed (or artful and drought-resistant, for those who have given up on grass and turned to Xeriscaping). Patton says his company's organic fertilizers and soil treatments in particular are "a pretty big hit out here. You can walk and play on it right when we're done applying it." — DM

Garden Supply/Nursery

Rick's Garden Center

1827 W. Uintah St., 632-8491, ricksgarden.com

No doubt Rick's impresses its fans by being a year-round, full-service lawn and garden emporium, offering Colorado-grown trees; lawn and garden equipment rentals; and tools, sprinklers, planters and a private-label fertilizer that folks swear by. ("It's one of those things that's made us unique all these years," says co-owner Mike Estes.) You can also find indoor gardening supplies, including hydroponic gear; seasonal flowers, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs ("it's crazy how many plants we carry here"); a vast seed collection, including non-GMO seeds; and a seasonal Christmas shop with fresh-cut as well as potted trees, plus wreaths and garland. — RM

MMJ Dispensary: Central

NaturaLeaf

1004 S. Tejon St., 630-7300, thenaturaleaf.com

You won't find any Marley posters or cheeky 420 schwag at NaturaLeaf. "We're trying to change the face of the industry," says owner Shanna Dunson. "We're in the medical field — we're not just pushing pot." Having operated in its south downtown location for four years now, NaturaLeaf is one of a relatively small number of dispensaries without a marketing plan, relying largely on the word of mouth of its customers. "It's the best way when you have a great product," Dunson says. And she and her staff have just about every MMJ product you could ever want, from CBD oil and concentrates to edibles and, of course, 20 to 30 strains at a given time. — CL

Writer's Pick
Place to Shop for Yarn

The Yarn Outlet

416 S. Eighth St., 227-3665, yarnoutletcos.net

If you knit, crochet, weave or felt and you haven't been to the Yarn Outlet, you're missing out. The yarn — ranging from super bulky to lace-weight, natural to synthetic to blends, and undyed to commercially dyed to hand-painted — comes in all price ranges. "About one-third of the store is yarn that has been discontinued, so not only is it hard to find, it's marked down," says Suzi Gvazdauskas, who bought the business in 2010. The rest of the store is mostly newer yarns and brand names, but you'll still see things you won't see anywhere else, like cashmere, alpaca, mohair, novelty yarns, cones and notions. The staff is great, too (disclosure: I worked there for about a year), and new classes are offered every month. — KK

Realtor

Sylvia Jennings

216 N. Tejon St., 635-7653, peakdream.com

"There's nothing more important in business than having a strong reputation," says Sylvia Jennings, winner of this year's Best Realtor award. She's very much earned hers: Jennings works with both Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and her own 15-year-old Peak Dream business. She says she focuses on helping buyers and sellers in the Colorado Springs community find homes that are both a good fit and an intelligent investment. That could be a single-family starter home, a vacation home, a downtown loft or condo, or even a senior-living spot. — JC

Higher Ed for the Money

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

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

The average annual cost for tuition and fees for a full-time, in-state student at UCCS is $9,142 — lower than at many comparable schools. For that, students get access to 37 bachelor's degree programs. Then there are 19 master's and five doctoral tracks, with graduate studies in such fields as nursing, engineering, business and education. Enrollment has swelled, reaching a peak this year at 11,132 students, with still more growth anticipated. The college also has been on a building tear, having completed a new parking garage with soccer fields atop it and opened new residential facilities while still constructing more dorm space. All this, plus free shuttles to and from North Nevada Avenue. — RM

Child Day Care

Sidewalk's End Montessori School

3215 Woodland Hills Drive, 266-0026, sidewalksendmontessori.com

"Being 'big man on campus' is a pretty cool thing when you're 5 or 6," says educator Lynne Casebeer, and she would know. The Sidewalk's End preschool co-owner — who holds a bachelor's in psychology, an early childhood credential from the American Montessori Society, and is herself a mom — oversees classrooms where kids from ages 3 to 6 all learn together in "a structured environment that allows children to have freedom within that structure." Casebeer and fellow Colorado native Grace Blea-Nunez co-founded Sidewalk's End back in 2010. The school's name comes from a Shel Silverstein poem, while its teaching method draws upon an approach developed more than a century ago by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. "There's a lot of movement involvement," explains Casebeer, "so they're able to use their entire body when learning numbers, shape concepts, and even pre-reading skills." So how is it that such a time-honored teaching methodology, one that's been around long enough to shape the lives of luminaries from Helen Keller to Jeff Bezos, can still seem so forward-looking today? "This is an approach that's going to work whether it's 1900 or 2014," says Casebeer, "because our brains haven't changed as fast as society has." — BF

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

It's a simple composition: Meeker Music provides good instruments at a reasonable price to anyone with an eye or ear for music. Meeker sells instruments, sure, but also has a nice rental program that allows customers to put a lot of the rental money into purchasing an instrument. Plus, there are in-store private lessons, and instrument servicing and repair. The business will be 40 years old in January, but the downtown store has been reborn in a new Tejon Street location. Says company president Ken Hamman: "We have so much more space and look forward to utilizing that space to benefit music teachers and students." The new awning looks hip in red, too! — BW

Nail Salon

Beauty Bar

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

Beauty Bar markets itself as "a sophisticated, modern place for your beauty needs." Cool. What's cooler? There's an actual, full bar there. Want a scotch and a pedi? Pow! You're soaking and sipping. Having established themselves in less than a year in business, owners Uyen Le and Chris Morrison (last year's Best Realtor) want to be part of a true downtown revitalization. "We're 100 percent local, and we want to encourage young professionals to follow their dreams and open their own places," says Morrison. "We believe in business by the people, for the people." — BW

Platte Furniture

2331 E. Platte Place, 633-7309, plattefurniture.com

If you're searching for, say, a "primitive, wooden, factory boot rack on wheels," or other unique furniture ranging from antique to contemporary to futuristic, this is the place to go. And when you're there, you can feel good about shopping local: Platte Furniture has been owned and operated by the Kelly family since 1978, and has 16 employees. "My dad and I love it because it's like we're treasure hunting, and what we have changes all the time," says Kyle Kelly. "We try for more of a cozy, comfortable feel, but we look for unique pieces, too. We've got furniture made here in the United States, as well as pieces from around the world that you won't find anywhere else." — KK

Pet Groomer
Veterinarian

Northwest Animal Hospital & Pet Care Center

4575 N. Chestnut St., 593-8582, nwanimalhospital.com

The one-stop approach of offering pet grooming, boarding and doggy daycare, in addition to full veterinary care, at one site is probably part of the reason why Northwest Animal Hospital takes both these categories (Pet Grooming for a second consecutive year). Still, people love their pets here as elsewhere, and can be highly critical of pet care. So how, with four vets on staff, including owner and hospital director Dr. John Sudduth, does Northwest please so many? "I think we just need to be available to people," Sudduth says. "And we try to under-promise and over-deliver." Sudduth, who is also the companion of Quincey, a 12-year-old sheltie, and who briefly interrupted our chat to tend to a canine patient's meds, also points to the fact that Northwest is open seven days a week as helping to give clients reassuring continuity of care. — RM

Pet Day Care

Lucky Dog

4401 Mark Dabling Blvd., 599-9663; 2801 Janitell Road East, 527-9663; bealuckydog.com

There's no canine equivalent to Grumpy Cat — dogs are generally happy wherever they go. Owners, on the other hand, have reason to be circumspect, at least when it comes to who takes care of their pets during the day. What makes Lucky Dog stand out from the pack? Attention to the needs of the pups, with separated play groups based on size, and scheduled time for play and scheduled time for rest. Becky Evans, manager of the central site, notes that they also have puppy socialization on Tuesdays and Thursdays that's free of charge until a dog is 5 months old. "Every employee loves what we do here," Evans says. "And our clients are awesome." But perhaps the best part of this doggy daycare is the slew of webcams — so we can all avoid the grumps by watching dogs at play. — LE

LGBT-Friendly Business

Prodigy Salon

4339 Integrity Center Point, 358-7309, myprodigysalon.com

Prodigy Salon opened in November 2011, and soon after, Aaron Vigil was invited to come aboard as a co-owner and salon manager. Vigil says it made sense — he's been in the business since 1997, in the Springs since 2001, and was a teacher at Paul Mitchell the School for six years. The stylists working at Prodigy were once his students, and they needed someone with more experience to guide the new business. One of the first things Vigil did? Reach out to the LGBT community. "I've been working really hard on trying to connect with the LGBT community because I myself am gay," he says. "I have been doing business with and advertising with the Colorado Springs Pride Center, and I just really want to create a safe environment where people really feel welcome." Vigil says he and his nine stylists are seeing business pick up, but still need more customers. He's hoping people will spread the word — and the love. — JAS

Tattoo Artist

Jeff Oelklaus, Pens & Needles Custom Tattoo Company

716 N. Weber St., #200, 473-8063, pens-needles.com

As of late September, Jeff Oelklaus was already booked through January, even though he works 12-hour days, six days a week. The artistic ability displayed in his body art is exceptional, including a delicate shading technique that resembles airbrush work. And then there's the originality. "Usually people come in with a concept, then I do a lot of drawing and work on the concept with them," says Oelklaus. Then he draws the final design freehand, right on the skin, before he starts tattooing. Besides all that, what else sets him apart from other tattoo artists? "I'm nice," he says, smiling. "I don't like the 'street shop' mentality that you might find elsewhere." — KK

Tattoo Parlor
Piercing Parlor

Pens & Needles Custom Tattoo Company

716 N. Weber St. #200, 473-8063; 3737 Drennan Road, 391-7367; pens-needles.com

Tattoo and piercing parlors are nearly as ubiquitous as decorated skin. But finding the right one is a task that should not be taken lightly: You need a shop dedicated to health and safety, and one that boasts artists with varying styles so you can find the right fit. Take a gander at the gallery on the Pens & Needles website, and you'll see beautiful works of art, from Ninja Turtles to family crests. They also offer services beyond the traditional tattoo and piercing — think scarification or sacred services (where the ashes of your loved one are added to the ink). — LE

Photographer

Anthony Graham, Broken Glass Photography

brokenglassphoto.smugmug.com, 339-5182

If you're looking for someone to capture that romantic moment at your wedding, Anthony Graham probably isn't your guy. Unless, of course, your wedding includes bondage, pasties or a lot of fake blood. Graham, a military brat who graduated from Palmer High School in the 1980s, has been shooting photos throughout his adult life. It wasn't like he really set out to become the main photographer for the local burlesque group Peaks and Pasties, or a fetish photographer for Voodoo Leatherworks, or someone who was known for taking really freaky Halloween shots. He was just a bit more adventurous than a lot of his peers, and liked working with different people. "I ended up doing it," he says, "for the simple fact that I didn't say no." — JAS

Day Spa
Hair Salon

Veda Salon & Spa

5182 N. Nevada Ave., 265-5660; 2110 Southgate Road, #201, 578-8332; 7443 N. Academy Blvd., 314-1480; coloradoveda.com

There's nothing like a new hairstyle or a facial to shake the cobwebs from your life, and Veda has a lock on exactly how to deliver those services and more: It's swept these categories for five years running. When asked about her secret formula for success, CEO Carrie Perkins hems a bit before saying, "I guess my hope is that we're committed to creating an experience ... and we give back to the community, and people are aligned with that." Indeed, Veda raises over $50,000 a year for community needs, celebrates Earth Month, and closes down all its locations for a day to provide free services to about 90 community members nominated by others. In the past, those "Moment of Peace" recipients have included people whose homes were claimed in fires or floods, or who have lost loved ones at war. "People who are experiencing emotional distress," Perkins says. "Anybody who needs a moment of peace." — PZ

Hair Stylist

Timka Tremouille, Phenix Salon Suites

1747 Briargate Blvd., #114, 499-3531, vagaro.com/timkatremouille

Given that Timka Tremouille won this award in 2013, too, we thought she might have some advice on hair trends. We were right. Speaking to us over the phone, Tremouille says women are opting for versatile long bobs, or lobs. Fewer women are going dark for autumn — in fact, she says, many of her customers are going blonder. Women have also been getting balayage highlights, which are painted on and look more "lived-in." Guys are tending toward takes on the pompadour, long on top with trim sides. So what's on the horizon? Well, Tremouille just got back from the New York Fashion Week, and says she saw a lot of models wearing long, brushed-out waves with a strong side part — like a casual take on Golden Age film star Veronica Lake's tresses. — JAS

Holistic Practitioner

Ruth Adele

219 W. Colorado Ave., 636-0098

A three-time winner in our former Naturopath category, Ruth Adele is among the longest-practicing naturopathic doctors in the region. After 31 years, including 22 in Colorado Springs, there's nothing she hasn't already seen in the more than 10,000 patients who've sought her care. "I don't have to look things up," she says. "I know what I'm doing. I see the most complicated cases, because people come to me who have already been around the block [to other doctors]." As she seeks to cure the whole person — physically, emotionally and mentally — she uses herbs, supplements, dietary and life changes. "What gets me out of bed every morning and brings me my true joy is that every day somebody says, 'I changed my life because of the way you helped me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't feel this good,'" she says. "When they say it like that, I know they understood they are in charge of their health." Calling ahead is a good idea, because Adele's practice is open non-traditional hours. — PZ

Bank/Credit Union

ENT Federal Credit Union

Multiple locations, ent.com

Why would a bank make it hard to get at your money? The idea brings forth memories of Mary Poppins, when young Michael Banks accidentally starts a riot when he can't withdraw his tuppence. Anyway, ENT customers can always get at their money. Their list of service centers without Saturday hours is very short. Add to that online, mobile and telephone banking options, plus a frankly intimidating network of surcharge-free and deposit-accepting ATMs, and it's clear ENT wants its customers to be able to control their money. Mary Poppins-approved? Hard to say, but ENT has your approval. — GS

Dentist

Broadmoor Dental

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

The doctors and staff at Broadmoor Dental understand that many people dislike going to the dentist, and their response is to kill them with kindness. Wait ... let's try that again. Leslie Douglas, office manager for the dental office, says she and her co-workers try to put people at ease by providing "over-and-above customer service." Expect big greetings, good explanations of what's coming while you're in the chair, and coffee, tea and bottled water in the waiting room. (They offer whitening services to undo any damage from the drinks.) Douglas says another appeal is the really cool office space — it's a former bank, and they kept the big vault door. "The two main dentists have their desks in there," she says. "We still keep our valuables in the safe." — LE

Doctor

Jay Adler, M.D.

2020 W. Colorado Ave., #201, 522-1133, cshp.net

His résumé is dense with clinical professorships, board of trustee roles, medical-organization memberships, research training and nonprofit affiliations. But the west side's Jay Adler is probably most known locally for his current gig of more than 30 years — as a family practitioner in private practice, currently affiliated with Colorado Springs Health Partners. If you want to say "Aahh" for this multi-year Best Of voters' choice for doctor, his staff says, yes, he's taking new patients (depending on your insurance). — KA

Mechanic

Import Specialty Auto

2348 E. Boulder St., 633-3075, isarepair.com

Import Specialty Auto is no stranger to this award, having taken top honors five times since 2007. Service manager Todd Basnett, who calls himself a "red-blooded American who likes gasoline," notes that his staff has become hybrid-specialized, a go-to spot for greener vehicles. (He does have much respect for EVs, for the record, having seen them blow spectators away at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.) Staff experience (30 years' average, they say) really defines this 36-year-old business, though, as do amenities like free loaner cars, pick-up and drop-off service, and even airport valet service when your vehicle is being worked on. — MS

Service at a Dealership
New Foreign Car Dealer

Heuberger Motors

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

The brand certainly doesn't hurt: If Colorado were to have a state car, it would be a close call between the Ford F-150 and the Subaru Outback. But when it comes to car buying and, later, car servicing, it takes more than just a brand to be the best. And though Gallup reports that only 9 percent of people believe car salespeople are honest and ethical, a look at Heuberger Motors' Yelp reviews shows far more satisfied customers than complaints. Just how deeply do they "get it"? The on-site coffee bar is hosted by an actual barista. No wonder it for years has been the highest-volume Subaru dealer in the entire country. — LE

New Domestic Car Dealer

Phil Long Ford

1565 Auto Mall Loop, 266-3301, morefords.com; 1212 Motor City Drive, 575-7555, fordmotorcity.com

It was back in 1945 when World War II ended and Philip Long's first auto dealership began. An Oklahoma native, Long was a highly decorated Navy pilot before leaving the service and starting his first car dealership a month later. Long's namesake company — which sells not only Fords, but also Chevrolets, Kias, Mercedes-Benzes and other makes — now has locations in Colorado Springs, Trinidad, Denver and New Mexico. The company will be celebrating its 70th birthday next year, which is only fitting in a town where men and women in uniform are such an important part of the community. — BF

Used Car Dealer

Mile High Car Company

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

For years, family-owned Mile High Car Company has helped finance good used cars for people with bad credit. "We get you financed 100 percent before you walk out the door," says Ray Martinez, general sales manager. What's more is that you'll never come across a manager here who's too good to speak with customers — in fact, many people will talk with owner Dean Gunter, a former military man, and never know that he's Mile High's top dog. (It's worth noting, Martinez adds, that Gunter takes good care of military folks.) To complete the good-business package, the company auctions cars off for fellow Best Of winner Arc Thrift Stores to raise money for people in need. — AP

Store for Movies, Music & Video Games

Independent Records & Video

Multiple locations, beindependent.com

Goodbye, paycheck. Sayonara, shelf space. You will give in to all kinds of media at Independent Records, a 36-year-old business that's constantly growing to meet your needs. In summer 2012, owners added used books to three of their five locations: downtown, on East Platte Avenue, and in Security. Since, they've added more smoking accessories, toys, games, jewelry and T-shirts. "Right now we're investing in Cassette Store Day," says Matt Gehrung, Independent Records' wholesale buyer. "It's the new vinyl, as far as hipster-ism goes." And as for what's next, it's hard to say. "If it makes sense for us, there's a very good chance that we'll invest in it," Gehrung says, "regardless of whether it's usually in a record store or not." — GS

Medical Marijuana Dispensary: East

Cannabicare

1466 Woolsey Heights, 573-2262, cannabicare.com

Last year, Cannabicare finished in a two-way tie for first place in this category. This year, it stands alone. How'd owner Julie Sveinsson and her staff do it? "We're all just working our butts off to be even better," Sveinsson says. "I think we've really picked up our game this year when it comes to our products. We've lowered our prices, we've got better deals going on." And, she notes, "We really do strive to be a medical marijuana center for people who can't smoke. We have lots of different options for them." — JK

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