Best Of 2003

Favorite

Best of Goods and Services: Making us look good: Goods & Services 

click to enlarge KATHY CONARRO
  • Kathy Conarro

Framer in the Best Frame of Mind Alfredo "Orly" Martinez
Orly's Gallery of Art, 730 S. Tejon St.,

630-3371

If Orly were president, our country would be a masterpiece.

This passionate Viet Nam veteran has framed thousands of pieces of art in his 16 years in business, and hosted countless art openings at his frame shop and gallery on South Tejon. His store is filled with art by local artists and Orly's framing prices are too good to be true. But don't get him going on the state of world affairs. The war in Iraq? An outrage! The way war veterans have gotten the shaft? More outrage! The state of the economy? Over-the-top outrage!

If only Orly would run for president. CD

click to enlarge If Orly were president, our country would be a masterpiece. - KENNETH WAJDA
  • Kenneth Wajda
  • If Orly were president, our country would be a masterpiece.

Best Romantic Gift Pottery and ceramics by Ken and Tina Riesterer
Available at the Commonwheel Co-Op,

102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008

When you just can't bring yourself to choose from another wedding registry, or more uninspired jewelry just doesn't fit the bill for your anniversary, head to the Commonwheel Artist's Co-op and discover the pottery by local artists Ken and Tina Riesterer. Who needs to be convinced to finish their meal when intertwined nude silhouettes in gorgeous colors wrap themselves around the circumference of a dinner plate? Spring for flowers for any occasion, but present them in one of the many shaped and sized vases with the same sensual nude forms. Give beautiful, functional art and everyone will come out happy. CSB

Best Place to Buy Cakes to Pass Off as Your Own Readers Poll Winner Marigold Caf & Bakery
4605 Centennial Blvd., 599-4776

Not that there's anything wrong with that. None of us would ever do that. Well, maybe just once, if it were a very, very important party and your baking skills are limited. Would anyone really believe that you produced something as gorgeous as Marigold's Almond-crusted Fruit Tart, as luscious as their Carrot Cake, as voluptuous as the Chocolate Mousse cakes? Here's a chance to fool your pals, and feed them at the same time. What's the harm? A little mystery, a little stretching of the truth in the interest of enhancing relationships, a little frosting and a lot of artistry can only improve our lives. NH

click to enlarge Marge, did you bake that yourself or did you buy it from Marigolds Caf and Bakery? - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Marge, did you bake that yourself or did you buy it from Marigolds Caf and Bakery?

Best bread Readers Poll Winner Panera Bread
7344 N. Academy Blvd., 522-1100

The protein-chomping, carbo-fearing weenies don't know what they're missing. The enticing aroma of bread fresh from the oven is an intoxicating perfume like no other, evocative of home, family and contentment. At Panera, indulge your every leavened whim with breads of all shapes, sizes and flavors; rolls; bagels; cookies; muffins; and pastries that the gods themselves would fight over. This bread passes the most stringent test: It makes great toast. MBP

Best Bike Shop Readers Poll Winner Criterium Bike Shop
6150 Corporate Drive, 599-0149

Variety is the key to a good all-around bike shop. Criterium Bike Shop is stocked to meet the needs of any rider from the weight-conscious road master to the armor-clad downhill maniac. Besides dealing in Specialized, Cannondale and Giant bikes, Criterium also carries just about every accouterment needed for leisurely rides as well as epic journeys. There is a full fleet of bikes available for half-day, full-day and weekend rentals. Their in-store repair shop is equipped to handle just about any problem that may arise out on the trail. GM

Best Hyperbolic Name for a Mall The Shops at Briargate
1885 Briargate Parkway,

click to enlarge Theyve got a full fleet at Criterium Bike Shop.
  • Theyve got a full fleet at Criterium Bike Shop.

www.the shopsatbriargate.com

You'll be forgiven for mistaking "The Shops at Briargate" for just another mall. But with such froufrou establishments as Ann Taylor, Talbot's, and Williams-Sonoma, the northeast's newest retail playpen fancies itself a "lifestyle center."

If you swallow the spin of its owners, a "lifestyle center" is a mall with the best trimmings of a traditional old town -- like shrubbery. What the Europe of Epcot Center is to the Europe of ... er, Europe, so is the lifestyle center to a traditional city. So for Briargatians spun into a dizzy tizzy by their cul-de-sac labyrinths, consider "The Shops" a downtown with training wheels. JD

Best Pet Indulgence Acupets Mobile Veterinary Acupuncture
Joni L. Freshman, DVM, MS, 590-PETS,

www.acupets.com.

Why on earth would you pay someone to drive to your house and stick needles in your cat or dog? One good reason is that you don't enjoy seeing your pet suffer. Acupuncture is widely used in pets to manage pain, chronic or temporary, from causes ranging from arthritis, injury and neurological disease to cancer and more. Acupuncture can ease athletic injuries in show animals, or make your pet's last days more comfortable and less painful. Freshman, certified in Veterinary Acupuncture and Board Certified in Veterinary Internal Medicine, has a great love and affinity for animals that shines through from the moment you meet her. MBP

click to enlarge This poochll be feeling fine after her acupuncture treatment. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • This poochll be feeling fine after her acupuncture treatment.

Best New Clothing and Music Store The Leechpit
708 N. Weber St., 634-DORK,

www.leechpit.com

Looking for a pair of slightly used, knee-high, orange vinyl boots? How about a red velvet, full-length Christian Dior evening coat with rhinestone buttons? Back-to-school slacker wardrobe? Lucky for you, the Leechpit, conveniently located near Colorado College, is here with a wide selection of ultra-hip used clothing. You can trade in your trucker caps, emo T-shirts and various sundry hipster clothes, and start your new life as a preppy college student, or vice versa. They've got music, a fab lunch box collection, a fully functional Pac-Man video game, and a little candy store too. -- NB

Best Shoe Store Readers Poll Winner Brown's Shoe Fit Co.
123 N. Tejon, 635-1575 Brown's is a solid, respectable, main street sort of shoe store with a wide array of men's, women's, girls' and boys' kicks that veer toward the rugged Colorado aesthetic. JD

click to enlarge Ricks Garden Center won best Nursery/Garden Supplies. - MATT STEVENS
  • Matt Stevens
  • Ricks Garden Center won best Nursery/Garden Supplies.

Best Health Club/Gym Readers Poll Winner YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region
4 locations around town,

www.ppymca.org

Whether you prefer to work out in the early morning, over your lunch hour, after work or after dinner, and whether you want to swim, kick box, lift weights, run, spin, play racquetball, do yoga or Pilates, the YMCA is the place to be. Unassuming, carefree of your workout fashion sense, staffed with friendly and knowledgeable employees, and conscientious of locker room cleanliness, the Y is the ideal gym. CSB

Best Bookstore Readers Poll Winner Chinook Bookshop
210 N. Tejon St., 635-1195,

www.chinookbook.com

click to enlarge The Picnic Basket owners Michelle Talarico and Kathy Dreiling really get into their jobs. - KENNETH WAJDA
  • Kenneth Wajda
  • The Picnic Basket owners Michelle Talarico and Kathy Dreiling really get into their jobs.

The amusing invisible man posing in the window's season-appropriate attire beckons readers of all ages inside. Whether you know the ISBN of the book you'd like to order, or you'd just like to spend a lazy afternoon browsing -- there's a reason the Chinook Bookshop wins this award every year. While Mom and Dad attend the frequent literary readings and book signings, the kiddies can pore through the stacks of picture books and play in the clubhouse. This local landmark proves Colorado Springs is worth loving. BLS

Best Liquor Store Readers Poll Winner Cheers Liquor Mart
1105 N. Circle Drive, 574-2244,

www.cheersliquormart.com

What's not to love when a liquor store offers shopping carts? Bigger than many food markets, Cheers Liquor Mart is the largest in southern Colorado, with a vast selection of beer, wine and spirits, and a staff that knows its stuff -- a staff with whom some of us are on a first-name basis. If you're not, get on over and ask for some liquid advice. Whether you're an ingnue who confuses pinot gris with pinot noir, or a jaded old sot seeking something extraordinary, staff suggestions, like the store, are winners. NH

Best Place to Dawdle on a Saturday Afternoon Hathaway's Smokeshop & Magazine Store
216 N. Tejon St., 632-1441

click to enlarge Our readers chose Terra Verde as the Best Place for an Eclectic Gift.
  • Our readers chose Terra Verde as the Best Place for an Eclectic Gift.

This downtown newsstand and smoke shop invites the serious dawdler to hang out with thousands of magazines while inhaling the heady perfume of the humidor. Scan the newspapers from across the country and around the world, then venture to the gardening and food section, political affairs, travel, health, film, hunting, sports, whatever rocks your boat. The oldies station on the radio sounds better inside Hathaway's for some reason, and you can embarrass yourself by singing along while flipping through the newest edition of the Utne Reader. Friendly service and a great selection make this a true original, a gem in our midst. KCE

Best Place to Diddle on a Saturday Afternoon First Amendment at Fillmore
220 E. Fillmore St., 630-7676

In the interest of peculiar patriotism, let's take a moment to celebrate a seldom-sung American freedom -- our right to diddle. While not exclusively American, diddling often requires imagination, inspiration and a few time-honored ointments. A drive-through window doesn't hurt either.

First Amendment has it all.

Such a diddling destination is the First Amendment that it was featured in a 1997 edition of NPR's This American Life when a flying column of New Lifers prayed that God might inspire customers to pursue another freedom -- non-diddling. JD

click to enlarge From pigs to scales at the Colorado Country Antique Mall. - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • From pigs to scales at the Colorado Country Antique Mall.

Best Music Store (for instruments and supplies) Readers Poll Winner Graner School Music
3490 W. Carefree Circle, 574-2001;

3663 Star Ranch Road, 538-7999;

8674 N. Union Blvd., 579-7665

The song says there are 76 trombones in the big parade. Graner School Music has the trombones, the piccolos, the violins and anything else to make your budding musician (whether she's a child or an inner voice) sing a very happy song. Graner's knowledgeable staff and their infinite patience can make a bandleader out of anyone. BLS

Best Used Books Readers Poll Winner The Book Broker
119 E. Bijou St., Colorado Springs,

227-7558, www.thebookbroker.net

Need a great gift but you're short on cash? Need to send out thank-yous and you're plumb out of cards? Does your address book have so many names crossed out it looks like a 2-year-old's coloring book? Stock up on blank books, journals, artsy note cards, calendars and address books at the Book Broker. Oh, and we should mention that they have great books -- a ton of them. You and your pocketbook will be pleasantly surprised. CSB

click to enlarge Meinningers, the Readers Best Art Supply Store, will loosen up your artistic talent. - DREW WYETH
  • Drew Wyeth
  • Meinningers, the Readers Best Art Supply Store, will loosen up your artistic talent.

Best Really Cheap Haircuts American Beauty College II
3650 Austin Bluffs Parkway (Shops at the Bluffs mall), 598-4188

Four bucks. Not from some hyperactive Edward Scissorhands-wanna-be, either. Sure, you're getting your hair cut by a student, but these are trained and supervised students. They are inspired, because before you can leave, they get graded. They do kids, grandmas who want a wash-and-set, men, women -- you name it. You can splurge and get practically any other salon service as well, from coloring, hair extensions and perms to manicures, pedicures, facials and more, for a song. Good haircuts, four bucks. Yowza. MBP

Best Place to Get Your Moneys Worth Camice's Natural Foods
1837 N. Circle Drive, 630-1793.

Remember the old-fashioned corner store? That's sort of what Camice's is like. You go in more than once and they remember your name. They'll take the time to offer advice, or help you find the products or information you're looking for. They love special orders. Everything on the shelf is (hold onto your hats) 18 percent above wholesale. You can buy bulk for only 15 percent above wholesale. They've got natural meat and dairy products and an incredible organic produce selection for such a small space. They have vitamins, supplements, herbs, tinctures, tortilla chips and baking mixes, and every Friday they get fresh gluten-free baked goods. MBP

Best Used Car Lot Readers Poll Winner Phil Long Used Cars
Four locations around town

Some used car lots can be scary. Most of us are afraid we'll get talked into buying a car that we don't need or even want. Salespeople breathing down your neck are the bane of used car lots. At Phil Long, you won't find anyone harassing you or telling you how good you look next to that 2003 Kia Sportage. You will, however, find tons of cars to choose from with sales and rebates galore. GM

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