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click to enlarge Get the gear downtown at Mountain Chalet, readers' choice for Best Local Outdoor Outfitter. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Get the gear downtown at Mountain Chalet, readers' choice for Best Local Outdoor Outfitter.

Best Place to Buy Scooters

Reader's Poll Winner: Sportique Scooters
431 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 442-0048
sportiquescooters.com

With our almost ideal weather, beautiful views and winding mountain roads, it's no wonder we're starting to see scooters everywhere in the Springs. Lucky for us, there's Sportique. A visit there can feel like a visit to a hip friend's garage, with vintage scooters on display and comfy couches to hang out on. But what really sets Sportique apart is that scooters are all it does. The incredibly knowledgeable staffers all ride scooters as their primary form of transportation. The shop also boasts award-winning mechanic Jarrod Stuhlsatz, who restores the best-looking and -running bikes in the West. -- SJG

click to enlarge efa0_best_market-19346.gif

Best Place to Buy Skateboards

Reader's Poll Winner: BC Surf & Sport
Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., 590-7873
bcsurfandsport.com

One of the problems that skateboarding is facing right now is keeping it real. The decidedly local skate shop BC Surf and Sport is important because it doubles as a community center, where you absorb the nuances of skate culture, hook up with other skaters, learn from O.G.s like Rob Miller and purchase the wares necessary for the art. Just as it's important that corporate competitors don't whore out the image of skateboarding, it's also important that the skate shop stays real and local, and cares about the kids. BC's got that on lock. -- SG

Best Store Makeover

Editorial Pick: Safeway
1121 N. Circle Drive, 573-6023
safeway.com
click to enlarge Best Car Wash: Readers' poll winner Water Works Car Wash and Detail Service - COLLAN FITZPATRICK
  • Collan Fitzpatrick
  • Best Car Wash: Readers' poll winner Water Works Car Wash and Detail Service

Low, ambient, non-fluorescent lighting. Wicker produce carts. Tons of organic vegetables. Naturally raised meats. An olive bar. What? Is this Safeway or some hippie-dippy co-op? While preserving its mainstays, this Safeway recently expanded the organic section, brought in more ethnic and boutique foodstuffs and made it nice to look at, to boot. In short, the chain supermarket's become a place where you really, actually, enjoy shopping. -- AR

Best Store That Defies Explanation

Editorial Pick: All Vacuum
6912 N. Academy Blvd., 268-1388

In the King Soopers shopping center at Woodmen and Academy is a store that combines two unlikely products. The sign boasts Vacs and Dragons. Vacuum sales, parts & service. Dragons, castles, daggers, swords & gifts. Your complete vacuum and fantasy gift store. There's even a picture of a dragon pushing a vacuum on the sign. They sell Bissells and they sell incense, they sell Panasonics and they sell swords. There's a large supply of vacuum bags hanging on the wall, right beside shields and armor. When asked how they started selling these two vastly different types of products, the employee on duty said he didn't have a clue. Well, OK. Breathe fire and vacuum away. -- SG

click to enlarge Best Place to Buy Scooters: Readers' poll winner Sportique Scooters - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Best Place to Buy Scooters: Readers' poll winner Sportique Scooters

Best Antique Store

Reader's Poll Winner: Colorado Country Antique Mall
2109 W. Broadway, 520-5680

Turn west on Broadway, off 21st Street, and you'll see the cement block warehouse that houses Colorado Country Antique Mall. Inside, merchants have lovingly arranged booths showing their wares. Quilts in good condition, old kitchenware, cotton tablecloths, antique dolls, watering cans, a blue wicker wing chair, a rattan magazine stand, vintage children's cowboy boots, a beautiful oak clawfoot table with extra leaf and a velveteen rabbit were just some of the treasures on hand on one recent day. There's lots of room to wander, so give yourself some time. You're bound to find a treasure -- such as a black vinyl high-heeled shoe stuffed with a red pin cushion. -- KCE

Best Mom and Pop Motel

Reader's Poll Winner: The Cliff House at Pikes Peak
306 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 785-2415
thecliffhouse.com
click to enlarge Best Place to Buy Skateboards: Readers' poll winner BC Surf & Sport - BRUCE ELLIOTT
  • Bruce Elliott
  • Best Place to Buy Skateboards: Readers' poll winner BC Surf & Sport

In reality, The Cliff House hardly can be considered mom 'n pop. Once an 1800s stagecoach stop, this 125-year-old manse later boasted guests including P.T. Barnum, Teddy Roosevelt and Clark Gable. A series of disasters (a flood, an apartment complex conversion and a fire) over the years could have shuttered the hotel for good. But after the fire and a 16-year abandonment period, owner James P. Morley poured a whopping $9 million into restoration efforts that provide its unique and romantic charm. Each studio room ($145-$199 per night) and junior, senior and celebrity suite ($259-$389) is distinct. -- VM

Best Vintage Porn

Editorial Pick: Modern Book
2727 N. Nevada Ave., 634-0984

You can save that $400 round-trip ticket to Amsterdam and the 6 euro entrance fee to the Sex Museum if you want to enjoy porn from the past. Modern Book has a quality, though limited, selection of mint-condition magazines from the 1960s and '70s. Imagine Hugh Hefner before cosmetic surgery, Larry Flynt before the wheelchair. If you're only there to "read the articles," a friendly salon chat concerning changing perspectives of American sexuality is recommended. Whatever your motivation, you'll find unmistakable the base turn modern porn has taken since the Woodstock era. -- AM

click to enlarge Zoom out of Phil Long, readers' pick for Best Used Car Dealer, with a shiny used car. Hey, it's new to you. - CREIGHTON SMITH
  • Creighton Smith
  • Zoom out of Phil Long, readers' pick for Best Used Car Dealer, with a shiny used car. Hey, it's new to you.

Best Chuck Stop

Editorial Pick: Famous Footwear
Four locations around town
famousfootwear.com

The Converse Rubber Corp. introduced the first mass-produced sneaker in North America -- the All Star basketball shoe, in 1917. They were available only in black. At first, they didn't catch on, but along came Chuck Taylor, a professional basketball player who joined the Converse sales force in 1921. Because of his success promoting the shoes, his name was added to the ankle patch in 1923, and the "Chuck Taylor" All Star was born. During WWII, Chucks became the official sneaker of the U.S. Armed Forces, as GIs exercised in white high-tops. Despite all of the innovations in the athletic shoe industry, 30,000 pairs of high-top Chucks are sold each week, worldwide. Famous Footwear has a huge selection of colors and patterns. -- KCC

Best Place to Buy Batteries

Editorial Pick: Little Market
749 E. Willamette Ave., 635-0769
click to enlarge Best Store That Defies Explanation: Editorial pick All Vacuum - SUNNIE SACKS
  • Sunnie Sacks
  • Best Store That Defies Explanation: Editorial pick All Vacuum

The alarm clock is dead. And it only needs one battery. All you've got in your wallet is change. Most clerks would balk at the prospect of opening a package of batteries to sell just one, but the kind folks at Little Market reside in the Land of Sensibility, where such gestures are commonplace. The neighborhood grocery/convenience store/deli is a haven for impulsive Shooks Run residents looking for munchies, or non-perishable items to get them through the next trip to the big market. A typical purchase might include staples like milk and yogurt; just-add-water dorm-days items like mac and cheese; road-trip cavity promoters like Laffy Taffy and Milk Duds; or locally processed brats from Andy's Market and homemade banana bread. Or maybe just a battery. -- VM

Best Bike Shop

Reader's Poll Winner: Old Town Bike Shop
426 S. Tejon St., 475-8589
oldtownbikeshop.com

Whether you're aiming to procure the sweetest Cannondale in the West, discover the burliest of bike trails, or simply treat your old carbon-fiber beater to some oil-lovin' in the repair shop, you're in good hands with Old Town. The friendly, knowledgeable staff will spin you around the block and tweak every component until you're thoroughly convinced that you could kick Lance Armstrong's booty. -- MS

Best Car Wash

Reader's Poll Winner: Water Works Car Wash and Detail Service
525 S. Nevada Ave., 634-3912
1108 N. Academy Blvd., 596-3298
2280 Montebello Square, 599-7788

Water Works is, simply, a glorious vehicular day spa and rejuvenation center for all things chrome. Whether you desire to humble other drivers with a glorious, shimmering diamond on wheels, or to finally exorcise that curdled, dry-funk smell from somewhere deep in the plush interior, Water Works' auto masseurs can make it happen. Coast in for a vacuum, wash and window shine package ($11.95), or upgrade with a thorough polishing, buffing or shampoo. While you wait, explore Water Works' hyper-trinkety, all-things-to-hang-in-your-rearview, snack 'n accessory gift shop. If only satisfying all personal grooming needs could be this fun. -- MS

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