Favorite

Real deals 

click to enlarge Cheers' beer forts are better-fortified than any pillow fort - you ever built. - L'AURA MONTGOMERY-RUTT

In-Store Beer Selection

In-Store Wine Selection

Gold

Cheers Liquor Mart

1105 N. Circle Drive, 574-2244

spiritsusa.com

Even on the official Web site for the Colorado Springs visitors' bureau, Cheers is billed as "The Springs' greatest liquid asset." That's quite a compliment coming from a city named for its surrounding fresh water resources ... wait, there aren't any actual springs in this city. Well, it's still quite a compliment. Cheers boasts the most extensive selection of alcohol in southern Colorado. Your friends from Omaha will be blown away. FG

In-Store Beer Selection

Silver

Coaltrain Wine & Liquor

330 W. Uintah St., 475-9700

coaltrainwine.com

Bronze

Springs Liquor Outlet

6010 N. Carefree Circle, 573-5777

slo1.net

In-Store Wine Selection

Silver

Coaltrain Wine & Liquor

330 W. Uintah St., 475-9700

coaltrainwine.com

Bronze

Springs Liquor Outlet

6010 N. Carefree Circle, 573-5777

slo1.net

Best Florist

Gold

Platte Floral

1417 E. Platte Ave., 632-2607

plattefloral.com

Flowers can't apply lotion to themselves, so Platte Floral provides flowers that are accustomed to the semi-arid environment of Colorado along with other flowers and plants from around the world. With a 70-plus-year history, the locally owned shop still prides itself on making arrangements with special flair. TS

Silver

Gentry's Flowers

225 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 632-0707

gentrysflowers.com

Bronze

Rich Designs Florist & Antiques Inc.

1731 Mount Washington Ave., 475-1200

richdesignsgallery.com

Best Place for a Unique Gift

Gold

Terra Verde

208 N. Tejon St., 444-8621

There's always something new and exciting at this perennial favorite, from special soaps and scented candles to dining tables and leather sofas. The nice collection of printed scarves and ornate table linens is particularly impressive. For a unique housewarming gift, try the colorful, stylish and affordable lacquered bamboo serving dishes. DTR

Silver

Celebration! Conscious Living Store

2209 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1855

celebrationstore.com

Bronze

Cachet Baskets Company

7505 Tudor Road, 593-9458

cachetbasket.com

Best Place to Buy Art

Gold

Commonwheel Artists Co-op

102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008

commonwheel.com

click to enlarge At American Furniture Warehouse, jumping on the bed is - how employees show they care. - L'AURA MONTGOMERY-RUTT

The Commonwheel offers something for everyone, including wearable art, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and paintings. Since 1974, this unique gallery has offered art by local artists, and occasionally, national artists. The co-op supports artists in the Pikes Peak region by hosting holiday art events, as well as openings every month. KB

Silver

Business of Art Center

513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861

thebac.org

Bronze

Rubbish Gallery

17B Bijou St., 231-9839

Best

Local Furniture Store

Chain Furniture Store

Gold

American Furniture Warehouse

2805 Chestnut St., 633-4220

afwonline.com

When Springs residents think of furniture, they think of baby tigers and Jake Jabs. Seems like a strange combination, but AFW honcho Jabs has made the connection via TV ads, which he says are personal, inexpensive and effective. This approach also happens to mirror his formula for success in furniture sales: personal service, low prices and products that please buyers. Jabs started with one store in 1968. Happy customers have helped it expand into a multi-million dollar business with 10 stores across Colorado. JET

Local Furniture Store

Silver

Platte Furniture

2331 E. Platte Place, 633-7309

plattefurniture.com

Bronze

Terra Verde

208 N. Tejon St., 444-8621

Chain Furniture Store

Silver

Family Furniture

3775 E. Pikes Pike Ave., 574-4300

familyfurnitureco.com

Bronze

Sofa Mart

6310 Corporate Centre Circle, 528-2450

furniturerow.com

Best Toy Store

Gold

Little Richard's Toys

324 N. Tejon St., 578-5848

poorrichardswebsite.com

Little Richard's is a wonderland of fun, stocked from floor to ceiling with thousands of classic, educational and unusual toys that are powered by imagination instead of batteries. You'll find dragons, dinosaurs, puppets, Erector Sets, Slinkys, kaleidoscopes, crafts, puzzles, tea sets, trains and more. It's so good, we hear even Santa shops there. JET

Silver

Toys "R" Us

3730 N. Citadel Drive, 597-8697

toysrus.com

Bronze

RetroMoto Toys

738 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-2475

retromototoys.com

Best Locally Owned Bookstore

Gold

Poor Richard's Bookstore

320 N. Tejon St., 578-0012

poorrichardswebsite.com

Video killed the radio star, but the Internet hasn't yet killed the bookseller. Bookworms such as Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser escape into an interesting read while lounging at Poor Richard's. The independent store evolved from 1977's "Feed and Read" program into today's book-junkie staple. TS

Silver

The Book Broker

119 E. Bijou St., 227-7558

thebookbroker.net

Bronze

click to enlarge The Book Broker: Where it's OK to read oversized - coffeetable books about Arizona. - JON KELLEY
  • Jon Kelley
  • The Book Broker: Where it's OK to read oversized coffeetable books about Arizona.

Celebration! Conscious Living Store

2209 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1855

celebrationstore.com

Best Used Bookstore

Gold

The Book Broker

119 E. Bijou St., 227-9622

thebookbroker.net

A standout in the downtown area's dwindling collection of goofy independent stores, The Book Broker will unfortunately shut its hallowed Bijou Street doors soon. So there's absolutely no reason to waste time in heading over, picking a good, insulating corner and reading through several used children's books immediately. JTR

Silver

Poor Richard's Bookstore

320 N. Tejon St., 578-0012

Bronze

The Bookman

3163 W. Colorado Ave., 636-0055

thebookman.com

Best Chain Bookstore

Gold

Barnes & Noble

795 Citadel Drive East, 637-8282

1565 Briargate Blvd., 266-9960

barnesandnoble.com

There are a few differences between Barnes & Noble and the library. One: The books are new. Two: They aren't free. Three: Starbucks is involved. But, like a library, Barnes & Noble says it is committed to literacy. And sometimes, it's more pleasant to be literate with a Frappuccino in hand. LP

Silver

Borders

2120 Southgate Blvd., 632-6611

Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., 266-1600

bordersstores.com

Bronze

None

Best Antique Store

Gold

The Antique Mall of Colorado Springs

1024 S. Tejon St., 520-1415

"We sell only things that we would have ourselves," says co-owner Jeff Weller. So, Weller and Dave McIntosh ban reproductions and crafts from their store, and instead stock it with furniture and other beautiful, usable items. Many pieces even come with a friendly history lesson from McIntosh, an antiques expert and former teacher. JET

Silver

American Classics Marketplace

1815 N. Academy Blvd., 596-8585

Bronze

Antique Gallery

21 N. Nevada Ave., 633-6070

carrsantiquegallery.com

Best Camera Shop

Gold

Shewmaker's

30 N. Tejon St., 636-1696

7529 N. Academy Blvd., 598-6412

shewmakers.com

Pros and serious amateur shooters have looked to Shewmaker's for equipment and advice since get this 1937! Owners Jared and Lanonah Krumanocker and their staff of experienced photographers stay up-to-date on today's cutting edge digital technology and also support old-school film equipment. Shewmaker's gets the picture. GE

Silver

Wolf Camera

1850 N. Academy Blvd., 597-1575

wolfcamera.com

Bronze

Cameraworks

5030 N. Academy Blvd., 594-6966

Best Store for Musical Instruments

Gold

click to enlarge Shewmaker's has been outfitting local paparazzi since - 1937. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Shewmaker's has been outfitting local paparazzi since 1937.

Graner Music

4460 Barnes Road, 574-2001

3663 Star Ranch Road, 538-7999

8674 N. Union Blvd., 579-7665

granermusic.com

With an extensive display of band instruments and 19 lesson rooms open until 11 p.m., Graner Music accommodates the music-geek-in-training like no other music store in town. For the edgier folks, the store boasts a panoply of guitars, including the rare bajosexto for Latin-influenced music-making. NZ

Silver

Guitar Center

535 N. Academy Blvd., 591-9040

guitarcenter.com

Bronze

Meeker Music

113 E. Bijou St., 471-8940

meekermusic.com

Best Locally Owned Place for CDs

Best Locally Owned Place for DVDs

Gold

Independent Records

Five locations

beindependent.com

The other Indy has become a definitive piece of the city's personality. You'll find that most Independent Records employees started out as loyal shoppers, only to later find themselves on the other side of the counter. The company's unwavering support of local artists speaks for itself, as does its commitment to the customers. Whether looking for that used CD or the latest DVD, you'll always end up finding at least one thing you never knew you needed. All this, after 29 years of faithful servitude. JK

Locally Owned Place for CDs

Silver

Earth Pig Music

1953 W. Uintah St., 575-9847

Bronze

The Leechpit

708 N. Weber St., 634-3675

leechpit.com

Locally Owned Place for DVDs

Silver

Toons Downtown

802 N. Nevada Ave., 632-8410

toonsmusic.com

Bronze

Entertainmart

651 N. Academy Blvd., 380-8580

Chain Store for CDs

Chain Store for DVDs

Best Buy

7675 N. Academy Blvd., 593-0414

3150 New Center Point, 597-9519

bestbuy.com

No matter what you head to Best Buy for large-scale electronics, home appliances, cell phone equipment it's not uncommon to find yourself uncontrollably meandering toward the extensive racks of CDs and DVDs at the front of the store. The rates aren't bad on their own, but the real gems come in the poor-sales-inspired price drops. It's tough enough turning down the brand-new DVD release of X-Men 3; you won't stand a chance when something like Real Genius is practically being given away for $7.99. PF

Chain Store for CDs

Silver

Independent Records

Five locations

beindependent.com

Bronze

Borders

2120 Southgate Road, 632-6611

Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., 266-1600

bordersstores.com

Chain Store for DVDs

Silver

Blockbuster Video

11 locations

click to enlarge The Who? The Independent Records staff. - L'AURA MONTGOMERY-RUTT

blockbuster.com

Bronze

Borders

2120 Southgate Road, 632-6611

1710 Briargate Blvd., 266-1600

bordersstores.com

Best Garden Supply/Nursery

Gold

Rick's Garden Center

1827 W. Uintah St., 632-8491

ricksgarden.com

or

Rick's Nursery

600 N. 18th St., 636-3085

ricksnursery.com

Gardening isn't supposed to be confusing. It's supposed to be relaxing! So, while we're sure that employees at these two "Rick's" stops are quite helpful when it comes to gardening, they could use a little help when it comes to naming. Little-known fact: Though they were at one time related, these entities now are separately owned. PF

Silver

Spencer's Lawn & Garden Centers

1430 S. Tejon St., 632-2788

Bronze

Good Earth Garden Center

1330 N. Walnut St., 473-3399

Best Local Outdoor Outfitter

Gold

Mountain Chalet

226 N. Tejon St., 633-0732

mtnchalet.com

Looking for a sturdy snowshoe and a T-shirt that expresses your disdain for big chains? Try Mountain Chalet. Their "Chain Stores Suck" shirts put me oddly at ease, and apparently a slew of readers feel the same. Come for the Crocs, stay for a friendly conversation about "the man." FG

Silver

Colorado Kite & Ski

2845 Ore Mill Road, 633-6227

Bronze

None

Best Chain Outdoor Outfitter

Gold

REI

1376 E. Woodmen Road, 260-1455

rei.com

At REI, you'll find that perfect quilted nylon, sun-protective, long-sleeved top in boysenberry ripple, along with whatever else your inner rock star-slash-hiker could dream up. Walking through this wonderland of outdoor goods feels a little like a camping trip: a selection of tents as far as the eye can see. FG

Silver

Dick's Sporting Goods

3133 Cinema Point, 638-3400

dickssportinggoods.com

Bronze

Sportsman's Warehouse

555 N. Chelton Road, 597-9200

sportsmanswarehouse.com

Best Place to Buy Skateboards

Gold

BC Surf and Sport

Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., 590-7873

bcsurf.com

As all local aspiring Tony Hawks know, BC Surf and Sport has an unrivaled selection of boards. Longboards, trick boards, old-school boards, snowboards ... the lengthy list will make you bored (Get it? Board bored? Hah!). With 20 years of experience and a knowledgeable staff that lives the dream year-round, BC is passionate about horizontal mobility. MS

Silver

North Shore

Citadel Mall, 750 Citadel Drive East, Suite 1128, 597-1121

Bronze

Zumiez

click to enlarge The Ski Shop: The best place to buy skis, and home to a - gaggle of goggles. - JON KELLEY
  • Jon Kelley
  • The Ski Shop: The best place to buy skis, and home to a gaggle of goggles.

Chapel Hills Mall

1710 Briargate Blvd., Suite 801, 532-1655

zumiez.com

Best Place to Buy Snowboards

Gold

North Shore

Citadel Mall, 750 Citadel Drive East, Suite 1128, 597-1121

Snowboarding got its start as the ugly stepchild of the ski industry; two decades later, it's the shining star. So, when you go to score a new board, why reward the arrogant ski-shop pricks? You can patronize North Shore, a "core" board shop they've backed boarders from Day One. GE

Silver

Colorado Kite & Ski

2845 Ore Mill Drive, 633-6227

Bronze

BC Surf and Sport

Chapel Hills Mall, 1710 Briargate Blvd., 590-7873

bcsurf.com

Best Place to Buy Skis

Gold

The Ski Shop

1422 S. Tejon St., 636-3355

theskishopinc.com

If you're planning to shred the sick gnar this season but find yourself in need of some serious skis, your best bet is The Ski Shop. Tell a crowd of winter-starved gear-heads what you're looking for, and you'll be ready to huck that 40-foot cliff in no time. Or maybe you should just stick to the bunny hill. LP

Silver

Colorado Kite & Ski

2845 Ore Mill Drive, 633-6227

Bronze

REI

1376 E. Woodmen Road, 260-1455

rei.com

Best Bike Shop

Gold

Old Town Bike Shop

426 S. Tejon St., 475-8589

oldtownbikeshop.com

Next time you're stuck in South Tejon Street's single lane, look west. The answer to your traffic-induced headache may be inside Old Town Bike Shop. The perennial favorite offers killer service and bikes from under $300 to $8,000. "We consider a bicycle a vehicle," says sales and service rep Randin Isip. "At a department store, they consider them toys." KW

Silver

Criterium

6150 Corporate Drive, 599-0149

criterium-bicycles.com

Bronze

Ted's Bicycles

3016 N. Hancock Ave., 473-6915

Best Place to Buy Motorcycles

Gold

Apex Motorsports

327 S. Weber St., 475-2437

apexsportsinc.com

There are quite a few reasons to buy a motorcycle these days. They get great gas mileage, are easy to park, and help you fit in at Southside Johnny's. Your fringed leather chaps will no longer be "ridiculous" they'll be a starting point. For the rest, head to Apex Motorsports. LP

Silver

Pikes Peak Harley Davidson

5867 N. Nevada Ave., 278-2300

2180 Victor Place, 591-7594

pikespeakharleydavidson.com

Bronze

Rocky Mountain Cycle Plaza

412 N. Chelton Road, 591-9700

rocky-mountaincycle.com

Best Place to Buy Scooters

Gold

click to enlarge You're gonna trust these guys to send you down the half - pipe? Yeah, we would, too. - PETER FECTEAU
  • Peter Fecteau
  • You're gonna trust these guys to send you down the half pipe? Yeah, we would, too.

Sportique Scooters

431 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 442-0048

sportiquescooters.com

Since it doesn't sell anything else, you could say that Sportique lives and dies by its scooter sales and repair. But sales manager Mike Loop might add customer service even remembering most customers by name to that list, too. "We have to try to be better than everyone else," he says, "because we're so small." KW

Silver

Apex Motorsports

327 S. Weber St., 475-2437

apexsportsinc.com

Bronze

Checker Auto Parts

10 locations

checkerauto.com

Best New Foreign Car Dealer

Gold

Heuberger Motors

1080 Motor City Drive, 475-1920

heubergermotors.com

Talk local music with drummer David Anthony. Talk sailing with Capt. Ed Myers. Talk hockey with former USA Hockey referee Mark McClenahan. Talk blues music with manager Tom Watkins. Then talk Subarus or Volkswagens. You've probably buttered them up enough to get a deal. PF

Silver

Liberty Toyota

5595 N. Academy Blvd., 598-2222

libertytoyotascion.com

Bronze

Front Range Honda

1001 S. Academy St., 597-4500

frontrangehonda.com

Best New Domestic Car Dealer

Used Car Dealer

Gold

Phil Long Ford

1212 Motor City Drive, 544-3238

1515 Auto Mall Loop, 594-6339

427 E. Brookside St., 633-3082

phillong.com

Even beyond its no-hassle pricing, Phil Long drops royal treatment on locals. "This is the first company that I have worked at that has such a huge passion for community involvement," says sales manager Ron Williams. "We built parks throughout Colorado. We partnered with Trinidad State Junior College to enhance their automotive mechanic training program." And the Phil Long Community Fund has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Pikes Peak and Mile High United Way campaigns. TS

New Domestic Car Dealer

Silver

Faricy Boys Chrysler Jeep

Sales & Leasing

4950 New Car Drive, 636-1333

faricyboys.com

Bronze

Red Noland Cadillac

990 Motor City Drive, 888/321-6531

rednoland.com

Used Car Dealer

Silver (tie)

Heuberger Motors

1080 Motor City Drive, 475-1920

heubergermotors.com

Al Serra Chevrolet-Hummer

1570 Auto Mall Loop, 867-1000

alserrachevrolethummer.com

Bronze

McCloskey Motors

5515 N. Academy Blvd., 594-6400

bigjoeauto.com

Best Mechanic

click to enlarge Sportique's joking here, but the shop's serious about - scooter culture. - L'AURA MONTGOMERY-RUTT

Gold

Tire World

Five locations

tireworldinc.com

"Trust" and "mechanic." Two words people are often hesitant to put in the same sentence. Don't worry about it when you're at Tire World. They've been developing loyal customer relationships in the Springs since 1980. Owner Bill Prentice and GM Terry Hoadley attribute Tire World's success to their staff a well-oiled machine in its own right. MS

Silver

Aspen Coachworks

1619 N. Union Blvd., 634-4257

aspencoachworks.mechanicnet.com

Bronze

Butch's Automotive Service

1412 N. Corona St., 633-2929

Best Car Wash

Gold

Water Works

1108 N. Academy Blvd., 596-3298

2253 La Montana Way, 599-7788

525 S. Nevada Ave., 634-8536

Because not every car can wear red, thank goodness for Water Works; they're willing to free you from all the red dirt on your ride anytime. And though the fickle weather endangers their good work on an almost-daily basis, the sponge-wielders at all three shops are always friendly. JK

Silver

The Hub Car Wash & Diner

4460 Forest Hill Road, 535-0346

thehubcarwashanddiner.com

Bronze

Seventh Wave Car Wash

2510 E. Boulder St., 577-9283

Best Trash Service

Gold

Bestway Disposal

650 Santa Fe St., 633-8709

bestwaydisposal.com

It was the band Faith No More that sang it best in 1987: "Well, it's a dirty job / But someone's gotta do it." That pretty much sums up luggin' away other people's refuse. Cheers to the company that not only does it, but does it well and with pride. MS

Silver

Waste Management

540 Elkton Drive, 632-8877

wm.com

Bronze

US Waste Industries

7770 Palmer Park Blvd., 591-5000

uswaste.com

Best Adult Store

Gold

My Menagerie

1746 Briargate Blvd., 593-7882

Who would've thought the city's best adult store would be in Focus-on-the-Family Land? Rejoice in the novelty with some novelties; My Menagerie carries the toys and aides, but if you're a first-timer, owner/manager Lee Ann Boggess recommends a video. "It's a comfortable way to ease yourself into adult products." KW

Silver

First Amendment

220 E. Fillmore St., 630-7676

Bronze

Christal's

2582 S. Academy Blvd., 393-9903

Best Live Adult Entertainment

Gold

PT's Show Club (formerly Appaloosa)

5975 Terminal Ave., 597-2336

ptshowclub.com

This club fills 9,000 square feet of man-heaven with hot, naked and sometimes wet girls, seven nights a week. You can grab a bite to eat, enjoy the high-tech sound system and play pool with the featured porn stars. Denver's PT Clubs recently purchased this Springs fixture, so changes are inevitable but the quality hopefully will remain intact. AB

Silver

click to enlarge One too many drives in a Phil Long convertible, and your - arms could be stuff in the air, too. - PETER FECTEAU
  • Peter Fecteau
  • One too many drives in a Phil Long convertible, and your arms could be stuff in the air, too.

Fabulous TNT's

4630 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 531-9398

Bronze

Dj Vu Showgirls

2145 B St., 576-7724

dejavu.com

Best Cell Phone Provider

Gold

Verizon Wireless

Four locations

verizonwireless.com

Ever wonder what those things attached to everyone's heads are? Verizon Wireless can help you join the alliance with your very own Bluetooth headset: an alien, Borg-looking device that allows you to yell at your caller hands-free. Log on to Verizon's Web site now, and you could be this much closer to stepping on the USS Enterprise. JK

Silver

Cingular

11 locations

cingular.com

Bronze

T Mobile

Eight locations

t-mobile.com

Best Chain Hotel

Gold

Antlers Hilton

4 S. Cascade Ave., 955-5600

antlers.com

If you have relatives coming to town that you can't manage (or stand) to put up yourself, steer them in the direction of Antlers Hilton. It's practically in the middle of downtown, and Aunt Fergie and Uncle Joe will wet themselves when they see the view. A drink at Judge Baldwin's is known to help with acclimation. LP

Silver

Marriott

12 locations

marriott.com

Bronze

Embassy Suites Hotel

7290 Commerce Center Drive, 599-9100

embassysuites.com

Locally Owned Hotel or Motel

Indoor Place to Pop the Question

Gold

The Broadmoor

1 Lake Ave., 577-5775

broadmoor.com

The Broadmoor has been the vacation destination of hundreds of presidents, statesmen and celebrities, from Bing Crosby to Bill Cosby. Propose marriage here and a concierge has a satin pillow to cushion your knee as you wait for the answer. Don't worry if she says no after the spa, golf, tennis and world-class cuisine, you'll finally learn you can't buy someone's heart. So you win either way! TD

Locally Owned Hotel or Motel

Silver

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

306 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 785-2415

thecliffhouse.com

Bronze

Cheyenne Mountain Resort

3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, 538-4000

cheyennemountain.com

Indoor Place to Pop the Question

Silver

Mona Lisa Gourmet Caf & Fondue

733 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-0277

monalisafondue.com

Bronze

Briarhurst Manor

404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864

briarhurst.com

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