Much like Academy Boulevard itself, shopping out east is a bit of a hodge-podge. But one of the city's two indoor malls, the Dillard's-JC Penney-Burlington Coat Factory-anchored Citadel (750 Citadel Drive East, shopthecitadel.com) gives you around 150 store options, and a place to keep the kids busy at Imagination Celebration's Imagination Space.
From the Citadel, scan all the strip malls as you head to American Classics Marketplace (1815 N. Academy Blvd., 596-8585), which counts up 65,000 square feet of antiques, collectibles and crafts from more than 400 vendors. It's owned by Jake Jabs, the white-haired tiger-tamer behind the massive American Furniture Warehouse juggernaut, and it's an easy place to lose a few hours.
You can drive for miles on Academy, finding the occasional independent store amid the chains. But some of the coolest spots lie off the strip.
For instance, during the summer months, foodies will find a Saturday morning farmers market at Doherty High School (4515 Barnes Road, 574-1283), as well as little produce stands that pop up along Powers Boulevard. For year-round treats, Asia Pacific Market (615 Wooten Road, #160, 573-7500) features tanks full of live seafood, piles of fresh produce, and shelves and shelves of teas and sauces and rice, and Carniceria Leonela Meat Market (3738 E. Pikes Peak Ave., carnicerialeonela.com) offers meat prepared and cut for a Mexican palate, plus much more in its 6,000-plus square feet.
Another east side meat market, Andy's (2915 E. Platte Ave., andysmeatmarket.com), sells raw beef, pork and poultry, and will also help out with the skinning, boning and cleaning of your own wild game. Note: Roadkill not welcome.
If you're wondering how you're going to catch your dinner before heading to Andy's, you might check out Big R (14155 E. Hwy. 24, Peyton, bigronline.com), which also has a store near Security/Widefield. The Colorado-founded regional chain not only carries all your hunting needs, but also farming, automotive, sporting, gardening and agricultural products.
Though you might find the perfect pair of boots at Big R, if you don't, the place to go is Lorig's (15 N. Union Blvd., lorigscolorado.com). Established downtown in 1932, Lorig's now resides on Union Boulevard, but is still the spot for Western wear. Lucchese boots, Stetson hats and Wrangler jeans sit aside bolo ties and honkin' belt buckles for adults and children.
And since you're just a few blocks away, you should duck into Repeat Performance (829 N. Union Blvd., 633-1325). The shop is only open noon to 4, Wednesday through Saturday, but it's worth planning for. Half antiques, half vintage clothing and accessories, Repeat Performance may appear quiet and empty from the parking lot, but inside you'll want to leave bread crumbs (or bring a DeLorean) to help you find your way back to 2011.
Once you've safely returned, two more thrift stores may call your name. Purchases at the Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store (2444 E. Platte Ave., 636-2537) support a significant, and growing, population in the Colorado Springs community, and those from the Salvation Army Thrift Store (3955 Tutt Blvd., salvationarmyusa.org) boost community adult rehabilitation centers. Both organizations, of course, welcome donations, so before heading over there, clean your closets to make room for the new-to-you.
As a volunteer Coach and Mentor in my third year at The First Tee of…