North end retail is punctuated by two malls: the Macy's-Dillard's-Sears-anchored Chapel Hills and the upscale Promenade Shops at Briargate. Start your excursion at the outdoor Promenade at the locally owned boutique Lucy & Louise Atelier (1885 Briargate Pkwy., #615, 635-2077). Lucy & Louise, in an unexpectedly cute and comfy storefront, shelves Free People and Johnny Was alongside fabrics by Amy Butler and Anthropologie-esque home accessories.
A third mall-ish area on the north side is University Village Colorado, just west of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. There's no Target there (head across town to Powers Boulevard for the most massive superstore), but amid a number of yet-to-be-filled spaces, you'll find Lowe's, Costco and Kohl's, and the hopefully-to-be-joined-by-other-locally-owned-stores XS Threadz (5102 N. Nevada Ave., #160, xsthreadz.com), a great place for guys and girls to shop for recycled clothing. Add XS Threadz to your Twitter feed, as the owners send out deals weekly.
From here, gas up your car because it's the only way to hit spots across the area. Ladies, if you're still on a clothes hunt, head up I-25 to Gloss Denim Bar (366 Second St., Monument, shopgloss.com). The prominent feature at Gloss is jeans, new and previously loved. But don't overlook their lust-worthy tops, dresses and jewelry.
From here, it's all about hobbies.
Needle freaks: While you're in Monument, check out Crafty Laine (273 Washington St., Monument, craftylaine.com), where you'll fall in love with the shelves and shelves of fabric and sewing notions. Knitters won't want to miss a stop at Table Rock Llamas Fiber Arts Studio & the DyeWorks (6520 Shoup Road, Black Forest, tablerockllamas.com) for a fiber frenzy (sans actual llamas on site), including yarn, wool, books, patterns, looms, dyes, needles and notions.
Scrapbookers and stampers should plan a trip to Simple Pleasures (5525 Library Lane, simplepleasuresstamps.com). Near the East Library, Simple Pleasures boasts more than 5,700 square feet of paper craft supplies. And if what you really need is lessons, don't despair. Crafty Laine, Table Rock and Simple Pleasures all offer classes.
Jewels of all kinds
Perhaps your hobby calls you to the roads and trails of Colorado Springs. You could stop by REI (1376 E. Woodmen Road, rei.com) for a wide range of outdoor needs, but if you're a runner, we recommend the Colorado Running Company (9275 N. Union Blvd., #120, corunco.com) for specialized gear and a personalized gait analysis. If flying down the road (or mountain) on two wheels is what rings your bell, check out Criterium (6150 Corporate Drive, criterium.com) or Bicycle Village (2450 Montebello Square Drive, bicyclevillage.com). Both have knowledgeable and friendly staff members to get you fitted to the perfect ride.
Musicians will fall in sweet instrument love at Graner Music (4460 Barnes Road, graner-music.com). No matter your calling — strings or reeds or drums — and no matter your age, Graner will hook you up with the perfect piece. Unless your "perfect piece" looks more like a diamond. For that, you'll want to pop by Luisa Graff Jewelry (4663 Centennial Blvd., moving this summer to 5901 N. Nevada Ave., luisagraffjewelers.com) and its 4,800 square feet of shiny, shimmery rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
If your interests lie more in "family jewels," check out the Springs' branch of the regional chain Fascinations (1752 Dublin Blvd., shop.funlove.com). You'll find all the usual sex-shop players here (lubes, toys and lingerie) as well as free workshops (for those 18 and over) on topics such as arousal, fantasy role-playing and the big O by local and visiting sexperts.
There's only one thing that can rival sex when it comes to enthusiastic obsession: pet ownership. Whether you need healthy kibble for your feline or pooch, a tough leash or an entertaining toy, or a way to quickly and easily bathe the crud from your canine, Wag N' Wash (1234 E. Woodmen Road, wagnwash.com) has you covered. They have a west side location, too.
Just a bit west off Woodmen Road from Wag N' Wash is the Current Factory Outlet (1025 E. Woodmen Road, currentfactoryoutlet.com). An institution of sorts, Current began in the basement of Miriam and Orin Loo's home in 1950. Today it's one of the country's largest direct-mail marketing companies. It's no longer owned by the Loos, but its main plant is still here, as is its factory outlet. It offers deep discounts on off-season cards, calendars and pretty much any item you'd find in Current catalogs.
In the raw
Another institution of sorts, Grant Family Farms (1020 WCR 72, Wellington, grantfarms.com), doesn't call Colorado Springs home, but you might recognize its name from products at Whole Foods Market (7635 N. Academy Blvd., wholefoods.com) — and it's certainly north. Started by Colorado State University professor Lewis Grant just south of the Wyoming border, Grant Family Farms was the first farm to be certified organic by the state of Colorado in the mid-1970s. It represents the large-scale CSA model, having distributed more than 1,000 shares last season from Cheyenne to Colorado Springs. The farm offers summer veggie, fruit, egg, meat, bread and flower shares, as well as winter shares. It's a great option once our smaller Arkansas Valley growers' CSAs have filled up.
Not interested in a CSA share? That's OK. Farmers markets round these parts typically run from mid-June through mid-October. Up north you'll find at least four: the all-organic Saturday morning Colorado Farm & Art Market (Margarita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Road, farmandartmarket.com); the Wednesday morning Liberty Heights market (12105 Ambassador Drive, monumentfarmersmarket.com); the Saturday morning Monument market (Monument Plaza, 481 State Hwy. 105, monumentfarmersmarket.com); and the Sunday morning Palmer Lake market (at the gazebo on the lake, monumentfarmersmarket.com). Check the websites for late additions, exact times and dates.
Other stores with North locations: Christal's (3737 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.); Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (7690 N. Academy Blvd.); Compleat Games & Hobbies (7862 N. Academy Blvd.); ARC Thrift Store (4402 Austin Bluffs Parkway); Goodwill North Retail Center (1070 Kelly Johnson Blvd.).
As a volunteer Coach and Mentor in my third year at The First Tee of…