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Best of Goods & Services

Our readers pick the best shopping joints around town.

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We shook things up this year in the Goods & Services section. We ditched a few of the duller categories and added several new ones. The result? Plenty of newcomers to this section.

Best Grocery Store

1. Fresh Market

2. Kroger

3. Schnucks

Don't go to Fresh Market on an empty stomach. The store's stock is such a feast for the senses you won't know where to start — or stop. Pristine produce, gourmet coffee, crusty breads, delectable desserts, and all the finest meats and cheeses make Fresh Market an epicurean's fantasy. No wonder our readers love shopping in this European-style market.

Best Liquor Store

1. Buster's Liquors & Wine

2. Joe's Liquor Store

3. Arthur's Wine & Liquor

This vast, family-owned wine and liquor emporium has been a local institution for more than 50 years, boasting the largest selection of potables in the state. No wonder, then, that it's been a perennial winner in this category.

Best Department Store

1. Macy's

2. Target

3. Dillard's

When Macy's swooped in and took over Goldsmith's several years ago, area shoppers worried they were losing a local gem. But it seems the national retailer has acclimated to the area nicely, claiming this year's top prize.

Best Shopping Mall

1. Oak Court Mall

2. Wolfchase Galleria

3. Avenue Carriage Crossing

For years, Oak Court has set the gold-card standard for Memphis shopping malls.

Like many malls, it has plenty of parking, but Oak Court doesn't feel like it's in a sea of asphalt. In fact, it seems nestled in a cozy woodland area.

Oak Court also houses the region's largest Macy's, which, if you'll see above, won "Best Department Store." Think there's a correlation?

Best Gift Shop

1. Babcock Gifts

2. Maggie's Pharm

3. Pier One

With its emphasis on china, crystal, and flatware, Babcock Gifts is a registering couple's dream. But with specialty items and things for baby, as well, Babcock offers gifts to commemorate the important occasions — those things that you cherish not for a few weeks but for a lifetime.

Best Bookstore (New)

1. Davis-Kidd Booksellers

2. Barnes & Noble

3. Borders Books & More

You have to admit: In this day and age, it's pretty rare to have a large independent bookstore in town. Internet retailers have even hurt the larger brick-and-mortar chains, but Flyer readers still swear by Davis-Kidd.

Best Bookstore (Used)

1. Burke's Book Store

2. Tiger Book Store

3. Book Traders — tie

The Book Depot

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a bookstore that way? If so, Burke's is now sitting pretty in a new location in the heart of Cooper-Young.

Best Bank

1. First Tennessee Bank

2. Bank of America — tie

Regions Bank

3. SunTrust

Is it state loyalty? Parent company First Horizon's reputation for being one of the nation's best employers? Maybe the commercials with the people dressed up like big, walking dollar bills? (Who doesn't want to see big money coming their way?)

Whatever the case, Flyer readers bank on First Tennessee.

Best Local Place for Women's Clothing

This Midtown institution celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, marking a tenure during which Shangri-La hasnt just sold music but shaped local culture as an incubator for local musicians, artists, and writers and as a catalyst for homegrown creativity. Now thats what you call giving back to the community. Oh, and, of course, it remains a world-renowned record store too  one of the first places youd want to send out-of-town audiophiles. - ALEX HARRISON
  • Alex Harrison
  • This Midtown institution celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, marking a tenure during which Shangri-La hasnt just sold music but shaped local culture as an incubator for local musicians, artists, and writers and as a catalyst for homegrown creativity. Now thats what you call giving back to the community. Oh, and, of course, it remains a world-renowned record store too one of the first places youd want to send out-of-town audiophiles.

1. Crazy Beautiful

2. Muse

3. Oak Hall — tie —Ella

If this category were a horse race, Crazy Beautiful would be the dark-horse candidate, coming out of the blue to sweep the title.

Started as Blues City Clothes four years ago, the U of M area boutique was revamped in 2005 to offer all the latest styles at a great price.

Best Local Place for Men's Clothing

1. Oak Hall

2. James Davis

3. Shelton Clothiers

Oak Hall caters the classics: suits, blazers, beautiful ties. Add in the clean lines of Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna, made-to-measure suits, and impeccable service, and Oak Hall is tailor-made perfection.

Best Place for Vintage Clothing

Crazy Beautiful, 1st place: Best Local Place for Women's Clothing - BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS

1. Flashback

2. Goodwill

3. Salvation Army

Whether you want something vintage because you're a collector or you want something vintage just for fun, Flashback is a portal to another time.

And you can never underestimate the power of a really amazing window display. Flashback's mannequins go to the pool, host barbecues, dress up for Halloween, and basically live more glamorous lives than most Memphians.

Best Local Men's Shoe Store

1. Oak Hall

2. James Davis

3. R.sole

It just, ahem, stands to reason that the best place to buy men's clothing (see above) would also be the best place for men's shoes. With footwear from Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, and Ecco, Oak Hall's selection is quite a feat.

Best Local Women's Shoe Store

1. Joseph

2. Peria

3. Shoe-Nami

Joseph is the place where local women can get "Carried" away. Carrie being Bradshaw, the shoe-loving protagonist of Sex and the City. With new Prada, Chloé, and Michael Kors coming in for fall, it's the store for the well-heeled woman.

Best Home Furnishings

1. Pottery Barn

2. Ashley Furniture Homestore

3. Target — tie

Samuel's Furniture & Interiors

It's pretty hard not to find something stylish for your home at Pottery Barn. Plus, there's the Pottery Barn Furniture Outlet on Spottswood. Yes, the furniture at the outlet might have some irregularities — a scratch here, a ding there — but with a keen eye and a keener wallet, you need to take a look.

Best Pet Store

1. Petco

2. Hollywood Pet Star

3. PetSmart

Not sure what your dog wants for Christmas? Then bring her to Petco, where four-legged friends are as welcome as their humans. Petco may be a superstore (with seven locations in the Mid-South), but big is better, right? Self-service grooming, vaccinations, pet photography, and an unbelievable assortment of merchandise make pets and people feel special.

Best Hair Salon

1. Gould's Styling Salon

2. Dabbles Hair Company

3. Hi Gorgeous

Gould's Styling Salon wins top honors again this year for its coifs, cuts, and color. For more than 70 years, the family-owned business has specialized in fashion-forward stylists who understand customer service. Today, a dozen locations are spread from downtown to the suburbs, including a more affordable family salon in Cordova called Gould's Exchange.

Best Day Spa

BOM 1. Gould's

2. Germantown Day Spa

3. Natural Body Spa & Shoppe — tie

Serenity Day Spa

Who needs sea, sand, and expensive travel for a "Paradise Island Retreat"? At Gould's Day Spa, it's Pure Fiji in four hours, thanks to the spa's heated massage tables and body-care products that combine coconut oil and flower extracts. Did we mention there's lunch in a quiet room too?

Best Place To Get a Facial

BOM 1. Gould's

2. Mona Spa & Laser Center

3. Natural Body Spa & Shoppe — tie

Serenity Day Spa

A regular customer at Gould's describes her "stress solution" facial this way: "I'm a better person because of it." She looks pretty darn good too, thanks to the aromatherapy, steam inhalation, and customized mask. If stress isn't a problem, other specialized facials can tackle aging, acne, or sun damage.

Best Place To Get a Manicure/Pedicure

BOM 1. Gould's

2. Natural Body Spa & Shoppe

3. Nail Bar

You've had a haircut, massage, and facial, so why skip your hands and feet? It's a grooming grand slam for Gould's, where the manicures and pedicures are as fabulous as everything else. Even better, pedicure rooms are private with fabric-draped thrones for soaking your feet.

Best Place To Get Waxed

BOM 1. Gould's

2. Hi Gorgeous

3. Natural Body Spa & Shoppe

Let's be honest: Hair removal can be painful and a little embarrassing. But not so much at Gould's, where aestheticians are discreet and good-natured about waxing, well, anything you want.

Best Health/Fitness Club

1. YMCA Downtown

2. 24 Hour Fitness

3. YMCA

Simply put, the YMCA downtown sets a higher standard: running track, indoor pool, racquetball courts, and a rooftop deck for watching the Redbirds. If all that's too exhausting, try dance classes (waltz, mambo, tango, swing) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You could be dancing with the stars. Or not. But at least you'll be smiling.

Best Yoga Studio

Flashback, 1st place: Best Place for Vintage Clothing - BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS

1. Midtown Yoga

Midtown Yoga, 1st place: Best Yoga Studio - BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS

2. Bikram Yoga

3. Evergreen Yoga Center — tie

Better Bodies Yoga

Are you ready to "Create Calm from Chaos" or to try "Elegant, Efficient Inversions"? Flyer readers are, recognizing the hip-and-happening Midtown Yoga for its skilled teachers, accommodating class schedule, and fixed-price rate for unlimited yoga classes.

Best Local Fine Jewelry Store

1. Mednikow Jewelers

2. Las Savell Jewelry

3. Peter D. Poole Fine Jewelers

If diamonds are forever, shouldn't the store selling the stones be a longtime retailer too? Longevity (since 1891) and expertise make Mednikow a perennial favorite. Still not convinced? Check out Jay Mednikow's website on why women love diamonds. Hint: It's in their eyes.

Best Tattoo Parlor

1. No Regrets Tattoo Emporium

2. Underground Art

3. Trilogy

Here's an inspired idea: Tattoo parlors don't have to be sketchy. No Regrets feels more like a hair salon: clean, spacious, friendly, and comfortable (even for middle-age moms on hand to sign consent forms). No Regrets also has an experienced staff knowledgeable about tattoo art, piercings, and after-care.

Best Antique Store

1. Flashback

2. Toad Hall Antiques

3. Bojo's Antique Mall

Sometimes our readers are a little off. Flashback is not an antique store. It is a vintage department store specializing in mid-century modern furniture, housewares, clothes, and accessories. But who cares? We are just happy Bob Dylan shops at Flashback, and the store is open on Sundays.

Best Smoke Shop

1. Tobacco Corner

2. Wizard's

3. Whatever

Six months ago, Tobacco Corner stopped selling newspapers and magazines. The downsizing didn't dismay customers, who voted Tobacco Corner number one for its comfortable (and smoky) ambience and impressive selection of cigars, tobacco, pipes, and accessories.

Best Dry Cleaner

1. Bensinger's Fine Cleaners

2. Dryve Cleaners

3. Happy Day Laundry and Cleaners

Founded by Arthur Bensinger more than half a century ago, our first-place cleaner still is locally owned and operated. That single location in 1954 has expanded to 11 branches throughout the county, and our readers no doubt gave extra points for Bensinger's free pickup and delivery service. Plus, you can't beat a website that explains "The Mysteries of Moths."

Best Florist

1. Pugh's Flowers

2. Holliday Flowers

3. Gestures

It's certainly not the most fragrant name for a flower shop, and most florists would probably have changed it. But thanks to clever advertising, Memphians have been introduced to the Pugh family and their memorable skunk mascot. A combination of terrific customer service, a wide selection of fresh flowers, and a comprehensive website helped Pugh's Flowers come out smelling like a rose in our readers' poll.

Best Garden Center

1. Dan West Garden Center

2. Stringer's Garden Center

3. Digger O'Dell Nursery

All you really need from a garden center is a lot of plants, right? Not if you expect them to thrive, and Dan West — located in a former gas station on Poplar, with a second location in Eads — not only offers just about every flower, bush, shrub, and tree that will grow in this area, but their expert staff can give you tips on proper planting and can even help you diagnose problems with bugs, sunlight, or soil.

Best Local Athletic Goods Store

1. Outdoors Inc.

2. Breakaway Athletics

3. Dowdle Sports

It's ironic that a business called Outdoors is one of the most claustrophobic places you could visit. But that's because two of its locations — a former residence on Poplar; a tiny storefront on Union — are jam-packed floor to ceiling with anything and everything you might need if you want to hike, camp, bike, kayak, canoe, bird-watch, and more.

Best Bicycle Shop

1. Midtown Bicycle

2. The Peddler

3. Outdoors Inc.

Tucked away in Overton Square, Midtown Bicycle looks small on the outside, but venture inside and you'll be astonished by the selection of merchandise — from high-end mountain and road-racing bikes to every possible accessory a two-wheeling person might need. Throw in a complete repair shop and some of the most skilled technicians in town, and you've got a winner.

Best Local Video Store

1. Black Lodge Video

2. Midtown Video

3. Videos Movies & More

In this era of Netflix and cable PPV, Black Lodge Video is a movie-lover's oasis — a place of spiritual renewal. Where else can you investigate special sections dedicated to Japanese auteur Kenji Mizoguchi, '70s revenge flicks, drive-in classics, and "cult & assorted madness," while also picking up any new release worth a damn? To be sure, nobody in the video/DVD rental biz knows their turf like Black Lodge proprietors Matt and Bryan, who aren't just storeowners but film archivists.

Best Record Store (New)

1. Spin Street

2. Best Buy

3. Cat's Music & DVDs

With brick-and-mortar music stores on the wane, this mammoth exception at the corner of Highland and Poplar keeps on trucking — offering perhaps the largest CD selection in the city along with used discs, DVDs, and a special section devoted to the return of vinyl.

Best Music Equipment Store

1. Amro Music Stores

2. Memphis Drum Shop

3. Guitar Center

In a city with a reputation for rock-and-roll, it may seem strange that the best music store in town doesn't sell a single guitar. But Amro offers plenty of other instruments — pianos, saxophones, clarinets, you name it — and is the largest provider of school-band instruments in the area. Founded in 1921, the store was also the first to offer instrument rentals for all those aspiring musicians who can't quite decide between a trumpet and trombone.

Best New Car Dealer

READERS' CHOICE

Gossett

Lexus of Memphis

Roadshow BMW/Mini

Wolfchase Honda

In a way, it's reassuring that no single dealer stood out from the pack here; they're all good places to buy a new car, whether you're looking for a Beemer, a Rabbit, a Mini, or an Accord.

Best Used Car Dealer

1. CarMax

2. City Auto Sales

3. Gossett

All the best car dealers offer superb customer service, a wide selection of models, and complete maintenance facilities. That's a given. Our readers probably voted CarMax number one because of its well-known website, which not only lets you do complete online shopping but will help you locate the exact vehicle you want, even if it's in Alaska. The days of trudging from car lot to car lot may be over.

Best Place To Buy a Motorcycle

BOM 1. Bumpus Harley-Davidson

2. Al's Honda

3. Kawasaki of Memphis

The 2005 Wonders exhibition "The Art of the Motorcycle" wasn't that different from a typical day at one of the three Bumpus dealerships in the region. These stores are more than motorcycle shops, with some bikes on sale and a parts counter. With eye-catching displays (including dozens of vintage Harleys), a complete array of clothing, boots, and helmets, and plenty of other Harley-related merchandise for people — and pets! — Bumpus is a true motorcycling experience.

Best of Food & Drink
Best of Nightlife
Best of Arts & Entertainment
Best of Media
& The Rest
Staff Picks

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