Runner-up: Andrew Minton Jewelers
As much a modern art gallery as a jewelry store, Angelo, as readers know, combines owner Lee Marraccini’s original designs with work from other jewelry designers, local and further afield. In other words, it’s a true Downtown gem. Runner-up Andrew Minton’s been in business since 1978 and sells fine jewelry from his Seminole Square shop.
Talk about lost in good books! Daedalus Bookshop wins again.
Runner-up: Random Row Books
Clear a few hours from your schedule before you pop into Daedalus, again a winner this year. Browsing the labyrinthine store requires patience and curiosity. Owner Sandy McAdams fills the role of loveable curmudgeon, ready to tell you a story or point you in the direction of your new favorite book. In second place, Random Row Books—a veritable book mecca on West Main.
PLACE FOR FASHION ACCESSORIES
Runner-up: Cha Cha’s
“Impulse buy” is not a term that’s lost on you readers. Anthro charms with its big, wooden tables filled to the brim with earrings, necklaces and bracelets with baubles as big as your fist. It’s just too easy to swoon over such lovelies and toss a few last-minute purchases at the cashier. Locals love Cha Cha’s, too, for its kitschy finds and sparkly jewels.
VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE
Runner-up: Low Vintage (formerly Antics)
One of Charlottesville’s best kept secrets, Tamar Pozzi’s Commonwealth Drive shop —your winner this year—stocks a whole wall of vintage dresses, slips, coats and more. Plus, check out the huge vintage jewelry collection! In the runner-up spot, Low Vintage (the vintage store formerly known as Antics) packs an impressive selection in its below-ground space off the Downtown Mall.
BOUTIQUE CLOTHING STORE
You can say that again.
PLACE FOR A PARTY DRESS
Very funny! Bittersweet usurps the competition twice over this year with its extensive selection of TOMS shoes, Frye boots, jewelry, accessories and, yes, party dresses. Eloise follows close behind with beautiful choices from big names like Foley & Corinna, Milly, and Elizabeth & James.
PLACE TO BUY SHOES
Runner-up: Rack Room Shoes
If the shoe fits, buy it in every color. That’s the readers’ motto, anyway. Barracks Road shoe mecca Scarpa takes No. 1 again this year, offering a bevy of beautiful chaussures for every foot, whether you prefer sky-high heels or sensible flats. Folks who crave a bargain head to one of Rack Room’s two locations, rendering it runner-up again this year.
PLACE TO BUY ATHLETIC GEAR
Ragged Mountain Running Shop
Runner-up: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Runners stop by Mark and Cynthia Lorenzoni’s Elliewood Avenue shop for athletic gear, sure. But it’s more than that. The Lorenzonis take four months to train each employee to analyze gaits, evaluate running injuries and make sound recommendations on correct shoe type and fit. Readers agree, that extra attention to detail is why they continue to buy local, first and foremost.
PLACE FOR KIDS’ CLOTHES
Let’s be honest. Your little angel is likely to smear PB&J all over that outfit anyway. So, you head to Old Navy to grab something you can toss in the wash and not worry if it gets ruined. For parents wanting something a little snazzier than simple shorts and a tee, Whimsies fits the bill. The folks there stock clothes kids want, plus shoes and accessories.
PLACE FOR A MAN’S SUIT
JoS. A. Bank
Runner-up: Men and Boy’s Shop
With the right suit, any old schlub can look like a million bucks. Again this year, you say the best place to turn from Drew Carey to Cary Grant is JoS. A. Bank. Folks there take care of the suit, tie, shoes—you’ll even find cufflinks. Downtown, Men and Boy’s Shop follows suit with friendly service and unique choices.
Readers who love the thrill of the hunt say Goodwill’s the place to shop for bargains.
Runner-up: SPCA Rummage Store
You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. No one understands that better than you—with three Goodwill locations in the area (at Pantops, 29N and Ruckersville), you can get your bargain on from practically anywhere. Nabbing the runner-up spot is the SPCA Rummage Store, where you can find half-price books at the first of every month.
LOCAL HARDWARE STORE
Runner-up: Crozet Hardware
If you had a hammer, you wouldn’t need to stop by Martin Hardware. And, even once you get one, the Preston Avenue shop gives you plenty of reasons to return. Most recently, the folks at Martin took over the building next door and filled it with the extensive Weber Grill collection previously housed in the basement. It just keeps getting better. Ballot newcomer Crozet Hardware keeps handy folks in Albemarle properly outfitted.
PLACE TO BUY WINE
Market Street Wineshop
Runner-up: Wine Warehouse
Want a little cheese with that wine? Readers agree Market Street Wineshop is the best spot for sniffing, sipping and spending a few bucks on a new bottle. The Downtown and 29N shop both offer gulp-worthy choices, plus snacks for noshing. Wine Warehouse offers top bottles for the budget-conscious.
PLACE TO BUY BEER
Runner-up: Market Street Wineshop
It’s easy just to hop down to the nearest convenience store and grab a six-pack of cheap (in cost and taste) brew, but readers know this category is about more than the suds. The winner presents multiple coolers of lesser known and popular choices in addition to the smell of yummy food wafting from the kitchen. Market Street Wineshop offers two locations for all your boozing needs.
CITY MARKET STALL
Runner-up: The Baker’s Palette
Is 8am too early for a fresh tortilla with marinated pork, queso fresco, onions and cilantro? No way, José. At least, not if you ask readers. You voted for Al Pastor’s taco stand again this year, followed closely by fresh-from-the-fryer donuts from Downtown treat purveyor Baker’s Palette.
C’ville Market’s Lonnie Brice keeps your apples fresh and shiny.
Runner-up: Market Street Market
The retail arm of wholesaler Cavalier Produce, C’ville Market on Carlton Road offers local alternatives to the kind of processed food you’ll find at major grocery chains, an entire room chilled to keep produce fresh, plus a 10 percent discount for seniors on Wednesdays. Market Street Market rounds out the category with its convenient Downtown location and unique selection.
PLACE FOR FURNITURE
Runner-up: Artful Lodger
They say the things you own end up owning you. Again this year, readers say shopping at Circa makes it totally worth it. The McIntire Plaza shop boasts 10,000 square feet and a high turnover. In other words, come back often—you never know what you’ll find. Downtown, you shop at Artful Lodger, where owners Caroline and Christopher Minsky curate each beautiful piece.
PLACE FOR ANTIQUES
Runner-up: The Covesville Store
Making a house a home requires a bit more than heading to a big-box store for mass-produced chotchkies. You like something with a bit more history and you say there’s no better place to go than Circa. Heck, you’re already there buying furniture. Might as well take home a few decorative items to sprinkle around your abode. Fifteen miles south of Charlottesville, Covesville feeds your need for a true treasure hunt.
PLACE FOR MUSIC GEAR
Runner-up: Stacy’s Music Shop
Rentals, repairs and lessons are just three of the services offered at Charlottesville Music, your winner this year. The Seminole Trail spot’s been around since 1983, so it’s in tune with local music lovers (and their needs). Stacy’s Music, in the Rio Hill Shopping Center, offers a recording studio for businesses, bands and musicians.
Would a nursery by any other name smell as sweet? Ivy’s your pick this year.
Runner-up: Eltzroth & Thompson Greenhouse
Not blessed with a green thumb? That’s O.K. Readers agree, Ivy Nursery can turn even novice gardeners into flora enthusiasts. Clare and George Carter’s seven acres of fresh herbs and flowers surround a gift shop filled to the brim with garden supplies and décor. Eltzroth & Thompson’s 11 warmed greenhouses have helped outfit your yard for more than 40 years.
Hedge Fine Blooms
Runner-up: University Florists
Now in its fourth year under the green thumb of owner Karen Walker, Hedge wins again. You turn to the Main Street Market and Second Street shops for artful arrangements. Over in Barracks Road, runner-up University Florists is tops for flower and gift delivery.
It’s a true testament to a toy store’s staying power that the things in stock appeal to both children and adults. Readers say Shenanigans keeps them entertained year after year. Downtown toy mecca Alakazam makes it easy to outfit your playroom from your playroom, with the recent addition of its online store.
There’s a sort of stick-it-to-the-man mentality when shopping at places like Plan 9 or Sidetracks. No, sir—the digital music age won’t run these folks out of business. We like the smell of vinyl. We like ripping the plastic off a CD and fighting to peel back the sticker around the edge. We like talking to the music fiends who run the store. Hell no! We won’t go!
Blue Wheel Bicycles
Runner-up: Performance Bicycle Shop
A true biker’s bike shop, Blue Wheel wins again this year. Owners Roger Friend and Scott Paisley have ridden nearly every road in Central Virginia for the last 40 years, so it’s no wonder you turn to them for advice on how to ride safely and comfortably in and around town. Over in Seminole Square, Performance takes the runner-up spot for its huge selection of bikes and riding gear.
PLACE FOR PET SUPPLIES
Pet Food Discounters
It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat person or a dog person (or both!). Pet Food Discounters doesn’t discriminate. In fact, the Woodbrook Drive store stocks supplies for bird, horse and livestock people, too. Look for brands like Natura and Blue Seal. Runner-up PetSmart rules the pet supply roost from two locations.
You’ll find Socks the Fox on the shelves at O’Suzannah—your pick for best place for gifts.
Runner-up: Cha Cha’s
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the year of the rabbit. According to O’Suzannah, it’s the year of the fox and whale. The Downtown store has a knack for picking up on the latest trend in fauna. (Last year, it was all about the squirrel and owl.) What’s more, owner Suzannah Fischer has a keen eye for all things charming and delightful. Likewise, Cha Cha’s on the Downtown Mall packs a punch with its retro décor and inventory with a sense of humor.
PLACE FOR GREETING CARDS
Rock Paper Scissors
Back on the Downtown Mall for a little over a year now, Rock Paper Scissors takes the No. 1 spot again. Around this time last year, it was celebrating a six-month anniversary under new ownership and adding even more to the already extensive selection of greeting cards. We like this Happy Birthday card, from the Old Tom Foolery line:
It’s your birthday.*
*Wow, you were born. Whoopee.
PLACE TO BUY A CAR
In this economy, it’s nice to know that when you’re about to plunk down your hard-earned bucks on something like a car, the person selling you that car isn’t just out to get your money. Readers agree, the honest folks at Brown aim to get you in a vehicle that’s not only safe, but affordable. Those who like a sneak peek of their options visit carmax.com, then head to the Pantops showroom for in-person negotiations.
Blue Ridge Eco Shop
The Blue Ridge Eco family got a bit bigger this year, as owners Paige and Hakon Mattson welcomed a wee baby boy into the world in July. But the Downtown Mall store didn’t win on family values alone—its free classes in composting and keeping your house energy efficient landed it the No. 1 spot in this new category. Eco-conscious clothing, jewelry and home goods store Sustain takes runner-up.
LOCAL ETSY STORE
Just A Little Ditty
Runner-up: One Wild Oat
Never heard of Etsy? You’re outta the loop, man. The Web-based retail community boasts more than 60 local “stores,” including the winner of this new category, Just A Little Ditty. Owner Dickie Morris’ reclaimed hand bags have been charming shoppers since 2008. Runner-up One Wild Oat’s Leah Cochran produces hand-printed apparel with water-based ink in her virtual store.