BEST WOMEN'S CLOTHIER
215 S. State St., No. 3, Ann Arbor; 734-327-4300; thegetup.com
Locations in Troy, Novi and Clinton Twp.; nordstrom.com
On the surface, these winners couldn't seem more different — a small indie boutique selling reasonably priced retro fashions versus an upscale department store chain toting today's top name-brands. But while their aesthetics may be at different ends of the style spectrum, both stores have earned a loyal following due in large part to staffs that put the customer first.
BEST STORE FOR HIP-HOP ATTIRE
209 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-995-3323; flyclothinga2.com
Apparently, the image of the giant fly located above the doorway didn't throw off our readers, who are hip to Fly's collection of the coolest brands in urban wear for both men and women, from Triple 5 Soul to Skunkfunk to Rise — a selection that can give even the clueless super-fly street-cred (sorry, we couldn't resist!).
BEST SHOE STORE
Various locations; dsw.com
Was it the rows upon rows of nothing but shoes — thousands in fact, of ballet flats, strappy sandals, sneakers, pumps, boots and everything in between, all designer brands at bargain prices? Or was it the fact that you can now buy shoes directly from the website so no one will see you buying the same peep-toe heels in three different shades?
BEST PLACE TO BUY EYEGLASSES
Locations in Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Rochester and Troy; seeeyewear.com
The reasons our optically challenged readers voted for SEE are as clear as the big E on the eye chart. Their funky and fabulous eyewear is designed exclusively for their stores and offered at relatively affordable prices. SEE also gets points for community spirit — their charitable work includes being an annual sponsor of AIDS Walk Detroit.
Sam's Tailor Shop
300 Renaissance Ctr., Detroit; 313-567-6960
A good man might be hard to find, but a good tailor is damn near impossible. That's why Detroiters should be thankful that we have a sartorial magic shop like Sam's in our midst. Walk in looking like a hobo in a baggy suit, and walk out looking like the proverbial million bucks. Along with alterations, Sam's also sells custom-made shirts, clothing and accessories — plus tuxedo rentals.
BEST DRY CLEANERS
University Dry Cleaners
4704 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-9799
27607 Woodward Ave., Berkley; 248-543-0340 and 3645 W. Maple Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-647-3009;janetdaviscleaners.com
In the battle of the urban vs. suburban dry cleaners, a draw was called between the posh suburbanite Janet Davis, which has been outing damn spots for more than 65 years along with offering such perks as home delivery, and the no-frills Wayne State student staple University Dry Cleaners.
BEST FABRIC STORE
905 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-541-0010; habermanfabrics.com
This year marked the 50th anniversary for this venerable fabric store that offers an extensive collection of fine fabrics and patterns, bridal accoutrements, down pillows, decorating fabrics and custom upholstered furniture. A clientele of experienced and professional dressmakers speaks to Haberman's quality, but don't be intimidated — the staff is always willing to assist rookie seamstresses. And if all else fails, a Haberman sewing class is sure to have you busting bar tacks before you can thread your bobbin.
BEST PLACE TO BUY LINGERIE
Various locations; victoriassecret.com
Whether it's the overtly sexual commercials, the mannequins in water-bras, or the fact that there seems to be a semi-annual sale every month — the store that has made everyone love pink has a place, if not in our readers' hearts, at least in their underwear drawers.
BEST COSTUME SHOP
3010 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-973-8000; fantasyattic.com
This year-round costume shop sells and rents a vast selection of costumes — from the super-deluxe gorilla to Dee Snider — along with a massive stock of masks, wigs, makeup and props.
2800 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-643-6360; thesomersetcollection.com
This ultra-chic mall and perennial best-of winner showcases such frou-frou designers as Armani Exchange, Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Economic crisis? Pshaw!
BEST NON-MALL SHOPPING
Downtown Royal Oak
Despite spiking rents and the mushrooming chain stores, Royal Oak retains its crown as the best place to shop out of doors, thanks in large part to indie stalwarts such as Incognito, Noir Leather, Lost and Found Vintage and Chaud Jeans.
BEST PLACE TO PAMPER A WOMAN
Douglas J Aveda Institute
409 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-336-5506; douglasj.com
The Green Room Salon & Day Spa
26571 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-350-9322; greenroomdayspa.com
The name Douglas J has become synonymous with cutting-edge styles and stringent quality standards. The Royal Oak location is the fourth training institute and full-service salon to open in the state, offering services performed by senior students at great rates. The Green Room offers relaxing spa treatments in a beautiful and luxurious space. But ladies don't have to be pampered alone — check out the couples' VIP room, which comes complete with strawberries and Champagne.
BEST NAIL SALON
Envy Salon & Day Spa
15430 Haggerty Rd., Northville; 734-420-0052; envysalonanddayspa.com
Envy offers everything from lash extensions to haircuts, but it was all about the nails for our readers. Acrylics, pedicures, manicures — they do it all, at reasonable rates and with exquisite style.
BEST BEAUTY SUPPLY STORE
Sally Beauty Supply
Various locations; sallybeauty.com
Supplying professional cosmetologists and do-it-yourselfers with the means to beautification, what's said to be the world's largest beauty supply retailer is helping the world look better — one shopping basket at a time.
BEST PLACE TO PAMPER MEN
Manhood Grooming Gallery
26571 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-354-8400; manhoodgrooming.com
Jokes about metrosexuals? Please, that is so 2002. After all, what man can resist the lure of a Swedish massage, a relaxing pedicure, a soothing facial or a straight-razor shave? Especially when he can still catch the game on a flat-screen and chug a brew at the bar? If scantily clad chicks served up hot wings, Manhood would be a bona fide dude-bro hangout, girly spa treatments not withstanding.
Lee Shaw of Total Motion
10990 Middlebelt Rd., Livonia; 734-437-7689; totalmotionmassage.com
300 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-1951; relaxstationmassage.com
These two winners know how to rub our readers the right way. Whether you're seeking relief from pain or just need a stress reduction, Lee Shaw offers custom massages to cure what ails you. And the folks at RelaxStation have won for the second year in a row thanks to their range of services and accommodating staff.
BEST HAIR SALON
306 W. Sixth St., Royal Oak; 248-398-1586; sixsalon.com
This award-winning up-scale salon has three metro locations, but the Royal Oak chop shop is heads (get it? heads?) above the rest for our readers. Visit one of their designers (don't you dare call them hairdressers) for a cut, curl or dye that's a work of art.
BEST ADULT NOVELTY STORE
Various locations; loverslane.com
Apparently, our readers still believe that lovers who play together stay together. Or at least they enjoy amassing an impressive collection of dildos, teddies and Kama Sutra cards in the process.
BEST ADULT BOOKSTORE
This adult novelty store sells all the old standbys — sex toys, bachelorette party supplies, videos and, of course, books. What's more, the knowledgeable and up-front staff will be more than happy to share tips on prying apart stuck-together pages.
BEST TATTOO SHOP
Locations in Livonia, Howell, Eastpointe, Clawson and Taylor; eternaltattoos.com
Is Eternal the best merely because they cover all the geographic bases — Downriver, east side, west side, north side and middle of nowhere? Or is it because of the consistent quality of their work? Or maybe it's just the fact that an instantly regretted tattoo can be (almost) instantly removed at their Howell facility?
BEST BODY PIERCING SHOP
308 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-8200; luckymonkeytattoo.com
Under the capable hands of the foxy Wendi and Sarah, customers at Lucky Monkey experience clean and safe piercings. They say they're the only shop in the state that uses sterile gloves, that they were the first to use internally threaded titanium jewelry and that their piercers stay up-to-date on the latest techniques.
BEST SMOKE SHOP
BEST HEAD SHOP
613 E. William St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-9600
Artfully crafted hand-blown glass pipes helped 42 Degrees get the nod in two best-of categories. Sure, it may be more expensive that the average shop, but if you're a true connoisseur of smoking accoutrements ...
BEST MICHIGAN PRODUCT
Found at various bars, grocery and party stores in metro Detroit; bmchips.com
Since 1930, the contents of those ubiquitous yellow bags have satiated the salt cravings of the city. And considering that Detroit remains a perennial leader in annual consumption of potato chips, Better Made's position as Detroit's fave munchie-buster should be safe for at least another 70-plus years.
BEST PLACE TO BUY A MAGAZINE
Various locations; borders.com
When our readers want something beyond the typical People, Cosmopolitan and Rolling Stone they head to this big box book seller that grew from its humble beginnings as a used shop in Ann Arbor to become the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States.
BEST COMIC BOOK STORE
Green Brain Comics
13210 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-9444; greenbrain.biz
One of the categories where Metro Times' readers and critics consistently concur — Green Brain's incredible selection and super-friendly staff defeats the competition every time. Pow!
BEST USED BOOK STORE
John K. King
901 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-0622
No surprise here! Year after year, our readers can't find a bookshop that competes with the more than 750,000 used and rare titles found at this bookworm's wet dream.
BEST INDIE BOOK STORE
The Book Beat
26010 Greenfield Rd., Oak Park; 248-968-1190; thebookbeat.com
The Book Beat is the best of what a bookstore can be — shelves crammed with hard-to-find tomes, a friendly staff willing to roll up their sleeves and dig through the stacks, and a great selection of specializations that too many other stores ignore: art, photography, children's lit and local authors. And as if that weren't enough, they also offer exhibits in an adjacent art gallery and host frequent literary events.
BEST VIDEO SELECTION
122 S. Main St., Clawson; 248-280-2833; thomasvideo.com
Their motto: "We have the movies they don't want you to see" is a happy truth for film buffs from across the county who hit up this indie store for hard-to-find cult and foreign titles. The inventory of more than 30,000 titles doesn't stop at rarities, but also features current blockbusters and timeless classics. Plus, it's owned by a couple of punk rockers, which may have nothing to do with the selection, but definitely lends indie cred.
PLACE TO GET VIDEO GAMES
Various locations; gamestop.com
With video games usurping movies as the preferred economic escape tool, it's no wonder that this mega-chain boasts more than 5,000 locations around the world, with more and more and yet more in the plans. The Wal-Mart of gaming, anyone?
BEST PLACE TO BUY SKATEBOARDS
BEST PLACE TO BUY ROLLER SKATES
Modern Skate & Surf
29862 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 248-545-5700; modernskate.com
There's a reason Modern Skate & Surf is a perennial "Best of Detroit" winner. Yeah, they carry the top gear and the best brands, but as a pioneer in the boarding and skating industry, Modern's also got street cred. They have a pro skateboarding team, they helped raise cash to open skate parks in the state, and they also sponsor local skaters. Flippin' sweet, dude.
BEST RECORD STORE
27360 Gratiot Ave., Roseville; 586-775-1550
For those who prefer music from actual stores as opposed to the World Wide Web, Record Time is the place to go. The staff is only too eager to share their encyclopedic knowledge, they have a great selection of used CDs, and, hey, Kid Rock and Eminem once loved this place. If it's good enough for local celebs, shouldn't it be good enough for you?
BEST INDIE RECORD STORE
BEST RECORD STORE FOR VINYL
13210 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-581-9322; stormyrecords.com
The self-touting "weirdo music" specialty store above fellow winner Green Brain Comics (Best Comic Book Store) is the antithesis of the corporate retail music barn. Virtually absent of major label releases, they instead focus on the niche market of catering to the independent spirit. Whether it's international, experimental or underground, they buy from and sell to a more refined taste (which we hope doesn't make them too cool for this award).
1300 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-964-5777 and 503 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-398-5130; blumz.com
If you've ever passed the windows of either Blumz location, you know the artistry that goes into their floral arrangements. Blumz far surpasses the bland bouquets of corporations like FTD while providing the all-important (but often underrated) personal touch.
BEST HOME FURNISHING STORE
206 E. Grand River Ave., 2nd Floor, Detroit; 313-887-0900
Bureau of Urban Living
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit; 313-833-9336
Downtown or Midtown, both stops have what you need (and what you think you need) to decorate your home or office. Mezzanine boasts a carefully curated showroom of modern and contemporary furniture and lighting; the Bureau stocks everything from kitschy stationery and kitchenware to cookbooks from Eastern Market and Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products.
BEST PLACE TO BUY FURNITURE
41640 Ford Rd., Canton; 734-981-6300; ikea-usa.com
Shop for cheap, assembly required furniture and end the day by chowing down on a plate of Swedish meatballs — for better or for worse, there's no other place like it.
32940 Middlebelt Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-855-1730; greis.com
Tapper's Diamonds & Fine Jewelry
6337 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; 248-932-7700 and 27716 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-465-1800; tappers.com
Two family-owned jewelers with more than 30 years of experience each provide readers with their flashy accessories of choice. Greis Jewelers is the go-to spot for those seeking upscale, quality jewelry (although items priced as low as $25 can be spotted in the store), while Tapper's extensive selection is always outshone by the blinding brilliance of the diamond engagement rings they've become known for.
BEST ARTISAN JEWELER
Abracadabra Jewelry & Gem Gallery
205 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-4848; abracadabrajewelry.com
Exquisitely crafted custom-made and artisan jewelry combined with a world-renowned selection of sparkling gems has made owner Steven Lesse and his staff an indispensible source for anyone who desires jewelry with a little more character than a diamond heart-shaped pendant.
BEST PLACE TO BUY PET SUPPLIES
Pet Supplies Plus
Various locations; petsuppliesplus.com
We've never quite figured out what the plus stands for, but once again MT readers picked this chain as the perfect spot to find everything from argyle dog sweaters to hermit crab houses.
STORE YOU'RE DYING FOR IN THE CITY OF DETROIT
Various locations in the burbs
The self-proclaimed "neighborhood grocery store" would do well to open a location (or two) within the city limits. Their vast and thrifty selection would give local residents a reliable and healthful place to fill the fridge.
STORE YOU'RE DYING FOR IN THE METRO AREA
41640 Ford Rd., Canton; 734-981-6300; ikea-usa.com
Five metro Detroit locations
We get it, if you live on the east side it's an hour-long commute every time you have to replace a missing part, but five Whole Foods isn't enough? Really? As for Bloomie's, apparently metro Detroit clothes whores need one more upscale department store — Macy's, Parisian, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom just aren't cutting it.
BEST PLACE TO BUY AUDIO EQUIPMENT
Various Locations; cartunesstereo.com
If killer sound while you cruise is a must, then no other store but Car Tunes can hook you up without busting your wallet. Added bonus — if your gear is toast, they'll repair it, no matter where you bought it.
BEST PLACE TO BUY A CAR
315 Ann Arbor Rd., Plymouth; 734-453-3600; victoryplymouth.com
According to the folks at Victory Honda, the appeal of this multi-state dealership is "low, low prices." What were you expecting them to say? That it's the low-pressure, hands-off sales people?
BEST FOREIGN CAR
It used to be taboo to buy Japanese in the land of the Big Three. But it looks like nearly 30 miles per gallon, a price tag around $20,000 and Honda's quality rep have finally won Detroiters over.
BEST DOMESTIC CAR
It's becoming a bit redundant, but it does not make it any less true — gas prices are a bitch. Maybe that's why this fuel-efficient brand is our readers' homegrown fave. And the modest price tag and hard-to-dent exterior probably don't hurt either.
BEST USED CAR
Toyota is consistently ranked among the top car brands in durability and resale value, which makes it no wonder that our readers are willing to take a chance on a used (excuse us, pre-owned) model.
No, they don't sell gas in bulk next to the jumbo bag of frozen waffles, but many Costcos have their own filling stations located within their parking lots, offering gas for a small discount below the "average retail price." Sorry, members only.
BEST CAR WASH
Jax Kar Wash
Various locations; jaxkarwash.net
Hot wax, soft cloths, hand detailing, tire shine, foam polish ... Jax is like the upscale salon of car washes. Your car deserves it.
BEST DOLLAR STORE
Where else can you get Sweet Tarts, a pack of army men, a best-selling book from 1994 and shampoo, all for only $5? As financial markets keep dropping, this chain's appeal is only too obvious.
BEST PARTY STORE
4535 Trumbull St., Detroit; 313-833-3828
4614 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1191
In a tight category, these three winners barely edged out a diverse set of competitors from street corners throughout the metro area. In the end, everyone's favorite Slurpee slingers came out on top once again, although they were joined this year by two inner-city locals, both located near the grateful beer-guzzling students of Wayne State University.
19390 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-355-5148
Rumor has it that the most infamous name in local litigation may be taking another run at government office. From defender of Dr. Jack Kevorkian to Detroit's mayor? Stranger things have happened.
BEST PLACE TO BUY INCENSE AND NEW AGE STUFF
15076 Middlebelt Rd., Livonia; 734-762-0717 and 895 Wing St., Plymouth; 734-354-1877
Westside Wiccans do it best. So say our readers, who stock up on incense, minerals, world music and angel statuary at these knowledgeable purveyors of positive vibes.
BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE
BEST SOURCE FOR ORGANIC FOOD
Whole Foods Market
5 metro Detroit locations
The largest source of organic and natural foods in the world, Whole Foods is committed to providing customers with natural and quality alternatives to the chemically laden and processed foods that are the staple goods of most mainstream grocery stores.
BEST GROCERY STORE
3100 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-3400
A Northpointe Foods brainchild, this specialty market was more than a welcome addition to Detroit's food desert when it opened this summer. Inside this gourmet oasis, shoppers can find a bakery, prepared foods section, fresh meats and seafood counter, deli counter, full-service espresso bar and a wine offering fashioned by their own sommelier.
BEST PLACE TO BUY A MOTORCYCLE
Motor City Harley-Davidson
34900 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills; 248-473-7433; motorcityharley.com
Roll up on your boss hog or shop online at their new eCommerce store. Either way, leather accessories are a must.
BEST HEALTH CLUB
Life Time Fitness
Various locations; lifetimefitness.com
Various locations; ymcadetroit.org
Our readers split between the monolithic and pricey fitness chain that's like (dare we say) a health club on steroids, and the dependable, community-oriented Y.
BEST BIKE SHOP
The Hub of Detroit
3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-879-5073; thehubofdetroit.com
This Midtown bike shop grew out of Back Alley Bikes' volunteer youth education program. The Hub sells bikes and bike accessories and offers repair services (all on the cheap, by the way) and then uses the profits to support Back Alley's educational endeavors. It also gives Back Alley youngsters a place to learn repair basics, as well as offering classes for wheelie-poppin' adults.
The Glory of Capitalism - Staff Picks
by Metro Times staff
Our staff counters with our own favorite places to plunk it down