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Best of Charlotte 2016

Photo by Grant Baldwin

Photo by Grant Baldwin

CRITICS' PICKS

Best Place to Find a Dusty Treasure

Sleepy Poet Antique Mall

It's no secret that Sleepy Poet has plenty of odds and ends. With more than 200 booths throughout the complex, you'll find antiques, furniture, art and other trinkets and rare, vintage items. Make a day out of the exploration and bring along some allergy medicine if your nose is sensitive to old fibers and potentially dusty quarters. (4450 South Blvd. 704-529-6369. sleepypoetstuff.com)

Best Place to Shop Till You Drop

Buffalo Exchange (Plaza Midwood)

It's no big surprise that one of Charlotte's edgiest neighborhoods would have one of the best Buffalo Exchange locations. There's used clothing, bags, shoes and jewelry that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere at such affordable prices. Walk in for a striking shirt and leave with a pair of flamboyant shoes and flashy jewelry to back the rockstar look. (1521 Central Ave. 704-372-3200.buffaloexchange.com/locations/charlotte/charlotte/)

Vintage Charlotte
  • Vintage Charlotte

Best Pop-Up Retail Event

Vintage Charlotte

Amy Herman of Vintage CLT does a great job at organizing these seasonal pop-up events with lots of local vendors — the more, the merrier — selling vintage and handcrafted items. There are also food trucks and other vendors on hand for those much needed time-outs. (vintage-charlotte.com)

Best Place to Find Previously LoveD Books/DVDs/Records

The Last Word

Last year, this popular used books/cds/dvds/records shop, moved from one spot on Tryon Street to another. Everything in the shop seems to come with TLC and there's lots of nostalgic and sometimes rare finds, in addition to the "that's just what I was looking for" mass-produced bygones. (5744 N. Tryon St. 704-966-9673. thelastwordcharlotte.com)

Frock Shop
  • Frock Shop

Best Place to Shop for a special Friend

Frock Shop

This big, old home in Plaza Midwood has cool vintage and new items that make you feel like you're getting a one-of-a-kind gift. Still aren't sure what your friend might like? Opt for a gift card, which comes as a kind of old-school certificate, and let your friend do the work for you. (901 Central Ave. 704-236-4196)

Lunchbox Records
  • Lunchbox Records

Best Revival Of A Defunct Funeral Home

Lunchbox Records

This longtime indie record shop, open for more than a decade, moved to a bigger location in the spring. Now occupying a former funeral home, owner Scott Wishart has traded the formaldehyde in for vinyl. You'll find everything from chart-toppers to obscure bands and even stuff from locals made right around the corner. The new space is brought to life even more (get it?) with a better stage and frequent popup shows. (825 Central Ave. 704-331-0788. lunchboxrecords.com)

Best Disc Golf Shop

Another Round Disc Golf

Disc golf pairs well with local brews (on tap and to-go) available in the shop. Come in for "Flingin' Fridays" and try, swap or keep a selection of discs or trade in "lost & found" items. The folks who run this shop can steer newbies in the direction of disc golf havens and tune you into Final Round Radio, a disc golf podcast for locals in the know. (3522 N. Davidson St. 704-931-3568, anotherrounddiscgolf.com)

Legion Brewing T-shirt designed by Ink Floyd
  • Legion Brewing T-shirt designed by Ink Floyd

Best Way to Wear Your Favorite Local Brewery on Your Sleeve

Ink Floyd

This Charlotte-based custom screen-printing company is responsible for so many kickass designs and swag — they do T-shirts and apparel, stickers, flyers and banners for businesses around town. But we're pretty excited that they're making T-shirts for lots of local breweries, so that we can sport our favorite watering hole on our sleeves. Legion Brewing's Juicy Jay, created after the brewery's American IPA style beer, is just one of many. (inkfloyd.com)

Best Costume Shop with a Historic Legacy

Morris Costumes

This costume shop on Monroe Road has a backstory that's just as far out as some of the costumes and masks that you'll find inside (some for sale, some for rental). Philip Morris, owner of these shops (along with some Halloween Express locations) was formerly known as Dr. Evil, a magician and spook show host. For years, the shop also housed a haunted house, though that wing of the building is now closed off for good. It's ok...it would have scared you shitless anyway. (4300 Monroe Road. 704-333-4653. morriscostumes.com)

Best Shop for Almost Famous Activewear

Fabletics

Back in July, this shop — the eighth of a chain — opened in South Park Mall. Housing a line of activewear by Kate Hudson, it's a nice place to shop for colorful new threads that you'll be more than willing to show off at the gym. (4400 Sharon Road, Suite G19A. 704-343-5820. fabletics.com)

Best Place to Accessorize

CLTCH

This boutique opened in August of last year and specializes in providing shoppers with unique accessories that will make eyes pop and score some "ohhs and ahhs" over the course of any evening function. Don't be afraid to let others in on the shopping secret, as they won't be able to copycat you, but be prepared to be envious of any treasures they might find on their own. (1512 Central Ave. 704-375-2444)

Heroes Aren't Hard Tp Find
  • Heroes Aren't Hard Tp Find

Best Comic Book Shop

Heroes Aren't Hard To Find

This comic book shop in the heart of Elizabeth is a repeat winner in this category for good reason. In addition to selling an assortment of comic books and sometimes hard-to-find gems, the team at Heroes also organizes conventions and special events throughout the year. Something tells us they'll get creative for this year's cosplay-themed Best Of Charlotte party. (1957 E 7th St. 704-375-7462. www.heroesonline.com)

Best Place to Spoil your dogs, cats or chickens

Four Dogs Pet Supplies

You won't find any pets for sale at this supply shop in NoDa, but just about anything the pets you already have could want can be found behind its door. The premium pet food is always all natural, and the owners are constantly adapting their inventory based on research and word of mouth. You'll even find an animal-related art gallery in the back room if you're looking to adorn your walls. (2630 N. Davidson St. 980-298-6046. fourdogspetsupplies.com)

Best Place To Get it Hoppin'

DefyGravity Charlotte

Do you ever sit there watching American Ninja Warrior telling your significant other how you could get through the course in record time? Time to put your money where your mouth is. On top of their own Ultimate Ninja Course, DefyGravity also offers open jump, trampoline dodgeball, GravityFit (workout) and exclusive nights for college students, families and special needs jumpers. (8116 University City Blvd. 704-817-4660. defygravity.us/charlotte/)

Best Place To Go If You're Bored

Your Local Game Store

Board games have been making a comeback lately, but Your Local Game Store in Matthews has been on top of things in that arena for about four years now. YLGS hosts meet-ups and recurring events nearly every night, including a board game night on Saturday. Check their website to see what's going on. (300 E. John St., Matthews. 704-729-4547. yourlocalgamestore.com)

Best Hair Salon

Alchemy: The Workshop

Taylor Daye, co-owner and artistic director, and the crew at Alchemy: The Workshop know how to put magic into a day at the salon. Adding special touches — artsy knots and twists — to the styling process, you'll leave thinking 'How'd they do that?' You can try dissecting the specimen (ie, your hair after a night out on the town) but we're pretty sure you won't be able to get the creative oomph back on your own. (1225 South Church St. alchemytheworkshop.com)

Best Hair Miracle Worker

Genc Burgija at Tribe Salon

When Genc Burgija fled war-torn Kosovo and arrived in the United States as a refugee, he brought with him the dream of one day owning his own business. Years of hard work eventually made that dream a reality, and earned Burgija the reputation of one of Charlotte's most trusted hair and makeup stylists. Specializing in all hair types — black, white, or alien green! — Burgija is best known for his color correcting services, and creating bombshell blondes. (2151 Hawkins St., Suite 100. 704-609-8994. facebook.com/genctheartist)

Best for Queen City Memorabilia

Green with Envy

Friends don't let friends decorate their homes with generic 'Live. Laugh. Love.' wall decals, and neither does Green with Envy. Whether you're looking to warm your home with a hand-crafted beeswax candle that's fragrance profile is based on your favorite Charlotte neighborhood, or you're on the prowl for a bright painted canvas that makes the Charlotte skyline look a little more impressive than it actually is, you can find it here, among other Queen City themed chachkies. (1111 Central Ave., Suite 200. 704-344-8774. envycharlotte.com)

Best Technology Guardian Angel

Best Computer Fixers

If you've ever found yourself facing a blank screen as you make the terrifying realization that the computer that holds your entire life has essentially turned into a useless brick, then you know that no expense is too great for the sorcerer capable of magically retrieving those lost gigabytes from the dark underworld of your deceased hard drive. Luckily, the workers at Best Computer Fixers won't take advantage of your fragile psyche; their repair and recovery rates are reasonable, they work fast, and they won't even shame you for not using an external harddrive. (2001 Commonwealth Ave. 704-333-2827. cfcomputerstore.com)

Best Blowout on a Budget

Aveda Institute SouthEnd

Balling on a budget doesn't need to cramp your style! Staffed by current students, SouthEnd's Aveda Institute offers your favorite beauty services at prices that won't break the bank. Whether you want a basic cut and color, or something more decadent (the Institute offers signature Aveda spa services, too), you can indulge all of your champagne tastes on a beer budget. (1520 South Blvd. Suite 150. 704-333-9940. avedainstitutesouth.edu)

READERS' PICKS

* Best New Store

Cltch, 1512 Central Ave. 704-375-2444

* Best Local Clothing Store

Boris and Natasha, 1214 Thomas Ave. 704-375-0079

* Best Local Consignment Shop

Buffalo Exchange, 1521 Central Ave. 704-372-2300. buffaloexchange.com

* Best Place to Buy Vintage

Sleepy Poet, 4450 South Blvd. 704-529-6369. sleepypoetstuff.com

* Best Gift Shop

Paper Skyscraper, 300 East Blvd. 704-333-7130. paperskyscraper.com

* Best Shoe Store

Black Sheep, 830 Lamar Ave. 704-333-1423. blacksheepnc.com

* Best Jewelry Store

Custom, 3206 N. Davidson St. 704-980-9840. customjewelrylab.com

* Best Local Product

Lenny Boy Kombucha, 3000 S. Tryon St. 980-585-1728. discoverlennyboy.com

* Best Local Fashion Designer

Alice Andrews

* Best Home Accessories Store

West Elm Metropolitan, 1100 Metropolitan Ave. 704-333-0642. westelm.com

* Best Furniture Store

Ikea, 8300 Ikea Blvd. 888-888-4532. ikea.com

*Best Bicycle Shop

Uptown Cycles, 1432 W. Morehead St. 704-632-7440. uptowncyclescharlotte.com

* Best Hair Salon

Bohemian Stylehouse, 1318 Central Ave., Suite A1. 980-859-7633.bohemianstylehouse.com

* Best Hair Stylist

Candace Stamper of Bohemian Stylehouse, 1318 Centrl Ave., Suite A1.

*Best Makeup Artist

Jennifer Yates, facebook.com/jenredmakeup

*Best Barber Shop

No Grease, 333 E. Trade St. 980-355-0191. nogrease.com

* Best Nail Salon

Polished, 2041 South Blvd. 704-954-0004. ipolished.com

* Best Massage Shop

Okra, 1912 Commonwealth Ave. 704-266-1443. okracharlotte.com

* Best Tattoo Shop

Fu's, 3200 N. Davidson St. fustattoos.com

* Best Piercing Studio

Sadu, 1515 Central Ave. 704-344-0011. facebook.com/sadubodymods

* Best Fitness Studio

Aerial CLT, 801 N. Tryon St. 980-292-1593. aerialclt.com

* Best Yoga Studio

NoDa Yoga, 3201 N. Davidson St. 704-351-3185. nodayoga.com

* Best Bookstore

Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, 1957 E. 7th St. 704-375-7462. heroesonline.com

* Best Record Store

Lunchbox Records, 825 Central Ave. 704-331-0788. lunchboxrecords.com

* Best Vape Shop

Charlotte Vapes, 9510 University City Blvd. 704-547-0011. charlottevapes.com

* Best Head Shop

High Life, 1525 Central Ave. 704-379-1400. highlifesmokes.com

* Best Cigar Store

Tinder Box, 200 S. College St. 704-334-3449. tinderboxcigars.com

* Best Sex Store

The Reddoor, 3609 South Blvd. 704-255-2041. thereddoorstore.com

* Best Dentist

Heather Gentry DDS of Gentry Dental, 5950 Fairview Road, Suite 16. 704-554-1007. gentrydentalcharlotte.com

* Best Doctor

Dr. Rhett Brown MD of Novant Health Midtown, 335 N. Caswell Road. 704-3847980. nhmidtownfamilymedicine.org

* Best Plumber

Three Way Plumbing, 174 Church St. NE, Concord. 704-795-9349. 3wayplumbing.com

*Best Car Mechanic

Nick's Auto Repair, 2437 Central Ave. 704-374-0205

* Best Heating & Air Repair

Morris Jenkins, 1530 Center Park Drive. 704-357-0484. morrisjenkins.com

* Best Dry cleaner

Elite Cleaners, 3904 Colony Road, Suite C. 704-554-0595. elite-clean.com

* Best Shoe Repair

Dean's Shoe Repair, 2925 Selwyn Ave. 704-334-8985. deansshoerepair.net

* Best Alterations

Anna's Alterations

, 2400 Park Road. 704-348-5488. annasalterationscharlotte.com

* Best Attorney

Tatianna Moreland of Moreland Legal, 980-349-8202. morelandlegal.com

* Best Realty Agency

Savvy & Co., 14825 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 165. 704-438-9800. savvyandcompany.com

* Best Bank (Specify Location)

Wells Fargo (South Blvd.), 1625 South Blvd. 704-383-5803. wellsfargo.com

* Best Spa

Ballantyne Resort and Spa, 1000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway. 704-248-4000. starwoodhotels.com

* Best Auto Dealer

Hendrick BMW, 6950 E. Independence Blvd. 704-321-4851. hendricksbmwcharlotte.com

* Best Vet

Long Animal Hospital, 2523 South Blvd. 704-523-2996. longanimal.com

* Best Pet Store

(tie) Four Dog Pet Supply and PetSmart, 2630 N. Davidson St.; 206 S. Sharon Amity Road. fourdogpetsupplies.com; petsmart.com

* Best Doggie Daycare

Midwood Petsitting, 3320 Eastwood Drive. 704-449-9742. midwoodpetsitting.com

* Best In-Store Pet (Name of Pet and Where to Find it)

Daisy at Aerial CLT, 801 N. Tryon St. 980-292-1593. aerialclt.com

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