Shopping & Services

  • Best Store For New CDs

    Vintage Vinyl

    At one time, not especially long ago, the discovery of a well-stocked record store -- and let's continue to call them that, despite the waning of wax -- was cause for ecstatic celebration. Today, with the dizzyingly vast resources of megastores and the Internet, finding a CD is more a problem of superabundance than of scarcity: There's so much product,… More >>
  • Best Store For Used CDs or Vinyl

    Vintage Vinyl

    Two winners here: Vintage Vinyl is the best place to buy used CDs, hands down. Their offerings, both at the flagship Delmar store and across the river in planet Granite (City), are so broad and varied that Vintage is the first place to stop if you're short on cash but long on musical desires. Unlike the majority of used-CD places… More >>
  • Best Place To Fix the Chandelier Your Uncle Swung From

    Faulkenberry Antique Lighting

    You can trust Billy Joe Faulkenberry with every teardrop of your antique crystal chandelier. Known as the "king of chandeliers," Faulkenberry is a middle-aged woman's ideal: He respects age, you see, and cherishes the most fragile beauty. He plays God in his little Cherokee workroom, making light stream from fixtures gone dark with the rot of time. He even fashions… More >>
  • Best Veterinarian

    Millis Animal Hospital

    Perhaps it's the location, on Hanley south of Highway 40, easily accessible from just about anywhere (although it's still a bit of an exercise to squeeze onto the side street where you enter the office). More likely, though, it's the phalanx of friendly docs staffing the many examination rooms, minimizing wait times even on those days when dogs, cats and… More >>
  • Best Camera Store

    O.J. Photo Supply Inc.

    It's certainly not the biggest, and, judging from a few visits, it's certainly not the busiest. Local photo professionals tend to gravitate to Schiller's and City Photo, and camera-store chains, discount and big-box stores suck in the rest of the picture-taking crowd. If you do more than point and click but you're not necessarily a pro, go where employees won't… More >>
  • Best Place To Find Comfy Shoes

    Sole Survivor

    Everyone's swirling around the ballroom floor, and you're in the corner drinking steadily. Your new Parisian beau wants to scale the Eiffel Tower, and you can't even make it to le metro. Painful shoes are sexy for about five minutes, until you realize the pain's made you cranky and all you want to do is soak your feet in Epsom… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Stadium Liquor

    Pat McGlynn remembers the time Mickey Mantle came in for a bottle of scotch. "He was in town for an autograph show. That was before he quit drinking," explains McGlynn, 38. Other celebs have found their way to the unassuming liquor store just south of -- what else? -- Busch Stadium. Eddie Van Halen stopped by for a case of… More >>
  • Best Video Store

    Movies Unlimited

    Last year, Movies Unlimited, Maplewood's palace of video excess, carried St. Louis' Best Exploitation Video selection. This year, they take it all, and they've earned it. Depthwise, they've exponentially expanded their selection of disreputable Americana, from the trash classicism of Russ Meyer and H.G. Lewis to the proverbial ruby in the goat's ass, Lemora, Lady Dracula. Breadthwise, they're investing heavily… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Retro

    Neon Lady

    The Neon Lady herself, proprietor LaDean Harlow, is a blond, pretty, talkative widow whose husband was bitten by a brown recluse spider right after they bought their dream home. Harlow just kept going, surrounded by Anheuser-Busch steins and trays, chrome deco telephones and toasters, old metal coolers and lunchboxes, Betty Boop figurines and Mickey Mouse glasses and Osterizer blenders with… More >>
  • Best Museum Gift Shop

    Louisiana Purchase, Missouri History Museum

    Along with the usual touristy St. Louis keychains, postcards and paperweights, you'll find some unusual stuff here. Where else could you find a tile trivet with images of the Arena or Coral Court Motel for $16? There's also Lewis and Clark barbecue sauce, a made-in-Missouri product. Along with dolls, Civil War books and die-cast soldiers, you can buy a mini… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Imported Tchotchkes

    MacroSun Imports and Cultural Centre

    Looking for that perfect Ganesh carving or hand-woven kilim? Look no further than MacroSun Imports, which has recently added a second location in Webster Groves. Entering either store engulfs the shopper in a potent wave of incense complemented by background chants and indigenous music. Both stores feature goods from Tibet, India, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan, including jewelry, clothing,… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Rock

    Kirkwood Material

    The soft stuff's easy: Plop down a few squares of zoysia; plant some daisies and petunias. But who wants a garden soft as Silly Putty? You need rock -- cobbles, flagstone, river stones around a pond. Slate edging for those petunias. Maybe a boulder or two for effect; it intimidates your neighbors. You can start by raiding little Billy's rock… More >>
  • Best Vintage-Clothing Store

    Pixie 9

    A good vintage-clothing store requires a delicate balance of quality, selection, price and idiosyncratic personnel. Pixie 9 succeeds on all counts. Opened last year by partners Kay and Janet, whose specialties include clothing from the 1940s-60s, the store especially stands out in its men's selection, going beyond the usual suits and overcoats to provide a wide array of men's shirts… More >>
  • Best Cold Remedy

    Mai Lee

    The healing power of chicken soup becomes ancient Vietnamese medicine with pho ga. Just for the record, this isn't your mother's chicken soup. This is a high-octane power soup, delivered at Mai Lee in a huge bowl and guaranteed to cure what ails you, be it a cold or a hangover. Sure, pho ga has all the basic ingredients of… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Yard Ornaments

    Cara Tera Landscaping

    Remember the gaggle of statuary that nearly caused accidents when cars rounded the first Manchester Road curve west of I-270? Everything you could imagine -- ducks and saints and statesmen -- stood row by row in concrete likeness. Now they've all marched north to Kirkwood, where they wait discreetly behind the office. The humped back of a long serpentine dragon,… More >>
  • Best Nursery/Greenhouse

    Colors of Spring

    Despite the name, this lawn-and-garden business is one for all seasons (except when they close the retail store, January-February).Whether you're looking for annuals, perennials, seasonal flowers, flower pots, potting soil, mulch, cement or stone yard ornaments, wind chimes or flags to fly from your front porch, this friendly neighborhood enterprise owned by Sharon and Tom Brady and John Moore makes… More >>
  • Best Exterminator

    Race Pest Control

    Of all the pest guys to come and go, from big bug firms to small bug houses, few have been as versatile as Richard F. Race, certified commercial applicator. In one visit, this bug enthusiast will discuss subjects beyond the comparative analysis of ant and roach baiting and the sensitive handling of carpenter ants. Heck, he quotes Shakespeare. Race is… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Buttons

    Eunice Farmer Fabrics

    Buttons used to be a tiny art form, and at Eunice Farmer they still are. You'll find cut-glass jet buttons sparkly enough to wear as jewelry, carved African tigerwood, brushed-silver Roman medallions with a relief of Caesar's profile, miniature gold Louis XIV chairs, bronze suns inscribed with Aztec ornament, silver reindeer, glass clusters, hand-painted Beatrix Potter scenes. Don't let the… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Comics

    Star Clipper

    On first entry, the cool, spacious Star Clipper may seem more like a "real" bookstore than a place to catch up on Spider-Man. That's the point. With rock music blaring and easygoing employees who know the tastes of their regular customers, the store is working overtime to give comic books a long-overdue aura of respectability. To that end, you'll find… More >>
  • Best Place To Get Black Underground Movies

    Ghetto Koool Stuff

    In the heart of the South Side, Shaft lives again -- not the 1990s Samuel Jackson wannabe version but cool, old-school, Richard Roundtree Shaft. From the outside, Ghetto Koool looks more like the entrance to a flea market, but inside is a virtual treasure trove of black underground movies you won't find at Blockbuster. Owner Dunkor Imani is clearly proud… More >>
  • Best Place To Get Your Motorcycle Fixed

    Bob Schultz Motorcycle Supermarket

    This being the "Best Of" edition, we won't talk about the nightmares: The Honda dealership (which will remain nameless) that charged $250 for a tune-up that consisted of an oil change and new plugs -- no new points or condenser, no attempt to adjust valves or synchronize carburetors. The one that returned the bike with the idle set three times… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Cheap Antiques

    John's Furniture and Antiques

    The window sign calls them "Nic Nacs," and there's no telling what they'll be: Fine and tacky, faux and authentic rub up against each other, culled from the estates and attics of the dead. There's cranberry glass and a blue Cookie Monster cookie jar, a rampant Scottish lion on a wooden heraldic plaque leaning against a kewpie doll and a… More >>
  • Best Import Store

    Gringo Jones Imports

    You could wander room to room for days and not see the same thing twice. What started out as a beauty shop in Webster Groves has exploded into a thriving import dealership in the city. A few years ago, Leon Jones had an idea, a few thousand dollars and a map of Mexico. He rented a truck and headed south.… More >>
  • Best Place To Get Your Astrological Chart Done

    Essential Elements

    Wrecked your car? Divorced your wife? Feeling disaster breathing down your neck? Maybe it's time to find out just what direction your planetary winds are blowing. Magi Osiris Stargod, owner of Essential Elements, says, "If you find out which direction the planetary winds are blowing in your life, you can set sail in the right direction." Stargod (no, it's not… More >>
  • Best Place To Get a Tattoo

    Iron Age Studios

    The deeper they penetrate the skin, the bigger the tears are going to be that well at the corners of your eyes and the harder your jaw's gonna clench. But if you want the tattoo to last forever, to be clean and crisp for a long time, a few hours' worth of pain is worth it. The ladies and gentlemen… More >>
  • Best Amenities At a Car Wash

    Gas House Express

    Maybe you don't feel the need to watch an auto on closed-circuit TV as it goes through the car wash. But if you wanted to do that, as you ate a White Castle cheeseburger or a 25-cent bag of theater-style popcorn, you could at Gas House Express Car Wash, at the corner of the Forest Park Parkway and Vandeventer Avenue.… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Thu Do Hair Design

    With caramel-colored highlights in his glossy black hair, delicate European manners and a sardonic sense of humor, Hung Pham, whose American name is Victor, would seem, on first acquaintance, better suited to a chi-chi salon in downtown Clayton than to a charming but tired-looking storefront on South Grand. Nevertheless, Thu Do Hair Design is where you'll find this artist, lovingly… More >>
  • Best Place To Stretch $20

    Globe Discount Variety

    Looking for a bottle of Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific! or a porcelain toothpick dispenser bearing the likeness of an inebriated frog? How about a fuzzy fuchsia acrylic sweater, toy-poodle size, or a six-pack of bargain-basement beer, the sight of which conjures pleasant adolescent memories of your first punk-rock show? Wipe off the dust on that tin of Afro-Sheen and… More >>
  • Best Pharmacy

    Lindenwood Drug

    Folks in this South St. Louis neighborhood call Tom Hunt the Medicine Man, a fitting title for the Lindenwood Drug owner. Not only does he dispense remedies for others, he managed to cure his own business ailments. This independent businessman has held fast in an industry dominated by megachains and online-prescription companies. When many small pharmacies in the city failed… More >>
  • Best Tailor

    Lyuba Bukhstaber, Perfect Fit Tailor Shop

    To walk into Lyuba Bukhshtaber's shop in U. City is to greet a warm and wonderful person. Lyuba, who hails from Minsk, Belarus, has a magnificent accent and a charming way -- it doesn't hurt that she and her staff can handle any job that comes their way with aplomb, either. Lyuba's sartorial talents are no secret -- her place… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Alex Waldbart Florist

    Summer can be downtime for florists. There are no "flower holidays" like Mother's Day or Easter. Besides, people have flowers in their yards, fresh for the picking. The recent seasonal lull, however, certainly was not apparent at Waldbart's. A family business since 1872 and one of the longest-running in St. Louis, Waldbart's does a brisk trade in fresh-cut flowers, green… More >>
  • Best Fine-Jewelry Store

    Adler's

    Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but it's the boys who usually shop for them, and it's the boys who must endure the blandishments of the smooth gentlemen behind the jewelry-store counter, who blithely rattle off the subtler points of the four C's, the two-months'-salary equation and the relative merits of platinum and white gold. Prospective grooms can be… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy (and Sell) Stereo Equipment

    Alpha Tech Electronics

    Nothing beats the sound of music coming out of a tube amp. You can't top the deep, deep sound of a well-pressed piece of vinyl played on a nice turntable. If you're a CD nut, the sound had better be funneled through huge floor speakers, not weak, "sensible" bookshelf speakers. If you like your music deep, and you like your… More >>
  • Best Place For Used Clothing

    Women's Closet Exchange

    This place has lots for women looking for style on the cheap. With offerings ranging from $50 Emmanuel suits and Armani "clubbing" dresses, $12 Ann Taylor blouses, $7 Gap jeans and $3 Banana Republic T-shirts, there are choices for most occasions. Best buy: a Calvin Klein cashmere wrap/shawl sweater in camel for a mere 15 bucks. Although you may still… More >>
  • Best Chain For Cheap Deals

    Big Lots

    Searching through Big Lots for bargains is fun. You might come away with anything from a camping lantern to an end table to a bag of green-plastic army men, and you know it's all going to be nice and cheap. Each week, another shipment of shelf-filler rolls in, and it's time to go a-hunting through the gewgaws, tools, toys, food,… More >>
  • Best Mall

    Saint Louis Galleria

    Let's agree that malls are terrible things: enablers of suburban sprawl, undeserving beneficiaries of TIFs, destroyers of vital downtowns, promoters of unchecked consumerism. Let's also admit that most of us -- excepting misanthropes, anarchists and unreconstructed Marxists -- make at least an occasional mall visit. We may not stroll the hallways for hours on end like the obsessive shoppers, sale-crazed… More >>
  • Best Personal-Injury Law Firm

    Lakin Law Firm

    Of the multitude of personal-injury lawyers who represent the little guy, on and off TV, Lakin Law Firm, in Wood River, Ill., has a steady track record of getting verdicts that run in the millions. As recently as two years ago, a $9 million jury verdict Lakin got was challenged in the appeals courts. Lakin lawyers argued the appeal so… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Outdoor Fireplaces

    LeLu Metalcraft & Patio Shop

    Remember when all those clay Mexican fire pits started popping up in the unlikeliest neighbors' back yards? You don't see many of them anymore, do you? Turns out nobody checked on St. Louis winters before hauling them across the border, and they cracked. If you're still hankering for that amorphous internal-organ adobe look, the metal magicians at LeLu have found… More >>
  • Best Deal On Caskets and Funeral Stuff

    Abbey Direct Casket Outlet

    It is not a funeral parlor, and there are no cadavers for miles, which makes the concept all the more novel -- shopping for a casket the way one might shop for a telephone. Third-party casket sales became feasible after a 1994 Federal Trade Commission ruling ended the practice of funeral homes' charging "handling fees" on caskets bought elsewhere. With… More >>
  • Best Used-Book Store

    Subterranean Books

    You won't be scolded when browsing the stacks at Subterranean Books; no one will spy to make sure you pull the book off the shelf the "right" way, nor will they give you a sideways glance if your purchase is "lowbrow" or "popular." They're nice people who obviously love the "previously owned and read" books they sell and assume that… More >>
  • Best Place For Sex Toys

    Adult Entertainment Co. Discount Store

    Forget the high-priced boutiques that keep bankers' hours. When you're hard up in the wee hours, head to the East Side and beautiful downtown Brooklyn for bargains galore at the Adult Entertainment Co. Discount Store. It's ratty, just a converted mobile home scrunched up next to the Platinum Club and across the street from Roxy's. But it's open 24-7, and… More >>
  • Best Massage On the Cheap

    Missouri College Student Massage Clinic

    Although some may flinch at the notion of trusting their locks to beauty-college students, only the most elitist should hesitate to offer their bodies to the cause of education. Missouri College offers massage training and licensure (an associate's degree in occupational studies), preparing students in integrating "the art and individuality of bodywork into a medical model." An hourlong full-body massage… More >>
  • Best Place To Get a Regular Haircut

    Larry Evilsizor Barber Stylist

    You can judge a barber shop by its magazines. The rack at Larry Evilsizor's shop holds Field & Stream, Popular Science and National Geographic, stalwart reading matter for the men and boys who parade through the door of this unassuming tonsorial cubbyhole with its jars of talc and bottles of hair tonic on the back shelves. It's a one-man, one-chair… More >>

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