Best Place for Vintage-Vinyl Fiends to Score a Fix

Don's Discs

Forget CDs. Don Radke, proprietor of Don's Discs, has more used records than he has time to clean, sort and stock. He stopped keeping count years ago, but Radke figures that more than a million separate slabs of vinyl inhabit his increasingly cluttered space in Thornton. While many a local has bought and sold his record collection here since the doors opened in 1982, Don's has garnered something of an international reputation in the time since, so it's not uncommon for European and Asian record fetishists to come to town and clog the shop's aisles for days at a time.

Local rappers and DJs who want to be sure that their recordings are well represented head to Sunshine Records, the revered East Colfax institution that's served and showcased local hip-hop heads for years. Alongside the latest records from E-40 and Jay-Z, releases from area MCs like Don Blas and Nyke Loc also line the shelves; Park Hill's A-1 Sick and BJ Hog have moved some respectable units through Sunshine as well. The store is a bright spot on the local urban-music map.
In a small but sparely modern shop across the street from East High School sits the aptly named Hip Hop One Stop, where under one roof you can find magazines and CDs that will put you in the hip-hop mood, plus a small but high-quality collection of jeans, jackets, shirts and shoes that'll make you look the part.
Half the population of Denver seems to know about the courtesy phones installed at the Tattered Cover Book Stores in Cherry Creek and LoDo. Discreet signage informs patrons getting ready to "ride the light" to limit calls to three-minute locals. But a bit of persistent eavesdropping reveals the full scope of the phones' functions: People with memorized resumés use them to apply for multiple jobs; intimacies are offered and sometimes accepted for a nighttime rendezvous; mysteriously involved business dealings are discussed by homeless people. And that's just a sampler of the over-the-wire goings-on at the TC: One-stop shoppers and tourists often have even juicier tidbits to offer.
All you really need to get a Denver library card is a pulse. From the day of your birth forward, you are eligible to rent materials, free of charge, as long as you bring them back on time. But while books are the primary draw at the library's Central Branch, smart card carriers know to make an additional stop in the audio-visual room, where a nice selection of videos and CDs is there for the borrowing. The titles aren't all scintillating -- there are plenty of instructional oddities on everything from building a deck to speaking Mandarin -- but plenty of gems hide in the slightly haphazard shelves. The library's foreign- and classic-film sections rival those of the mega-chain video stores, while classical-music connoisseurs will have reason to cheer in the music aisles. Best of all, there's no need to worry about those whopping late fees if you don't watch your flick in two days: Films and discs are checked out for one week. Don't make it a Blockbuster night: Get thee to the library!

Best Independent Video Store -- First-Run

Video One

With big chains getting bigger, it's harder for the little guy to survive. The answer for video rental stores is niche marketing, carrying films that don't make it past the bean-counters at the big box: DVDs, classics, catalogue movies -- anything and everything consumers can't find elsewhere. Video One just might have what you're looking for.

Best Independent Video Store -- Avant-Garde

Video Station

Niche marketing is nothing new in the world of videos; Boulder's Video Station has been doing it for twenty years now. Yes, this is the place to find classics like Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door, but a huge part of the store's 66,000-title inventory is made up of foreign, independent and avant-garde films. There's also a big documentary section; if you missed the basketball epic Hoop Dreams or the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Video Station has them in stock. And if you want an obscure film -- say, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, starring a young Sean Connery fending off leprechauns --for your very own, this store has plenty of used tapes for sale. In fact, if you can't find your desired movie here, it doesn't exist.

Best Place to Find Roy Rogers Chenille Bedspreads Online

Cowboy Classics

Folks with a hankering for Western kitsch -- authentic cowboy clocks, wagon-wheel couch sets and tepee-shaped cookie jars -- once had to drive to Longmont in order to check out the new arrivals at Cowboy Classics, one of the area's best sources of Western memorabilia. But now the Wild West comes to you via the store's Web site, which offers one-stop shopping for lamps, chenille bedspreads, posters, vintage pictures and cowboy dinnerware, as well as hand-carved furniture by Dr. Niblack, a onetime Denver chiropractor whose work is now displayed in a South Dakota museum. The Web site is loaded with photos and updated frequently -- which can come in handy, since the store itself is open only by appointment.
Have needle, will travel. A certified nursing assistant by training, Millie Ferguson charges $25 an hour to keep you in stitches. She'll bring her rolling sewing machine to your home or office to make alterations, mend, hem or replace buttons. And Ferguson's not reluctant to tackle big jobs, either, like making banners for corporate shindigs or creating outfits for those who can't get out to shop. For the past five years, she's proved that a stitch in time...beats coming unraveled.
Man does not live by bread alone -- he also needs a knife to cut it. That's where Rolling Stone Mobile Knife Sharpening comes in. Your doctor won't make house calls, but Daryl Hoffman will -- if you happen to be a chef at one of Colorado's finer restaurants or country clubs, that is. Hoffman keeps all the tools of the professional sharpener's trade in an 11.5-ton custom-made truck, which he drives right up to the qualifying kitchen's door. Talk about a cutting-edge profession.

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