Best Independent Video Store -- First-Run 2001 | Video One | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

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 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.

Best Place to Fill Up on Falafel While Filling Up

Haji Babba

Fuel and falafel may seem like an odd pairing, but the owners of this gas station/convenience store/Middle Eastern restaurant may be on to something. Although patrons get the usual potato chips with their petroleum, they also have the option of fueling up on a decent meal. The dining side of Haji Babba serves pitas stuffed with falafel, baba ghanouj, tabouli, hummus, baklava and pita bread made at the Haji Babba Bakery on East Colfax Avenue. And since the walls are covered with picturesque travel posters of Lebanon, you can almost forget that you're eating exotic food in a Lakewood filling station.
Magnesium chloride may be great on snowy streets, but it's hell to get off your car; touch-free just doesn't cut it. For an honest-to-God hands-on wash and polish, cruise on over to Sharper Cars, that purple building with the turquoise trim on the edge of downtown. With a complete line of detail services and a basic Po-Boy wash for only $10, you're sure to make a clean getaway.
As long as you're washing your car, why not clean up some messy spots in your personal life? Waterworks Car Wash stocks the usual deodorizers, tapes, atlases and car accessories -- which do in a pinch as a quick gift for that forgotten birthday or anniversary. More important, Waterworks also stocks an impressive array of greeting cards that rise to just about every occasion. Now you can polish off that tardy correspondence while they polish your car.

We know: The most entertaining do-it-yourself car wash, and certainly the cheapest, is in one of Denver's city parks, where you can pull up to the side of the road and pretend to polish the chrome while you're really watching all those hard bodies run by. But if the pressure's on for a fast cleanup, point your dirty car in the direction of this Hi-Performance station. This do-it-yourself car wash may look like nothing special -- in fact, it looks abandoned, and doesn't have any phone number that we could find -- but that just means there's never a line. And this Hi-Performance is high on the most critical component for a good cleaning: very hot water, and lots of it. Drop in a quarter and it just keeps coming --long after other car washes would have dried up. Drought? What drought?

A friend in need, as they say. Discount Tire usually fixes flats for free, even if it's somebody else's tire or you picked up your puncture on the other side of town. (Particularly tricky jobs might cost $5.) Of course, you don't want to ride around on a patched tire forever, so when you decide to buy a new one, remember who helped you out when you were flat busted.

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