Best Place to Buy Gifts Made in Colorado 2001 | Made in Colorado | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
When you've run out of gift ideas for out-of-state friends or relatives who wish they could live in the Rockies, too, Made in Colorado is a godsend. The store sells an abundance of homegrown items: gold-plated aspen-leaf jewelry, stained-glass nightlights in the shape of columbines, gold-panning kits, ski hats bearing the image of the Colorado flag, and numerous books and CDs on the Centennial State. Most impressive, though, is the store's collection of Colorado-brand foods, which include buffalo summer sausage, Santa Fe Trail Soup Mix, Buffalo Bill's Tortilla Chips, Tommyknocker sodas and rock candy, to name a few. With the selection of goodies at this store and on its Web site, you're sure to find something for everyone on your list.

Best Place to Buy Vintage Advertising Posters

Gallerie Rouge

A visit to Gallerie Rouge is a little slice of heaven for advertising aficionados. This store stocks original and reproduction American, French and German posters advertising films, skiing, car racing, travel and champagne. Patrons can spend hours researching the mostly 1920s through 1940s vintage posters that are in vogue now as artwork; the store has a small library of books on Barnum and Bailey circus posters, classic horror movie posters, and the granddaddy of French poster art, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Ooh-la-la!
Need dried bat wings, voodoo dolls, herbal teas or just to have a simple hex removed? Botánica y Yerbería Caridad del Cobre has thousands of lotions, potions, tonics, candles and talismans that can cure almost whatever ails you. Proprietor Martín Ramirez is a semi-retired curandero who has helped cure everything from hemorrhoids to hangovers to broken hearts. Since he opened the botánica in 1989, his shop has become the Wal-Mart of the spiritual fringe, specializing in exotic items used in Santería, voodoo, wicca and curanderismo. There are other botánicas in Denver, including one owned by his sister, but Martín's is by far the biggest and most diverse. "We're a spiritual drugstore, is what it comes down to," he says. "If you believe in this stuff, sooner or later you're going to end up here."
We're not making judgments here, but some people -- and you know who you are -- could benefit from a trip to the confessional booth. Architectural Antiques may be the answer to your prayers. This salvage shop specializes in religious articles -- velvet deacon's seats, stained glass, pews, statuary and, yes, confessionals. The old booths range from the fancy, with carved wooden doors, to the plain, with simple drapery closures; they start at $3,000 and go up -- way up. AA has sold a handful of booths over the past year, primarily to loft owners looking for a conversation piece to brighten their LoDo digs. Or maybe they just felt pressed to confess.

For forty years, Maurice Duman and now his son Steve have created custom suits for Denver's snappy dressers. Over the past two decades, the company has also grown to be the city's largest independent uniform distributor, dressing waitstaffs at some of the finest restaurants and caterering companies. The staff of nine includes no salespeople, and Duman's doesn't advertise. With a reputation for quality that goes back to the Kennedy era, who needs to?

Best Place to Launch a Career in Jewelry Design

Desert Gems

If you're a pirate at heart, here's the buried treasure. This gem of a store is filled to the brim with beautiful beads and charms made from semi-precious stones and metals: tiny jasper stars, wee garnet spheres, dainty silver tubes. You can browse for hours, filling a plastic tray with everything you'll need to create your wearable masterpiece. And Desert Gems' huge selection of goodies and personable, knowledgeable staff more than make up for its semi-industrial location.

Move over, Monica Lewinsky, there's a new purse designer in the biz. Denver's own Brandi Shigley is selling her "funky fresh handbags" at local stores like Decade and Miss Talulah's, as well as on her very own Web site. The twenty-something Kate Spade wannabe started her career back in the second grade; while she was supposed to be reading The Adventures of Frog and Toad, she was cutting purse designs out of scrap paper. She has since graduated to real fabric -- and how. Brandi's unique collection includes "Mini Moo," a faux-cowhide handbag; "Little Miss Boss Thang!," a more sensible choice for the working girl with its hounds-tooth pattern in dark, businesslike colors; and "Reversible Dragon Slayer," a purse that's denim on one side and '50s-vintage Asian dragon pattern on the other. She also designs custom purses to match an outfit or to accessorize special occasions like weddings. Brandi's got it in the bag.
Renee Zacher Himel took one look at a silk scarf printed with a map of Vail Mountain and got an idea. Wouldn't it look much better draped over some rugged terrain -- say, a man's nether regions? From that modest start emerged Silk Trails, a company that makes silk boxer shorts that also serve as trail maps for many of North America's most popular ski areas. Next stop: the 2002 Olympics.
You're not going to wear that, are you? What would Judie Schwartz and Evelinda Urman say? Plenty, probably: The two have been shopping buddies for years, and it shows in their sassy "Style Matters," a point-counterpoint column in the Mile HighStyle section of the Rocky Mountain News. No stylistic topic is too ticklish for these gabbing gals: They've touched on everything from Casual Fridays ("The worst thing to hit the business world since the leveraged buyout," says Urman) to tattoos to thong etiquette. The city has no finer fashion police.
If there's ever a Denver war of the roses, Buddy Rose will win, thorns down. At his House of Rose, you can pick up a bunch of 25 roses for just $12 -- a bloomin' miracle. These flowers were grown in Colorado, so they're not perfect, Buddy cautions, and they're hybridized, so you might not catch much of a scent. But at a price this low, you can afford to buy some rose cologne and spray it around the house.

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