Best VHS Store 2002 | The Video Station | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
The best-stocked video store in the Western states, Boulder's Video Station carries some 60,000 titles in VHS and DVD format, including the rarest and most exotic items extant. Want to see Larry Clark's seething Bully (rated NC-17 and thus unavailable at the chains) or revisit the collected works of Ingmar Bergman, Orson Welles, Satyajit Ray or Werner Herzog? This is your source. Need to watch Johnny Got His Gun and The Fencing Master for your film-history class? The Station has the tapes. There are discount weekend rental rates for out-of-towners to ease the pain of that Boulder drive, and the store's film-crazy staff will enthusiastically guide you through any cinematic thicket.

Chain stores generally have enormous stacks of DVDs, but they're often short on personalized service or employees who know the difference between The Sorrow and the Pity and The Sound and the Fury. Theatre Video, for its part, has a much better selection than most independent outlets, with tons of animation and music-oriented packages, and staffers will gladly special-order even the most obscure flick. As an added bonus, they know and love movies every bit as much as their customers do. Give yourself plenty of time here, because you won't want to leave.

The economy has taken a bite out of Wax Trax: At the end of February, the vinyl store was closed, with its stock being moved into the used store across the street. But the three Wax Trax branches that remain -- a new store, a video store and the aforementioned used store -- are still Denver treasures that need and deserve your support. Even if you don't want an album, rush down there and buy one anyhow. It's the right thing to do, and that's no spin.

This store's name says it all. Here you'll find everything from geeky school-band instruments (and a host of instructors expert in their use) to pro gear that would do Van Halen proud. What you won't find is superstore attitude. According to Gary Patterson, who owns the business with four of his family members, "90 percent of our customers walk in and say, 'Man, I went over to such-and-such and couldn't get one person to help me. And when they did, they just wanted to sell me something more expensive than I needed because they work on commission.'" By contrast, Universal focuses on selling what its customers need and sticking to their budgets.

Best Place to Sample Soundbites From Area Artists

Twist & Shout

Though larger than most independents, Twist & Shout is a community-spirited music retailer. Owner Paul Epstein is an active member of the Colorado Music Association and even occasionally appears on cable-access television to talk about his favorite bands. No surprise, then, that Epstein's store would reflect his support of local music. Many of the CDs that are distributed through Twist are placed in the Local Listening Post, where customers can strap on a pair of headphones, click around a digital menu and hear tracks from as many as ten artists. With a roster that changes monthly, the Listening Post is a smart way to keep up with the music being made by the people in your neighborhood.

Those who despise discordance would be wise to stick to Guitar Center's acoustic room, where the quiet people dwell among the mandolins. Out on the main floor, a dizzying number of guitars and amplifiers are available for the strumming, squealing and soloing pleasures of aspiring wankers from all walks of life. Go on, grab that Gibson and plug away. Instruments are for playing, and no one's going to stop you from trying out whatever ax strikes your fancy. Just remember some simple etiquette -- speed metal is okay, but "Stairway" is verboten -- and you and the Guitar Center staff will get along just fine. As George Harrison once said, "Don't want no wah-wah."

Anna Woneis, owner of the American Fabric Upholstery Goods Company, is happy to give visitors a tour of her place, which involves room after room of vintage fabric, much of it from the still-trendy 1970s. Although some the patterns should have been impeached with Nixon, many of the old-timey fabrics are, well, timeless. The store has large selections of vinyls, tweeds, tapestries, cottons, and velvety fabrics, all reasonably priced, as well as a substantial inventory of upholstering equipment. Sofa, so good.

B-D Company, a venerable upholstery supply shop, has a number of solutions for restoring old vinyl, cloth, plastic and even leather furniture to something like new -- magic sprays, dyes and cleaners that are hard to find, accompanied by expert advice. Don't give up on that ottoman; put it in your auto, man, and give it Last Hope rather than last rites.
For the busy traveler, there is nothing more irritating than cheap luggage, the junk with wheels that fall off. Now you can buy durable, expensive luggage at cheap-luggage prices. The Samsonite Company Store unloads high-quality luggage for up to 50 percent off retail prices. They stock luggage that is barely blemished, merchandise that has been discontinued, and stuff that didn't sell from last year. With all the money you save, you can splurge on additional discounted wares such as CD cases, shaving kits, daytimers and wallets.
There are a lot of places around town that offer scratch 'n' dent appliances at a discount, but the Sears Outlet Store has a consistent selection that never seems to dwindle. And even if the front of that stainless-steel fridge has a wee scratch on it, the warranty still applies. Some of the appliances aren't even marred; they just happen to be last year's floor sample or demo. Let's move that fridge.

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