Best Store Anywhere on Colfax Avenue 2004 | Fabric Lab | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Tran Wills loves Colfax, and Colfax loves her. After just five months in business, the 22-year-old's subterranean shop, the Fabric Lab, is already busting at the seams with the confections of twenty local designers. The Colfax T-shirts, featuring a trs-hip '70s beatbox, are becoming a cultural icon, but Wills also consigns gorgeous couture pieces as well as bags and simple, beaded jewelry. Located below the hip hair-styling salon Hairspray, the eclectic store is a work in progress. But Wills is helping bring life to the once-tired strip -- and Denver's once-tired fashion scene.

Herbs & Arts operates on the belief that the power to heal comes from within -- the self and the earth -- not from over-the-counter drugs or expensive prescription meds. Smelling of incense and other aromatics, the funky shop on East Colfax peddles tarot decks, books, crystals and ceremonials for use in Wiccan and pagan prayer. There's also an extensive book collection; where else will you find volumes on fairy folklore? But the real magic happens behind the counter, where dynamic staffers mix up their own blends of potions and powders to cure whatever ails you, from a hangover to anxiety to withdrawal from tobacco. (The signature "I Quit Smoking and Now I'm Nuts" herb tea is a popular item for those kicking the habit.) They've got herbs to boost the immune system and oil diffusers to calm the nerves, all for far less than the cost of a bottle of aspirin. A stop here is a good starting point for those on the path to homeopathy.

Best Store on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall


The art of Andean weaving so inspired Boulder designer Nicole Linton that she left behind a stack of careers as a Spanish teacher, jewelry designer and decorators' liaison to become a decorator herself. The result was Linton's unique line of woven alpaca pillows and rugs, all distinguished by their bold geometric patterns and colors. Later, she opened e'bella on the Pearl Street Mall. While Linton's bright textiles form the store's centerpiece, the companion pieces -- from candy-colored plates to textured, hand-knit snowball handbags -- provide perfect counterpoints. E'bella is a lovely place to go when you want to put together a warm, modern look for your home.
The Colorado Mills Super Target covers more ground than a few small towns in rural Colorado. You could live comfortably inside the uberstore if you really had to -- subsisting on groceries, watching TV, snuggling up with fancy bedding. It wouldn't be such a bad life. True, Target's a huge-ass chain. But we love it anyway, partly because the company emphasizes stocking American-made goods and enjoys a reputation as a progressive employer. And its recent move to hire A-list designers was pure genius, resulting in an ever-expanding line of budget designer clothes, linens, appliances, furniture and cosmetics. When do we move in?

Remember those automatic photo booths that used to be fixtures at the mall -- cramped little capsules with thoroughly unflattering light? Sadly, they've vanished from the urban shopscape. But Glamour Shots is still around to fill the shopping-mall-photography void. Park Meadows is home to the studio chain's only metro location; kids and adults come here to get dolled up for Hollywood-style sessions in front of the flashbulb. Staff photographers shoot in a variety of genres, from boudoir babealicious to book-jacket serene, and the doting Glamour staff will get you gorgeous in no time. All you have to do is say cheese.

If your living room is crying out for a hand-carved, hand-painted armoire from India, or maybe a tree-trunk table imported from Pakistan, try Foreign Accents. The gallery-style retailer sells furniture and artifacts from all over the world at wholesale prices, which means you can spice up your home without leaving it. Foreign Accents specializes in dining sets, trunks and cabinetry, much of it manufactured by artisans in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Unlike many other internationally flavored furniture stores in town, this one is affordable, with a sales staff that's knowledgeable but not aggressive. Lively up yourself -- and your space.

It's hard to make a shopping list when you're heading for Big Lots. The inventory changes every week, which means you're likely to find a garden hose where a bag of kitty litter once sat, a can of sardines in place of boxed tea. But as any dedicated bargain hunter knows, the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun. What's more exhilarating than scoring a jumbo-sized tin of Danish butter cookies for $1.50 or a set of wineglasses for less than the cost of a bottle of Blue Nun? As unpredictable as the merchandise is, the deals are consistently jaw-dropping, making Big Lots the perfect place to purchase inexpensive kitchen and bath items, party supplies, decorations and even canned and dry foods. A gem for college students and bean counters alike.

Designer Kelly Cannon only recently moved from a ten-by-ten-foot retail space in Cherry Creek North to a spacious corner shop on Antique Row, but she's already filling it to the rafters. Pink Zebra spills over with her frothy feather-boa pillows, bed linens and throws that pair rich tapestry fabrics with bead and feather embellishments. In addition to Cannon's own creations, the expanded Zebra displays a growing stock of furniture and flourishes -- and unmistakable whimsy. But perhaps the biggest news is the store's co-existence with all of the purely vintage shops that line Antique Row. New merchandise to blend with the old -- a taste of things to come? Watch South Broadway morph before your eyes.

You could spend weeks at Yankee Trader and still not see everything, so you've really got to go there with some idea of what you're going to look at. We chose the Trader's cross-cultural toy gallery. Not only is it impressive from a collector's point of view, but it provides some of the most fascinating and fun looking in town. Even the most average Joe will get a kick out of the metal trucks and cars in varying degrees of decay that line the walls. Elsewhere on the floor, glass cases house a corral full of high-stepping Breyer horses, various Robby the Robot models and vintage Halloween memorabilia. There's even a box full of original Topps Garbage Pail Kids cards that somehow managed to survive past the '80s. Whether you're looking to buy a rare treasure or relive your last few childhoods, Yankee Trader's dandy.
The handbag is an objet d'art at Babareeba, a veritable time capsule of all things stylish from the '40s, '50s and '60s. They've got handbags in crocodile, metal and straw; handbags in pink, black and multi-colored tapestry; handbags big and handbags small. To complete the outfit, Babareeba sells fur-collared grandma coats, cashmere cardigans and shoes, shoes, shoes. All of the pieces are secondhand, but they look as good as new. Stepping into the store, a jewel of the Highland shopping district, is like going back to a kinder, gentler, more fashionable time.

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