Revolution Cleaners
Did you ever stop to ponder what causes that icky dry-cleaning smell? The main chemical culprit is perchloroethylene, a central-nervous-system depressant and carcinogen known to cause skin irritation, dizziness, headache, confusion, nausea, liver and kidney damage, unconsciousness and death. Now, that's something we all want next to our skin, right? Revolution Cleaners wants to change the way we dry-clean our clothes: In place of the perilous perc, Revolution uses reclaimed, toxin-free liquid CO2, a chemical that's easier on the environment, your body, your nose and even your clothes. The cleaner also uses hemp laundry bags and wind energy in its stores and fills up its delivery vans with biodiesel. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Every generation needs a new revolution." The shoe fits, and so will your sweaters.
Everybody's got a gimmick, it seems, and you might just dismiss this as another one. But Clean Air Lawn Care really does seem to care, in all-electric spades: The Fort Collins-based company, which boasts franchises in Denver, Boulder and across the nation, sticks to the plan by using low-emission equipment, including electric mowers and gardening gadgets, as well as biodiesel trucks fitted with mobile solar panels for recharging equipment in the field. And to compensate for emissions it can't help, the service goes the extra mile by purchasing carbon offsets from partner company Juice Energy. What goes around comes around.
SuperTarget
Let's be honest about the reason we hate grocery shopping: It's people. They're blocking the soup, cutting in line at the deli and shouting into cell phones while their kids come dangerously close to flipping carts over on themselves. Anyone who has ever shopped at the Glendale SuperTarget on a weekend knows this scenario well. But there's another, lesser-known SuperTarget that's a near-replica of its Glendale counterpart — except it's totally deserted. Once you get over that initial shock, you realize that in the SuperTarget at Northfield Stapleton, you've stumbled into your own personal grocery store. No one in line at the deli, almost no sound except for the buzzing of the freezer cases and a handful of other shoppers wearing wide smiles of amazement.
Not only can artsy types Tran and Josh Wills turn out a mighty fine screenprint, but they can sure run a business. The Fabric Lab, an eclectic shop featuring locally designed clothing, accessories and handbags, is going strong at 3105 East Colfax, has sparked a couture renaissance along this once-stagnant strip. There's the Big Hairy Monster hair salon; the Willses' new cupcake and design emporium, the Shoppe; Jen Garner's Neopolitan gallery; and the urban vinyl store Plastic Chapel. And just up the street, at 2907 East Colfax, is Newspeak, a tattoo, apparel and art-supply business dreamed up by the folks at Indy Ink clothing store and Brave New World tattoo parlor; next door, Bad Kitty Salon proffers killer hairstyles and local art. Recently, the proprietors of these like-minded businesses have started throwing art-based block parties on the second Saturday of each month. Here comes the neighborhood.
Patricia Branstead, the master printer, papermaker, book artist and teacher of all paper-related skills under the sun, opened Kozo Fine Art Materials just so those of you who can spend an entire day in a paper shop would have something to do. The swinging poster frames in Kozo display an amazing array of handmade papers, from delicate, translucent white-on-white patterned Japanese Hakusen papers and semi-transparent Thai mulberry sheets to bark-pulp Nepali Lokta papers that come crinkled, tie-dyed, or embedded with leaves and flowers. Branstead offers $10-a-packet scrap assortments if you're having trouble confining yourself to just one pattern; the general art-supply section of the store also offers Charbonnel inks, printing plates, papermaking kits, gifts and much more. Set aside a day — or a week — to leaf through Kozo's stock.
For parents with small children, there's nothing as precious as a good babysitter. A commodity rarer than diamonds, they are coveted, fought over tooth and nail and meted out as special favors; if the kids actually like them, they're locked away like a Fort Knox treasure. But if your best gal pals are hoarding theirs and the perfect au pair doesn't conveniently live next door, what's an R&R-deprived parent to do? Log on to MommyMixer and sign up for the next local event, that's what. The national phenomenon, which debuted last year in Denver, is a speed-matching mixer, usually offered at a boutique (with discounted shopping on the side), where moms and dads and potential night-out nannies can meet, greet and strike up a working relationship.
San Francisco's loss is Denver's gain: When Jil Cappuccio packed up her vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine to move here, she brought a whole new flavor to the fashion scene. We especially like Jil's easy-going menswear — untucked, swingin' Neal Cassady shirts for guys and tiki prints for little boys (Jil has two boys of her own) — but she clearly understands the needs of the common woman. Her arsenal of real-women's apparel includes loose, boxy, impeccably lined and tailored jackets in fun prints; equally well-stitched, lined market bags; trademark shifts that can be worn jumper style over jeans in the winter and by themselves in the summer; A-line skirts with patch packets; and singular coats like you wouldn't believe, sewn in fake fur, wool houndstooth and other off-the-wall fabrics. She also carries clothes by a shortlist of other local designers (Lele Knitwear's folkloric separates, modern originals by Garden Girl, and sweetly restructured sweaters and blouses by Kirsten Coplans, embellished with huge buttons and contrasting rickrack), all of which fits together in a pretty patchwork in Jil's tiny nook off Colfax.
Women flock to downtown Littleton for this recurring event, where a $10 wristband entitles participants to a bagful of free samples, snacks and drinks, coupon books and a chance to check out all that the area's lively retail merchants have to offer. An open house, neighborhood stroll and gentle evening out all rolled up into one big night, the original Sample Tours have been such a success that this May the concept will spread to Littleton's sister historic shopping districts, including Old South Pearl and Gaylord streets, Olde Town Arvada and downtown Golden, for a mass metro-area spree. Choose your poison, ladies.
What's a responsible, DUI-averting drunkard to do at 2 a.m., when repeat calls to Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab yield nothing but busy signals? Rather than join the drunken masses attempting to hail a cab from the sidewalk, try Freedom Cab. Freedom's understated lavender taxis aren't as fast or as flashy as those that boast the 3s and 7s. But the dispatchers usually answer on the first or second ring, and drivers tend to show up within ten minutes, even on busy Saturday nights. It's the best call at last call.
Humane Society of Boulder Valley Training and Behavior Center
Every dog trainer this side of Cesar Millan knows that most of the job is about training the owners; even so, some mutts need a lot more whispering than others. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley offers a wide range of programs for different needs, from introductory workshops on "dog learning styles" to courses on puppy socialization and how to acclimate Shep to the arrival of a new baby. Most impressive, though, are the "Grumpy Growler" classes for those struggling with aggressive canines. Run by two instructors, limited to six dogs per session and costing $150 for a six-week course, this is no walk in the park. But it's cheaper than a lawsuit, and graduates swear by the results.

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