Best Free Service 2009 | BusinessDecision | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
If youre trying to start a business and need to know how much women spend on shoes within a ten-block radius of your house, or if youre just nosy, this is the database for you. BusinessDecision crunches vast arrays of census data and presents a range of demographic and economic profiles tailored to the research needs of small businesses everything from standard reports on household income and ethnicity to more complex portraits of communities spending and lifestyle habits. Want to know how many industrious urban fringe types populate a certain zip code as opposed to Main Street USA middle-of-the-roaders or laptop and lattes trendsetters? Just grab your library card and head for the research resources section of the DPLs website. Theres a charge for using some of the services elite features, but reference personnel should be able to guide you through the impressive free offerings.
We all have our favorite manicurists, but Sweet Life Nail Bar and Lounge has an edge, a gentle one, that just might change your mind. It starts with the toxin-free, long-lasting, many-colored Zoya products that owner Diane Bilello insists on using, which leaves the Stapleton salon virtually odorless, a novelty in and of itself. But then sink back on this: Sweet Life's lounge-like atmosphere, replete with overstuffed armchairs and warm lamplight instead of fluorescent bulbs, takes the hurry and stress out of having your nails done, especially when you throw in a glass of wine, mimosa or Grey Goose martini from the bar. A bar? In a nail salon? Say no more. Mind changed.
The local comix community is small but dedicated, and you could say the same of Kilgore's, the tiny used bookstore shoehorned into a space along 13th Avenue. Opened last summer by Capitol Hill Books veteran Luke Janes and his pal, Dan Stafford, Kilgore — named for the iconic Kurt Vonnegut character Kilgore Trout — fills a much-needed niche. Featuring a carefully handpicked selection of books, especially those with a classic sci-fi or underground bent (think Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick and Charles Bukowski), it also specializes in comix, graphic novels and zines, both local and esoteric. Janes and Stafford have also hosted special events showcasing Denver cartoonists such as John Porcellino and Noah Van Sciver. And you always get something for your trouble at Kilgore: They give away a comic-art bookmark with every purchase.
Older homes are typically loaded with character, and some people love nothing better than to stroll through a neighborhood and check out the architecture. For them, there Denver's Old House Society and its guided walking tours. The outings are hosted by Denver homeowners and designed by the nonprofit's boardmembers (who collectively have architectural, construction, historic preservation and zoning experience), and there are refreshments afterward. There's no better way for the old-house lover to spend an afternoon. It's good to be home.
Behind the quaint pink door of this, well, charming shop, you'll find an ongoing flea-full of quality antiques and vintage decor. But like any true flea market worth its dust, Oh, So Charming only opens its pink door for one weekend monthly, offering the same kind of changing selection you'd find on the street, under an umbrella, at one of the town's periodic outdoor markets. Co-owners Melissa Bragg, Gwen Arnold and Marianne Baldwin began their business at outdoor fairs and decided to try a more permanent outlet after hearing the same old question — "Do you have a shop?" — asked over and over again. This alternative, housed in a renovated mouse-gray bungalow, offers the best of both worlds, every second Friday and Saturday of the month.
Once Betty Basket Liners creator Tara Thomas Byrnes got her first cruiser bike, she couldn't wait to accessorize. So she sewed herself the first Betty Basket Liner, and damn if it wasn't as cute as a button! Marketing them was a no-brainer: Currently available online-only in a few patchwork combinations of cheery fabrics, the well-stitched, fully-lined bike accessories come in two sizes — square to fit traditional wire baskets and oval to fit wicker and mesh versions — and include extra pockets, a cell-phone cubby and a built-in key ring. With a Betty Basket Liner, you'll really be on a roll. 
We had doubts when one of the most enjoyable used bookstores on the Broadway scene headed a few blocks south last year, into a smaller space. But fear not. The stock isn't quite as wide-ranging as in the former locale, but Fahrenheit's remains one of the most eclectic, surprising and offbeat places to browse away an afternoon, whether you're hunting for an Edward Bunker first edition, a Selby softcover or a romp through medieval history. Thankfully, many of the vintage paperbacks from the 1950s and 1960s, rich in hard-boiled and quasi-Beat writers, have survived the move, too.
Adam Steininger
So if print is dead, how has Denver's most venerable antiquarian book dealer managed to hawk his fine leather wares — in upscale Cherry Creek digs, no less — for all these years? Opened in 1973, the Hermitage has survived the rise of and the death of countless publishing houses, as well as a stint on one of the less-lovely blocks of East Colfax, and now boasts one of the city's most reliable inventories of first editions, fine art books, Western Americana, military history — and, of course, books on books. Proprietor Robert Topp heads a knowledgeable and friendly staff that keeps true bibliophiles coming back for more.
Fire eater, belly dancer and mask maker Tiffany Smyth is young in years, but her skills as a craftsperson seem as old as the Renaissance, which is a clear influence for her. And it's a potent combination of youth and wisdom that goes into creating the flights of fancy she builds from leather, feathers and beads — from the most realistic elf ears you've ever attached to your head to larger-than-life black-light dragon masks with fiery haloes of flame. Lightweight and absorbent, they are also as comfortable as they are impressive to look at. This is your go-to, the next time you need to look smashing at a masquerade.
Hat-making is one of those old arts that, in the age of mass production and cookie-cutter style, are fast becoming lost. But that didn't stop milliner Erin Saboe from breaking the mold. Her impetus? Flat-out love. Saboe, who studied the milliner's craft at FIT in New York, loves hats and wants the world to know how wonderful a good one really is, which is why she opened Go Go Chapeaux. Here, she sells her own headwear — from popular newsboys to wide-brimmed pool hats in cheery fabrics — reshapes and customizes old ones, and continues her one-woman crusade to put a hat on every head.

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