Best Place to Show Your Metal 2010 | Mile High Metal Polishing — Finishing | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

When you're trying to polish up a metal artifact — whether it's a valuable antique or a flea-market find — elbow grease goes only so far. Let Mile High Metal take you the rest of the way. This friendly polishing shop handles everything from kitchen items to museum pieces and works on metals ranging from aluminum and brass to copper to stainless steel. With any luck, when you stop in you'll catch a glimpse of one of the custom-designed motorcycles they work on here. We've taken a shine to Mile High Metal.

While politicians and pundits trade theories on how to stimulate the economy, the folks at Mile High Business Alliance are digging in and doing it. The Alliance maintains that every dollar spent locally circulates at least three times more than one spent with a non-locally owned corporation or chain. Through programs such as the Colorado Local First Campaign and Local Flavor Guides, which celebrate the character of neighborhoods such as LoHi and SoBo, MHBA encourages everyone to direct at least 10 percent of their spending to businesses that sprout from Colorado soil. The organization also maintains a user-friendly online guide to Colorado businesses. True, MHBA doesn't yet represent all 500,000 of the locally owned businesses in Colorado. But their clever campaigns ("My local coffee shop can kick your corporate coffee shop's ass," reads one MHBA-produced poster) spread awareness about the power of how and where we spend our dollars.

Here's a wonderful resource for lucky Boulder County and west suburb gardeners: The Garden-in-a-Box, available complete with a planting diagram, maintenance instructions and a pre-selected range of good-sized, well-matched waterwise garden perennials for a reasonable fee, is plot-planning at its simplest. This year's selections include an herb-and-tomato garden, a tried-and-true drought-tolerant perennial garden, and a landscape solution for those difficult "hell" patches sandwiched between the sidewalk and the street. All-inclusive prices range from $65 to $110, and all you have to do is put them in the ground and take care of them once in a while.

Christy Lea Payne may well be the best-loved jewelry maker on the Front Range, thanks in part to her national exposure in Robert Redford's Sundance catalogue, where her rustic sterling-silver necklaces, charms and cuffs epitomize the simple elegance that informs the Sundance look. Find her CLP trinkets – hand-wrought sterling-silver hearts, peace signs and hammered ID charms dangling from beautifully imperfect, roughly crafted chains — at such local stores as Talulah Jones and Kismet.

The story of how longtime retailer Stephanie Shearer of Pandora Jewelry and Soul Haus set out looking for a garbage can and ended up buying a building has Cinderella written all over it, but that's just what happened. She attended a community meeting to try to get some answers about the trash receptacle she desired in front of Pandora, catching the eye of the Denver Business Assistance Center's Bo Martinez, who saw something in her quest. Then she ended up on the phone with Bryan Slekes at the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, and before she knew it, she and husband/business partner Chris Bacorn were haggling for a loan to buy the vacant EZE Mop building and an adjacent house, which eventually came to include Shearer's new boutique, Peppermint, an expanded Soul Haus hipster men's store (run by the amiable Bacorn) and Babylon Floral, as well as a coffee and tea shop next door. If the slipper fits...

The idea of perpetuity is integral to the philosophy of fashionable resale, so if Perpetual Clothing boutique wants to wear that on its chic little sleeve, that's okay by us. Focusing on trendy and modern better brands, from Anthropologie to True Religion, the shop peddles a constantly morphing supply of high-end secondhand that will have you sashaying about stylishly for a fraction of what it would cost you to wear the same duds new. And if you bring in your own rethreads to consign, you can even make a few dollars back. Shop owner Lanine Baccam also works to green the world by enlisting customers to bring her plastic mall and boutique shopping bags to reuse in the store, along with old greeting cards, calendars, postcards and any other heavyweight stock that's blank on one side, which she cuts up and uses for price tags. Now, that's talkin' trash!

This Vail mainstay opened its Denver outlet more than a year ago, filling it with racks of outdoor gear and high-end garments for children of all ages — at discounted prices. You'll find quality brands, including Obermeyer, Spyder, Catimini, Quiksilver, Keen, Merrell and more at up to 70 percent off, no matter what season you're shopping for, making it a little bit easier to maintain a healthy — and stylish — lifestyle for the whole family.

The child, Mr. Wordsworth informs us, is father of the man. And if your young ones are fascinated by pharaohs, dotty for dinosaurs, awestruck by astronomy or just heavily into Harry Potter, this cozy shop is the place to go for games, puzzles, books, toys and more. Brain-teasing play is given free rein here, demonstrating that "educational" toys don't have to be boring. It's a great place for any manchild eager to unlock the secrets of the universe — and for adults of all ages who are looking for intelligent family entertainment.

We all know one of those women involved in a home-party scheme, whether she's selling kitchenware, beauty products, candles or sex toys. And if you're smart, when you get an invitation to attend such a party, you run screaming in the opposite direction. At best, your friend will talk you into a purchase you don't want and can't afford; at worst, she'll pressure you to become part of her scheme. But those home sales-consultant gigs really do work well when the product is of high quality, because then it practically sells itself. That's the case with Melt, a personal bath products company that makes everything from shaving butter to massage bars to lip balm — all handcrafted in Colorado. The start-up kit costs $230 and includes $460 worth of product — and believe us, once your friends try the fizzy balls, bubble bath or handmade soap, they'll be hooked.

Dylan Burkhardt

The problem isn't the cut of meat; it's your dull knives. The solution? Take your kitchen battle axes — even the serrated ones — to any of the Tony's Markets locations, where a professional knife sharpener will have them gleaming and ready to slice and dice whatever fabulous slab of beef you'll buy from the butcher afterward. Sharpening costs $4.98 per blade and is only available one day a week at each Tony's (go to the website for phone numbers and information). It's a steel.

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