Best Place to Buy Skate Gear 2013 | Thrifty Stick Boardshop | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

For more than fifteen years, the Thrifty Stick Boardshop has remained the shop for skaters, snowboarders and boutique fashionistas who want to stay on top of their game and look good doing it. Holding charity events and local contests, and generally finding any reason to take the in-house boxes, rails and ramps out to the parking lot, Thrifty Stick has firmly embedded itself in the extreme-sports culture in Denver. Owner Kendra Rostvedt has relocated a few times in the decade-and-a-half lifespan of her shop, but she's always kept the doors open and the boards ready.

Best Place to Recycle TVs, Computers and Everything Else

Eco-Cycle CHaRM

Most go-to donation centers won't take your old TV or desktop computer anymore: no one wants them, and it's hard to find a place to recycle. After all, TVs and computers each contain three to eight pounds of lead along with other toxic materials such as cadmium and mercury. Which is why we're happy to pay a small-to-medium-sized fee to recycle our electronics at Eco-Cycle CHaRM, a nonprofit — partially funded by the City of Boulder — that disposes of them domestically, in an environmentally friendly fashion. And you can make the place a one-stop shlep by bringing your old cell phones, copiers, stereo components and blow dryers, not to mention yard signs, kiddie pools, bubble wrap and cooking oil. Check the website for all of the items they take and the fee. And then feel free to upgrade to that new flat-screen you've been eyeing.

The Neat Market Vegan Shop-Up pops up monthly at HoodLAB, adjacent to the Nooch Vegan Market in RiNo. Hosted by the vegan advocacy group Plants & Animals Denver, which also throws the monthly vegan dinner event called Chomp!, Neat is the by-product of an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of the charms of a plant-based diet. And rest assured, this campaign isn't shoving anything in anyone's face. The market's tables are laden with homegrown, handmade and lovingly arranged small-batch foodstuffs both hot and cold, baked goods, cheeses and healthy snacks, and it's not uncommon to find vegan-friendly food trucks and a ready-made community of like-minded thinkers investigating the possibilities of meatless cuisine. Even if you're not ready to chuck all animal products off your table, this is food that looks and tastes good, and you're bound to be back for more.

Dave Krieger got his start as a print journalist; he was best known in these parts as a daily sports columnist. So when he started co-hosting KOA's afternoon-drive show with longtimer Dave Logan, listeners may have wondered if his low-key style would wear well. Wonder no more: Krieger brings an uncommon intelligence to sports chat of every stripe, and when events dictate a turn toward straight news, he makes the transition seamlessly. As a bonus, his blog posts for the KOA website are typically better than a lot of what passes for quality sportswriting in daily newspapers these days.

The Prom Dress Exchange was created more than a decade ago as a prom-dress drive serving just a few high-school students. But a few years ago, Laura Bauer became president of the organization and has since turned it into a full-fledged nonprofit that reaches hundreds of kids. Bauer and fellow volunteers spend the year collecting and storing gently used prom gowns and accessories, many of them donated, in preparation for a one-day blowout of affordable formalwear each March; they also collect jackets, slacks, belts and shoes for the boys. With just $10 and a student ID, prom-goers can score a full outfit for the big night, plus on-site tailoring. Sounds like a reason to dance!

Tish Gance, who knows the ins and outs of sewing backward and forward, figured she had something to share. So she opened HISS Studio (Happiness Is Simple Sewing) inside, of all places, Z Art Department, the unique modernist gallery on Speer run by Randy Roberts. Classes are small, with one-on-one instruction for sewers of all skill levels; machines are provided, and for the most basic workshops, so are the needles, thread and fabric (more advanced students must purchase materials from a supply list). And the only thing you take away from a class is knowledge and a completed project, as Gance sells only her expertise and time.

As befits the mascot of a quiet purveyor of Rolexes and fine jewelry in Cherry Creek North, Buster Brown doesn't go out of his way to impress. The 65-pound shar-pei is cordial but a bit reserved; his greeting is low-key, with no hint of any high-pressure sales tactics. Just looking? Buster doesn't mind. His kind of customer can recognize true quality without making a lot of fuss.

Ever get a hankering to open up a coloring book and go at it with a box of crayons? Got the gift for glitter? If so, Lowbrow is the place for you. Ladies Fancywork Society yarnbombers Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch came out of the anonymous street-artist closet to open the Broadway shop — which proffers a little bit of everything, from scented markers and glitter to DIY craft books and collectible vinyl toys — for a reason: "Art isn't just confined to museums," they proclaim on their Facebook page. In defense of that attitude, they also host inexpensive workshops that focus on making anyone an artist, on and off the streets: classes in screenprinting using household products, graffiti-writing, wheat-pasting, book art and, in cooperation with the Denver Zine Library, zine-making. Lowbrow also doubles as a gallery for — you guessed it — lowbrow and graffiti art; you could say it's a gallery that sometimes colors outside the lines.

Colfax Avenue boasts many obvious retail charms, from perennial favorites like the Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout to a revolving ragtag revue of cupcake bakeries, comic-book stores, coffeehouses and stores that sell collectible toys. But on down the road to the east, in downtown Aurora, the Collection Studio brings new life to a building donated by Troy Gladwell of Medici Communities. The consignment gallery, run by the Aurora Arts District (which shares the space), benefits both the non-profit organization and the Colorado artists who show work there, bringing a much-needed cultural edge to the Aurora corridor.

Every neighborhood needs a cozy place where people can meet and kick back over coffee, and the multi-tasking Tenn Street — stocked with Dazbog java, Bluepoint pastries, Udi's sandwiches and other notable treats — fills the bill. When the weather's nice, the street-side patio bustles with chatting friends and folks with their noses buried in books or the Internet; inside, there's a sweet and well-curated used-book store. Folksy live music is also an option at Tenn Street on weekends and selected weeknights, and so is art: The coffee shop hosts monthly curated and interestingly themed gallery shows with a focus on artists of every stature — young, seasoned, local, international, high-profile and emerging.

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