Best Reappearance of a Boutique 2015 | Peppermint | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Really, Peppermint never quite went away, in spite of its integration a few years ago into its sibling store, the male-oriented SoulHaus, in the splendid EZE Mop complex. But owner Stephanie Shearer, who also runs Pandora on the Hill over on 13th Avenue, brought the little-girly store back in 2014, after a little primping. Peppermint is once again a sweet spot for browsing through all the hip jewelry and trinkets, novelty gifts, clever accessories, toiletries and housewares that made people love the shop in the first place.

For many years, Ninfa Laughlin's Alchemist, a toiletry shop and perfumery with an old-world feel, held forth alongside the Artisan Center on Third Avenue in Cherry Creek North. It was a place where you could spend bundles on elegant European soaps and Kneipp herbal remedies and luscious botanical creams and pure scents — or just splurge on a lovely French tortoiseshell comb. Laughlin left the business several years ago when the rent got too high, and the subsequent owner failed to keep the store going. But now Laughlin, a customer-service-savvy shopkeep, is back in a new space not far from the old one — at just the perfect time to reintroduce Denver to Europe's best natural skin products and perfumes.

Run by BFFs Lynn Till and Robin King, R.L. Linden got its start as a kitchen-based beauty business focused on providing friends and family with skin care made from only the good stuff. As the two partners began sharing their plant-based products with consumers, R.L. Linden's sales skyrocketed, so they opened a store in northwest Denver. But even though business is booming, the operation is still small and hands-on. The duo's facial cleansers, perfumes, teas and balms are all made with 100 percent natural ingredients, come in eco-conscious packaging, smell delicious and work wonders. This business is a beauty.

The vintage truck stops here: When Tara Dover couldn't cram one more beautiful item into her La Lovely Vintage Boutique on wheels, she grew her little rolling empire of commerce by adding a brick-and-mortar home, Vintage Cottage, to the trail she'd already blazed in her 1957 Shasta canned-ham trailer, Lucy. Located in a downtown Littleton home near Main Street, Vintage Cottage has a little more of everything, from handpicked vintage clothing to cute doodads and furniture, thanks to its increased — and stationary — square footage. Currently, the shop is on a twice-monthly market schedule and open Thursdays through Sundays on the first and third weekends of each month; call or check out for store information or to find out where Lucy will be rolling next.

Little Horse got its start in Boulder but is now settled into three separate buildings in Louisville, where owners Mike Price and Adriane Hirsch reside. Each space has the feel of a collector's eclectic living room or attic, furnished with mid-century classics, vintage stereo equipment, antiques, curiosities and shelves of old books and vinyl records. Price and Hirsch, who also host vinyl nights at the nearby Por Wine House, have multiple enthusiasms to share with their customers. Drop by sometime and pull up a Bertoia chair.

Your taste isn't West Elm or Crate & Barrel, nor does it lean exactly toward South Broadway's antique chic. Mid-mod is cool but hard to do right, and American Furniture Warehouse just doesn't turn your head. If you're looking for something funky and ethnic and eclectic, head to Stapleton's Rare Finds Warehouse, which offers a global perspective on furniture that's refreshing and down-home all at once. The selection includes architectural salvage and both new and antique pieces from around the world, some repurposed for contemporary use, making this just the place to find furniture that's anything but run-of-the-mill.

From the name alone, it would be easy to assume that Turn of the Century Antiques has the same type of inventory as so many other shops along Antique Row: vintage furniture and housewares. But assume that and you'd be wrong. Because when you step inside, you're just another face in the crowd: This store is packed with French, German and American dolls from the past hundred years, along with beautiful apparel to fit each tiny figure. A South Broadway mainstay for more than forty years, Turn of the Century is run by the mother/daughter team of Diane and Rachel Hoffman, who are happy to share a wealth of information about their stock. They also offer appraisal services and full-service, museum-quality restoration of dolls.

Ryan Kvande's kinetic sculptures make for attractive objects even when stationary. But start spinning these elaborately carved, mandala-like wooden wheels within wheels, and the soothing effect is, as Kvande puts it, "like getting lost staring at a campfire." Each piece is meticulously handmade, dyed rather than stained to highlight the grain, and mounted with instrument-grade stainless-steel bearings to keep the fire whirling as long as possible.

A community abounds inside Level 7, where gamers can play, discuss and geek out safely and securely. So when a thief wandered into the store in early December and brazenly snatched an expensive video-game system, owner Elijah Taylor calmly gave warning and then used some simple self-defense moves to take down the punk and restrain him until police arrived. The moment was less a video-game-styled episode than a human response from the keeper of a safe home for fans.

Ken Hamblin III

Looking for an obscure, culty or important work of cinema on Blu-ray or DVD? The first stop on your shopping list should always be Twist & Shout, an independent home for music and movies whose shelves are stacked high and deep. Big-box stores have nothing on Twist & Shout when it comes to connecting you with the latest entries to the Criterion Collection or as thorough a catalogue as you desire for a certain genre. And if the store doesn't have what you want, the staff will order it for you. Drop by after taking in a movie at the nearby Sie FilmCenter to continue expanding your cinematic horizons.

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