Best Thrift Store 2016 | Peak Thrift | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Clothes, shoes and accessories, small household appliances, bicycles: Whatever you need, Peak Thrift has probably got it. And even if you don't come up with a good bargain, you'll know you're making a good impact on the community. Started by Urban Peak, a program that provides services to youth experiencing homelessness, Peak uses the thrift-store model to offer employment and other opportunities for the young people it serves, teaching sufficiency to at-risk teens and young adults. But Peak Thrift, near the intersection of 49th and Pecos, comes through for the consumer, too, offering a wide selection of current styles and gently used home goods. The friendly and knowledgeable staff, bright and airy sales floor and eclectic rotating stock make Peak Thrift a thrifting destination — and a place to see the youth of Denver flourish.
Readers' choice: Buffalo Exchange

Once upon a time, there was Nest — a children's clothing store that opened in 2010 along the busy Sixth Avenue retail strip near Cherry Creek — and it was good. Owner Caroline Evascu not only has a flair for picking out ultra-cute, sturdy kids' wear, but she plies her trade with a helping of community spirit, accepting in-store donations of gently used baby clothing for WeeCycle and offering weekly giveaways from the store's popular and exclusive Tea Collection. Last year, Evascu took her empire up a level with a move down the street to a larger space, where she also opened a tween-sized counterpart to Nest in an adjacent building just around the corner; more recently, she put the finishing touches on Firebird, a Montessori-flavored toy and book shop a block away that offers classes for the little ones in your life. Inside Firebird, there's even a micro-business called Elevated Scraps that makes fabric mobiles, soft sculpture and banners perfect for kids' rooms and parties. Word is Evascu has yet another concept up her sleeve for the original Nest space — more on that in the future — and, pssst: The original Nest also has a store in Boulder.

2940 E. 6th Ave.
585 Milwaukee St.
2800 E. 6th Ave.

Best Place to Outfit the Alternative Family


FashioNation has been bringing alternative style to the Mile High City since 1987, consistently sticking to its mission of presenting unique attire at affordable prices. One of the first independent retailers in the country to carry Doc Martens, as well as one of the area's early vendors of Manic Panic hair dye, FashioNation has stayed one step ahead of the mainstream curve. The spacious South Broadway store is well stocked with bullet belts, kitten heels and leather jackets for adults, but its secret weapon is the wild apparel available for kids and babies. In-store offshoot Babysitter's Nightmare carries the coolest diaper bags in town, along with tutus, mini-Mary Janes and onesies for wee ones. Since the store's inception, owners Paul and Pam Italiano have maintained creative control of FashioNation's inventory, picking out every platform boot and military jacket that makes it onto the rack.

1594 S. Broadway
Courtesy David Bywater

Another new business that recently popped up in Five Points, Station fits the neighborhood like a glove: Offering a blend of streetwear on its racks and street art on its walls, the boutique and gallery brings a new vibe to Welton Street that has appeal for the neighborhood's hip-hop and artist communities alike. Owner David Bywater proudly stocks clothing brands new to Denver, including one-of-a-kind artist T-shirts and caps, as well as art books, collectible toys and spray paint, and he hosts monthly art openings featuring scads of street artists with local and international cred, from Colorado native 84pages to London's Mr. Penfold. Hop on your skateboard and fly on over.

Ily and Iley opened in April 2015 in lower Highland, raising the bar for boutique shopping in Denver. Co-owners and stylists Ilyse Mark and Bailey Lemak began their business after running into each other in Miami and New York; luckily for us, they decided to settle in Denver. In addition to two floors full of fashion, Ily and Iley carries a unique range of specialty jewelry, accessories, plants and home decor, as well as a selection of vintage pieces handpicked by the owners. The result is a lifestyle store that reflects the pair's ongoing romance with modernity, bohemian flair and timeless style.

2525 15th St.

This sister act run by Laurel and Lindsey Tate has long been the reigning shoe palace on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall (it won our Best Store on the Pearl Street Mall award in 2009), but the feet of D-town's most discerning shoe freaks have been cheering loudly since the pair opened an outpost on South Gaylord Street last summer. Their secret? The Tates don't think high-end shoes in luscious colors with trendy styling should hurt. It takes a good eye — and a little science — to pick out a shoe that looks good and is good for you, too. Now Denver fashionistas have a go-to for that.

Candles for rituals, crystals and herbs for healing, tarot decks and astrology guidebooks — whatever you need to enhance your spiritual practice, Goddess Isis Books & Gifts has got it. Reiki masters and plant-medicine specialists feel at home in this metaphysical marketplace, but the average soul looking to explore the world of the divine can find tools and guidance at the all-inclusive magick shop, too. More than just a retail store for ceremonial goods, Goddess Isis is also a learning and event center. Take part in a Friday-night séance or introduce yourself to paganism through a Wicca 101 class. Whatever your field of sacred interest, this humble temple has a full calendar of events and educational opportunities to serve the community.

Anyone who's frequented the Tennyson Street retail district in Berkeley over the past ten or fifteen years knows that the strip has seen many changes. Several rounds ago, a boutique called Silvana L'Amour, a shop of global curiosities and girly things owned by worldly Denverite Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt graced Tennyson before disappearing along with so many other businesses that have come and gone from the street. But Vukadin-Hoitt hasn't given up: She recently returned to Tennyson with Silvana Mondo, an art gallery and home-decor display room that once again reflects her unique intercontinental view of arts and culture. It's the place to find killims and folk carvings, tribal jewelry and antique furniture from around the world — and, for a lark, a chance to have your future told in the patterns left in the bottom of a cup by Turkish coffee grounds, by appointment. Vukadin-Hoitt is a woman of great taste and many talents.

4420 Tennyson St.
Ritual Tattoo & Gallery Facebook

Dot by dot, Rachel Paton's tattoo art is a lesson in the beauty of patience. The hand-poke tattooer adheres her work to clients' bodies using the no-machine-necessary stick-and-poke process. Paton's black-ink-only illustrations are sharp and imbued with a sense of magic — celestial imagery, witchy symbolism and gothic and Western themes are prominent in her handiwork. The hand-poke artist's tattoos are 100 percent original: She collaborates with clients to build an idea, then goes to work creating a one-of-a-kind design in her style. Getting a tattoo from Rachel Paton means owning a piece of the Denver artist's work that will never be replicated. Fair warning: The shop is moving later this year, to an as-yet-undetermined location.

Even before a client sits down in a chair, a tattoo shop can make an impression with its name. Kitchen's Ink, a friendly shop on Santa Fe Drive, not only does excellent tattooing and piercing, but also displays art and offers other shopping opportunities. In fact, you'll find just about everything here but the kitchen sink.

Readers' choice: Think Tank

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