Hall of Justice Comics might not be the stately meeting place of the Super Friends from Saturday morning, but it almost feels like that when you walk through the door. Owner Jon Garnett got snake-bit by the comic-book explosion of the '80s and '90s, when everything coming out — Spawn, the Death of Superman, the five covers to X-Men #1 — was going to be worth as much as Amazing Fantasy 15 someday. That day, alas, will never come. But like any hero worth his underwear worn on the outside, Garnett persevered, and went from online retailer to brick-and-mortar proprietor faster than a speeding bullet. His selection and service? Truly heroic.

10136 Parkglenn Way, Parker
303-484-9103
hallofjusticecomics.com

The Boulder Book Store was founded in 1973, four years before Pearl Street became a pedestrian mall, and today it's an institution. Its current 20,000-square-foot space houses more than 100,000 titles arrayed on three floors; the collection includes the latest must-haves as well as more obscure tomes in a dizzying variety of categories. This is also the area's top locale for bargain books, ranging from forgotten pulp masterworks to photo-heavy selections that will improve any coffee table. But above all, this store shows just how much a community can form around books and literary events. It's the write stuff.

Take a break from the workaday world and head to West Side Books, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in Highland this year. It's easy to lose track of time in the store's twists and towers of tomes — but despite its whimsical layout, each section is carefully labeled, making it easy to find what you're looking for, whether it's an unusual read or a highly sought-after title. And if West Side doesn't have it, staffers will do their best to locate a copy, no matter how rare. The store also hosts events for book lovers of all ages, including a few monthly book clubs.

When Sue Lubeck, the owner, heart and soul of the Bookies, passed away last summer on the eve of its fiftieth anniversary, it threw the beloved book store geared toward children and educators into limbo. The store was put up for sale, with faithful employees working on in hopes of continuing Lubeck's legacy. And in November, Nicole Sullivan of BookBar came to the rescue, taking the Bookies under her wing and pledging to work with the staff to continue the traditions that have worked so well for fifty years.

thebookies.com

Families rule at Stanley Marketplace, so it's no surprise that when the new Tattered Cover ownership added that complex to its expansion plans, it focused on a store for children. The result is a new chapter in children's bookstores, complete with kid-sized shelving, a wraparound decorative mural, an event space, and storytimes under a tree that kids can climb. Plus — attention, parents — an after-story snack is just a few steps away. Another win for Stanley, another win for kids.

facebook.com/TatteredCoverKids
Twist & Shout
Ken Hamblin III

After more than thirty years of running Twist & Shout, the best record store in Denver and one of the best in the country, Paul and Jill Epstein sold the place to longtime manager Patrick Brown, who promises to keep it largely unchanged. And that's good news for anyone who loves vinyl, old or new, whatever the genre. Sure, there's other cool stuff at Twist & Shout — almost too much to take in on a single shopping trip — and if you can't find an awesomely weird birthday present here, then you're not trying hard enough. Still, Twist & Shout has always been about the music, and with Brown in charge, the song should remain the same. As an old friend of ours used to say, dropping the needle is the best drug there is.

When pioneering boutique retailer Stephanie Shearer decided to downsize her growing empire — which began with Soul Haus and Pandora on the Hill and eventually expanded to Trunk Nouveau at Stanley Marketplace — she had just the person to fill her EZE Mop space in Uptown. Former employee Ina Gasich (who goes by the handle Ina Minx) took over the spot and transformed it into Revolte, a wild and silly shop in the spirit of its predecessors, with a bent toward queer and retro kitsch and a "Keep it weird" motto.

revolte-goods.business.site

Looking for some lingerie or pleasure toys? Have a thing for cannabis and houseplants? Please, Plants has you covered — or uncovered, if that's what you prefer. Perhaps the most unique adult store in the city (there's usually a sign out front reading "Bongs & Thongs"), Please, Plants offers sexy lingerie and trendy loungewear, as well as fun stuff like lubricants, massage candles, discreet vibrators and "spiritual" ones made from crystals. And, of course, there's a selection of plants, along with lighters and bongs that are best described as mid-century modern. The cherry on top: The store has same-day local delivery.

pleaseplants.com

Matter is a book store. Matter is a gift shop. Matter is a poster shop, an art gallery, a design-forward graphic-art studio and a stationer. Matter is all about letterpress printing and hand-arranged type. Matter is really, really into typography. Matter is revolutionary. Matter is a local, BIPOC- and woman-owned business that believes in social justice, cooperative commerce and a post-racial, Afrofuturistic world. In a district of boutiques and breweries, what else could even compare? Designer/founder Rick Griffith not only knows how to make things look good, but also how to do good.

During the pandemic, neighborhood liquor stores gained new relevance. These were places where you could stock up on very necessary supplies, but also make some needed human contact. From its spot on South Broadway by Evans Avenue, Sobo Liquors serves a huge segment of the Denver community, offering both drive-through service for those in a hurry (or not ready to see humans) and very personal attention, with an on-staff sommelier and other staffers ready to make recommendations. The stock includes a huge craft beer selection you won't find at the nearby supermarket, including plenty of gluten-free options; there's also a welcome emphasis on quality spirits and wine, as well as a punch-card for frequent visitors. Drink up, Denver!

soboliquors.com

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