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Although Russian emigrant Tony Yuffa had built a successful chain of six Shoe Biz shoe-repair shops in the area, he really kicked his business into high gear when he started selling cowboy boots. And what boots! Not only does Cherry Creek Shoe Biz stock classic Lucchese and Nocona models, it's now the exclusive Denver retailer of Rocketbusters, flashy designer boots out of El Paso that sell for between $350 and $2,000. Consider them "rare collector's items as well as fancy footwear," advises Yuffa. Only in America!

Best Gay Apparel
The Pink Planet
P.O. Box 260274
Highlands Ranch 80126-0274

Denver-based Pink Planet began last year as a small cottage industry. Today, with products ranging from leather jackets, watches, hats, sweatshirts, shorts, tanks, henleys and an assortment of T-shirts, Pink Planet is well on its way to becoming the Land's End of mail-order gay fashions. All Planet clothes sport a logo of the world with a pink triangle on top and an exclamation point inside--the perfect way for gays, lesbians and bisexuals to subtly say who they are. Write to request a catalogue.

Best Place for Rich Relatives to Buy Clothes for Your Kids
Gap Kids
Cherry Creek Mall

Gap Kids does for kids exactly what it does for adults, but maybe it does it better. The clothes are sturdy and adorable: little jean jackets, striped leggings and T-shirts, floppy hats and cute little coordinates in fruit-bowl colors, all of which hold up remarkably well under the stress a young child inevitably exacts upon his or her togs. There are few bargains at the posh Cherry Creek store, but with any luck, that won't deter Aunt Alice.

Best Children's Clothing Consignment Store
Kids Again
9116 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton

None of the consignment stores in the area feature as large a selection of reasonably priced, good-condition kids' clothing as Kids Again. As a bonus, there's a second Kids Again in Littleton; if what you're looking for isn't at the Bowles branch, the clerk will gladly call the sister store in an effort to locate it there. For those who'd rather not drape their kids in threads from the Gap, this is an easy-wearing and easy-spending alternative.

Best Place to Buy Boxer Shorts
U-Trau
11720 E. 49th Ave.

Wholesaler U-Trau puts everything on the table twice a year, when it holds a big factory sale. And what does U-Trau sell for cut-rate prices? How about shorts, T-shirts, sweats, drawstring pants and boxer shorts, hundreds of 'em, in all sizes and a variety of fabrics, including comforting flannel.

Best Upscale Eyewear
Europtics
100 Fillmore St.

Folks who prefer to see and be seen will appreciate the selection at Europtics. The glitzy, gargantuan Cherry Creek store displays a mind-boggling array of fancy frames from stylish makers like Matsuda, Indian and Gaultier. If you can't find what you want here, you might as well stop looking.

Best Full-Figured Gal Consignment Shop
Christine's UpScale Plus
3890 Kipling St., Wheat Ridge

Oprah Winfrey can go ahead and auction off the contents of her closet (sizes 8 through 22 inclusive). Closer to home, full-figured gals count on Christine's UpScale Plus to keep them in stitches. The shop stocks clothes both new and near-new in sizes 14 through 4X, with a special emphasis on career attire and designer labels, including Gianni Versace, Givenchy En Plus and Oleg Cassini. You're living large--and you look mahvelous.

Best Art of Darkness Store
Benediction
1325 Broadway, Boulder

Get your gargoyles here! Wolf Konecny is in the dark as to why some people think his new store, Benediction, is an outlet for satanism. "Some people choose to perceive us as black practitioners," says Konecny. "I think that is ridiculous and due to ignorance. What we are is a means of expression, communication and interaction. We happen to have a lot of items that involve darker concepts, but darkness can be enlightening, and we will not refrain from displaying items because they aren't `normal.'" Oh? Bone jewelry and gothic/death clothing are "normal" fare at Benediction? We don't know where you're from, Wolf, but in our neck of the woods...

Best Ankle Bracelets
BI Inc.
Boulder-based BI Inc. makes just the right accessory for every crime: ankle bracelets that monitor the whereabouts of people sentenced to house arrest. And although that invention is what originally footed BI's bills, the company has since branched out to manufacture hardware for hard times and to better serve the corrections industry by creating computer software for jail management systems, as well as contracting to track scofflaws electronically. At last count, BI had the number of 7,500 offenders across the country.

Best Rubber Room
Uzi
508 E. Colfax Ave.

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