July 24, 2019
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Best Local Record Store - Stinkweeds; Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Best Local Record Store - Stinkweeds; Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Shopping & Services

Best Ceramics
Ceramics by Judith
Judith Amiel-Bendheim is a maker of “utilitarian pieces” – or art you can use. She specializes in “carving bowls,” suitable for daily dining use due to their smooth, sealed interiors, but which also display a deftly textured exterior, carved with her signature 3D patterns, making the pieces pop. The Israel transplant also makes cups, tripods and jewelry.

Best Plant Shop
Dig It Gardens
There are no brown thumbs at Dig It Gardens, just more plants in case you kill the ones you already have. Drop by and get advice from the staff about what to plant where and when, or sign up for a class. Not a DIY’er? Sign up for a design consultation. They can dig it. 3015 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-812-7476,

Best Airport Store
Best of the Valley Market
It’s no secret that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has some of the best shopping around, but we think one particular shop takes the cake, in our perhaps biased opinion. Walk into the airport’s evolving Terminal 3 and stop by PHOENIX magazine’s Best of the Valley market, which is named after this perennial issue and is stocked full of local goodies. 2485 E. Buckeye Rd., Phoenix, 602-273-3300,

Best Shopping Bus for Women
Côté & Co
If you’re tired of hauling your bags through the mall or spending hours on Amazon, there’s another option for you: bus shopping. Côté & Co, a mobile boutique by Sara Côté, began as a side project before she turned her bohemian, ’70s-influenced shop on wheels into a full-time gig. “It’s not your average little boutique,” she told PHOENIX in May 2019.

Best Shopping Bus for Men
And because we believe in retail equality, here’s a bus boutique for men, too. Mark Moffett parks his school bus shop at pop-up events and markets across the Valley to give shoppers options that go beyond the typical mall lineup, including State Forty Eight T-shirts and Iconic Arizona hats. “It’s definitely for the modern man,” he says.

Best One-Stop Vegan Shop
Strawberry Hedgehog Soap Shop & Vegan Boutique
Like its namesake strawberry hedgehog cactus, the Valley’s premier vegan shop just keeps blooming. What began as a soap shop has expanded to include all manner of vegan must-haves: skin care, perfume, cosmetics, snacks (including vegan cookie dough and cheese), jewelry, sunglasses, cat furniture, candles, beard oil and more – all cruelty-free and stocked in the sunniest little shop in Phoenix. 1501 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 928-637-6270,

Best Place to Dress Your Teen
Buffalo Exchange
Selling clothes at Buffalo Exchange – or trying, at least – is a rite of passage for many Valley teens. The buyers at this national resale chain, which opened in Tucson in 1974, are picky. The good news: That means great bargains on super cute clothes – particularly at the location closest to ASU’s Tempe campus. 227 W. University Dr., Tempe, 480-968-2557,

Best Toy Shop
Kidstop Toys & Books
This paradise of playthings is packed with a curated collection of educational products and toys, including glow-in-the-dark soccer balls, lip balm labs, American Ninja Warrior water obstacle sets, and the wildly popular L.O.L. series. Kids enjoy exploring the bright and cheery store; parents love the free gift wrapping. Owner Kate Tanner’s favorite customer comment: “I hope the other grandmother doesn’t find out about you!” 6990 E. Shea Blvd., Ste. 103, Scottsdale, 480-609-9012,

Best Place to Buy Arizona Stuff
Museum Store at Western Spirit – Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
The museum is fantastic – you could easily spend a weekend wandering its exhibits on everything from Hopi pottery to cowboy spurs – but we have been known to pop in just for Arizona-themed merch at the Museum Store. There’s something for everyone on your list, from historical tomes to tea towels with whimsical illustrated maps of the Grand Canyon State. 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, 480-686-9539,

Most Exciting Grocery Store Opening
Fry’s at CityScape
Talk about building anticipation. After nearly 15 years in development, the 67,000-square-foot Fry’s opens later this year, and will be the only – the only! – full-service grocery in Downtown Phoenix. Good news for urban dwellers who no longer have to schlep to Safeway on McDowell Road for pantry staples – or D-backs fans who want to illicitly load up on snacks before the game. Jefferson and First streets,

Best Dog Whisperer
Robert Heiple of Rob’s Dogs
Is it sorcery? Is it magic? Or is it just years of experience training thousands of dogs? Hard to say, but when it comes to canine behavior, Rob Heiple works wonders. He calms aggression, focuses distraction and eases nerves – all in eight weeks or fewer. No matter what issues your pup exhibits, Heiple cures them. 1103 W. Maryland Ave., Phoenix, 480-490-8941,

Best Supernatural Reading
Psychic Readings by Lilly
If you’ve never been to a psychic, one of the most important aspects of your first visit is comfort, and Lilly ensures her clients are comfortable. Moreover, her readings – palm, tarot card, psychic or a combination of the three – are fun and eerily accurate. 15849 N. 71st St., Scottsdale, 480-452-3740,

Best Co-Working Space
The Department
The Department offers exactly what you need in an office – spacious desks, printers that never break down, fast internet – plus luxury perks like Cartel coffee and custom-built mod furniture. Bonus points for city views and rooftop balconies. 1 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-385-0764,

Best Baby Wear
Con Leche Co.
You won’t find pastel onesies or mass-produced toddler tees in this online shop; engineer-turned-designer and mother Stephanie Bryan creates all of the images she screen-prints onto organic cotton onesies and T-shirts. Each garment is emblazoned with cool designs like “PHX” in Art Deco letters, a moon-framed saguaro and the words “Mother Lover” in 1970s script.

Best Local Gardening Product
Garden Starts
Even green-thumb gardeners need help hatching plants sometimes. Technical Landscapes & Gardens makes it easy to be green with its sustainable “coco pots,” cloth pots with coco coir media to get your blooms off to a good start. Available plants change seasonally, and TL&G also offers consultations on soil moisture, worm castings, compost and more.

Fanciest Bicycle Shop
This store sells British folding bikes, including the custom-built Brompton brand. Think full-size bicycles that collapse into handy carrying cases. These babies don’t come cheap, but they do have a cult following. Buyers come from places like Dubai and New York to PortaPedal, as it’s one of only a handful of stores that sells Bromptons. 2054 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, 480-245-6369,

Best Place for a Last-Minute Kid Gift or Vintage Candy Bar
Old Town Candy & Toys
This Old Town Scottsdale fun emporium carries everything from stuffed animals and children’s books to science kits and tea sets, along with gag gifts, lunch pails and jigsaw puzzles. It also stocks a fine assortment of classic candy, including Look! bars, Big Hunks, Sugar Babies and Necco Wafers. Snag some nostalgic candy for your Baby Boomer dad and you’ll make his day. 4000 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-247-7332,

Best Flea Market
Thieves Market at Big Surf
Creeped out by estate sales? Check out the Thieves Market, held at the Big Surf parking lot every first Saturday from October to December and February to April. From piles of old photos to vintage national park memorabilia to colorful antique glassware, this is a junker’s paradise, with low prices and friendly vendors. 1500 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe,

Best Local Gift Box
A little birdy told us about this customizable gift box service, which solves the problem of what to give your local-loving friend. Select from themed boxes (Camp Arizona, Foodie, Lady Boss) or mix and match products to create your own. Everything is sourced locally from artisans who create small-batch products, from Oxford Dogma canine collars to chai from Big Heart Tea Co.

Best New Age Beauty Tool
Agate Facial Rollers from Keri Mosier
Rolling a rock around on your face sounds like prehistoric skin care – or something Gwyneth Paltrow would rhapsodize about on goop – but science backs it up: It boosts circulation and lymphatic drainage and decreases inflammation. Jewelry artist Keri Mosier’s agate and brass facial rollers let you vivify your visage without needles or scalpels. Pro tip: Cool them in the fridge. Lovely sensation!

Best Trendy but Approachable Merch
Charmed Avenue
Tucked away in Scottsdale’s Hilton Village Shopping Center, Charmed Avenue carries on-point women’s fashions and jewelry at reasonable prices. You can pick up an outfit, necklace and shoes in one fell swoop without breaking the bank at this sliver of a boutique. The sales people are friendly and helpful. Warning: You probably won’t leave empty-handed. 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-800-7944,

Best Natural Cleaning Products
Everyone is cleaning up their act these days – nixing parabens in shampoos, swapping plastic straws for reusable steel sippers, using canvas grocery bags. Now you can clean up your cleaning routine with Truce, a Tempe-based line that eschews toxic chemicals but still, you know, actually works. Our favorites: peppermint all-purpose cleaner and unscented laundry powder.

Best Place to Put Your Best Foot Forward
Lost in Socks
Looking for your favorite dog breed pictured on a pair of socks? Lost in Socks has got you covered. Guitars, flamingos, flying pigs, Batman, Siamese cats, swear words, avocados, guinea pigs or cacti? Check. Lost in Socks has just about anything you can imagine emblazoned on a pair of socks – more than 12,000 pairs for men, women and children. 7142 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-307-6329,

Best Desert Flair
Hoshi Paper Art
If you’re crazy for cacti and swoon over our state’s shape, artist Star DeLuna has a button or bauble for you. DeLuna makes tiny, colorful pieces including cactus Shrinky Dinks, Arizona city button pins, tile necklaces, sparkly “Cactus Hugger” magnets and glittery saguaro resin magnets. Her work is like a disco party in the desert.

Best Auto Mechanic Shop
Martin’s Auto Repair
Dave Martin began working here when he was 10 years old, pumping gas and pulling weeds. Today he’s the boss of the second-generation business and busier than ever thanks to a solid reputation for honesty and repairs that are diagnosed and done right the first time. Did we mention free loaner cars? Born with spina bifida, the wheelchair-bound Martin is a straight-talker who answers questions in layman’s terms, even if you don’t know an engine from a key fob. 3636 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-266-5755,

Best Place to Get a Post-Breakup Haircut
BOSS Salon
One of the most common side effects of a breakup is the overwhelming desire to chop off your hair. A post-breakup haircut can feel therapeutic if done right, and BOSS Salon will not do you wrong. Go in armed with heartache and a picture from Pinterest, and your stylist will do exactly what your broken heart desires. 6315 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-603-1101,

Best In-Home Massage
Between Heaven & Earth Healing Arts
You know what makes a massage even more relaxing? Not having to leave your home to get one. Massage therapist Michelle Mondragon makes house calls for one- to two-hour treatments, from cranial sacral to abdominal massage. She also creates her own aromatherapy products. Sadly for us, Mondragon is decamping for Mexico at the end of August, so book her before then.

Best First Date

Build-a-Date: Construct a first-rate first-date itinerary with these Best of the Valley winners.

Best Nail Boutique
Most nail places are either cheap, in-and-out salons or lavish (read: expensive) spa setups. PROSE has handily cornered the happy-medium market for people on the go with speedy, high-quality manis and pedis in chic, minimalist boutiques with gratis iced tea or spa water. Its membership model makes it easy to stay on top of self-care. Three Valley locations,

Best Place for a Hip Haircut
If Palabra wasn’t genuinely cool, it might warrant an eye roll. The minimalist style of the building’s architecture extends inside to the chic art gallery and white-on-white coffee shop. Then there are the hairstylists, a tattooed and talented bunch who effortlessly trim and sculpt the coiffures of our city’s trendsetters. 909 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-730-3227,

Best Wearable Art
Longtime Phoenix artist Carrie Marill paints with bright colors and patterns so striking you want to wear her work – and now you can. Marill feeds her color obsession by shopping for beads during her travels, and now you can find her fun necklaces and bracelets at festivals, online and at the boutique Phoenix General.

Best Festival Wardrobe Solution
Bunky Boutique
Don’t have a personal stylist? No worries. Whether you’re hitting up Coachella or staying local for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Bunky Boutique is here to help. Come spring, the shop dedicates its weekly newsletter to sharing “festival look” ideas: bandeau tops, boho skirts and crossbody bags, all available for sale. 1437 N. First St., Phoenix, 602-252-1323,

Best First-Date Resto
Clever Koi
Classy but not stuffy, offbeat but not outré, this modern Asian midtown favorite (with a sister location in Gilbert) is the perfect culinary proving ground for embryonic romances. If your date can’t find anything agreeable among the tasty bao buns, excitingly layered fried rice dishes or flavor-packed wok-ed noodle selections, well, he or she is probably impaired in the taste department, and at least you know now. Two locations.

Best Place to Play Life-Size Jenga
Bitters Bar & Food
There are so many reasons to frequent Bitters Bar & Food – the handcrafted cocktails, bourbon-bacon popcorn and monthly rotating burgers – but the cozy, dog-friendly patio is a huge draw. Shaded during the day and lit up at night, the patio is the perfect place to test your building and balancing skills while playing giant Jenga with your friends. 1455 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-550-5088,

Best Craft Studios

Everyone is a maker! Round up your pals for a party or book a solo creativity date at these full-service craft havens.

Sunshine Craft Co.
700 W. Campbell Ave., Phoenix, 607-821-9700,
You can attend a workshop (book a macramé one to learn how to make this wall hanging) or come for free craft time and work on your own projects in this bright and clean shop in the artsy Melrose District.

Craft Nights
10832 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, 602-341-3570
A grotty shopping plaza in North Phoenix got a pretty boost when this crafting corner set up shop. You can plan a private party or sign up for workshops on string art (pictured), welcome mats, flower arrangements and painting. Bonus: It’s BYOB.

The Brush Bar
4165 N. Craftsman Ct., Scottsdale, 480-947-8700,
Browse The Brush Bar’s online calendar to select which painting you’d like to make, from “Neon Desert” (pictured) to portraits of peacocks, pineapples, mermaid tails and more. The on-site bar keeps the fun flowing in this grunge chic studio in Old Town Scottsdale.

14435 N. 73rd St., Scottsdale, 480-430-5503,
You can swing a hammer and a paintbrush in this cute utilitarian space in North Scottsdale, which offers craft projects ranging from wooden planters and art (pictured) to glass etching.

Best of the Valley TRIO
Changing Hands Phoenix
300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix,

1 Best Place to See Your Favorite Author
Several authors have taken advantage of the casual atmosphere of The Newton, the bookstore’s multi-use facility where events are held. Writers will gather fans around the fireplace to make their reading feel like an intimate conversation.

2 Best Magazine Selection
For those who dig magazines (hey you, with this publication in your hands!), Changing Hands delights with its lineup of everything from glossy art rags to self-published feminist pubs. You’ll find titles like Bust, Dwell,
Wallpaper and more.

3 Most Literary Happy Hour
Cozy up to a Gore Vidal or Gertrude Stein with a $1-off draft beer at the First Draft Book Bar. We estimate you are 57 times more likely to strike up a convo about the Lost Generation than you would at Dos Gringos.

Best Museum Shop

Heard Museum
2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-346-8190,
• Regarded worldwide for its exhibitions and programming around American Indian art.
• Find baskets, pottery and kachina dolls – all guaranteed to be authentic.
• We’re here for the estate jewelry, like a squash blossom necklace more intricate – and more affordable – than what we saw in a dozen shops around the Valley.


Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, 480-526-8890,
• It’s a living museum that’s really upped its game over the years, with outdoor concerts and more.
• Cactus is a popular icon everywhere. DBG has it on hats, shirts, letterpressed cards, pottery and more.
• The shop has a wide selection of live desert plants, along with pretty pots with detailed care instructions and packaging to get your succulent or cactus home safely.

Best local record store

12 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-248-9461,
• It has everything for the indie music lover, including books, tickets for local shows and merch.
• Its knowledgeable staff always has great recommendations. If you’re an introvert, hit up one of its listening booths.
• The store has the best local music inventory in the Valley, with bands like Fairy Bones and Playboy Manbaby.


The Record Room
2601 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix, 602-460-0040,
• Looking for vinyl on a budget? Its bargain bin boasts many a diamond in the rough.
• The store features a curated selection of punk and new wave. It’s your Bauhaus and Siouxsie solution.
• It doubles as a vintage store with old Rolling Stone magazines, vintage posters, T-shirts and an impressive stash of $150 used skateboards.


Best Place to Buy American Indian Art
Heard Museum Has never not won this category.

Best Antique/Vintage Store
Everything Goes

Best Arts & Craft Store
Scraps of Love

Best Place to Buy Art
Rare Earth Gallery

Best Place to Buy Baby Gifts
Cricket + Ruby

Best Bicycle Shop
The Bike Shop Is this like naming a bar The Bar?

Best Bookstore
Changing Hands Bookstore

Best Boutique Clothing Store
Rolling Rack Boutique & RRB Collective All-time leader: Frances Boutique.

Best Butcher Shop
The Meat Market

Best Camera Shop
Tempe Camera Repair Inc.

Best Cigar Shop
Fox Cigar Bar

Best Gem & Rock Shop
Rare Earth Gallery

Best Grocery Store
Sprouts Farmers Market

Best Hardware Store
Howard’s Ace Hardware

Best Independent Pharmacy
Metier Pharmacy

Best Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Urban Greenhouse Dispensary

Best Place to Buy Children’s Gifts
the motherhood co.

Best Farmers Market
Uptown Farmers Market Beloved CenPho market goes indoors through Sept. 22.

Best Home Accessories/Furniture
Buffalo Collection

Best Jewelry Store
NightRider Jewelry

Best Music Store
Zia Record Exchange

Best Nursery / Plant Shop
Desert Horizon Nursery & Landscape Design

Best Outdoor Décor
Highland Yard Vintage New category!

Best Outdoor Outfitter
Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company

Best Running Shop
Queen Creek Running Company

Best Second-Hand Clothing Store
Buffalo Exchange


Best Air Conditioning Repair
Sunburst Mechanical

Best Auto Dealership
Bill Luke Tempe New category!

Best Bank
Arizona Central Credit Union

Best Car Repair
Green Light Garage

Best Car Wash
Shine Works Detailing

Best Caterer
Bruce Brown Catering

Best Chiropractic Center
Arcadia Health and Wellness Chiropractic

Best College Prep Help
Griffin Fletcher

Best Coworking Space
She Works Here Hands off, fellas. For female office-sharers only.

Best Custom Tailor
Brother’s Tailors & Clothing Co.

Best Day Spa
Focal Point Salon & Spa

Best Divorce Lawyer
Jared Sandler/FROMM SMITH & GADOW, P.C.

Best Doula/Midwife
Modern Mama Doula Hey, it’s a growth industry.

Best Dentist
Four Peaks Endodontics, Dr. Trond U. Hegle

Best Drycleaner
Viking Cleaners

Best Event DJ (non-radio)
DJ Stixx of Az Mix Network, LLC

Best Florist
Amazing Flowers

Best Hair Color Services
Snapdragon Salon New category!

Best Home Restoration Services
Sharper Edge Painting

Best Interior Designer
Ownby Design

Best Landscaping Specialist
Gothic Landscape

Best Limosine/Party Bus
Valley Limousine New category!

Best Maid Service
Maids of Honor

Best Manicure/Pedicure
OMG! Nails & Spa

Best Massage
Movement Restoration

Best Medical Spa
Red Mountain Weight Loss® – More Info

Best Men’s Haircut
House of Handsome All-time BOV leader: 8-time winner V’s Barbershop.

Best Movers
Camelback Moving

Best Non-Profit
Arizona Humane Society

Best Personal Injury Lawyer
The Husband and Wife Law Team – More Info

Best Realtor
Michelle Colbert

Best Tattoo Studio
Forever True Tattoo

Best Skin Care Salon
Focal Point Salon & Spa

Best Weight-Loss System
Red Mountain Weight Loss® – More Info

Best Women’s Haircut
FLIRT Salon First-time winner. All-time leader: The Root Salon.