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 Winners: Shopping & Services

Got a salon you count on for outstanding color and cut every time? Know a bakery that makes cakes to die for? See your picks below.

Best Auto Repair Shop
READER PICK

Network Automotive Service Centers

Best Auto Repair Shop

Network Automotive started in 1995 in its Mesa location and has added three more shops in the East Valley. It offers a wide range of services, but specializes in brake and alignment work.

Locations: 104 E. Main St., Mesa; 1021 N. Gilbert Road, Suite 108, Gilbert; 11250 E. Apache Trail, Apache Junction; 20871 E. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek
Phone: (480) 649-0839 (Mesa); (480) 539-8277 (Gilbert); (480) 984-6714 (Apache Junction); (480) 779-4565 (Queen Creek)
Website: www.networkautomotive.com

Voter Comments:

“Great mechanics, knowledgeable staff. They are as honest as the day is long. I’ ve been using them for 15 years.”

“Honest and reliable service. Customer satisfaction is their top priority.”

Runners Up:

Good Works Auto Repair, multiple locations; Classic Automotive, Queen Creek; Sphar’ s Automotive, Mesa
Best Bookstore
READER PICK

Changing Hands Bookstore

The big chains stood no chance against this independently-owned new and used bookstore in Tempe, which was the overwhelming winner in reader voting. Its calendar of author signings and children’ s’ storytimes is perhaps the busiest in the Valley.

Location: 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
Phone: (480) 730-0205
Website: www.changinghands.com

Voter Comments:

“Have you ever been there? How could they not be the best bookstore? They are a cornerstone of the community. They bring in top-notch authors and speakers, carry a great selection of everything, and bend over backwards to provide the best service.”

“They are more than a bookstore. They’ re a community.”

Runners Up:

Bookman’ s, Mesa; Barnes & Noble, multiple locations; Borders, multiple locations
Best Record/Music Shop
READER PICK

Hoodlum’s Music and Movies

After finishing perusing books at Changing Hands, take a few steps over to the runaway readers’ choice for the best local place to get tunes. Hoodlums bills itself as a “neighborhood music store” where one can buy, sell or trade.

Location: 6434 S. McClintock Drive
Phone: (480) 775-2722
Website: www.hoodlumsmusic.com

Voter Comments:

“Beautifully organized selection of vinyl, CDs, art and memorabilia, run by a smart, passionate staff.”

“They really know their stuff and are uber-friendly.”

Runners Up:

Zia Record Exchange, Tempe and Chandler
Best Grocery Store
READER PICK

Fry’s Food & Drug/Fry’s Marketplace

Best Grocery Store

Even for a large chain store, there’s something to be said for low prices and friendly customer service - which is what was cited in most of the comments from readers who made Fry’s an easy winner in a category where there is no shortage of competition.

Location: Multiple locations
Website: www.frysfood.com

Voter Comments:

“The prices and customer service leave the rest to pale in comparison.”

“They always have great deals and accept coupons from other stores.”

Runners Up:

Safeway, multiple locations; Trader Joe’s, multiple locations; Bashas’, multiple locations; Whole Foods Market, multiple locations
Best Farmers Market
READER PICK

Gilbert Farmers’ Market

This farmers’ market was in the news in 2010, as it started up... without a farmer. But three produce vendors have since signed on, joining an array of food, arts and crafts sellers in a charming location near the Gilbert Water Tower.

Location: 222 N. Ash St., Gilbert
Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Website: www.gilbertfarmersmarket.com

Voter Comments:

“Great atmosphere and great products, with new vendors all the time.”

“It helps Gilbert keep its small-town feel.”

Runners Up:

Sprouts, multiple locations; Superstition Ranch Market, Mesa
Best Bakery
READER PICK

Essence Bakery Cafe

Locally renowned chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos cooks up a wide variety of delectable treats, but her calling card is croissants. The macarons were also highly-recommended by readers.

Location: 825 W. University Drive, Tempe
Phone: (480) 966-2745
Website: www.essencebakery.com

Voter Comments:

“This is the closest you can get to a true French pastry in the Phoenix area. The lunch items are so fresh, organic and unusual that you will have to keep going back. Totally decadent.”

“Amazing food, and the baked goods are incredible.”

Runners Up:

Wildflower Bread Co., multiple locations; Paradise Bakery, multiple locations; Caketini, Gilbert
Best Flower Shop
READER PICK

Bobbie’s Flowers & Gift Shop

Bart, a dog, is the face of this business, which has been in operation since 1949. But readers agree that Bobbie’s selection of roses, flowers, fruit baskets and other arrangements is nothing to growl at.

Location: 5801 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
Phone: (480) 968-7961
Website: www.bobbiesflowers.com

Voter Comments:

“Most creative florists I have ever worked with.”

“Nice folks who will go out of their way to do it right.”

“Customer-oriented business who has been in Tempe a long time.”

Runners Up:

Crismon’s Flowers, Mesa; Watson’s Flowers, multiple locations
Best Place To Find Uncommon Gifts
TRIB PICK

Evermore Nevermore

Best Place To Find Uncommon Gifts

Where can you adopt a monster AND find a handmade ray gun to keep the beast at bay?

Evermore Nevermore doesn't exactly scream "Mesa." Full of alternative -- and sometimes provocative -- clothing, zombie survival gear and, reportedly, a ghost or two, this collectibles store with an attitude is more than just the goth emporium it may appear at first glance. It's also the place to satisfy "steampunk" needs: The popular quasi-Victorian style of fantastic gadgets, gears and rivets is well represented in the shop's selection of jewelry and costume accessories by East Valley designers such as Nancy Reasoner.

Throw in one of the best selections of locally produced indie comic books -- and an inexplicably popular Sasquatch section -- and you have the most interesting thing to happen to the straight-laced downtown strip in years.

The family-run shop, which marked its first year in business last October, has also taken the lead in bringing a new vibe to downtown Mesa, organizing events that connect residents with top local artists and making the city's monthly Second Friday block party an affair to remember.

Location: 127 W. Main St., Mesa
Contact: (480) 964-4624

Runners Up:

Atomic Comics locations in Chandler and Mesa, and Wide World of Maps & More in Mesa
Best Liquor Store
READER PICK

Total Wine & More

Total Wine, which began with two stores in Delaware in 1991, expanded to Arizona in 2008. The company claims to offer a selection of 8,000 wines, and there is no shortage of beer and other spirits available.

Location: 8544 S. Emerald Drive, Tempe; 2224 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
Phone: (480) 753-4225 (Tempe); (480) 786-0270 (Gilbert)
Website: www.totalwine.com

Voter Comments:

“They have everything! Very fun and organized place. It’s like a Super Walmart of liquor stores.”

“Unbelievable selection of wines, and the best prices in town.”

Runners Up:

Tops Liquors, Tempe; Sun Devil Liquors, Mesa
Best Pet Shop
READER PICK

Cage World Exotic Birds

The bird lovers in the East Valley were passionate enough in their support to make this store the overall winner in the pet category. Cage World boasts a wide selection of hand-fed and breeder cockatiels, parakeets, English budgies and love birds.

Location: 2110 W. Southern Ave., Suite F, Mesa
Phone: (480) 833-4001
Website: cageworldaz.com

Voter Comments:

“They care about your bird and are very nice people.”

“The prices are low.”

Runners Up:

Gilbert Dogs 24/7, Gilbert; Petco, multiple locations; PetSmart, multiple locations
Best Business Open 24/7
READER PICK

Gilbert Hospital

Best Business Open 24/7

This facility promises to get you from “door to doc in 31 minutes.” According to its Website, Gilbert Hospital treated 43,199 emergency-room patients in 2009, with an average wait time of seven minutes, 25 seconds.

Location: 5656 S. Power Road, Gilbert
Phone: (480) 984-2000
Website: www.gilberter.com

Voter Comments:

“Emergency room is staffed at 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.”

“They are always open to take care of you and your family with a smile and excellent service.”

Runners Up:

American Key & Safe, Mesa; Gilbert Dogs 24/7, Gilbert
Best Resale Shop
READER PICK

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

The non-profit organization operates 17 thrift stores across the state, selling clothing, furniture and household items. The store sales help fund the programs and services that St. Vincent de Paul provides to the homeless and working poor.

Locations: 2352 W. Main St., Mesa; 2051 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler; 2540 W. Apache Trail, Apache Junction
Phone: (480) 644-0887 (Mesa); (480) 812-1156 (Chandler); (480) 380-4515 (Apache Junction)
Website: www.stvincentdepaul.net/PS-ThriftStores.htm

Voter Comments:

“There are bargains galore, if you are willing to sort through some junk.”

“An amazing variety of gently-used household goods, furniture, books and clothing. Check out the baby clothing for great deals.”

Runners Up:

Goodwill Stores; multiple locations; My Sister’s Closet, multiple locations; Deseret Industries, Mesa
Best Tattoo Parlor
READER PICK

Club Tattoo

Club Tattoo’s highest-profile location is among the Miracle Mile shops in Las Vegas, but you don’ t need to go to Sin City to turn your body into a canvass. Piercing services are also offered.

Locations: 825 S. Rural Road, Tempe; 1212 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe; 1423 S. Country Club Drive, Mesa
Phone: (480) 774-2582 (Rural Road); (480) 902-0943 (Apache Blvd.) (480) 464-2582 (Mesa)
Website: clubtattoo.com

Voter Comments:

“Professional staff that is very talented. Very sanitary shop.”

“Great service! Most important, there are excellent artists on staff.”

Runners Up:

5th Estate Tattoo, Gilbert; Urban Art Tattoo, Mesa
Best Jeweler
READER PICK

Twisted Sisters Designs

The name was not inspired by a 1980s heavy-metal band; rather, it was spawned while friends spent an evening engaging in the craft of wire wrapping. The trio of ladies offer a variety of handmade bracelets, necklaces, earrings and other charms.

Location: 48 S. Robson, Suite 102, Mesa
Phone: (602) 617-0997
Website: www.twistedsistersdesigns.net

Voter Comments:

“The jewelry is beautiful and clever. The prices are more than fair, and the owners are delightful!”

“They have fun, unique jewerly that is one of a kind.”

Runners Up:

Dickson’s, Mesa; Pandora of San Tan Village, Gilbert
Best Doctor
READER PICK

David Warkentin

The chiropractor is founder of the Verve Wellness Center, a 12,000-square foot facility in Mesa. The Verve center offers general medical and dental, chiropractic, orthodontics and massage-therapy services.

Location: 4824 E. Baseline Road, Mesa
Phone: (480) 969-4040 or (480) 830-1040
Website: www.vervewellnesscenter.com

Voter Comments:

“Dr. Dave is, simply put, the best. He cares about all his patients, has a fabulous clinic and very attentive staff. His bedside manner is excellent.”

“Dr. Warkentin makes you feel like you are the only person in the office. He is very kind and seems to understand your pain, and he and his staff work very hard to make you feel at home.”

Runners Up:

Julie Adams, osteopathic obstetrician, Valley Women For Women; Warren Tripp, family practitioner, Future Family Medicine
Best Dentist/Orthodontist
READER PICK

Pospisil Family

Pospisil Family Dentistry is just that - a family operation. Leslie Pospisil has operated a location in Tempe since 1972, eventually joined by his sons, Brent, Doug and Marc. The family recently opened an office in Gilbert.

Location: 2076 E. Southern Ave., Suite C101, Tempe; 2730 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert
Phone: (480) 838-3315 (Tempe); (480) 838-3305 (Gilbert)
Website: www.pospisildental.com

Voter Comments:

“You hear of places that claim to have a family atmosphere. The Pospisils live it. I never feel like it’s a dentist visit. It’s getting together with friends and family.”

“Speaking as someone who dreads going to the dentist, Dr. Doug and his staff are not only competent, but very caring and gentle. I would highly recommend Pospisil Dentistry of Gilbert, especially to those who are uncomfortable with dental work.”

Runners Up:

Robison Orthodontics, Mesa and Gilbert; Samuel Bollwinkel, Gilbert; Tyrel Beavers, Mesa
Best Veterinarian
READER PICK

Robert Koch

This veterinarian at University Animal Hospital in Tempe was wildly popular among readers. Koch has practiced in Arizona since 1980 and operated his own clinic for 20 years before joining the University staff in 2006.

Location: 2500 S. Hardy Drive, Tempe
Phone: (480) 968-9275
Website: www.universityvet.com

Voter Comments:

“Always friendly and really cares about the animals. Gets right down on the floor with them so they don’ t feel intimidated.”

“He goes above and beyond in caring for your pet. He will follow up every day that your pet is ill with a phone call. He is amazing!”

Runners Up:

Marnie Duplissis, McClintock Animal Care Center, Tempe; Thomas Gus, University Animal Hospital, Tempe; Carmen Bastek, University Animal Hospital, Tempe
Best Fitness Club/Gym
READER PICK

Weon Keyong Health Center

This Pilates studio is a hit among readers, beating out the much more well-known chain facilities in voting. The center specializes in core and agility training and post-rehabilitation therapy, with small classes and private sessions.

Location: 6465 S. Rural Road, Tempe
Phone: (480) 889-5509
Website: 10minutepilates.com

Voter Comments:

“Experienced instructors that are not clock watchers but care about my fitness goals.”

“The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and professional. They conduct small classes that are affordable while creating a safe, encouraging, as well as physically and mentally stimulating, environment.”

Runners Up:

Mountainside Fitness, multiple locations; Lifetime Fitness, multiple locations; Express MiE Fitness & Beauty, Tempe
Best Kids’ Dance Studio
READER PICK

Higher Ground Dance Studio

Higher Ground promotes a family-friendly, fun atmosphere, but dedication and intensity is required. The schedule for some age groups call for 3 to 4 classes a week, and company dancers will perform in at least one dance competition.

Location: 1130 S. Lyn Rae Square, Mesa
Phone: (480) 326-4398
Website: www.highergrounddance.blogspot.com

Voter Comments:

“It has everything you would want for your daughter in dance. Modesty, uplifting music, positive teachers, great technique, nice girls. Excellent studio!”

“Fantastic, well-trained instructors. Age appropriate and modest dance moves, costumes and music selection. Family friendly. Great prices!”

Runners Up:

Jeanne’s School of Dance, Mesa, Chandler and Queen Creek
Best Place to Find Antiques
READER PICK

Antique Plaza

Antique Plaza boasts 100 dealer spaces spread over two floors. That equals more than 20,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles - a dreamy way for nostalgia buffs to spend an afternoon.

Location: 114 W. Main Street, Mesa
Phone: (480) 833-4844
Website: www.antiqueplazamesa.com

Voter Comments:

“It’s two floors of treasure hunting.”

“Great deals, wide selection and knowledgeable staff!”

“A junker’s delight.”

Runners Up:

Beyond Expression Antiques, Mesa; Merchant Square Antique Marketplace, Chandler; St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, Mesa, Chandler and Apache Junction
Best Day Spa
READER PICK

Simply Ravishing - The Salon

The newly-expanded salon offers services in hair, nails, facials, massage, waxing, permanent makeup, chemical peels, lash extensions, acrylic and gel enhancements, anti-aging treatments for hands and feet, and pedicures.

Location: 2401 E. Baseline Road, Suite 104, Gilbert
Phone: (480) 558-5143
Website: simplyravishingnails.com

Voter Comments:

“Every service under the sun, very clean and great atmosphere.”

“Wonderful people who know how to pamper!”

“Very relaxing and soothing place; great people.”

Runners Up:

Elements Therapeutic Massage, multiple locations; Fuchsia Spa, Mesa; Mood Swings Salon & Skin Spa, Tempe; Valley Med Spa, Gilbert
Best Hair Salon
READER PICK

Flirt Salon

Show up for a haircut, and you’ll receive a complimentary lavender scalp massage, hot towel treatment and lavender hand massage at this full-service salon owned by Czechoslovakian-born model, former Lancome and Rolf’s make-up artist, and Carsten Institute grad Yani Kulow. (She also has a degree in environmental chemistry, by the way.) Flirt carries the Alterna line of professional haircare products.

1825 E. Guadalupe Road, Tempe
(480) 820-3544
flirthairsalon.com

Voter Comments:

“The people love what they do and you feel welcome.”

“AMAZING!”

“They are very friendly and make my hair look beautiful each and every time!”

Runners Up:

Simply Ravishing Salon, Gilbert; Sasseaze Hair Color Spa, Mesa; Mood Swings Salon, Tempe
Best Mall/Shopping Center
READER PICK

SanTan Village

Best Mall/Shopping Center

Goodbye, tired old mall. Hello bright, buzzing open-air shopping village. This sunny retail destination offers anchor stores such as Best Buy and Macy’s alongside specialty shops such as Apple Store, Coach, Sephora and White HouseBlack Market. It’s also home to a Harkins movie theater and tempting places to grab a bite or a cocktail, such as Blue Wasabi Sushi & Martini Bar.

2218 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
(480) 282-9500
shopsantanvillage.com

Voter Comments:

“Love the outdoor feel (even in the summer)!”

“Terrific shops.”

“I like the small town atmosphere with narrow streets.”

“My husband who hates shopping actually enjoys it and will only go to SanTan!”

Runners Up:

Chandler Fashion Center, Tempe Marketplace
Best New Business
READER PICK

Polka Dots & Popsicles

Best New Business

The owners at this uplifting little gift boutique opened last fall at SanTan Village don’ t want you to think of PD&P as just another place to shop; it’s meant to be a getaway, where you leave behind your worries and escape for a moment into a world overflowing with feel-good energy - and trinkets.

2206 E. William Field Road, Suite 104, Gilbert
(480) 963-1101
polkadotsandpopsicles.com

Voter Comments:

“Great place to buy a gift!”

“I have driven all the way from Maricopa several times just to visit this store.”

“There is not a store like it anywhere in the East Valley.”

“I really like their affirmative puzzle-piece jewelry; all my friends want to know where I bought (it).”

Runners Up:

Mind Body & Flow, Chandler; A Green You Can Trust, Mesa