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.
This downtown Mesa business is enjoying its 63rd year of providing its customers with all of the service one would expect from a local jewelry store. The family-owned Dickson’s does jewelry repair, as well as selling a wide-variety of products. In this day and age of corporate, chain jewelry stores, it’s a pleasant experience to walk into a place and speak to someone that owns the business.
54 W. Main St., Mesa
“Repaired my jewelry while I waited and great job!”
“Great sales, battery changed while I waited.
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With 25 years in dance education, Ballet Etudes prides itself in duplicating the experiences of a professional ballet company. Students at the Gilbert school perform throughout the Valley, including in an annual production of “The Nutcracker.”
2401 E. Baseline Road, Suite 111, Gilbert
“They teach their dancers well and believe in the dancer’s potential.”
“They make ballet so fun while really teaching the technical stuff.”
“Everyone is a friend there — parents, instructors, volunteers. Everyone works so hard together to make it special for the kids.”
Major retailers Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dillard’s and Macy’s anchor this outdoor mall, and specialty stores like Apple, Charming Charlie, Coach, Forever 21, lucy, Sephora and White House Black Market line walkable and well-manicured mini-streets. Restaurants — like Blue Wasabi Sushi & Martini Bar, Kona Grill and The Keg Steakhouse — a Harkins movie theater, play areas for children, and lots of spaces to sit outside and people-watch ensure there’s plenty to do besides shop.
2743 S. Market St., Gilbert
“Love the outdoor setting. Very beautifully done and feels upscale.”
“Great stores, never feels crowded since it is outside, and best restaurants around.”
“It has everything from great stores to restaurants to kids’ play areas.”
“(It’s) like an old-time downtown, with open spaces and streetscape.”
“It’s nice to walk from store to store in the outside air, especially in the spring or fall when the weather is perfect!”
“Location, convenience, layout and retailers are unmatched.”
“Best quality/quantity of stores.”
Open just a year, this Gilbert salon motivated voters with its customer service and staff. The salon does hair, nails, facials and waxing. Brands carried include Prive and Alphaparf for hair; Gelish, Shellac and OPI for nails; and Dermalogica products for skin care. Spa pedicures are a special treat; they include an extra-long therapeutic massage, hot towel treatment, full pedicure and back massage.
235 E. Warner Road, Suite B106, Gilbert
“Awesome customer service and the best hair stylists.”
“Great location and very professional.”
“Great owner and amazing stylists.”
“Great customer service!”
Instead of logging mindless miles on cardio machines, exercisers at Body Envy are challenged to four-week fitness boot camps. Trainers and coaches guide participants — women only — through simple but effective exercises to tighten, tone and firm. Although we wouldn’t say the intense, ever-changing routines are easy, Body Envy at least makes it easy to attend a workout: They offer 51 boot camp sessions per week, including Sundays. And workouts are held indoors, so you can never use the weather as an excuse to skip a session.
2450 E. Germann Road, No. 11, Chandler
“Best group of women and the toughest workout!”
“The most intense workout I have ever had, plus the most fun; every day it is something new.”
“They push me to work out in a way that I didn’t realize I was capable of.”
“Plain and simple: RESULTS!”
Open on Arizona Avenue since 2002, Merchant Square Antique Marketplace in Chandler has been called a lot of things: antique mall, indoor flea market, swap meet. Voters call it the best place to find antiques because of its selection of vintage furniture, accessories and home decor items offered in 130 vendor spaces. You’ll also find popular hot dog joint Pittsburgh Willy’s inside.
1509 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler
“They have everything!”
“Unique pieces and excellent prices.”
“Huge selection and good prices. I could spend all day in there!”
Buy a car off a dealer lot around these parts, and chances are good it came from Earnhardt’s. In business since 1951, the Earnhardt family helms one of the Southwest’s largest automotive empires, with 16 stores in the Phoenix area selling Buicks, Chryslers, Dodges, Fords, GMC’s, Hondas, Hyundais, Jeeps, Kias, Nissans, Ram trucks, Scions and Toyotas. Patriarch Tex, along with sons Hal and Jim Babe, and grandsons Dodge, Derby and Bull, personally oversee operations, making sure each shop lives up to Tex’s now-famous slogan, delivered from atop a saddled steer in TV commercials: “Earnhardt: a name you can trust, and that ain’t no bull.”
multiple East Valley locations
“Fast, dependable, focused on customer service, sparkling clean.”
“Look at the decor compared to other dealerships. Earnhardt does not waste money on fancy offices, which maybe is why they were able to make the deal others were not.”
“Great customer service.”
“They wash your car every time you take it in for service.”
The personal touch is what makes the offices in the Arizona Ob-Gyn Affiliates network special to all of the patients that they care for. While a trip to the Ob-Gyn can be an uncomfortable experience for many women, the staff at Arizona Ob-Gyn Affiliates go out of their way to make each visit a pleasant one. “They truly care about their patients and make them feel as comfortable as possible,” one voter said. “The staff is really friendly and helpful.”
New Horizons Women’s Care — 1950 W. Frye Road, Chandler, (480) 895-9555; 2163 E. Baseline Road, Suite 101, Tempe, (480) 820-9000; 4545 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 208; Ahwatukee Foothills, (480) 961-2330. Maricopa OB-Gyn Ahwatukee — 4530 E. Ray Road, Suite 125, Ahwatukee Foothills, (480) 759-9191.
“I have been going to New Horizon’s Women’s care for nearly 10 years. They have always treated me with respect and have always taken extra special care of me throughout the years.”
“Being a group, at least one of the doctors is almost always available for your help.”
“Can count on them to get you an appointment to see someone ASAP even if not with your own doctor.”
As a chiropractor and CEO and founder of Verve Medical Group, Dr. David Warkentin’s business has been built on satisfied patients. Warkentin opened the Verve Medical Center in 2005. Verve offers a wide range of services, including family medicine, internal medicine, pain management, chiropractic, dental, oral surgery, orthodontics, optical, optometry, massage therapy, mental health, naturopathic medicine, diagnostic blood labs, radiology and neuro diagnostic testing. While the business side of Verve has thrived, Warkentin has maintained his strong reputation as a chiropractor and his high standard of patient care.
4824 E. Baseline Road, Suite 110 and Suite 140, Mesa
(480) 969-4040, (480) 830-1040
“He actually takes the time to explain your results with you and encourages their spouses to come and ask any questions. I thought these doctors were only around in the 1950’s. He is a breath of fresh air.”
“He is the one that found a cancer legion in my lung and because of the early detection I am free of cancer today.”
“My boyfriend and I were in an accident and he truly saved our lives. Thanks Doc!”
Paul Henley and his team have made quite a name for themselves by doing outstanding auto repair work. They have also worked hard to develop a reputation of being honest, caring, and true to the name of his shop. While there are many horror stories of dishonest repair shops that overcharge or make unneeded repairs, Henley stays true to his Christian faith in his business, providing good service, all while treating his customers well. One voter summed up Faith Works simply: “They are good at what they do and they are honest.”
340 N. Dobson Road, Mesa
“Has always given great service and always states what has to be done and what can be done later.”
“Quality service and a willingness to work with the customers’ budget.”
“I am so glad Paul has his own shop now ... I have followed him for years!”
The independent bookstore is a dying breed, but Changing Hands has defied that trend by providing a place where customers can go and always be surprised to find something they didn’t know they were looking for. It’s the place to go to meet and actually interact with authors, as well as other people who share your interests. Customers are treated as individuals, and if Changing Hands doesn’t have what you are looking for, they have something you might like and they’ll work to get you what you need.
6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
“I have never in 15 years been there when they haven’t had something I wanted or when they weren’t able to recommend something I didn’t know I wanted!”
“Because they are always bringing in the best authors, and they really care about their customers and their interests.”
“A local, independent, community book store with great selection, great service, and great people.”
The billions of dollars that people spend on their pets is proof positive that we humans love our little furry friends. More proof is that Sandi’s Tailwaggers has been in the pet sitting business for 10 years and is still going strong. Sandi’s is not a pet boarding service; it’s more like having a friend come over and check on your pets. But this friend also takes the dog for a walk, cleans the cat box, takes in the mail and stays a while to play with the pets. Sandi’s unique and reliable services have earned them the love of pet owners all over the East Valley. “They provide absolute watchfulness and care,” one voter commented. “They will take your pet to the vet if necessary, will give medications, prepare special diets. They are fabulous people!”
553 W. Carob Drive, Chandler
“I love going on vacation and knowing that our black lab won’t be locked up in a crate for a week.”
“Never have to worry how my dog is being taken care of. She is treated just like a family member at home and when Sandi and her family take care of her.”
“Always pleasant, available last minute when I need them, fair prices and my animals love them!”
Fry’s is popular because they have more stores in the East Valley than anyone else, but sheer numbers don’t always add up to satisfied customers. No, Fry’s is popular because it has just about everything a family needs when it goes grocery shopping, all at a fair price. And in the Fry’s Marketplace stores, shoppers can find household items ranging from TV’s and stereos to towels and ironing boards, as well as groceries. Voters liked Fry’s because the offerings and prices are consistent from store to store, and one voter said, “It’s a one-stop shopping experience with great pricing overall.”
“If they don’t have it, manager can order it for you. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Prices are great.”
“I have been going to the same Fry’s grocery store for over three years now and the people are friendly, helpful and great you like they really care about you. I have always had great service with Fry’s on East Main Street in Mesa. I love these people.”
“Great prices, always good sales, and you get fuel points.”
Head out to Superstition Farms on Thursday evenings and you can take care of a lot of your shopping, all the while getting locally grown products, as well as some not-so-local specialty items like Alaskan seafood. Grass-fed beef, chicken and fresh-baked breads also are for sale, not to mention the dairy products that come fresh from the Superstition Farms cows. While the produce, meats and dairy products are good draws for the adults, the kids will like the fact that there is a petting zoo, as well as cheap hayrides and opportunities to bottle-feed baby calves. Super Farm Market will let you feel like you’re back on the farm, at least for a couple hours.
3440 S. Hawes Road, Mesa
“On a farm! Great vendors, nice family, always friendly service, pets welcome, hay rides and petting zoo, in the evening, family friendly.”
“What’s better than a farmer’s market at a real farm?”
“Incredibly friendly. Great products, fun atmosphere. Excellent evening out.”
For someone that appreciates a nice adult beverage from time to time, walking into a Total Wine & More is like a child walking into a toy store. You walk the aisles, seeing brands and flavors that you’ve never seen before and your mind races, wondering how good this wine would be or how well that wine would go with your favorite dish. Yes, there are so many regional or local wines (and other spirits) from around the country that won’t likely make it to the shelves of your local Total Wine & More, but it’s almost a guarantee that there will be something there that will fit your discerning tastes.
8544 S. Emerald Drive, Tempe; 2224 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
(480) 753-4225 (Tempe), (480) 786-0270 (Gilbert)
“Cheap, tons and tons of selection, the workers are so helpful and knowledgable on products.”
“Huge selection and the only place we can find our favorite beer!”
“Most reasonably priced place around. It’s like a candy store for adults.”
Many have experienced the dreaded late-night injury or illness that resulted in a long visit to the emergency room. Gilbert Hospital has changed that experience for those who come in during the wee hours, making sure that each new patient is seen by a doctor within 31 minutes of arrival. Gilbert Hospital opened in 2006 and immediately made a strong reputation for itself with its “Door to doc in 31 minutes” mantra.
5656 S. Power Road, Gilbert
“Every time that I have an emergency, they are ready for me and my family.”
“Nothing better then being able to help people 24/7.”
Keeping everyone from becoming a hoarder since 1902, Goodwill Industries is the standard-bearer for resale shops. While others have popped up through the years, including many thriving local stores, Goodwill has been taking one person’s cast-off clothing and other goods (all as a tax deduction) and selling them at a price affordable for all. Goodwill’s services and the good deeds they do are well known and they have helped millions find jobs or job training.
“Great finds and everything is half off every other Saturday.”
While no one would say going to the dentist is their favorite activity, Kennedy works to make sure each visit is as pleasant as possible. Several voters commented that Kennedy was “gentle,” a very good trait for someone who wields sharp objects in the mouths of his patients. One voter gave Kennedy his endorsement, saying, “He’s very knowledgable, shows concern and interest in his patients and is kind, helpful, always does a stand-up job.”
7400 E. Germann Road, Gilbert
“Great service, always fits me and my family for special needs.”
“Dr. Kennedy will talk to you in a manner that makes you feel comfortable. He is a down-to-earth guy and does great work!”
“Wonderful dentist, very nice office and staff, gives back to the community.”
Burns and her partner, husband and fellow vet Dr. William Griswold have been working under the motto of “Putting Pets First,” since 2007 when they opened Priority Pet Hospital. Since then, Dr. Burns has grown a practice that works hard to make each pet (and person) feel like they are part of the family. “Dr. Burns takes time to develop trust with your pet,” one voter said. “She is very knowledgable, friendly and outstanding with follow-up. We couldn’t ask for a better Vet.”
4902 S. Val Vista Drive, Suite 108, Gilbert
“No veterinarian cares more about pets than these great people. They treat you and your pet like family.”
“She is great with both us and our dog who is very skittish (an abused rescue dog). She is never rushed and shows how much she really loves pets and her job.”
Built in the 1980s and featuring beautiful, lush grounds that surround the brick three-story mansion in Mesa, the Stonebridge Mansion is a great place to host a wedding in the East Valley. It offers a bride and groom glamour, ease and individualization for their wedding.
The venue offers two settings for weddings, either the Manor Courtyard, with both indoor and outdoor options, or the Garden Pavilion, which is perfect for larger gatherings of more than 150 guests underneath a tented pavilion.
With the wedding packages, a full staff — including set-up, tear-down and a wedding coordinator — means that family and the wedding party can be stress-free on the big day. Appetizers are even circulated during the reception by servers.
More affordable options are available or the venue can host the intricate wedding of your dreams. The amenities such as the caterer and florist are chosen for you, which means less stress over which one to choose, but additional alterations and customizations from the initial offerings that will make your wedding different from all the others.
Location: 4000 E. Palm St., Mesa
The trampoline craze that took off three decades ago, then crashed because of safety and injury issues, is coming back.
A rash of recent injuries — including a death in Phoenix recently when a man suffered a broken neck — are obvious causes for concern and precaution. But freak accidents happen everywhere, and, with some foresight, this is a stress-busting, turn-back-the-clock hour of adolescent aerial acrobatics.
Still, it’s worth watching for a few minutes before diving in, and though injuries are a real possibility, did we care about that in our younger days? Of course not.
Prices are more reasonable during the weekdays, and the music gets loud on weekend nights, but reprieves are available with an arcade, obstacle course and batting cages. They also run various pricing specials on Monday-Thursday nights.
Dodgeball court rentals get pricey, but it’s solid with enough people to offset costs, and every Wednesday night is a round-robin dodgeball tournament for $8 per person. Just beware of the injury risk associated (depending on who’s playing).
We love a good water park or mini-golf place as much as anyone, but who wouldn’t like to combine exercise with bouncing around floors and walls with reckless abandon? Or at least watch your kids/teenagers flail away instead?
If the idea of entertaining 10 kids at your house, feeding them and doing the clean-up is a bit much, check out the indoor facility at Gilbert’s Bounce U.
Perfect because it’s good in all weather, the birthday party packages here include a party host, drinks for the guests and 45 minutes in the party room. Families can bring in their own cakes. Pizza, sandwiches and more can be purchased for additional cost.
Even a “cosmic” bounce can be added, with the kids jumping in neon lights.
Partygoers will stay busy, too, with two rooms filled with inflatable bounce houses and games where they’ll play for an hour.
Think about it: They’ll leave the party tired!
Costs vary, with the basic package running $139 to $189 (depending on the day of the week) for up to 10 kids and the “spectacular” package for up to 25 kids running $369 to $399 (includes food, cake and drinks, and more).
1166 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert