BEST OF: Thursday, September 19, 2002
Material Issues

Head Shop

Readersí choice: Fantasy Imports, 6663 Camp Bowie Blvd

Staff choice: A Step Beyond, 7601 Jacksboro Hwy between Lake Worth and Azle

Straying off the beaten path this year, we chose a wildcard ó this funky little shop is located between Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake in an old rock building. It may be the only head shop around that offers drive-through window service, including from midnight to 4:20am on weekends.

Place to Run Up Credit Cards

Readersí choice: Neimanís

Staff choice: ĒLittle Austin,Ē I-30 & Hulen St, FW

The Chapel Hill shopping complex is dominated by Central Market, already a mecca for Fort Worth foodies. Thatís not the only place to go, however, with World Market, Borders Books & Music, several boutiques, and a couple of fine restaurants accessible from the same parking lot.

Customer Service

Readersí choice: Eclectic Soul Salon and Dayspa, 213 W Main St, Arlington

Staff choice: Carmax, 8400 Anderson Blvd, FW

For those of us who rate shopping for a used car right behind searching for a job or an apartment on the list of stress-producing activities, thereís finally relief. The Carmax web site allows you to locate the vehicle you want, compute a monthly payment you can afford, and even figure out how much youíll get in trade on your old clunker. The salespeople are remarkably low-pressure. Overall, one helluva retail experience.

Barber Shop

Readersí choice: 7th Street Barber Shop, 3218 W 7th St, FW

Staff choice: Shelton Givens Barber Shop, 512 Main St, FW

A great barber shop is about more than a haircut. Itís an island of calm in a sea of troubles, a familiar place where you can relax, read a magazine, hear a story, get some advice, Sheltonís remains such a place. Some customers have been coming there since they were kids. Downtown office workers can even call ahead for a chair.

Hair Salon

Readersí choice: Eclectic Soul Salon and Dayspa, 213 W Main St, Arlington

Staff choice: Goldwaves, 2525 Ridgmar Blvd, FW

Still providing the best in customer service, well-trained staff, and various forms of pampering, from toes to head and ó with a massage thrown in ó most points in between. Plenty of guys get their locks lopped here, too. Owner Judy Mangum continues to re-do and add on to her place.

Ski Shop

Readersí choice: C D Ski & Sports, 5070 S Hulen St, FW

Bike Shop

Readersí choice: FW Cycle & Fitness, 3315 Cherry Lane, FW

Dive Shop

Readersí choice: Scuba Sphere, 6703 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW

Health Club

Readersí choice: Soul Fitness, 1901 Montgomery St, FW

Thrift Store

Readersí choice: Thrift Town, multiple locations

Staff choice: Worth Repeating, 2722 W Berry St

You can always find something you need cheap in the aisles of this clean, well-organized, cleverly named second-hand shop. Few things are priced over $5 and many go for much less. Features a wide selection of clothing for men, women, and children ó plus knick-knacks, books, appliances, and furniture. Proceeds go to the Womenís Center of Tarrant County.

Enviro-friendly Business

Readersí choice: Half Price Books, multiple locations

Staff choice: The T

Continuing a conversion it began in 1990, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, a.k.a. The T, now has about 90 percent of its fleet of city buses running on compressed natural gas, helping reduce the street-level ozone that is so dangerous to children and other living things. Last year it brought us the Trinity Railway Express, taking even more autos off the highways. Next on its progressive agenda: electric streetcars!

Computer Geeks:

Readersí choice: Fryís Electronic, multiple locations



Readersí choice: Barnes & Noble, various locations

New C.d.ís/Records

Readersí choice: Best Buy, various locations

Staff choice: Record Town, 3025 University Dr, FW.

Walking down University Drive by TCU, itís easy to miss Record Town altogether. Take just one trip inside, and music lovers of all types will have a hard time ever missing it again. Tucked between Stage West and Flash, Record Town has been doing business from the same location since 1957. With their abnormally large jazz, blues, and local music sections, there is little reason for Record Town not to be around for another 50 years.

Used C.dís/Records

Readersí choice: Dead heat to Half Price Books and CD Warehouse, both multiple locations

Staff choice: CD Warehouse

Perennial readersí favorites, CD Warehouse has gotten more corporate over the last couple of years, but the truism holds: If you donít find it here, just wait awhile, and itíll show up. Hardcore music junkies can rationalize spending the rent here by saying, ďBut it was even cheaper than Best Buy!Ē Itís also great for those of us who donít buy c.d.ís but rent them (e.g., college students, musicians, freelance music journalists).

Vintage Clothes

Readersí choice: Thrift Town, multiple locations

Staff choice: Antique Sampler Mall, 1715 E Lamar Blvd, Arlington

If your fashion sense is stuck in the 21st century, you might need to go back a few more decades to update it. Several dealers here specialize in vintage clothing from the í60s, í50s, í40s, and earlier (mostly for women and kids; sorry, guys). We loved the í50s sequined pink prom dress, but figured to get more use from the í50s silk mocha-colored dress, a rah-rah red varsity sweater from the í40s and some paisley scarves that would make Austin Powers drool in your hair. Browse a few aisles and you can put together an outfit thatís the beesí knees, or just plain groovy, baby!


Readersí choice: Zales and Haltomís, multiple locations

Staff choice: Stockyards Gold & Silver ó SW Gallery, 112 W Exchange Av, FW

A western city deserves a jewelry store that reflects its heritage. This veteran Exchange Avenue business offers a selection of western and native American jewelry to fit most pocketbooks. Some of the storeís more spectacular pieces match southwestern silver craftsmanship with exotic stones from South Africa like gaspeite and azurite.

Used Sporting Goods

Readersí choice: Play It Again Sports, multiple locations

Staff choice: Play It Again Sports, multiple locations

Donít go looking for leotards and matching sports bras in this no-frill shop. What it does have is used hockey, baseball, golf, and weight-lifting gear.

20th-Century Relics

Readersí choice: Montgomery Street Mall, 2601 Montgomery St, FW

Staff choice: Omahaís Surplus, 2413 White Settlement Rd, FW

This cavernous shop is filled with gear from various services and wars. But given the current state of the world, itís a pretty somber place. Our most fervent wish is that, in the not-too-distant future, this stuff will indeed be only quaint relics of a darker time. We didnít see any swords to beat into plowshares, but weíd like to see the day when all the ammo boxes will be turned into cigar humidors (as one of our friends has already done) and helmets become solely the stuff of Halloween costumes. In the meantime, what in the heck are those purple and white camo shorts supposed to camouflage you from?

Cool Gifts

Readersí choice: Earth Bones, multiple locations, and Pottery Pad, 4818 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW

Staff choice: National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, 1720 Gendy St, FW

From pillows to beaded purses and wonderful sombreros, Western-themed tableware, and tooled-leather everything, the place offers great gift ideas for your cowgirls, cowboys (get him a shot glass rimmed with ranch brands), and cowkids. Some of our favorites: the 21st-century cow figurines, from Mooooonwalk (wearing an astronautís helmet), to Discow. Our only request: more books on the history of the women the museum celebrates.

Western Wear

Readersí choice: Cavenderís, multiple locations

Staff choice: Maverickís, 100 E Exchange Av, FW (sale rack)

For authentic cowboy gear, from chaps to quirts, weíd have to recommend Horsemanís Supply in Weatherford. For sheer beauty of beadwork and butter-soft leather, for denim and silk interpretations of Western fashion, weíd love to recommend Maverickís. But, geez, the prices freeze the part-Scottish blood in our veins. So weíll recommend the sale rack, full of lovely vests, shirts, and other reasonably priced items, last time we looked. Just step around the tourists.

Menís Clothing

Readersí choice: Neimanís, multiple locations

Womenís Clothing:

Readersí choice: A retailers-a-trois tie among Sears, Banana Republic, and Dillardís

Clothes to Go

Clubbing In:

Readersí choice: Forever 21, 2060 Green Oaks Rd, FW

Menís Shoes:

Readersí choice: Larryís, multiple locations

Womenís Shoes:

Readersí choice: DSW Shoe Warehouse, multiple locations

Adult Toys

Readersí choice: Priscillaís, multiple locations

Staff choice: Backwoods, 3212 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW

Who says adult toys have to involve whips and edible undies? Backwoods gets our vote for the toys ó gear for backpacking, fishing, climbing, camping, traveling ó that let adults take on the real world in exhilarating ways. You can still pack the edible undies. The fish might enjoy them.

Cheap Ciggies

Readersí choice: Cheapest Cigarettes, 5148 E Belknap St, Haltom City

Staff choice: Smokes For Less, 916 Roberts Cut-Off Rd, FW

The price of premium cigarettes stayed at about $2 to $2.50 a pack through most of the 1990s, until sweeping anti-tobacco measures shoved it up to nearly $4 a pack in Texas. People who had sworn to quit rather than pay more than $3 were in a quandary ó make good on a silly vow or find cheaper cigarettes. Smokes For Less offers cartons of premium-brand ciggies for as low as $25.99 ó about $2.60 a pack. Discount cigarettes range from about $17.99 to $21.99.

Staff Only:

Books Not On

Best-Seller List

Half Price Books, multiple locations

The phrase that pays is Remainderama. A clerk at Borders slips with the box cutter, and the whole box of books goes back for resale. Youíll find books that are still listed as new on sale here for a third or less of the retail price, as well as the used, obscure, and rare volumes.

Place To Buy A Last-Minute Party Dress

Steinmart, multiple locations

Your best friendís date just dumped her, and sheís lassoed you into going to a fancy party. Quick ó where to go for the perfect outfit? Head to Steinmart, the off-price-on-the-upscale-side department store. We found the Camp Bowie Boulevard location well stocked with party dresses a third or more off retail, plus racks marked down another 30 to 50 percent. Thatís reason enough to celebrate.


City of Fort Worth Environmental Collection Center, 6400 Bridge St

In addition to recycling hazardous household wastes at this East Side facility, you can find a variety of common home and garage products for free. Here, one personís trash is literally anotherís treasure ó if you value cleaners, paints, and automobile fluids.

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