Independent Records & Video stocks a superb selection of new and used CDs and LPs, DVDs, and games. Invite the eccentric musical stylings of Erykah Badu's New Amerykah Part Two ($9.95) into your eardrums, pick up Jimi Hendrix's recently released posthumous studio album, Valleys Of Neptune ($6.97 used), or pan for gold in stacks of classic and contemporary blues, jazz, electronic, and pop music. To rest eyes weary from searching old copies of National Geographic for photos of giant pinecones, take a look at Independent's stock of movies, which are available on DVD and Blu-ray and span every genre and time period. Classic comedies such as Caddyshack ($9.99) line shelves alongside newer releases that dive deep into unexplored depths of Earth and man (Oceans costs $28.99, season seven of Curb Your Enthusiasm costs $32.99.) Though stock varies in each store, Independent is committed to customer satisfaction and will place a special order at no extra charge.
At Studio A Collective of Stylists, a team of hair experts hand-picked by owner Andrea Tucker stays abreast of the latest trends and advises clients with up-to-the-minute style advice gleaned through regular trainings. Wielding products from Screen, Phyto, and Sebastian, the stylists tend locks with cuts, deep-conditioning treatments, and coloring services that include semipermanent dyes and glosses––treatments that lack the permanent hold of traditional dyes or bubblegum colorings. Stylists also color-coordinate nails to outfits with durable Shellac manicures and pedicures, and protect skin from unwanted hair with a slew of facial-waxing services. Styling tips for time between appointments foster long-lasting chic and protection from bedhead epidemics, as do complimentary maintenance trims in the salon, where walls brim with the creative wares of a rotating featured artist.
From its modest origins in a garage, Appliance Factory Outlet & Mattresses has blossomed into a full-fledged appliance-vending behemoth with 14 locations throughout Colorado. The outlet compiles an enormous collection of handy household appliances from top-quality brands such as GE, Whirlpool, LG, KitchenAid, Sealy,and Tempur-pedic.
At each location, knowledgeable staffers shepherd patrons through sprawling showrooms, which collectively tout more than 150,000 pieces of equipment, including laundry machinery, kitchen appliances, microwaves, and macrowaves. They can special order items not in stock or tap into a stash of spare parts to repair busted apparatus. In addition to appliances, the staff can point patrons toward a fleet of mattresses and overstock items.
In true family style, brothers Nick and Kirby Kuklenski own and operate two “sister” Ace Hardware stores in Colorado Springs, keeping local homes beautiful with name-brand products and services. Lawns grow thick and colorful with Scotts fertilizers, plants, and seeds from the shops’ lawn departments, whereas computerized color matching in the paint aisles keeps outsides as vibrantly hued as flowers in a garden or a house fly strolling across an artist’s palette. Collections of DeWalt and Craftsman hand and power tools help homeowners assemble Weber grills, with staffers standing at the ready to build any piece bought at the store. Even autos can get in on Ace Hardware’s helpful services: keys are cut onsite, with Sidewinder keys including built-in chips that interact with car computers to ensure proper starts without feeding vehicles buckets of floppy disks.
Rows of lofty wooden bookshelves sweep across $2 Buck Books, each packed with new and used books in a range of genres. Corridors of fiction and nonfiction books meander across the 4,000-square-foot shop, brimming with both hard and soft covers. The entire back corner of the store dedicates itself to romance novels, and a wall of children's books towers over child-sized chairs and tables. In addition to books, the store purveys a variety of DVDs, CDs, and records, along with Melissa & Doug children's puzzles. The store's exchange policy invites customers to trade in books or a sister's professionally bound diary in exchange for store credit, and its online Amazon store allows the shop to special order newer or rare selections.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.