2012 Best & Worst: Shops & Services
Readers' Picks
Photo by Isaac Harrell

Best Tattoo Shop

River City Tattoo
1128 N. Boulevard, 359-5252
Tattoo consumers — and in Richmond, voted third most tattooed city in the nation, there are a lot of them — are feeling patriotic these days. Traditional American tattoos and sleeves are in high demand, says Brad Douglas, an employee at River City Tattoo for five years.
2. Salvation Tattoo Gallery
3. Trademark Tattoo

Best Locally Owned Toy Store

World of Mirth
3005 W. Cary St., 353-8991
Since World of Mirth moved to its current Carytown location in 1999, General Manager Thea Brown says that when kids walk into the store, their eyes go wide and their jaws drop. “It’s not just the kids. Grown-ups react the same way,” she says. The shop is filled to bursting with amusements — from old-school robots to bizarre stuffed animals and novelty magnets. Why should kids get to have all the fun?
2. Toys That Teach
3. The Toy Center


For the complete list, pick up the August Best & Worst issue, on newsstands now.

AUgust cover

Best Real-Estate Agent

(Tie) Cabell Childress; George Cumming; 
Wayne Gauthier
Childress: 11225 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, 420-2145; Cumming: 511 N. Meadow St., 592-6736; Gauthier: 319 Maple Ave., 270-9440
“People are looking past the walls of the house to become part of a community,” says Cumming, an agent in and around the Fan for almost 10 years. Gauthier has worked mostly in South Side since 2004, and says buyers love outdoor attractions like the James River Park System. “Ninety-eight percent of our buyers are referrals or repeat clients,” says Childress, an agent here since 2001.

Best Locally Owned Shop for Cosmetics

Le Visage Makeup Boutique
3313 B W.  Cary St., 342-5867
Le Visage Makeup Boutique prides itself on offering product lines that are animal-cruelty free; and the shop notes that each product line has been “tested, worn and slept in” before making it to the shelves. The boutique, which recently changed locations within Carytown, also has the distinction of being Richmond’s only certified Xtreme Lashes styling center.
2. Merle Norman Cosmetics

Best Car Dealer

Lexus of Richmond
9703 Midlothian Turnpike, 323-8000
Patrons who use Lexus of Richmond’s service center can get free loaner vehicles or enjoy free coffee and pastries and use the dealership’s iPads while they wait. And while Lexus is known for its luxury cars, General Manager Tom Flood says the dealership has something extra special in stock at the moment: the Lexus LFA 2012, a super sports car with a top speed of 202 miles per hour (yours for only $380,000).
2. McGeorge Toyota
3. (Tie) Pearson Honda; West Broad Honda

Best Bridal Salon Experience

Bella Rosa Bridal and Special Occasions
3979 Deep Rock Road, 855-1000
Bella Rosa’s salon carries everything for the wedding party, from bridal gowns and tuxedos to mother-of-the-bride and flower-girl dresses. “We become a friend to the bride for however long their process takes,” says Manager Christine Podlesny. Bella Rosa separates the salon from the main shop to make the experience as quiet and stress-free as possible.
2. Tiffanys Bridal
3. Bridal Elegance

Best Women’s Boutique

3158 W. Cary St., 358-0884
This Carytown shop, co-owned by Libby Sykes and Deborah Boschen, has been cultivating a fun, welcoming atmosphere for more than 25 years. The owners attribute the ambiance to the passionate staff. “If you don’t have a happy staff, you won’t have a happy store,” says Sykes. Pink was recently chosen by Elle magazine as Virginia’s entry in its “50 States of Shopping” feature.
2. Monkee’s of Richmond
3. (Tie) Clementine; Penelope

Best Style Inspiration From In-store Mannequins

3158 W. Cary St., 358-0884
“We want to tell a story,” says Jaime Ridolphi, principal mannequin dresser at Pink. The Carytown boutique uses the best of the best from its stock to outfit the life-sized dolls. “We trust our intuition, and hopefully we inspire customers to think outside of the box,” Ridolphi says.
2. Bygones
3. Saks Fifth Avenue

Store That Treats Its 
Customers Like VIPs

11812 W. Broad St., 364-6900
For more than nine years, this Short Pump department store has been pampering loyal customers. “We have events that close the store to anyone but Nordstrom Rewards card owners, complete with a live band and refreshments,” says Manager Janessa Wentworth. Top-tier cardholders also have access to unlimited alterations. Nothing like a tailored wardrobe to make you feel like a VIP.
2. Saks Fifth Avenue
3. (Tie) Capri Jewelers; Tweed

MaryJo Myers-Battiston of Imago Photo by Isaac Harell

Best Hair Colorist

MaryJo Myers-Battiston, Imago
2602 W. Main St., 355-1040
Imago owner Myers-Battiston is certified by the American Board of Certified Haircolorists (she even passed the exam on her first try, a rare feat) and has continued to seek training and education throughout her 24 years in the craft. “A lot of color is perception, so 99 percent of it is figuring out what the person perceives,” she says.
2. Jennifer Mantura
3. Amber Skrzypek, Rituals Salon-Spa

Best Day Spa

Glow Med Spa
5109 Lakeside Ave. 262-0330; 201 Towne 
Center West Blvd., Suite 705, 360-1144
Owner Shia Noth says her theater background helped her create the atmosphere for the spas. “I like it when people have to leave their world and enter ours; it removes them from the stress of the day,” says Noth. Each location is designed around an elemental theme: earth in Lakeside and fire in Short Pump, achieved with lighting and other tricks.
2. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Day Spa & Hair Salon
3. Club West Med Spa

Best Bike Shop

Agee’s Bicycles
Visit agees.com for locations.
Agee’s has been serving Richmonders for more than 100 years. Whether it’s the catchy jingle on the commercials or the family environment of the stores, Agee’s has consistently been a go-to shop for both novice and experienced cyclists. “We really just enjoy the bikes, the technology and watching it all advance,” says owner Bill Agee.
2. Carytown Bicycle Co.
3. Conte’s Bicycle & Fitness Equipment

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