2013 Best & Worst: Shopping & Services
ALB Tech's Adam Bell Photo by Matt Licari
Best Locally Made Clothing Item
Ledbury shirts
117 S. 14th St., (888) 233-1942

After local tailors design the haberdashery’s shirts in a downtown shop, Ledbury outsources production to small European factories. “We just go with who we think is making the best stuff,” co-founder Paul Trible says of the Italian-made garments. “We started the business in Europe, so a lot of the early relationships we built were European-based.”  
2. Shockoe Denim jeans
3. Artisan handbags & accessories

Best Car Dealer Customer Service
CarMax
11090 W. Broad St., 346-2277

The nation’s largest retailer of used cars keeps customers happy by sticking to a set, no-haggle price on their used vehicles. “For the past 20 years, we’ve been dedicated to giving our Richmond customers the easy, hassle-free car buying experience they trust and deserve,” says Mike Evans, general manager of the West Broad Street location.  
2. McGeorge Toyota
3. Lexus of Richmond

 

2013 Best & Worst

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Staffers' Picks

Best Yoga Instructor
Garland Hume, Bikram Yoga Richmond
3621 Cox Road, 249-3355; 3024 Stony Point Road, 330-3353

In addition to teaching and taking yoga classes every day, Hume competes in the United States Yoga Federation’s Yoga Asana Championships. “Sometimes when I’m training, I’ll be in the hot room eight hours a day just doing yoga,” Hume says of the studio that is heated to 105 degrees.
2. Nancy Glenmore Tatum, Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center
3. Tim Culley, Hot House Yoga

Best Fitness Center/Club
ACAC
11621 Robious Road, 378-1600; 2201 Old Brick Road, 464-0990

Less than a year after opening, membership at the West Broad Village location is more than 2,100. “Most other more established clubs membership levels operate at 4,500 to 5,000,” marketing director Wendy Greene says. “We’re close to already being halfway in just six months.”
2. Gold’s Gym
3. American Family Fitness

Best Computer Repair
ALB Tech
1208 W. Main St., 355-2491

ALB Tech owner Adam Bell says, “Richmonders have a serious problem with spilling coffee and beer on their expensive electronics.” So whether you fried your Macbook with PBR or just need help upgrading an old machine, ALB Tech can suss out the solution. They service Mac, PC, Linux and mobile devices, and most services are rendered in one day.
2. CapitolMac
3. Geek Squad/Best Buy

Best Real Estate Agent
Alex Glaser, Coldwell Banker
9701 Gayton Road, 740-6683

The young Realtor says starting his career in the middle of the housing market collapse was the key to his success. “I feel fortunate that I didn’t know any better,” the 2008 Virginia Tech graduate says. Glaser has sold more than 80 houses since 2009.
2. Jennie Barrett Shaw, Joyner Fine Propoerties
3. Shana Bloom, Compass Realty

Best Car Mechanic
Import Autohaus
11002-B W. Broad St., 747-5851; 6316 W. Broad St., 673-9171; 13941 Hull St., 739-0169

What’s the best way not to end up broken down on the side of the road? Co-owner Andy Neff recommends following your car’s maintenance schedule. “The manufacturers wrote them for a reason,” he says. The auto shop that has three Richmond locations specializes in imported vehicles. 
2. (Tie) Midas; Wallace Automotive
3. Virginia Import Services

Best Unisex Spa
Glow Med Spa
5109 Lakeside Ave.; 201 Towne Center West Blvd.; 3202 W. Cary St., 262-0330

Owner Shia Noth recommends the “Hydrating Macho Man” massage for guys who aren’t used to the spa setting. The 90-minute treatment includes cedar wood and ends with being wrapped in a warm blanket while a masseuse works on the shoulders, neck and scalp. 
2. Bombshell
3. Nesbit Salon

Best Environmentally Conscious Shop
Ten Thousand Villages
109 S. 14th St.; 3201 W. Cary St., 358-5170

Bicycle chains, chip bags and oil drums — these items might not be at the top of most wish lists, but at Ten Thousand Villages, they’re hot selling gifts. “The products are all made from environmentally responsible materials,” executive director Karin Taylor says of the bicycle-chain bracelets, chip-bag baskets and oil-drum wall art.  
2. Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market
3. Franklin Goose

Worst Store To Shop If You Hate Long Lines
Walmart

There’s another retailer that invites you to “ship your pants” for free, if you can’t find an item in the store, whether its pants or a bed. Walmart, on the other hand, has some of our readers willing to leave their pants behind rather than waiting out the cashier queue.
2. (Tie) Costco; MARTIN’s
3. Apple Store


Best Cigar Shop
Havana Connections
Visit havanaconnections.com for locations.

Thanks to Havana Connections, the film crew for Killing Kennedy didn’t have to sneak into Cuba. “They called us looking for a cigar, and we tried to explain what Kennedy smoked, which is Cuban,” owner George Koebel says. Cuban cigars are now illegal in the United States, but “we sold them cigars that are similar in size,” Koebel says.    
2. Mona Lounge
3. (Tie) Cigar Realm; Richmond Cigar Factory

Best Shop for Anniversary Gifts for Women
Schwarzschild Jewelers
11800 W. Broad St., 967-0800; 1200 Alverser Plaza, 344-0150; 3144 W. Cary St., 355-2136

Co-owner Lane Schiffman encourages women to put together a top-to-bottom list of favorite jewelry at the shop to eliminate the guessing game for their potential gift-givers. For a husband on the hunt,“ it’s almost like a menu,” Schiffman says. “He can order an appetizer, he can order an entrée or a full five-course meal.” 
2. Fink’s Jewelers
3. (Tie) Capri Jewelers; Vera’s Fine Jewelers

Best Place To Buy a Suit
Franco’s Fine Clothier
5321 Lakeside Ave., 264-2994; 11800 W. Broad St., 364-9400

After purchasing an Italian-made suit at the Richmond shop, hop on a plane to owner Franco Ambrogi’s bed-and-breakfast in Diecimo, Italy, to experience the real thing. “He ends up playing host to customers,” says son Mark Ambrogi.
2. (Tie) Jos. A. Bank; Men’s Wearhouse
3. Brooks Brothers

Best Place To Buy a Cocktail Dress
Lex’s of Carytown
3020 W. Cary St., 355-5425

Along with extending the shop to the unit next door last August, Lex’s doubled their line of cocktail dresses. “We’ve got over 1,000 square feet dedicated to cocktail wear,” owner Lisa McSherry says. The most popular summer look? “Short, baby doll-style dresses with beaded cap sleeves.”
2. Nordstrom
3. Saks Fifth Avenue

Best Bookstore To Find Local Authors
Chop Suey Books
2913 W. Cary St., 422-8066

The Carytown bookstore carries about 30 new and more than 50 used books by local authors. “We sell a lot to people who are visiting,” owner Ward Tefft says. “They come in here and take a piece of Richmond home with them.”
2. Fountain Bookstore
3. Barnes & Noble

Best Manicurist
Bombshell
10 S. Crenshaw Ave., 342-0051; 2243 Old Brick Rd., 360-0051

Despite the fact that manicures are done in an upstairs Tiki lounge outfitted with Elvis memorabilia at the salon’s Carytown location, owner Melissa Black says the new Short Pump location gets more traffic. “We’re so booked there that we’re looking to expand in the South Side near Brandermill by the spring,” she says. 
2. Atir Natural Nail Care Clinic
3. Beth Hammill, Nesbit Salon

Best Women’s Boutique
Pink
3158 W. Cary St., 358-0884

“We provide women with an individual and ever-evolving sense of style and confidence,” owner Libby Sykes said from the phone in New York City, where she was scouting Steven Allen and Rebecca Taylor showrooms. The Pink sales staff travels to California and Atlanta to buy products for the store as well. 
2. Need Supply Co.
3. It’s Chic Again! Consignment

Best Quick Gift Items
Mongrel
2924 W. Cary St., 342-1272

Over the course of 22 years, Mongrel has collected gifts for almost every occasion, but when they don’t have an exact match, they’ll improvise. Someone came in looking for a card to congratulate a friend on her recent boob job. Co-owner Stan McCulloch explains their solution: “We gave them a card from the baby section that said, ‘Congratulations On Your Twins!’ ”
2. Tweed
3. World of Mirth

Best Consignment Clothing Store
Clementine
3118 W. Cary St., 358-2357

The women’s consignment boutique celebrates 10 years in Carytown this year, and like the clothes on the sales floor, its stylish sensibility only gets better with time. “We have access to the best closets in metro Richmond — and even as far as D.C. and Virginia Beach,” co-owner Jane Crooks says.
2. It’s Chic Again! Consignment
3. The Hall Tree

Best Store Customer Service
Nordstrom
11812 W. Broad St., 364-6900

Nordstrom offers free half-hour appointments with personal stylists who will customize a shopping trip that fits your style and budget. After registering online, your new fashion-savvy friend will contact you within 24 hours to schedule a time and discuss your fashion needs. All you have to do is show up to a fully stocked dressing room and leave with a fabulous new look. 
2. Vera’s Fine Jewelers
3. It’s Chic Again! Consignment

Best Local App
NBC 12

In April, the local news station added live streaming to their breaking news and weather apps. “We’ve seen a huge uptick [of subscribers] as more people are turning to their mobile devices for live video,” director of new media Ray Daudani says, adding that the weather tracking component is the most popular.  
2. Elixir
2. Local Suds

Best Barre Classes
Corner Barre (formerly Local Barre)
3466 Lauderdale Drive, 360-3820

The core-intensive, non-impact workout draws from aspects of yoga, ballet and Pilates to develop long, lean muscles. “You’re doing toning, lifting and sculpting through muscle contractions rather than movement,” co-owner Bronwyn Lloyd Conway says of the classes that incorporate a ballet barre.
2. Richmond Barre
3. ACAC

Best Personal Trainer
Scott Williams, ACAC
11621 Robious Road, 378-1600; 2201 Old Brick Road, 464-0990

On June 4, the 50-year-old personal trainer was driving his Triumph Rocket III motorcycle home from a tennis match when he was T-boned on Robious Road. “I went flying,” Williams says, adding that he landed 30 feet from his totaled bike. Despite the impact of the crash, Williams only broke his wrist. “My strength saved my life,” he says.
2. David Neal, ACAC

Salespeople Best Suited To Implement a Wardrobe Makeover
Nordstrom
11812 W. Broad St., 364-6900

If you scored a new job or just have to look your best for a special event, allow Nordstrom at Short Pump to pamper you with their free clothing and cosmetic styling services. Nordstrom Reward cardholders also receive access to exclusive events and free alterations.
2. Need Supply Co.
3. Saks Fifth Ave.

Best Handbags
Coach
9200 Stony Point Parkway, 323-6722

After five years at Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe, Stuart Vevers was named as the new executive creative director at Coach in June. “Coach is an exceptional brand and company that I’ve long admired for its rich heritage,” Vevers told Women’s Wear Daily. “I am excited to drive Coach’s next stage of transformation.”
2. Nordstrom
3. (Tie) Artisan Handbags & Accessories; Saks Fifth Avenue 

Best Statement Jewelry Selection
Vera’s Fine Jewelers
16701 Midlothian Turnpike, 794-5671

Pink tourmalines and orange padparadscha sapphires are just a few of the vibrant gems at the Midlothian fine jewelry shop, but don’t let the candy colors mislead you. Co-owner Vera Caniglia says you won’t find anything synthetic in her shop. “We only carry natural stones,” she says.
2. Penelope
3. (Tie) Capri, Carreras, Francesa’s and Lex’s

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