BOSJ2007 – Shops & Services

Best Clothing Store (Women) – Best Clothing Store (Men) – Best Second-Hand Store – Best Boat Tour – Best Laundromat – Best Bread – Best Shop For International Foods – Best Hair Stylist – Best CD Store – Best Musical Instrument Store – Best Mechanic – Best Computer Repair – Best Bookstore (New Or Used) – Best Bike Shop – Best Taxi Company – Best Optical Store – Best Video Store – Best Grocery Store – Best Alternative Work Out – Best Place To Exercise – Best Tattoo Studio – Best Airline for St. John’s Departures – Best Car Dealer – Best Veterinarian – Best Doctor – Best Dentist – Best Prof – Best Local Employer

To see the other sections, go to the Best Of index.

Best Clothing Store (Women)

Winner: Johnny Ruth
166 Water Street

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news: women’s clothing stores that stock stylish, unique and sensible clothes which fit properly and look fabulous are hard to come by. Shops that insist these clothes be made in accordance with labour standards set by the International Labour Organization are even harder to find. The good news is: the winner of this category is that store. BG

Runner Up: Twisted Sisters Boutik
Other: August & Lotta, Hempware, Envy, Melon, Posie Row, Urban Planet, and Winners.

Best Clothing Store (Men)

Winner: Melon
156 Water Street

Geoff Meadus started carving the interior of his orange store, like the interior of a cantaloupe. James and the Giant Peach? Geoff and the Giant Melon. Melon just opened up this year and has already cleaned up in the men’s category. I would expect no less from a store whose mantra is “fashion driven by art and music.” Fresh skins for the fashion-conscious, ranging from crisp, well-cut button shirts, to florals for the new age dandy, to the body conscious spare cut Euro lines. BG

Runner Up: Ballistic & Byron’s
Other: Chafe & Sons, Hostyle, Living Planet, Old Navy, Winners.

Best Second–Hand Store

Winner: Value Village
161 Kenmount Road

They’re a little pricier than they used to be, but their selection is better than it once was. Can’t complain. There’s much less junk to wade through before you find the good stuff. Once upon a time, a trip to Value Village was a bit of a crap shoot. These days, a decent pair of jeans and a pile of pre-worn Gap goods are sure things. My favourite ValVil feature? The miscellaneous bags of mystery against the far wall upstairs. Stationary, magnets, Christmas ornaments… brilliant. AP

Runner Up: Giving Tree
Other: “Sally Ann for my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hankies”, and Sandy’s.

Best Boat Tour

Winner: O’Brien’s Whale & Bird Tours
Bay Bulls, 753-4850

Sure, a tour in O’Brien’s 46-footer may reveal a plethora of farting humpback whales, but the real spectacle comes from the millions of sea-parrots, turrs, and tickle-asses which come to the area to feed, hang out, and make sweet love in the hot summer sun every year. If you don’t trust the folks who voted for O’Brien’s here, surely you’ll trust David Bowie: “this trip is the heart and colour of Newfoundland—thumbs up.” EL

Runner Up: SV Scademia Adventure Tours
Other: In a kayak. Local fishermen. Your own.

Best Laundromat

Winner: Mighty Whites

Laundromats are amazing places. Perfect strangers stand around, pretending that they’re not peeking at one another’s underthings. Bizarre. Mighty Whites is the laundry hub of downtown, where you can pretend you’re not peeking at the underthings of hipsters and local celebs! But, say your life is so very hectic that you can’t possibly stand around doing your own washing, the staff of Mighty White’s will do it for you for a modest fee. They’ll even fold your shirts and roll your socks, and they won’t look at you judgmentally when you drop off your garbage bag of sheets and towels and undies and such. No matter what the state is of your laundry, you can be sure they’ve seen worse. Which is some comfort at least. AP

Runner Up: Merrymeeting Laundromat
Other: A1 Video & Laundromat, Dirty Laundry, Super Suds, and “mom’s.”

Best Bread

Winner: Georgestown Bakery
60 Hayward Avenue

Naturally. Since establishing itself in the otherwise residential G-town ‘hood, the bakery has done nothing but seduce the population over and over again. The introduction of buttery, flaky croissants to the repertoire has caused a minor addictions problem among the pastry-eaters of St. John’s. When the croissants disappeared for a few weeks due to a staff illness, the town practically came to a stand-still.

And if you’ve ever walked past the bakery when they’re closed for their hard-earned summer holiday, you’ll find people standing outside looking adrift and rudderless. The Belgian bread is a popular item, but the country loaf is my favourite, hands-down. And if you can get over there in time for oven-fresh brioche on Wednesdays, you’ll be a happy person indeed. AP

Runner Up: Manna European Bakery & Deli
Other: “Auntie Crae’s…mmm,” “Bidgood’s (You buy it when it’s still hot!),” and Michel’s Bakery.

Best Shop for International Foods

Winner: Asian Variety Store
159 Water Street

Tina Chiu and Marcus Ma are the city’s go-to shopkeeps for east-Asian edibles. Sushi-makings, Thai and Vietnamese ingredients, and plenty of pre-fab exotic treats line the shelves. If you’re up for adventure, just walk in and ask what’s good. You might just come away with your new favourite snack. AP

Runner Up: Auntie Crae’s
Other: Food For Thought, International Flavours, Magic Wok Grocery, and Toya.

Best Hair Stylist

Winner: Tonya Pottle (Salon Icons)
115 Duckworth Street

Tonya has been in the biz for over 18 years, and has followed her scissors to locales like London and Montreal before finally resting here in St. John’s. Describing herself as equally experienced in coloring and cutting, she loves doing both.

“I love all aspects of hair cutting,” she says, “but especially dig cutting classic bobs.” BG

Runner Up: Tim Howard
Other: “I cut my own hair”, “I’m bald since I was a kid”, “Me mudder cuts me hair”, “No hair—no comment,” and “When you find him/her tell me!”

Best CD Store

Winner: Fred’s Records
198 Duckworth Street

In this age of the big-box stores and downloadability, Fred’s Records is still people’s first stop when they’re looking to buy music. If you’re seeking something local, Fred’s has it, and, if they don’t have it, they’ll know who to call. What makes Fred’s different than your average music shop is that it’s staffed almost entirely by musicians, and the non-musicians on the payroll are die-hard music fans who know what they’re talking about. And—check it out—they actually sell records. Like, vinyl, old-style ones you put a needle on. Now that’s not something you’ll find at the mall. AP

Runner Up: HMV
Other: CD Plus, iTunes, and Wal-Mart.

Best Musical Instrument Store

Winner: O’Brien’s Music Store
278 Water Street

If you’re planning next year’s mummering and are looking for an ugly stick to carry along with you, well, O’Brien’s has the largest selection you’ll find anywhere. Okay, nobody else has a selection of ugly sticks. And nobody else keeps a stock of accordions and bouzoukis like these guys do. St. John’s may be all urban and cool now, but we still love our traditional music. The staff at O’Briens have been at it forever—it’s the oldest store on the oldest street in the oldest city in North America, you know. That oughtta prove something. AP

Runner Up: Music City
Other: “I have yet to find one that can sell me a xylophone.”

Best Mechanic

Winner: Gerry Young (Kings Bridge Service Station)
Kings Bridge Road

Gerald Young, grandson of Harry Young (who opened King’s Bridge Service Station in 1941) is our readers’ pick for the second year in a row as Best Mechanic. What makes a great mechanic? Well, beyond being good at fixing cars, it usually boils down to the relationship someone has with their customers. Let’s face it, no one likes hearing that their car needs hundreds of dollars of work, but coming from a man like Gerry, you know he’s not being shifty—he’s giving you the real deal. “Most of my customers are the best kind of people,” he says—and it seems his customers think the same of him. EB

Runner Up: Lloyd at TJ’s Place
Other: “I pray to Jesus my car keeps working”, “Doc. He’s in Mount Pearl”, “Bike fixer-upper Michael Flaherty”, “The bike guy at Earle Industries”, “Rob Sexton (for bikes)”, and “Mike Trickett at Freeride—there’s nothing he can’t fix.”

Best Computer Repair

Winner: Avalon Software
26 O’Leary Avenue

So my desktop machine starts whining and humming, and I bring it in to Avalon Software. I say I probably need a replacement fan for my power supply ($40?) The guy behind the counter takes it out back, whips open the casing, takes a quick look, and comes back a minute later saying it’s just dust. He hands me a can of compressed air, I give him $6 for the can, I go home, ppst ppstt, and it’s fixed. EL

Runner Up: PC Medic
Other: “Hmm…my ex-boyfriend. I am currently recruiting a new computer repair boy”, “My husband”, “My nephew”, “Brudder”, and “Phil my ex-boyfriend who I am now sorta dating…it’s a long story.”

Best Bookstore (New or Used)

Winner: Afterwords
245 Duckworth Street

Another favourite puttering-around-downtown destination. Since it’s a used book shop, you never know what you’ll find there. The inventory ranges from paperback mysteries and romances to literary fiction and criticism. They have a section called “ologies”. If you’re looking for Newfoundland literature, it’s right there by the door, new on one side and used on the other. I invariably walk out of there with brocade-covered notebooks and wind-up toys in addition to whatever poetry collections and cookbooks I’m buying. AP

Runner Up: Chapters
Other: Bennington Gate, Granny Bates, Second Page, Time Masters, Downtown Comics, and “The Old Bookshop. It’s in CBS but it’s totally worth the drive.”

Best Bike Shop

Winner: Canary Cycles
294 Water Street

Knowledgeable staff and reasonable prices aren’t the half of it—the Canary crew are in it for the love of all types of cycling (road, mountain, and uni.) Who should you visit to get fitted for a helmet that actually fits your head? Canary. Who organizes weekly group cycles? Canary. Who does the city go to when they want to develop a system of bike routes? Canary. Between Canary and runner-up Bill’s Cycle Shop (FYI: Bill can fix anything) cyclists in this town are in good hands. SS

Runner Up: Bill’s Cycle & Sport Shop
Other: Cychotic, Earle Industries, and Freeride.

Best Taxi Company

Winner: Jiffy
722-2222

Recently, I had a loved one in the hospital and had to spend a lot of time in taxis going between St. Clare’s and my house. After a few days I figured I ought to give each of the cab companies their fair chance to woo me. The fine folks at Jiffy were quick, polite, chatty (but not intrusively so), and the cabs were plenty clean. It might not make a difference when you’re spilling into any old car at the end of a George Street drink-up, but when you’re zipping back and forth between home and Intensive Care, these little things matter. AP

Runner Up: Newfound Cabs
Other: “City-Wide (even though I still call them Gulliver’s,” “Co-op, unless you get that one guy who’s mean,” “The one by the courthouse where there’s only his car,” and “I hate all cab drivers.”

Best Optical Store

Winner: Vogue Optical (Churchill Square)

The second pair is still free, and the convenient Churchill Square location makes it the obvious choice for MUN students who have been squinting at library books and computer screens all day. My eyes! My eyes! AP

Runner Up: Marion Optical (“She’s the fucking best, supplying art-school glasses to da masses.”
Other: “Bob.”

Best Video Store

Winner: Capitol Video
134 Military Road

Once again, the sketchy, signless building and most mysterious cataloguing system win out over bright lights and computerized searches. You know what Capitol Video has than nobody else does? Tapes! VHS tapes! If you’re the kind of change-averse individual who clings to magnetic technology and refuses to let go of that old VCR, you’re in heaven at Capitol Video. So many classics, mainstream and obscure, in their faded jackets, crammed in any old section of the store. It’s wonderful. And, of course, the selection of DVDs is up-to-date with an emphasis on things indie. If you’re not sure what you want, ask Tim there behind the desk—he’s just past the empty coffee cups and months-old newspapers. He’ll tell you what’s good. AP

Runner Up: Blockbuster Video
Other: Allan’s, Jumbo, Rogers, Strictly Adult Video, and “They all banned me for late movies.”

Best Grocery Store

Winner: Belbin’s Grocery
85 Quidi Vidi Road

64-year-old Belbins, in addition to having a fantastic selection of both local treats and European delights (Walkers Oatcakes anyone?), offers a line of super fresh or frozen homemade meals—called “Dinner’s Ready”—prepared by their very own cooks. They have a cheese club! And they also deliver! You can order groceries from their website! A lot of love has been packed into this very special food shop on Quidi Vidi Road. Interestingly enough, this small, independent, locally-owned grocery store (Belbins) came in ahead of the ginormous, still-newish Blackmarsh Road mega-Dominion (our runner-up). Is there room in our kitchens for both? EM

Runner Up: Dominion (Blackmarsh)
Other: “Food For Thought in summer when they’re stuffed with veggies,” “They’re all the same.”

Best Alternative Work Out

Winner: Hiking

No nouveau-yoga-pilates combo, no made-up martial arts. Sensible, down-to-earth hiking. With paths like the East Coast Trail and unending coastline to follow just out of town, why would you do anything else? All you need is a good pair of boots, a buddy, and maybe a sense of direction. Perhaps this suggests that people here are the sorts who would rather wander off on their own than follow the spandex-clad leader. Or maybe we just truly enjoy some good time outdoors. AP

Runner Up: Yoga
Other: “Belly dancing,” “Bense pilates,” “Berry picking,” “Chasing after my cat,” “Cheerleading,” “Dancing all night,” “Dodging traffic,” “Doing it,” “Hiking,” “Walking around Signal Hill while smoking seven cigarettes,” “Holloway Street,” “Trying to visit everyone you know on foot in a day in St. John’s,” “Masturbation isn’t that much of an alternative when it’s daily, is it?”, “Hula hooping,” “Irish dancing,” “Urban pole walking,” “Wallnuts,” and “Sex: cardio and stretching.”

Best Place to Exercise

luigi, bruce and samantha (R-L) of nubody’s atlantic place

Winner: Nubody’s Fitness Centre (Atlantic Place)

The downtown facility is extremely well put together, the classes, instructors and equipment are first rate, and the staff at the front desk always ask “have a good workout?” as you’re leaving. Did I mention the view? No, no, not the sun setting on the Southside hills. (Whatever.) I’m talking about looking down on all those hipsters hanging outside Hava Java, drinking their creamy cappuccinos and eating their buttery scones. As you grind into that final gut-wrenching, thigh-igniting sprint of your Friday night spin class you can embrace the smugness. You’ve earned it. JC

Runner Up: The great outdoors.
Other: “In the reflection of the Scotia Building”, “Running the stairs by Mile One”, “In a room full of people in spandex, apparently.”

Best Tattoo Studio

Winner: Trouble Bound Studio
132A Water Street

Sitting with some friends the other day discussing what constitutes a good tattooing experience, we decided that aside from technical skill and cleanliness, a really awesome tattooist is also often a good listener, willing to interpret someone’s ideas and translate them onto their skin. Like any relationship, simpatico compatibility is important. Our most colourful St. John’s residents have once again voted Trouble Bound Best Tattoo Studio. While several much-admired tattoo artists have come and gone over the years, Dave Munro and his staff—along with piercer Craig Cutler—still maintain their stellar reputation. EM

Runner Up: Studio Maxx
Other: “Signal Hill Tattoo.”

Best Airline for St. John’s Departures

Winner: WestJet
Westjet.ca

Golly. With the plethora of choices in air travel, however did you ever narrow it down to two? The last time I flew WestJet, the flight attendant spouted off the safety announcement with the humor, charm and wit of a stand up comic, soothing my normally panicked state during take-off. This airline has a friendly, family-owned feeling about it—perhaps due to the fact that over 80% of WestJet employees own shares in the company so it’s in their best interest to actually care about the way their customers are treated (ie, not like leprosy-ridden pariahs whose fault it is that their flight got cancelled on Christmas Eve. Ahem.) JC

Runner Up: Air Canada
Other: “Carnell’s, but it only goes one way.”

Best Car Dealer

Winner: Tom Woodford (Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge)
46 Kenmount Road

“Cars, big or small, Tom Woodford has them all, so if you’re looking for a car, go see Tom!” Am I the only one who’s had that stuck in my head for years? Whether it was the jingle that drew people in or not, Tom Woodford has many loyal customers who voted him best car dealer. If you’re looking for a honkin’ big Dodge Ram, or an unusual PT Cruiser, or just want to browse for a used car, now you know who you can go see. EB

Runner Up: Hickman Motors (Bert Hickman)
Other: “Doug…shit forget his last name…drives for Jiffy”, “I’d totally hit that guy on the channel ads”, “No car”, “No idea”, and “No.”

Best Veterinarian

Winner: Jens Martin (St. John’s Veterinary Hospital)
335 Freshwater Road

My friends—proud new owners of a German Sheppard puppy—say “[Martin is] very thorough, but laid back at the same time… answering our million questions, while not making us feel like spazzes.” A comment on the hospital’s online guestbook reads, “Dr. Martin is God’s gift to animals.” Listen up critters, the doctor is in. BG

Runner Up: Jack Kivlichan (Avalon Animal Hospital)
Other: “The doctors at Torbay Road Animal Hospital. They saved a cat named Killer once”

Best Doctor

Winner: Dr. Jillian Parsons
39 Campbell Avenue

Doctor Jillian Parsons is a General Practitioner who treats it all: from the acute to the chronic, from your toes to your nose. BG

Runner Up: Heather Woodland
Other: “Dr. Lee,” Dr. Ian Marshall, Dr. Aaron McKim, and Dr. Patrick O’Shea.

Best Dentist

Winner: Dr. Gillian Peters
101 Lemarchant Road

According to Statistics Canada, Newfoundlanders are the least likely in all of Canada to visit the dentist. If worry is your limiting factor, don’t fret, Gillian Peters will ease your fear and your pain. BG

Runner Up: Dr. Kip McCarthy
Other: “Dr. Barker at First Street Dental—he is dreamy”, “Not mine :(“, “Snake oil salesmen! All of them!”, and “Who has actually sampled them all?”

Best Prof

Winner: Robin Whitaker (MUN Anthropology)

In the short number of years Robin has spent teaching in the Anthropology department at MUN, she’s gained quite a following of students. Making the strange familiar and the familiar strange, her courses make you think outside the box. She’s inspires her students to think critically and engage with the world in meaningful ways. When Robin accepted her award for best prof at The Scopies, her acceptance speech was “it’s ‘cause I have such great students.” I have to pull a chicken and egg here: which happened first, Robin’s students being great, or Robin making them into great students? EB

Runner Up: Shane O’Dea (MUN English)
Other: 102 different teachers were nominated in this category. Congratulations to all of you!

Best Local Employer

Winner: Rob Collins (Hava Java)

It’s great to know that the best place to hang out in town is also the place run by the best boss. If you spend some time at Hava, you’ll see Rob jumping in to sling cappuccinos along with the rest of the crew when needed, and you’ll get a sense of how well everyone works together. When Rob accepted his award at the Scopies, he attributed his success to his amazing staff, but you have to be a pretty special manager to get a crowd as great as the Hava Java staff together.

“I’ve been working at Hava Java on and off for almost two years now, and it’s something I look forward to after a semester or two on the mainland,” says dedicated HJ employee Matthew Furlong. “I laugh more during one week behind the counter than I do during three months anywhere else, and I really believe that Rob’s got a talent for getting the kind of people who can establish that kind of environment. He’s a genuinely good man who sees the good in other people and makes the most of that goodness. Excellent job; wonderful co-workers; best boss I could ask for.” AP

Runner Up: Dave Hopley (Living Planet / What’s Upstairs)
Other: “Costco.”