BEST BOUTIQUE (CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES):
Ignorance is bliss? Maybe. But so is knowledge. For instance, we know that Bliss on Market Square has an abundance of cute clothes and adorable accessories.
Bliss is located on the northeast side of Market Square, just across the street from its home store counterpart. The store sells all kinds of hip merchandise, ranging from greeting cards and gift books to clothing and accessories.
It's that bohemian chic fashion that makes us especially, um, blissful. Find handbags, handcrafted earrings, skinny jeans, sweaters, iron-ons that will make dazzling baby onesies, even a stylish apron with a skull and crossbones. The lineup is constantly changing, so if you don't see something you like (yeah, right), come back in a week and you will.
Runners-up: The Silk Purse, Talbots
BEST CHILDREN'S CLOTHING:
THE CHILDREN'S PLACE
Children have a love-hate relationship with clothes. Some of parents' biggest battles are waged over a child not wanting to wear a certain outfit, or, let's face it, not wanting to wear clothing at all. A nekkid kid streaking through a front lawn in the summer isn't an uncommon site.
Hopefully The Children's Place will make those battles a little easier. The Children's Place runs 909 stores in North America, several of them right here in East Tennessee. The company specializes in children's merchandise, from newborns through age 14. Each shop organizes clothing by the requirements of newborns (sizes 0-12 mos.), baby girls and boys (sixes 6 mos.-4T), and boys and girls (sizes 4-14). Plus, with Halloween near, The Children's Place will outfit children as colorful pirates, monsters, giraffes or fairies.
Runners-up: Kohl's, Crenshaw Children's Shop
BEST CONSIGNMENT STORE:
Do you really need new clothes? Or will a like-new outfit make you look just as stunning for a fraction of the cost?
Repeat Boutique is a West Knoxville store selling ladies clothes that are secondhand, but don't look it. If you're looking to sell, bring your clothing in clean, pressed and on a hanger. Consignments are accepted from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, and Saturday by appointment. You may want to call (865) 531-8200 first, as the store accepts different items depending on the season.
Repeat Boutique selection of designer clothing, includes brands like Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi, Gap and Duckhead, not to mention the orange clothing of a certain sports team. Shoes are also sold, as well as purses, hats and accessories.
Runners-up: Planet X-Change, Knox Area Rescue Ministries
BEST SHOE STORE:
Women have so many shoes because they have so many obligations. There's a time for elegance and a time for simplicity. There's a time for lounge-around-the-house comfort and a time for business casual. There's a time for running six miles and a time for hiking 16 miles. You'd dress in different clothing in all those situations. Why would you wear the same pair of shoes?
Dillard's is a retail department store that carries shoes for every occasion. Look attractive in some imported red and black Donald J Pliner "Vika" boots with leather lining, a lightly padded footbed and a three-inch heel. Or walk the Great Smoky Mountains with some Merrell "Chameleon Arc Traveler" with their Q-Form triple-density compression-molded EVA footframe and traction-packed Vibram Chameleon Arc outsole for traction.
Runners-up: Off Broadway Shoes, Coffin Shoe Company
BEST DEPARTMENT STORE:
The late comedian Mitch Hedberg once quipped, "I walked into Target, but I missed." That really has nothing to do with anything, but it's funny, huh?
At Target, they don't miss. They probably couldn't even if they tried.
There's every probability that Target has everything on your list. You can pick up a new pair of Adriano Goldschmied Low-Rise Flare Jeans, a copy of "New Moon" to reread before the movie comes out, a release of the anthology horror movie "Trick r Treat," groceries for the week, candy for sneaking into the movie theater, a new laundry hamper and motor oil. You can likewise get your prescriptions filled, purchase something on your friend's wedding registry, sign up for your own baby registry, and down a seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte from the in-house Starbucks. You may even finish before noon on a Saturday morning.
Runners-up: JCPenny, Dillard's/Kohl's (tie)
BEST WOMEN'S CLOTHING STORE:
The clothing you choose tells something about you. It's a personal statement, reflecting your style and attitude. It reveals your confidence and comfort, and ultimately shows the world how you feel about yourself.
Kohl's wants to make sure the statement your making is an accurate expression of who you are inside. Whether you're older or younger, petite or plus-sized, casual or formal, Kohl's is a specialty department store with everything from Simply Vera Vera Wang skinny jeans to ELLE shirred<0x00A0>floral dresses. Throw in shoes, jewelry and accessories, and you'll have a new outfit that makes you look as beautiful as you feel.
Runners-up: Dillard's, Belk
BEST MEN'S CLOTHING STORE:
M.S. McClellan has been a Knoxville tradition for more than 40 years. Originally known as Hansom House, Matt McClellan's first store opened in the University of Tennessee business district on Cumberland Avenue. The exclusive clothing store moved to West Town Mall in 1972, and later to its current location on Kingston Pike in 1987.
Despite the growth and changes, M.S. McClellan has remained a supplier of fine clothing for discerning dressers. The majority of the merchandise found there cannot be found in other area stores. The clothing will cost more than you might find in other retail shops, but when you're dealing with quality, it's going to be extra.
In addition to the sales of clothing, M.S. McClellan also offers tailoring, reweaving and tie saving services.
Runners-up: Belk, Dillard's
BEST JEWELRY STORE:
MARKMAN'S DIAMONDS AND FINE JEWELRY
For millennia, monuments have been constructed to commemorate important people, places and events. The ancient Israelites used monuments to remember covenants made between them and their god, tombs were constructed in Egypt to memorialize the dead, and statues have been erected in the United States to remember those instrumental in the fight for independence from the British.
When you think of it, jewelry is kind of like a monument for your fingers or ears. Jewelry can remind you of the promise of marriage, a special birthday, or a guy you're really glad to have dumped.
Markman's is a locally owned, independent jewelry store. The jewelers there know how to help you make an informed choice about diamonds, pearls, birthstones and time pieces. Markman's will help you with custom sizing, mounting, repairing an old setting, or with an inspection or cleaning. Most store associates are certified as "Diamontologists" by the Diamond Council of America, a title earned by completing a 21 lesson course and taking a final exam.
Runners-up: Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Bliss
The best thing about working a regular nine to five job is having a normal life, where you get up in the morning, go to work and come home at the end of the day. The worst part is dealing with other businesses that are only open from nine to five. Seriously, are we supposed to take a day off of work so we can run errands?
First Tennessee solves that problem by having convenient Saturday hours, as well as opening at 8:30 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. There's also free checking, free online banking, free online bill pay, and half a zillion bricks and mortar locations and ATMs in the East Tennessee area.
It's not a bad place to work either. First Tennessee is also the bank brand of First Horizon National Corp., which has been recognized as the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace in Tennessee, and as one of the nation's best employers by "AARP" and "Working Mother" magazines.
Runners-up: Pinnacle National Bank, American Trust Bank
BEST CREDIT UNION:
ORNL FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
When you join a bank, you're a customer. When you join a credit union, you're a member. That may sound like semantics, but it can make all the difference.
At ORNL Federal Credit Union, when you join, you're a part owner of the enterprise. You won't get your own parking spot, but you'll have access to better interest rates and fewer fees. Your savings will also be federally insured up to at least $250,000. If you live, work, worship or attend school in one of 16 East Tennessee counties, you're eligible to enroll.
So remember, when your friends are complaining about how the bank charged them this fee or upped the interest rate that much, be thankful that at ORNL Federal Credit Union, you're a person, not a profit source.
Runners-up: Knoxville TVA Employee's Credit Union, Y-12 Federal Credit Union
BEST DOGGIE DAYCARE:
People who have pets really love those animals. You can tell because they never stop talking about them. It's as if those folks had furry little children running around chewing up furniture and using the bathroom in the dryer. But those furry children are sooooooooooooo cute! Yes they are!
Ahem. Anyways, PetSafe Village is a Pet Care Services Association (formerly known as ABKA or American Boarding Kennel Association) accredited facility with 24 hour a day, seven days a week drop off and pick up. Pets get playtime, exercise, grooming, bathing, heated floors, high quality food, luxury housing, even suites. Yes, it's nicer than your house.
If you're a returning customer, you can even visit www.petsafevillage.com to make an online reservation for your pet. There are Web cams, too, so you can check on things while you're away.
Runners-up: Paws & Claws, Happy Yap Doggie Day Camp
BEST DRY CLEANER:
These days it seems as though everyone is worried about the environment. Ice caps are melting, animal species are dying and forests are disappearing at a rapid rate.
Prestige Cleaners is helping us clean up our act. The dry cleaning service recycles hangers and the plastic garment bags used for packaging customer's serviced products. All cleaning agents are used and disposed of according to environmental standards to prevent harming the purity of air and water. Prestige Cleaners is also active in the community, sponsoring such events as Coats for the Cold, Ronald McDonald House, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Knoxville.
Throw in free pickup and delivery, shoe repair, disaster restoration, and alterations and you've got a business that thinks both globally and locally.
Runners-up: Executive Cleaners, U.S. Cleaners
BEST TATTOO/PIERCING PARLOR:
Knoxville's Saint Tattoo is part art gallery, part doctor's office, and part shrine to Catholic Saints and Eastern deities. There's art everywhere, and an abundance of statues, but the facility is also so sterile you could, to quote your mother, "eat off the floor."
Saint Tattoo employs a staff of reputable artists that have extensive training (each artist has served an apprenticeship with a licensed artist) in their own field. Tattoo artists tattoo, piercers pierce, and that's all there is to it.
If it's your first time getting a tattoo or piercing, you'll feel especially at ease. The artists talk you through every step of the process, explaining what will happen and how it will feel, as well as how to administer aftercare when you take your new fleshy canvas home. It's a bedside manner that will keep you coming back for more.
Runners-up: Wicked Ink Tattoo & Body, Integrity Tattoo
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY:
AAA EAST TENNESSEE
How about a cheap vacation? Maybe a leisurely cruise down to the Western Caribbean? Guess what? There's one leaving for seven days on Nov. 1 from Miami. What are you waiting for? Go!
AAA East Tennessee will book your entire excursion, starting with your flight to and from Florida, any hotel accommodations you'll need before and after, not to mention the luxurious boat ride itself. Soon you'll be sunbathing in November, interacting with monkeys in Belize, snorkeling in Cozumel and setting your alarm for 4:30 a.m. just so you can devour more all-you-can-eat pizza on your 110,000 ton sailing vessel. By the end of the week, at least one of those tons will be you.
Runners-up: World Travel, The Travel Authority
BEST WIRELESS PHONE SERVICE:
U.S. Cellular has a program called Battery Swap. If your battery has lost its charge, visit a U.S. Cellular retail outlet and trade your dead battery for a new fully charged one. For free. Simple as that.
That's one of many services U.S. Cellular offers its customers. There's also My Contacts Backup, free incoming calls and free incoming texts, and free nights and weekends starting at 7 p.m.
U.S. Cellular is also committed to communities. Earlier this year, the company funded more than $50,000 worth of classroom projects at schools in Tennessee through its Calling All Teachers program. Heritage High School in Maryville and Bearden High School in Knoxville each won $100,000 through the Calling All Communities program. Beginning Nov.13, U.S. Cellular will again donate $100,000 each to 10 schools in the country. So, you know, if your school likes free money, you might want to look into that. Hint hint.
Runners-up: Verizon Wireless, AT & T Wireless
BEST BICYCLE SHOP:
You often hear angry motorists complaining about bicycles and telling them to get off the road. The logic seems to be that roads were built for cars, not bikes. But as local writer Jack Neely pointed out in his "Secret History" column earlier this year, bicycles were using Knoxville roads 30 years before cars were. So remember to tell that to the next whiny driver who blows her horn at you, right before she runs you over.
Then, when you need a new bike to replace the flattened one, visit Biketopia. Located in the Halls area of North Knoxville, this shop is a paradise for cyclists, both the hardcore type that bike across Iowa, and the more casual sort that rides once or twice a year at the park. Operated by people who are themselves cyclists, Biketopia is the place to go for a new bike, accessories, or a mere tune-up.
Biketopia also has a Bianchi 928 Carbon road bike and a Sok 29" mountain bike available for rental. Take them for a test ride. If you like it, make a bike purchase and the rental cost will be refunded.
Runners-up: Greenlee's Bike Shop, Bike Zoo
MCKAY USED BOOKS & CDS
East Tennessee's favorite used bookstore is also its favorite bookstore. Maybe that's because the idea of paying full price for something when you can get a perfectly acceptable secondhand copy seems a bit silly.
It could also be that McKay has a tremendous selection of hardback, paperback, fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, children's books, young adult books, graphic novels and more. Aisle guides will point you to the general vicinity of where you need to go, and from there you'll find yourself hunting literary treasure.
Besides all those books, McKay has CDs, audio books, DVDs, video games and now even vinyl. You know, so that when you get tired of reading you'll have a backup plan.
Runners-up: Borders Bookstore, Barnes & Noble
BEST USED BOOK STORE:
MCKAY USED BOOKS & CDS
Some bookstores are the sort of places you go to drink coffee while you read a book that you pretend you're going to buy. Either that or you go in with a specific purchase in mind and come out with that book.
McKay Used Books is not that bookstore. Rather, McKay is a place you go to browse. It's a gigantic warehouse with musty and like-new books crammed into tall wooden bookcases, all grouped under the pretense of alphabetization. Ideally you'll need a few hours. Go in, wander and meander, sift through books and find a terrific surprise. You're almost guaranteed to have an "Oh look, there's a copy of (fill in the blank)!)" moment. That's half the fun.
Runners-up: Book Eddy, Mr. K's Used Books
BEST CONVENIENCE STORE:
See if this sounds familiar. You have friends coming over for dinner in an hour. Your wife has started preparing dinner when she realizes, "Spoiled milk!" Suddenly you find yourself speeding toward the grocery store in a panic.
Your options are clear: spend 20 minutes at the grocery store dodging people who just got off work, and then standing in line because two cashiers called in "sick" and there are 500 people in two checkout lanes, or make a quick dash for Weigel's.
Weigel's makes life easy. There are nearly 50 Weigel's stores in a 50-mile radius from its headquarters in Powell. That means there's one near you. It also means you can fill up your gas tank, get a hot cup of coffee, and stock up on essential grocery items like Weigel's no-fat Skim D Lite milk, all at the same time.
Runners-up: Pilot Travel Centers, Pratt's Country Store
BEST EYEWEAR SHOP:
Things you can do in one hour: make chicken noodle soup. Take a nap. Wash your car. Write a story. Learn to juggle. Watch two episodes of "The Office." Make whoopee with your husband 12 times. Get new glasses at LensCrafters.
LensCrafters was opened in 1983 on the retail principle that its customers could get a new pair of eyeglasses in about one hour. The goal was, and continues to be, convenience coupled with quality optometry and a sizeable selection of stylish glasses. Schedule your annual eye exam, pick out some new frames and see your life a little more clearly. If you hate your choice, you've got 30 days to exchange or return them for a full refund.
Runners-up: Dr. Bizer's VisionWorld, Clancy Optical Company
BEST BATH PRODUCT BOUTIQUE:
BATH AND BODY WORKS
We're all for recognizing equality between men and women. And we're all for realizing that certain likings and dispositions characterized as being masculine or feminine are stereotypes. There are lots of straight women who play football and know how to change their own oil. There are plenty heterosexual men who can't get enough of baking and knitting.
That said Bath and Body Works is a pretty girly store.
That's OK. As a whole, more women than men enjoy feeling soft and smelling like brown sugar and figs. Bath and Body Works offers the chance to smell and coat oneself with lotions, creams, soaps, scrubs and balms. The classic line is popular; you've seen its shower gel, body lotion and body splashes in dozens of scents, ranging from Coco Cabana to Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. But regardless, if you can soak or bathe in it and it smells amazing, you'll find it at Bath and Body Works.
And if you're a guy, buy all the foot scrub you want. Or they have a line of Guy's Grooming Essentials, perfect for shaving, showering and whitening your teeth.
Runners-up: Bath Junkie, Victoria's Secret
STANLEY'S GREENHOUSES AND PLANT FARM
Vegetable gardening is becoming more popular. For some it's a desire to make life more sustainable and food production more localized. For others it's a way to reduce grocery bills.
Stanley's Greenhouse offers many different vegetable varieties. New to 2009 were Green Coment Broccoli, Gretal, Raveena and Thai Long Green Eggplants, Honey Bear and Spaghetti Squash, Crimson Sweet and Sugar Baby Watermelon, and Butter Bush, Green Zebra, Striped Roman and Principe Borghese Tomatoes.
Even before there was a Stanley's Greenhouse, the land at its South Knoxville location was used for agriculture. The Davenport-Stanley family was one of Knox County's largest wheat producers. Later the family grew produce and cut flowers. Today the focus is on horticulture, so you can grow shrubs, perennials and vegetables in your own backyard. Stanley's will help you with the plants, the supplies and taking care of them once they're in the ground.
Runners-up: Mayo Garden Center, Home Depot
BEST GOLF STORE:
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS
No one should fail to make par, or find themselves trapped in a sand pit whacking and spraying dirt, just because they couldn't pull off a proper drive. If you agree, post this as your Facebook status for the rest of the day. No, scratch that, visit Dick's Sporting Goods for some new golf gear.
Dick's Sporting Goods has golf paraphernalia guaranteed to improve your performance or to get you started in the first place. Purchase a full set of clubs for men, women or younger players in a range of prices, or find individual irons, putters and wedges. Stock up on bags, carts, footwear or training aids. Dick's is part of the PGA Trade-In Network, too, which means you can bring in your used clubs for a trade-in value towards new clubs.
See if that doesn't keep you out of the sand next time.
Runners-up: Dale's Winning Edge Golf Headquarters, Edwin Watts Golf
BEST LIQUOR STORE:
BOB'S PACKAGE STORE
Big selection is one of those things that anyone can claim. But in Bob's Package Store's case, they really do have the most cases of liquor.
Located near West Town Mall, Bob's Package Store carries over 3,200 wines and more than 1,700 spirits. The store is East Tennessee's volume leader, and the third largest such establishment in the state. If for some reason you can't find the perfect Chardonnay or gin, they'll help you track it down.
Bob's Package Store is also generously involved in the local area, and supports nearly five dozen community and non-profit organizations. We'll definitely drink to that.
Runners-up: Ashe's Wine & Spirits, McScrooge's Wines & Spirits
BEST MOTORCYCLE DEALER:
SMOKY MOUNTAIN HARLEY-DAVIDSON & BUELL
A car is a convenient way to get around, but it's also a stuffy way to get around. Much better is to get out on the breezy highway with some speed before winter finally comes calling.
Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson & Buell is a biker's bike company. There are two full dealerships in Maryville and Pigeon Forge, not to mention a retail shop in Gatlinburg. Stop by to have your oil changed, as well as your fluids, chains, cables and belts checked. Sign up for instruction classes if you're still new to riding. Then make your way to the Tail of the Dragon for 318 consecutive banked curves in 11 miles. Finish up by having your bike winterized back at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson.
Runners-up: Harley-Davidson Knoxville, Honda of Knoxville
BEST OUTDOOR OUTFITTERS:
BASS PRO SHOP
The best thing about Bass Pro Shop is that its Web site lists the retail outlet's GPS coordinates (35.9857<0x00BA>N, 83.6133<0x00BA>W). You know you have a serious outdoors store when management thinks you can track the store down simply using global positioning.
The second best thing about Bass Pro Shop is that you could track the store down using the equipment you purchase there. Bass Pro will set you up with all the gear necessary for a cross country trek to the Sevierville area: waterproof hiking boots, tent, sleeping bag, dried meats, bullets, bows, arrows, rod and reel, kayak, waterproof clothing and, of course, a handheld GPS unit.
Runners-up: Mast General Store, River Sports Outfitters
BEST PET SUPPLY STORE:
Adopting a pet for the first time means you'll need supplies. Lots of supplies. Even if you acquire a low maintenance fish like a Betta, you'll need a bowl, water treatment solution to neutralize the chlorine and chloramines in tap water, plus some tasty pellets for the little fellow to nibble. Dogs and cats need even more equipment.
PetSmart has all kinds of gear to meet those pet needs. The store has food, bedding, toys, prescription food for animals with special diets. Some locations even have pet adoptions, grooming, training, boarding and veterinary assistance. It's a regular one-stop pet kind of shop.
Runners-up: Agri Feed Pet Supply, Pet Supplies Plus
BEST POOL/SPA RETAILER:
CAMPBELL'S POOL & SPA
Having your own spa or hot tub may seem like a luxury item. But it's also good for your health. Spas combine heat, buoyancy and massage. Together these factors increase circulation, and reduce joint pressure and muscle pain. A hot tub can improve quality of life for those who suffer from insomnia, diabetes and arthritis.
Campbell's Pool & Spa operates a parts and service department and complete retail store in Knoxville, and a smaller satellite location in Lenoir City. The stores carry a range of chemicals, pool games, toys and pool accessories. The Knoxville location also has a water garden with Custom Gunite, Fiberglass, Vinyl Liner and Above Ground Pools, so you can see a variety of different pools in a simulated setting. Also check out the mood room, where you can take a relaxing test soak in a spa.
Runners-up: The Pool Place, Aurora Pool Spa & Billiard Gallery
BEST RECORDED MUSIC STORE:
THE DISC EXCHANGE
It's no secret that the past few years have been difficult ones for stores that sell recorded music. The popularity of digital music naturally means that people are spending less on music that has a physical component. But that doesn't mean that The Disc Exchange is a broken record store.
Located in South Knoxville, just over the Henley Street Bridge, this independent shop has been selling music for more than 20 years. The Disc Exchange has new and used vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, as well as music magazines, T-shirts and posters. Releases from mainstream, independent and local artists are all in stock. A recent trip scored copies of discs by David Bazan, Solillaquists of Sound, Derek Webb, Yo La Tengo and Royal Bangs. There's also the occasional in-store performance by the likes of Tenderhooks, The Rockwells, or some band named Wilco.
Runners-up: Best Buy, Cat's Music
BEST WINE STORE - VARIETY:
ASHE'S WINES & SPIRITS
New residents to Tennessee will be surprised to learn that you won't obtain wine in grocery stores in this state. Beer, yes, but not wine. Undoubtedly this makes sense to lawmakers in Nashville, but it's hard to explain to out-of-state friends why they have to go to the "liquor store" to purchase something that isn't "liquor."
Fortunately East Tennesseans don't need grocery stores for wine. They have Ashe's Wines & Spirits in Bearden. Ashe's has a large selection of wines, so large that it's a bit intimidating. The staff knows its grapes, though, so if you have an idea of the wine experience you're after (or even if you don't), they'll assist you with your purchase. Wines come from all over the world, including Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. Select Blush, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel, port or sherry, among many other types. You'll finish feeling more knowledgeable, cultured and ready to throw a dinner party.
Runners-up: Bob's Package Store, Campbell Station Wine & Spirits
BEST FITNESS CENTER:
YMCA OF EAST TENNESSEE
Exercising is a lot more enjoyable when you can do so while humming 70s disco songs and daydreaming about dancing construction workers and bikers.
Also enjoyable is doing so at the actual YMCA. Nationwide there are more than 2,600 YMCAs responding to critical needs in the community and putting "Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all."
Each YMCA in the East Tennessee area offers a variety of exercise programs and workout equipment. The downtown Knoxville location, for example, has a gymnasium, squash court, indoor heated lap pool, indoor running track, treadmills, rowing machines, and men's and women's saunas and steam rooms. Farragut has free weights, elliptical machines, bicycles, a climbing wall, two aerobics studios, yoga and massage therapy. There's even a scholarship program for those who can't afford the cost of membership.
Runners-up: CrossFit Ktown, The Rush Fitness Complex
BEST HAIR AND BEAUTY SALON:
A Salon Visage haircut is a commitment to beauty and self esteem. All incoming hairstylists at Salon Visage participate in a rigorous education program, which includes weekly in-house classes and visits by celebrated guest hairdressers and colorists. Salon Visage also sponsors further instruction throughout the year, like a trip to Vidal Sassoon Academy in California, or a two-day seminar each August called Education 4 Excellence.
This commitment to excellence and continuing education makes all the difference, especially when you want to look your best. Consultations are free and need no appointment, but you'll want to book ahead for other services. Stop by for a quality haircut, a wax, a facial or a make-up lesson. You'll leave looking and feeling like a new you.
Runners-up: Belleza Salon & Spa, Salon Biyoshi
CAMI FOGARTY FROM CAPELLI BELLA SALON
The role of the hairstylist cannot be underestimated. It is, after all, your head being worked on. It's the first thing people see. If your stylist leaves you with a head of hair that looks like it's been attacked with a weed eater, it's going to be noticed, and for quite some time. Talk about a bad month.
Cami Fogarty of Capelli Bella Salon understands the power she holds when clients entrust her with their hair. And, in the words of Uncle Ben (Spider-Man's uncle, not the rice guy), with great power comes great responsibility.
Fogarty is a Jill of All Trades. She's an internationally trained, certified stylist, and has been in the business for nine years. If she has a specialty, it's coloring. However, Fogarty says she's beginning to do an extension technique called Fusion. This process takes human hair and bonds it to natural hair with a keratin protein.
"I absolutely love my job," says Fogarty, who has been a self-described salon junkie since childhood. "I love making people look good and feel good. I love going to my job every day. I love my clients. I have great clients. They're fantastic."
Runners-up: Jenine Edsell, Salon Biyoshi; Sarah Hill, JCPenney Salon - Knoxville Center Mall
BETH YOUNG FROM BELLEZA SALON & SPA
A desk job in an office has its benefits. But it also forces you to sit in a chair all day long, hunched forward, peering into a computer monitor. It causes the neck and upper back muscles to tighten and get weaker, leaving you sore, stiff and tense.
If that's you, meet our friend Beth Young. Young is a massage therapist at Belleza Salon & Spa.
"Beth started 12 or 13 years ago with us," says Marwan Zaouk, one of the owners of Belleza Salon & Spa. "She left to go to California to study Intuition Medicine. She came back about a year ago."
While in California, Young learned about healing and energy, and how negative energy can sometimes manifest itself in the body.
"She's a very caring individual," continues Zaouk. "For her, it goes beyond the massage to caring for the whole individual."
That may mean working with you to discover your energy blockages. Or it may mean kneading your aching muscles until you feel like a puddle. Maybe both.
Runners-up: Travis Jackson, Spa Visage; Kristen Poppy Kreider, Absolute Salon
BEST PLACE FOR MANICURE & PEDICURE:
How fun must it be for elephants? That trunk makes for a useful extra appendage, making it possible to eat, bathe, spray friends with gallons of water, that type of thing.
Sadly humans don't have trunks, resulting in a lot of wear and tear on the fingers and toes. Those digits get calloused and chipped, leading to a condition scientists have dubbed Forlorn Fingers (or its cousin, the malady known as Tragic Toes).
A prescription for a Spa Visage Ultimate Manicure or Ultimate Pedicure is what your hands and feet need. The Ultimate Manicure is 60 minutes of nail care, finger exfoliation, moisturization in warm paraffin dip and massage with essential oils. The Ultimate Pedicure is basically the same, but for your feet.
Feel better? Spa Visage thought so.
Runners-up: Belleza Salon and Spa, Alimony's Hair & Nail Salon
BEST MEN'S BARBERSHOP:
Getting a haircut is annoying. It takes up time, it kind of makes you itchy and they won't give us a lollipop anymore since we stopped being 10.
Sport Clips makes haircuts exciting. The concept barber shop allows you to walk in, get a haircut, and do it while watching sports on TV or reading a sports magazine. Sports Clips has 650 stores in 39 states, with five right here in the greater Knoxville area.
But keep your head still when you see a ridiculous dunk so you aren't impaled with scissors.
Runners-up: Western Plaza Barber Shop, Mr. George Style & Barber Shop
BEST ANIMAL SHELTER:
YOUNG-WILLIAMS ANIMAL SHELTER
Sorry, Young-Williams Animal Shelter. We forgot you. And you too Scruffy and Paco and Bunnykins and Smokey Jo Lonesome and Butter Cookie. We'll rub your bellies and give you treats and see if we can't make it up to you.
Young-Williams Animal Shelter is a nonprofit organization that shelters and places animals, provides public education about animal companion issues and promotes general animal welfare. It is the official animal shelter of Knox County and the City of Knoxville.
Young-Williams performs free pet sterilizations, distributes donated dry pet food to animal owners having trouble affording pet food, and runs a microchipping program to reunite lost pets with owners.
Runners-up: Gourmet Food Shop - Avanti Savoia (www.AvantiSavoia.com); Farmer's Market - Market Square Farmer's Market
© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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