2003 Best of

Shopping and Services Readers' Picks

Best Art Supply

The Art Store

The Borders of art supply stores, The Art Store is good for the inquisitive and budding amateur as well as the "I've arrived" professional. 1844 India St. 619-687-0050. www.artstore.com

Best Auto Dealer

Bob Baker Ford

Used or new, rental or lease, Bob Baker Ford's got it all, including online financing and "design-your-Ford" services. 730 Camino Del Rio North. 619-297-5001. www.bobbakerford.com

Best Bike Shop

Mission Hills Bike Shop

Bikes, sales and service can be found at any bike shop, but Mission Hills Bike Shop has the knowledge as well as the know-how. 141 W. Washington St. 619-296-0618.

Best Comic Book Store

Ducky Waddles Emporium

Ducky Waddles is a kitschy little joint run by a '50s bohemian, Jerry Waddle. 414 N. Coast Highway 101. 760-632-0488. www.duckywaddles.com

Best Cellular Store

Verizon Wireless

It's gotta be their superstores, where cell phone users can find all the accessories and services, as well as the phone that is just right-it's as if they read your mind. Locations throughout San Diego. www.verizonwireless.com

Best Eyewear


Insiders know that Costco's membership fees include a lot more than bulk cereal. Eight locations in San Diego. www.costco.com

Best Headshop

Woody's Smoke Shop

This small (like photo-mat), but legendary head shop in Normal Heights is the center of the known universe for headies. Owner-operator Ruben is an area icon who's known to spread his flava at virtually every hip--hop show that rolls through town! 3214 Adams Ave. 619-528-1020

Best Limo

San Diego Limo Buses

You see them everywhere and now you know why-hire a Cadillac to cruise in style or a Moon Bus to party on wheels. 3333 Midway Drive. 619-225-8466. www.limobuses.com

Best Independent Bookstore


Warwick's has been family-owned since 1875. Today, it's known as a reader's home base with author events twice weekly-past visits include Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter and Anne Rice. 7812 Girard Ave. 858-454-0347. www.warwicks.com

Best Independent Record Store

Lou's Records

When musicians like Jack Johnson and the members of Pearl Jam come to San Diego, they know the best shop to jam in is Lou's Records, where the indie bands kick it. 434 N. Coast Highway 101, 760-753-1382, www.lousrecords.com

Best Independent Music Equipment Store

Guitar Trader

Here's an idea-staff a guitar store with guitarists. Guitar Trader's staff can help cut the jargon for beginners and talk shop with the old pros. 7120 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. 619-583-9751.

Best Used Record Store


Beat everyone else to the best albums by diving into the loosely organized "New Arrivals"-unopened $5 to $8 hidden treasures are plentiful. 1220 Garnet Ave., 858-270-8833. www.secondspin.com

Best Chain Record Store

Tower Records

While the other behemoths are crashing, Tower keeps on keeping on with celebrity performances, free shipping, special orders and a Ticketmaster sales booth. 3601 Sports Arena Blvd. 619-224-3333. www.towerrecords.com

Best Music Equipment Store

Guitar Center

Guitar Center has been in San Diego since 1973, and frankly, if they don't have it, nobody does. Two locations. 8825 Murray Drive. La Mesa. 619-668-8400.

712 Center Dr. San Marcos. 760-735-8050. www.guitarcenter.com

Best Thrift Shop


With all the thrift stores converting to vintage boutiques, it's refreshing that Amvets still has the goods at prices you want to pay for used clothing and housewares. 3441 Sutherland St., 619-297-4213.

Best Piercing Place

Dr. Jefe's

A return of the real, Dr. Jefe's is in Ocean Beach, away from all the spring breakers looking to piss-off mom and dad with a new piercing. 4944 Newport Ave. 619-223-1771. www.drjefes.com

Best Independent Video Store

Kensington Video

They don't have 60 copies of How to Loose a Guy in Ten Days, but they have all the new releases and everything else, including all the classic and cult films no one else seems to have space for anymore. 4067 Adams Ave. 619-584-7725. www.members.cox.net/ kenvideo

Best Vintage Clothing

Wear it Again Sam

Wear it Again Sam gets its good reputation from the racks of early 20th century gowns, hand-beaded and running up to $300 and more. Halloween is a busy time of year at Sam, where the kids go to get all retro. 3823 5th Ave. 619-299-0185. www.wearitagainsam.com

Best Pet Store


The title sponsor of the Padres' new stadium, Petco is the Gap and the grocery store for pets. More than 30 locations in San Diego. www.petco.com

Best Vet

ABC Veterinary Hospitals

ABC Veterinary prides itself on treating all pets as if they were their own. Seven locations in San Diego. www.abcvet.com

Best Smoke/Cigar Shop

Fumar Cigars

The greatest little shack on Garnet Avenue, Fumar has smoke to meet your flavor. 1165 Garnet Ave. Ste. A. 858-270-9227

Best Skate Shop

Emerald City Surf 'n Sport

Emerald City goes deep with the Sector Nine longboards every summer. Street skaters can find all the trucks and accessories to build a custom deck at their two locations. 3126 Mission Blvd. Ste. G. 858-488-9224. www.ecboardsource.com

Best Toy Store


A San Diego tradition for 30 years, Geppetto's deals in traditional and classic toys, from books and crafts to games and trains. Four locations in San Diego. 7850 Girard Ave. 858-456-4441

Best Lingerie/Adult Novelty

F Street Adult Video & Gifts

You know F Street-they're a frickin' San Diego icon. There are eight gift shops and bookstores in the area, so if you're in that certain mood, you have no excuse. 2004 University Ave., 619-298-2644.

Best Retail Wine

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's has locations throughout San Diego; their claims to fame are their $3 dollar bottles of wine and discounts on all the best of California's wine country. 1092 University Ave. 619-296-3122. www.traderjoes.com

Best Hair Salon (Men's and Women's)

Hip Hair Salon & Piercing

Fun and funky-in Hip Hair you'll rock out to employee tunes and kick it in colorful digs with colorful people. 1039 Garnet Ave. 858-270-7022.

Best Chiropractic

David Knepp (San Diego Chiropractic Group)

David Knepp, D.C. is the vice-president of the Greater San Diego Business Association and a staunch advocate of getting to the problem before the problem gets to you. 5252 Balboa Ave. 858-560-5022.

Best Gym

24 Hour Fitness

If you can't find a 24 Hour fitness in your neighborhood, you aren't looking hard enough. The nice thing about 24 is instead of going to bed after drinking beer, you can run off the calories. Fifteen locations in San Diego. 800-432-6348. www.24hourfitness.com

Best Surf Shop

Hansen's Surfboards

Since they opened in 1961, Hansen's has grown from surf bum shop to a full-scale retail and rental shop with gear for winter sports, too. 1105 S. Coast Highway 101. 760-753-6595. www.hansensurf.com

Best Skatepark

Ocean Beach Skatepark at Robb Field

The OB Skatepark is by far the best in the region, but don't take our word for it-the riders themselves have voted it to the top twice before. 2525 Bacon St. 619-525-8486

Best Tattoo


The Avalon community of tattoo parlors is by far the standard for body art in San Diego. 3039 Adams Ave. 2nd Floor. 619-280-1957. www.avalontattoo.com

Best Yoga

Yoga One

This was another landslide pick for voters who believe that Yoga One helps them find balance like none other. 1150 7th Ave. 619-294-7461. www.yogaonesandiego.com

Best Hospital

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

Scripps La Jolla and Scripps Mercy were the only hospitals in San Diego recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best hospitals in the county. 9888 Genesee Ave. 858-457-4123. www.scrippshealth.org ©