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Best Antiques/Collectibles
Uncommon Objects

Walking into Uncommon Objects can be a sensory overload, like wandering around the garage of a wealthy, eccentric, functional hoarder. Therein lies the South Congress antiques store's charm. There is some order within the ephemera, and its vintage wares and eye candy appeal to those who are odd at heart or more art-minded. Whether you're looking for takeaway knick-knacks or larger collectibles, there's a shelf for it.

Uncommon Objects, 1512 S. Congress, 512/442-4000, www.uncommonobjects.com

Best Car Dealership
TIE: Howdy Honda; First Texas Honda

What is it about Hondas? Of all the car dealerships in Austin, you chose two Honda dealers as being the best. Both Howdy Honda and First Texas Honda have satisfied thousands of customers and offer new cars, used cars, sales, leasing, and expert service. Retaining their resale value better than most cars, Hondas are surprisingly popular here in the pickup truck state.

Howdy Honda, 5519 E. Ben White, 512/443-4300, www.howdyhonda.com

First Texas Honda, 1301 W. Koenig, 888/348-9804, www.firsttexashonda.com

Best Clothing
Strut

What's in a name? Spend an hour in one of Strut's adorable dresses, in those supercute shoes, or those darling dangly earrings, and "strut" is exactly how you'll move through the world.

Strut, 3500 Guadalupe, 512/374-1667, www.shopstrut.com

Strut, 3100 S. Congress, 512/707-1523, www.shopstrut.com

Strut, 2200 S. Lamar, 512/326-2303, www.shopstrut.com

Best Comic-Book Store
Austin Books & Comics

This is where the hippest of the geeks and the geekiest of the hip go to get their print-issue superhero fix, because 1) it's got the biggest, newest stock of those wonderwares and their graphic alternatives (and all the ephemera surrounding them); 2) it's like walking into a living museum of the brighter side of comic-book culture; and 3) the staff are the kind of sharp, knowledgeable, and friendly people you'd want to hang with at some awesome music gig's afterparty. Now with 20% more Skrull!

Austin Books & Comics, 5002 N. Lamar, 512/454-4197, www.austinbooks.com

Best Computer Store
Discount Electronics

You don't have to be a computer nerd to dork out at Discount Electronics. There's just something about the place that makes you want to really get to know your motherboard. But, of course, inspiration can only get you so far, and when your motherboard's really giving you the silent treatment, the computer whisperers at Discount Electronics are the most trustworthy technicians around for diagnosing the problem and fixing it up – or selling you a more agreeable, refurbished computer at a hefty discount.

Discount Electronics, 1011 W. Anderson, 512/983-9989, www.discountelectronics.com

Discount Electronics, 9711 Manchaca Rd., 512/458-8612, www.discountelectronics.com

Discount Electronics, 1001 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/637-7051, www.discountelectronics.com

Best Convenience Store
Whip In

If you prefer cloves to Marlboros and organic brews to Budweiser, Whip In is the convenience store for you. While perusing the carefully curated selection, you might also enjoy live music, delicious Tex-Indian dishes, and suggestions from the ever-friendly, überknowledgeable staff. But don't fear judgment: You can pick up Marlboros and Bud here, too.

Whip In, 1950 S. I-35, 512/442-5337, www.whipin.com

Best Drugstore/Pharmacy
People's Rx

Whether it's a refill on a simple script or a careful explanation of the sometimes confounding option of compounding medications, the acute and comely apothecaries at our local drugstore (by and for the peoples, y'all!) practice the second word in that delicate field they master: health care. And they walk it like they talk it, backing up their nutritionists with a healthy deli, their naturopaths with an impressive selection of supplements and organic remedies, and of course their white-coated wonders with the latest and greatest chemistry – USP-grade and FDA-approved, thank you very much.

Peoples Rx, 3801 S. Lamar, 512/444-8866, www.peoplesrx.com

Peoples Rx, 4018 N. Lamar, 512/459-0845, www.peoplesrx.com

Peoples Rx, 13860 Hwy. 183 N. Ste. C, 512/219-9499, www.peoplesrx.com

Peoples Rx, 4201 Westbank, 512/327-8868, www.peoplesrx.com

Best DVD Rental/Purchase
Vulcan Video

This year marks two solid decades of Vulcan Video being recognized as one of the "Best of Austin." After earning your recognition for 20 years, we don't think there's anything we can tell you about Vulcan's general badassery that you don't already know. Go there tonight, thank the clerks, and ask them about what's playing behind the counter.

Vulcan Video, 100-A North Loop, 512/478-5325, www.vulcanvideo.com

Vulcan Video, 4411 Russell, 512/326-2629, www.vulcanvideo.com

Best Furnishings/Home
Four Hands

Despite the website tout that Four Hands is the "Leading Importer of Lifestyle Furnishings," folks here in Austin aren't always wild about imports of any kind, and usually, the only lifestyle they care about is their own. So Four Hands is a particularly impressive success story, having won the hearts and homes of hundreds of Austinites with award-winning home furnishings and decor from around the globe. Again. So before you try your hand at home decorating, go see why Four Hands is better than one.

Four Hands, 2090 Woodward, 512/371-7575, www.fourhands.com

Best Gardening Store
The Natural Gardener

John Dromgoole's Natural Gardener is a Hill Country oasis for the green-minded. With acres of organically grown plants, vegetables, herbs, and more (goats and chickens and donkeys, oh my!), it's got every corner of your garden covered. Got a brown thumb, you say? Couldn't even keep a cactus alive? Don't fret, the NG's staff have tips and tricks up their sleeves year-round.

Natural Gardener, 8648 Old Bee Caves Rd., 512/288-6113, www.naturalgardeneraustin.com

Best Green Business
Eco-Wise

From your regular organic, green home-and-garden shopping needs to a last-minute mad dash to find that environmentally friendly wood finish, Eco-Wise is the place. The friendly staff are knowledgeable, and though the shop may prove humble in size, there's an extensive spillover online, including everything you need to know about biodiesel.

Eco-Wise, 110 W. Elizabeth, 512/326-4474, www.ecowise.com

Best Liquor Store
TIE: Twin Liquors; Spec's

A Spec's employee's suggestion to leave New Amsterdam Straight Gin in the freezer, allowing for a thick, icy smoothness, was one of the best pieces of advice ever afforded to this novice drinker. Whether searching for imported beer, fine liquor, or wine, that's exactly the type of customer that will feel totally comfortable at Twin Liquors and Spec's, both of which are as well-known for their insights as their selections and prices – the sort of stuff that impresses sophisticates as well.

Twin Liquors, 1000 E. 41st, 512/451-7400, www.twinliquors.com

Spec's, 5775 Airport, 512/366-8300, www.specsonline.com

Twin Liquors, 519 E. Seventh, 512/476-9982, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 8030 Mesa, 512/346-1861, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 3652 Bee Caves Rd., 512/327-0315, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 5505 Balcones, 512/323-2775, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 850 N. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park, 512/335-4244, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 12400 Hwy. 71 W., 512/402-0333, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, 701 Capital of Tx. Hwy. S., 512/347-1299, www.twinliquors.com

Twin Liquors, Main office: 107 W. Stassney, 512/442-8395, www.twinliquors.com

Spec's, 4978 Hwy. 290 W., 512/366-8260, www.specsonline.com

Spec's, 10515 MoPac N., 512/342-6893, www.specsonline.com

Spec's, 201 University Oaks Blvd., Round Rock, 512/341-9066, www.specsonline.com

Spec's, 9900 S. I-35, 512/280-7400, www.specsonline.com

Spec's, 13015 Shops Pkwy., Bee Cave, 512/263-9981, www.specsonline.com

Spec's, 739 Old Bastrop Highway, Bastrop, 512/308-0250, www.specsonline.com/

Spec's, 3550 S General Bruce Dr., Temple, 254/771-1518, www.specsonline.com/

Spec's, 4970 W. U.S. 290 SVC Rd, www.specsonline.com/

Best Local Bookstore
BookPeople

All you tech heads can go bang your digital drum elsewhere: We’ll be curled up with a good book at BookPeople, where the printed page is still king. This essential Austin spot has everything you require in a big bookstore – a vast and eclectic selection, book clubs to satisfy every niche, and an unnervingly knowledgeable staff – but it’s BookPeople’s cozy, independent spirit that keeps us coming back for more.

BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar, 512/472-5050, www.bookpeople.com

Best Local Hardware Store
Breed & Co.

Home improvements are the name of the game here, whether your needs are actual nuts and bolts or fine china and garden supplies. Breed & Co.'s eclectic mix has pleased generations.

Breed & Co., 718 W. 29th, 512/474-6679, www.breedandco.com

Breed & Co., 3663 Bee Caves Rd., 512/328-3960, www.breedandco.com

Best Music Gear
Guitar Center

Some would say that the selection of musical goods of all kinds is what is most impressive about this retail music giant, but we think more impressive are the dozens of musicians (both professional and amateur) you can find futzing, tooling, and riffing around the store. Smoke on the waaaaaater!

Guitar Center, 2525 W. Anderson #200, 512/419-1717, www.guitarcenter.com

Guitar Center, 5300 MoPac S. #103, 512/891-0297, www.guitarcenter.com

Best Naughty Business
Forbidden Fruit

Lube runs out faster than you'd think. You need a large bottle with a pump. And as a consumer browsing either the Fifth Street or North Loop romance emporium, you don't want to feel like you've been pumped. You need some TLC with a shot of Austin cool, tattooed and pierced maybe but never rough. Forbidden Fruit's after-hours adult education runs equally Barry White – discreet but graphic, intimate, curious, expressive. Everything sex should be.

Forbidden Fruit, 512 Neches, 512/478-8358, www.forbiddenfruit.com

Forbidden Fruit, 108 E. North Loop, 512/453-8090, www.forbiddenfruit.com

Best New Local Business
TIE: Live Oak Pharmacy; Stag

The readers have spoken. And, as is typical of Austinites, you've chosen two radically different businesses to tie for Best New Local Business. Ministering to the body and soul, both Live Oak Pharmacy and Stag have distinct views on what the community wants and needs. And due to their extraordinary efforts, inventories, and great tastes, both have won your hearts and votes. So whether the matter is as serious as your health or as lighthearted as looking for the perfect fall ensemble, both of these businesses can be as good for you as you are for them.

Live Oak Pharmacy, 1611 W. Fifth, 512/476-8979, www.liveoakrx.com

Stag, 1423 S. Congress, 512/373-7824, www.stagaustin.com

Best Pet Store
Bark 'n Purr Pet Center

What else can be said about this Readers Poll favorite, in business for 55 years? We could talk about the great selection of superpremium dog and cat foods (dude, they'll even give you samples to take home to your beloved-but-persnickety eater), the emphasis on natural and pesticide-free pest control products, the toys and outfits and treats and cute food dishes, but it seems as though Chronicle readers already know. Here's to you, Bark ’n Purr. Woof, meow!

Bark n Purr Pet Center, 4604 Burnet Rd., 512/452-3883, www.barknpurr.com

Best Record/CD Store
Waterloo Records

The Austin music scene has changed a lot in the last 28 years, but Waterloo Records has been peddling the best (and, thank goodness, some of the worst) of it all since 1982. One of our perennial winners, Waterloo has consistently impressed Austin with its large selection of CDs and vinyl records from national and local bands, as well as essential audiophile accessories from USB turntables to inner sleeves.

Waterloo Records, 600-A N. Lamar, 512/474-2500, www.waterloorecords.com

Best Shoe Selection
Nordstrom

There's a very good reason Nordstrom takes the prize again and again in this category. The variety of selection is truly vast, and Nordstrom's service is legendary. Men, women, children – from sporty to haute couture and every in-season must-have betwixt the two, we suspect Nordstrom's foot patrol has many miles yet to reign.

Nordstrom, 2901 Capital of TX Hwy. S., 512/691-3500, www.nordstrom.com

Nordstrom, 9607 Research, 512/651-6180, www.nordstrom.com

Nordstrom, 5601 Brodie, Sunset Valley, 512/697-2600, www.nordstrom.com

Best Small Record/CD Store
End of an Ear Records

With iTunes and illegal downloading having laid to waste many retail outlets, it's left to the niche store to carry on the torch for the beloved mom-and-pop record shops that had served as community centers for music lovers for decades. Proprietors Blake Carlisle and Dan Plunkett incorporate equal parts friendliness and musical knowledge (especially when it comes to experimental, indie pop, jazz, psych, punk, B-movies, etc.) that will guarantee music lovers leave with a bag full of wax worthy of their hard-earned ducats.

End of an Ear, 4304 Clawson, 512/462-6008, www.endofanear.com

Best Thrift Store
Goodwill

Need some inexpensive kitchenware to supplement that student budget? A nearly new sofa that makes the whole room come together? An armful of overlooked bestsellers, with a rare bargain find meant only for you? With 10 Austin retail locations and a host of related CenTex facilities, you're never far from a Goodwill store, where you do much more than just buy. Wrote one satisfied customer about the exchange: "I use Goodwill both ways: to donate items that still have useful life in them and to shop there. I find great treasures at my neighborhood Goodwill." You're bringing treasure as well – not only gently used goods but also the means to build, as its mission says, "a world where every person has access to meaningful work." Where there's a Goodwill, there's a way!

Goodwill, Main office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 512/637-7100, www.austingoodwill.org

Goodwill, 2800 S. Lamar, 512/442-8802, www.austingoodwill.org

Goodwill, 836 Airport, 512/389-3277, www.austingoodwill.org

15 more locations

Best Video-Game Rental/Purchase
Game Over Videogames

Who could have guessed five years ago that the little temple to retro gaming would survive, let alone expand to three stores (not counting the new online-purchase option)? Not content to do your nostalgic controller jockeying alone? The annual Classic Game Fest gets gamers out of the house and into Game Over's parking lot for pixilated partying.

Game Over Videogames, 911 W. Anderson #106, 512/454-4263, www.gameovervideogames.com

Game Over Videogames, 110 N. I-35 Ste. 200-A, Round Rock, 512/246-6837, www.gameovervideogames.com

Game Over Videogames, 3005 S. Lamar Ste. B-105B, 512/326-4263, www.gameovervideogames.com

Game Over Videogames, 1504 Aquarena Springs Dr. #110, San Marcos, 512/878-4684, www.gameovervideogames.com

Best Vintage
Room Service Vintage

It's like the attic of your supercool grandmother's mansion, packed to the gills with clothes, furniture, art, textiles, jewelery, and flatware from eras gone by. Wading through this sardine can of a store is half the fun.

Room Service Vintage, 107 E. North Loop, 512/451-1057, www.roomservicevintage.com

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