So you say no one can fix that old typewriter in the garage? Afraid of being finagled by some high-tech mullet when all you needed was a new tube for your stereo? Leave your fears on the doormat and bring it all to the helpful staff at Mr. Wizard's. They've been doing it forever, they have got a backlog of about two weeks (which makes the cost seem so intangible), and they'll call you with easy-to-digest details before installing new parts.
Mr. Wizard's Electronics Service, 1507 W. North Loop, 512/454-1137
Finding a good mechanic is one of the top 10 secrets to living a happy and meaningful life. This might be a clue as to why Flamingo's customers keep voting them Number One with such purpose. A garage this meticulously maintained gives you an idea of the kind of care both client and car will receive.
Flamingo Automotive, 3512 Guadalupe, 512/459-9917
Step right up, boyo, and set yerself into one of the four oldschool barber chairs presided over by Pete Perales and his tonsorial technicians. These guys have been in the same location for 31 years, nestled amongst shops hawking turquoise jewelry, custom-made caskets, and scuba gear. Pete's knows just what it takes to lower your ears in a way so sharp and fierce so as to make GQ models squeal with envy. Located in Northwest Center at the corner of Burnet & Koenig, Pete's is the place, as their bumper stickers say, "Where looking good is understood."
Pete's Flattop Shop, 6011 Burnet, 512/453-9215
Genie waved a magic wand again to triumph for its fourth straight year. Is it something in the water? Nope. Is it the 48-hour rain check? Sorta. Is it the comfy viewing gallery? Kinda. But mostly, it's the clean, convenient facility and the fast, friendly service, things too many businesses overlook these days.
At only $1.59 per item, Rick's takes the terror out of those fiendish Dry Clean Only labels. No longer will we be shackled to the greenbacked ball-and-chain that keeps us from sartorial splendor! Jump back, rayon! Step aside, Monsanto! You might think that, with such meager prices, Rick's wouldn't be fast, reliable, and even friendly, too. Oh, but they are.
Muscle in on the action with state-of-the-art equipment and classes in this perennial Best of Austin winner, this gleaming (from all those abs and buns of steel, no doubt) bastion of physical exertion, this fitnessorium where Austinites go for the sort of definition the less-built will never see in a million dictionaries. If Atlas had trained here, he wouldn't have had to shrug.
This European-inspired market-within-a-market makes what once was a rare splurge an everyday necessity thanks to its proximity, affordability, and the able assistance of those manning the buckets. When $10 can get you a combination of three varieties beautifully assembled by the staff, readers know this is the florist for them. The more elaborate occasions (weddings, banquets, etc.) are exquisitely executed as well.
Bad hair day? Well, get yourself on over to Avant and those days will become a thing of the past. Let them pamper, primp, and preen you; it's like therapy for the head and the soul. Oh, and did we mention the post-cut massage?
It took a pretty special laundromat to fill the slot of previous decade leader (but sadly, now defunct) Clean & Lean. Dry cleaning and environmentally sensitive in the same sentence? Oxymoronic? Not at EcoMat, where they use nontoxic chemicals on all your dry-cleaned duds. Clean & Green, anyone?
Ecomat, 2915-B Guadalupe, 512/236-8645
This is the second year running for Peoples, in a hotly contested category. HEB, Nau's, and Walgreen's all pulled in close behind, but Peoples reigned supreme. With five locations in Austin, they still manage to keep it real. Their hometown neighborhood feel isn't hurt in the least by their friendly pharmacists and the lunch-counter cafes (at three of the locations).
You can't miss Holland Photo Lab for their big tulip logo, and you can't miss the HEB for their locations all over town. Holland not only serves the average shutter bug but carries all the high tech paraphernalia for serious photographers, as well. Most of the HEB stores have in-house developing and - the cool thing about it - if you don't like the shot for whatever reason, you don't have to pay for it.
That 24-hour thing is hard to beat, and with the new downtown location offering easier parking, this is one tough category in which to compete. But they're good too - high standards and top quality from a ubiquitous corporate chain that people don't love to hate. Must be something about that name.
Best way to keep them dogs from barkin' is to keep those shoes in topnotch condition. Maybe they need another notch in the top, maybe their tongues are tied, maybe they're down at the heel and their soles have gone straight to hell. Well, brethren and sistren, the hour of salvation is at hand at any Austin Shoe Hospital. Skilled professionals, next-day service in most cases: just what you need to get yourself comfortably back on Shank's Mare.
The times aren't the only things a-changin', you may have noticed. And when you need your clothing to reflect those, um, changes, you need to hie yourself to the good craftspeople at Ace Custom Tailors. They'll make what no longer fits fit again. They'll repair and reshape and resize to your permutable specifications, making sure that that favorite jacket or cummerbund or dirndl, say, will still make the kind of impression it did back when you first wore it. Don't trash it, re-flash it!