In 30 years of business, Mr. and Mrs. Wizard, owners Mark and Allison Duffel, may have saved more modes of media delivery than the Smithsonian. The waiting list for a repair consultation alone can be up to six weeks, but on our most recent visit, the ear-to-ear fulfillment from a 1920s typewriter enthusiast rang louder than all the stereos, TVs, and tape decks on the front room shelves. If someone built it, he can fix it, and she makes it affordable. Wizardry.
Mr. Wizard's Electronics Service, 1507 W. North Loop, 512/454-1137
Basking in its first appearance at the top of our readers' automotive-repair charts, Gene Johnson's has the friendly service, reasonable prices, and honest work that any superlative shop would. What sets it apart is its decades-long relationships with its neighbors, be it the oil-change joint next door, the convenient full-service gas pump option, or the friendly crew waiting out in front to lend a helping hand.
Chevron, 30 N. I-35, 512/473-5113
More than just a hipster hair-cuttery, Birds has an expanding arsenal of fashionable hair pros to put the icing on your hair cake. Complimentary Lone Star? Foosball? The annual Man Fest? That's why Austin loves you, baby.
Bicycle Sport Shop loves cyclists. The shop's mechanics will tune up your bike for free for a year if you bought it there, offer you labor discounts if you purchase their parts, and retune your bike if you're not satisfied with the work they've done. But they'll even do better than all that: They'll teach you to fish. The shop offers free maintenance classes to keep you riding without unnecessary assistance.
Bicycle Sport Shop, 9900 W. Parmer, 512/637-6890
Tell us if you've had the same reverie: watching your car roll down the cleaning production line at Genie Car Wash, wishing (just once) that you could hide in the backseat just to experience all the wipers (mechanized and human) from the inside. It's either that dream or the one where we hijack the old Genie Car Wash sign from the side yard of Roadhouse Relics. Hiding and stealing: That's all we dream about.
Visits to veterinarians and computer repair shops are possibly the most nerve-racking appointments we keep. Check a different award for the former, but when it comes to your precious iBook, it's Whitney Tracy to the rescue. Founder of Happy Mac, Tracy isn't new to this award. His experience inside Macintosh boards and drives, the reassuring manner of the staff, and knowing that your wallet isn't considered to be in open season makes this the best way to solve your crisis.
With eight locations around Bat City, Westbank Dry Cleaning is the place Austinites favor to make collars crispy sharp and restore glory to the garments we treasure. There's even an outpost in the Frost Bank Tower, and deliveries are made Downtown to defeat wardrobe emergencies in the Capital City.
Serving Austin since 1974, this family-owned business pleases again and again as Austin's full-service florist. Romantic occasions? Everything's coming up roses! New baby? Gerbers, baby! Any occasion: St. James likes to gaze at the stars! Freytag's aims to please and has done that so well that readers salute them year after year with a green thumbs-up for Best Florist.
Sure, you could spend the money on self-help audiobooks, but we think you're already perfect inside. Why not try out personal transformation on the outside? Winner of this category in 2008, Urban Betty keeps its foot in the winner's circle by consistently providing fabulous styling services in the neat and cozy 26 Doors spot stocked full of Bumble and Bumble. Stephanie Hebert and Sarah Kempton are especially standout hairdressers. There's a reason Chronicle readers are so good-looking.
It's an organic thang! For the second year in a row, Fertile Ground Organic Gardens is our readers' choice for landscape services. With design, installation, and maintenance with an artist's touch and an environmentalist's know-how, the two women who own Fertile Ground keep us blooming.
How do you remove pesky bloodstains from your clothing? We didn't know until we read Wash Day Laundry's blog, which also told us how to remove chocolate, grease, meat juice/gravy (ew/yum), pencil lead, and the ever-present "unknown stain." "Pshaw!," you say, "I can find that information in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping." Sure, but to be given that information by a business that stands to lose out because trade secrets are no longer secrets is a (detergent) balls-y move. Truly, it's an act of good faith from this laundromat's owners, who used to be denizens of the corporate sector and didn't know the difference between laundry and dry cleaning. We learned that from the blog, too.
Moving can be stressful, but having a positively fabulous experience is neither mythical nor elusive. Unicorn Moving makes the job almost joyful with its movers' level of professionalism and absolute dedication to making your relocation, be it residential or commercial, smooth and pain-free. (And dare we say, happy?) Word-of-mouth works wonders, and its reviews are stellar.
The new and the seasoned come head-to-head in the mani/pedi/personal care category. Halina is an Austin institution, offering Old World-style treatment that generations of Austin women have come to adore. But the youngbloods over at Embellish, eager to offer quality services at affordable prices while still offering all that a "day of beauty" should entail, are the eager, new kids on the spa block. Either way, you can't go wrong.
It's been said that Austin has 122 acres of parks for every 1,000 pets. That's a lot of dirt and grass and who knows what else for your dog to roll around in, and as you don't necessarily want it all in your bathtub or on your couch, that's where Dirty Dog comes in. Just like a car wash, you can walk in anytime for self-service or make an appointment for the total package. Taking home a tired, clean dog from the park is nicer than a tired and dirty one, after all.
Dirty Dog, 3016 Guadalupe, 512/453-3647
Design, copy, print, pack, ship, and repeat. Design, copy, print, pack, ship, and repeat. FedEx Office helps make the process fun, creative, and easy.
The olfactory wall of leather that hits you when you enter one of the many Austin Shoe Hospital locations is, in our humble opinion, a little piece of heaven. We've replaced heel caps and soles many times over, and still, it has been cheaper to repair than to buy new, which means that those Helmut Lang pumps we bought in the Nineties are finding life after life after life after ….
We missed this longtime winner last year. (Where did you go? A spa?) Welcome back! Here it is, our readers' pick for 2010, present tense. Its reputation as the No. 1 destination spa in the world is likewise not in the past tense. This year, after a gorgeous update of its 40 guest rooms, it earned a coveted distinction again from Condé Nast Traveller. And what that travel bible can't tell you, our readers can: Lake Austin is the queen of serene and cuisine, with everything you need to whisk you and your boo away for a few nights of world-class relaxation, and there's nothing tense about that.
We're told there was a time when ready-made clothing was unheard of. Everything was made to fit … you. Now, in these off-the-rack times, it's the reverse: You're supposed to fit the mold. Of course, nobody actually fits the mold, and that's where Ace comes in. With simple sartorial solutions to your most desperate wardrobe malfunctions, Ace is here to tell your closet who's boss – because it's your clothes that don't fit … not you.
You may remember her in the Rosie the Riveter-esque pose she struck on the cover of our 2007 "Best of Austin" issue, and, fact is, she still kills it! Kali1313 owns Spellbound Studio now, uses vegan inks, and is a Reiki master. As if there were any doubt that this lady is a badass.
If you own a pug, there is no reason why you shouldn't be taking your little man or lady to Westlake Animal Hospital. WAH has hundreds of pug patients and runs regular pug spa specials (our little guy comes home scrubbed with clipped nails and clean wrinkles and smelling faintly of lavender). Of course, we hear these vets and techs are great with other breeds and animals as well, but c'mon; there's a pug room!