Presenting ... the very best in Richmond Shopping & Services, according to Richmond magazine's Best & Worst Survey 2015.
The winners of Richmond magazine's Best & Worst survey in the Shopping & Services category.
Best Shop for Children’s Gifts: World of Mirth (3005 W. Cary St., 353-8991)
Cool, interesting and fun all describe this eclectic toy store with an inventory that includes Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, featuring options such as glow-in-the-dark, glittery, metallic or hyper-color putty, which changes color with your body heat. “A lot of people use them as stress relievers,” says General Manager Thea Brown. “You can pull it, rip it and freeze it and then shatter it.”
2. Toys That Teach 3. Buttons & Bows
Best Consignment Shop for Children’s Clothes: Clover (3024 W. Cary St., 355-3517)
With brands like Mini Boden, J.Crew, Matilda Jane and Ralph Lauren, Clover offers deal-savvy parents stylish finds at consignment prices. Lyn Page, partner at Clover, Clementine and Ashby, says, “Given that a lot of the items we sell are 50 to 75 percent off, moms know that they are getting a great bargain when they shop with us.”
2. Once Upon a Child 3. Kid to Kid
Best Consignment Shop for Women’s Clothes: Clementine (3118 W. Cary St., 358-2357)
Offering a curated selection and an inventory that changes daily, the hallmark of Clementine is its upmarket fashion, with well-known brands such as Anthropologie, Jimmy Choo and Prada. “We want our customers to come in and know that they are getting the best selection of women’s clothes in Richmond,” Lyn Page, partner at Clover, Clementine and Ashby, says.
2. The Hall Tree 3. Clothes Mentor (all three locations)
Best Tutors: Mathnasium (Visit mathnasium.com for locations.)
“Mathnasium is all about explaining things in ways that really make sense to kids and make it enjoyable,” says James Temple, co-owner of Mathnasium of Richmond. Mathnasium’s tutors must not only be proficient in mathematics, but also able to communicate well with the children. He adds, “They also need to be able to relate to the students and create an environment and experience that [the kids] really enjoy.”
2. College Nannies and Tutors
Best Preschool Education: The Goddard School (Visit goddardschool.com for locations.)
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Short Pump location of The Goddard School offers accredited, play-based programs. Ellen Eaton, educational director for The Goddard School Short Pump, says, “While everything we do year-round focuses on children learning in the context of play, this summer we are focusing on the history of human innovation, beginning with the Stone Age and ending with the Space Age.”
2. Ms. Babs’ Nursery School 3. St. Stephen’s Preschool
Best Barbershop: High Point Barbershop & Shave Parlor (112 N. Meadow St., 980-6982)
WRIC-TV8 anchor Juan Conde knows that he must always look his best (even in the wild). Barber Elliott Kinney of High Point Barbershop & Shave Parlor obliges. (Photo by Sarah Walor)
With five barbers and more than two decades of experience between them, High Point Barbershop & Shave Parlor specializes in grooming services for men. Co-owner and barber Elliott Kinney says, “One thing that may be different than any other barber around is that we trained directly under licensed barbers.” This means customers can receive classics such as a straight-razor shave.
2. Bubba’s Barber Shop 3. Sport Clips
Best Hair Salon: Bombshell (10 S. Crenshaw Ave.; 2243 Old Brick Road; 4821 Commonwealth Centre Parkway, 342-0051)
Bombshell co-owners Scott and Melissa Black travel around the country looking for new styles and techniques from top stylists. From New York to Los Angeles, the couple is always on the hunt to bring the next big trend to Bombshell. This fall, Bombshell will open a Las Vegas location.
2. Mango 3. Imago
Best Personal Trainer: Bronwyn Conway, Corner Barre (3466 Lauderdale Drive; 13827 Village Place Drive, 937-3203)
Corner Barre owner Bronwyn Conway has 15 years as a fitness instructor under her belt. “I really like working with people and figuring out what their goals are and what type of exercise is going to be a right fit based on their personality,” she says. The 30-minute workouts are more efficient than a group class, she says.
2. Trey McFerren, CrossFit Addict 3. Patrick Lawler, ACAC
Best Full-Service Spa: Bombshell (10 S. Crenshaw Ave.; 2243 Old Brick Road; 4821 Commonwealth Centre Parkway, 342-0051)
“One of the things that’s [different] about us is we’re kind of a one-stop shop,” says Bombshell co-owner Scott Black. “We’re known for our waxing and sugaring, but you can also get your hair done by our master stylists, you can get your nails done, you can get your tanning” and more.
2. Glow Med Spa 3. Red Door Salon
Best Shop with Richmond-made Goods: Orange (3007 W. Cary St., 257-9800)
You’ll find the works of 85 different artists at this co-op style store, featuring furniture, gifts, candles, jewelry and more. Gifts include RVA-inspired mirrors made by Roberto Pena, who uses reclaimed antique moldings to craft frames for mirrors and other decorative items.
2. Mongrel 3. Tweed
Best Nail Salon: Bombshell (10 S. Crenshaw Ave.; 2243 Old Brick Road; 4821 Commonwealth Centre Parkway, 342-0051)
Bombshell’s candy-colored spa is best known for its waxing services, but a spa this colorful would naturally have expertise in manicures and pedicures. Co-owner Scott Black says that nail art is very popular. “In Carytown, [nail artist] Audra [Dye] just got back from Young Nails in Los Angeles, where she learned all of the latest techniques.”
2. Fusion Nail Spa 3. Royal Nails & Spa
Best Cooking Classes: Sur la Table (Stony Point Fashion Park, 272-7094)
To impress your next dinner guests, look no further than the cooking classes offered weekly at Sur la Table. Sign up for “Spectacular Spanish Paella” or “French Country Favorites” to taste the world without ever leaving the River City. “You name it, we run it,” says resident chef Lynne Just, who works alongside five other cooking instructors.
2. Southern Season 3. Mise en Place
Best Place to Buy Anniversary Gift Jewelry: Schwarzschild Jewelers (11800 W. Broad St., Suite 1312, 967-0800; 1200 Alverser Plaza, 344-0150; 3144 W. Cary St., 355-2136)
Schwarzschild keeps a customer’s sales history, which serves as a helpful guide when a significant other comes in looking for that special something. There’s also an option to set up a personal wish list with the store, making gift buying a lot easier.
2. Fink’s Jewelers 3. (Tie) Adolf Jewelers; Cowardin’s Jewelers
Best Consignment Shop for Furniture: Revival (9750 Gayton Road, 750-2200)
The winner of Best & Worst 2015's "Best Consignment Shop for Furniture" category, Revival. (Photo by Kevin McCarthy)
Celebrating its fourth anniversary this month, Revival is known for its mix of furniture, artfully staged. “We curate the best of what Richmond has to offer,” says owner Whitney O’Connor. Revival, O’Connor adds, consigns items “from artwork and antiques to new items that are in good condition and have current appeal.”
2. Izzie’s ... consigning with grace 3. Impulse
Best Richmond-made Jewelry Selection: Vera’s Fine Jewelers (16701 Midlothian Turnpike, 794-5671)
Vera’s is known for carrying custom pieces created by their three on-site jewelers. Co-owner Vera Caniglia says, “I think Richmonders are feeling like they don’t want something that is just like [what] their neighbors [have].” Along with in-house designs, Vera’s carries hard-to-find brands such as Lazare, Coast and Uneek.
2. (Tie) Cocoanut Jewelry; Schwarzschild Jewelers 3. (Tie) Adolf Jewelers; Nest; Quirk Gallery; Stevens Jewelers
Best Watch and Jewelry Repair: Schwarzschild Jewelers (11800 W. Broad St., Suite 1312, 967-0800; 1200 Alverser Plaza, 344-0150; 3144 W. Cary St., 355-2136)
“The reason why I think people rely on Schwarzschild for watch and jewelry repair is we have [on-site] master watchmakers,” says Susan Morgan, the store’s public relations director. The store also has jewelers working at every location, which means customers can speak directly to an expert, and most repair work can be completed in the shop.
2. Cowardin’s Jewelers 3. Fink’s Jewelers
Best Custom Jeweler: Schwarzschild Jewelers (11800 W. Broad St., Suite 1312, 967-0800; 1200 Alverser Plaza, 344-0150; 3144 W. Cary St., 355-2136)
Whether you know exactly what you want or need guidance in choosing a custom piece, Schwarzschild’s on-site jewelers can assist with every step of the process, from the artist’s rendering to the type of stones all the way to the polished final product. “They make what [the customer] had in mind a reality,” says Susan Morgan, Schwarzschild’s director of public relations.
2. Carrera’s Jewelers 3. (Tie) Cowardin’s Jewelers; Vera’s Fine Jewelers
Best After-school Daycare: YMCA (Visit ymcarichmond.org for locations.)
The Y is already known for keeping kids moving, and that same mission is adapted to the facility’s after-school daycare. “All of our after-school programs are geared to keep children engaged in learning and to progress socially and to keep them physically active,” says Charlotte Dean, director of marketing and communications at the YMCA of Greater Richmond.
2. The Goddard School 3. Rainbow Station
Best Mommy and Me Classes: Romp n’ Roll (9677 W. Broad St., 249-5001; 11541 Busy St., 893-3142; 6300 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite E, 730-2060)
Richmond magazine's Best & Worst 2015 "Best Mommy & Me Classes" winner, Romp N' Roll. (Photo by Jay Paul)
“A child can come to Romp n’ Roll every week from 3 months through age 5 and never take the same class twice,” says Co-founder and President Babz Barnett. The parent-inclusive classes, aka Mommy and Me, give caregivers a chance to enjoy fun during a variety of lessons with their little ones.
2. (Tie) Weinstein JCC; YMCA
Best Place for a Car Inspection: Firestone (Visit firestonecompleteautocare.com for locations.)
So you’ve waited till the last minute and it’s time for that car inspection. Luckily, Firestone has you covered. “We know that very few people look forward to getting their vehicle inspected. Our mission is to do our very best to make it go as fast and as smooth as possible,” says Richmond Region Manager Glenn Tureski. Customers can also download the My Firestone app.
2. Allen Tire 3. Jackson’s Exhaust and Automotive Service
Best Collision Repair: Baugh Auto Body (6018 W. Broad St., 285-8045)
Open seven days a week, Baugh Auto Body knows accidents can happen at any time. Car rentals are even available on-site to accommodate those who are without wheels while their vehicle is being repaired. With owner Gerry Baugh taking care of daily operations and his daughter Ashley Baugh Kruger overseeing customer service, the family-owned and -operated business provides a friendly atmosphere.
2. Bruce’s Super Body Shops 3. Conner Brothers Auto Body
Best Auto Repair: Allen Tire (Visit allentireva.com for locations.)
Founded in 1978, Allen Tire has three generations of family working at its locations. President Gary Allen says, “We’re locally owned, locally operated, and we just take pride in the work that we do.” With a company value of providing fair and honest service, Allen Tire includes a written estimate so the customer never receives a surprise bill.
2. Firestone 3. Paradise Garage
Best Car Dealership Service: McGeorge Toyota Scion (9319 W. Broad St., 755-9234)
With 900 cars in stock on a 10-acre lot, there’s plenty to take in at McGeorge Toyota Scion, but it’s the employees that Director of Fixed Operations Ira Crouse credits with making the dealership a great customer experience. “We take care of our customers, and it’s more of a team effort here.”
According to our reader survey, these are the shops and companies who take care of your auto needs best, Richmond.
2. (Tie) CarMax; West Broad Honda 3. Richmond Ford
Best Car Wash: Car Pool (Visit carpoolcarwashes.com for locations.)
A popular option at Car Pool is the RVA wash package, comprising a hand-wash service and interior cleaning. “We want to get inside the car and do it for people,” says Tyree Brown, chief operating officer at Car Pool. Brown recommends washing your car at least twice a month, even after a rain shower, which deposits contaminants from the atmosphere onto your vehicle. “Most people think the rain water washes their car, and it really doesn’t.”
2. Dave’s Auto Spa 3. Flagstop Car Wash
Best Place to Buy Tires: Costco (1401 Mall Drive, 464-9110; 9650 W. Broad St., 727-3050)
“The company’s philosophy is to bring the very best products and services to our members at the very best price,” says Robert Moyer, Costco director for tires in North America. All Costco automotive employees are Michelin-certified, he adds. An added bonus of tire service at Costco is taking advantage of the food court or getting some shopping done while your car is being worked on.
2. Firestone 3. (Tie) Merchant’s Tire & Auto Service Centers; Sam’s Club
Best Bank Services: Wells Fargo (Visit wellsfargo.com for locations.)
Wells Fargo prides itself on taking care of their customers and offering a personalized experience. “Our people are our competitive advantage” says Janet Tope, area president for Southeast Virginia and senior vice president at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo also gives back to the Richmond community by participating in volunteer efforts, sponsorships and fundraising around the region.
2. Virginia Credit Union 3. Union Bank & Trust
Best Real-Estate Company: Long & Foster (Visit longandfoster.com for locations.)
With offices throughout the Richmond region, it’s not hard to find a Long & Foster agent who can assist with buying and selling a home in the local market. Agency Senior Vice President Scott Shaheen says, “Our area has a very active and vibrant real-estate market, and there is cause to celebrate not only our agents’ achievements but the great opportunities for buyers and sellers who make their home in Richmond.”
2. Joyner Fine Properties 3. ReMax
Best Place for Bicycle Repairs: Agee’s Bicycles (7439 W. Broad St., 672-3441; 3116 W. Cary St., 353-4888; 11020 Midlothian Turnpike, 794-6754)
Open since 1910, Agee’s is the oldest bike shop in Richmond. Bill and Monty Agee are third-generation owners who are gearing up for the UCI Road World Championships in September. Bill Agee says, “For the staff and commuters, we’re going to make an effort to do a quick turnaround for them to keep things rolling.”
2. Carytown Bicycle Co. 3. Conte’s Bike Shop
Best Dance Classes for Adults: The School of Richmond Ballet (407 E. Canal St., 344-0906)
The School of Richmond Ballet’s Adult Class program offers everything from classical ballet and modern dance to Pilates and yoga. Check out the Rhythm & Motion dance exercise class, which combines up-tempo routines with fun music or the Intro to Adult Ballet class, where everyone is a beginner. “It introduces you to the basics of ballet,” says School Manager Rebecca Weger.
2. Rigby’s Jig 3. (Tie) ACAC; American Family Fitness
Best Dance Classes for Children: The School of Richmond Ballet (407 E. Canal St., 344-0906)
Children can learn a variety of dance styles — classical ballet, jazz, theater, character and modern dance. Classes typically run from September through May, with summer sessions also available. Beginning at age 7, students are able to audition for The Nutcracker.
2. (Tie) Central VA Dance Academy; Encore Studios; J’Adore Dance Studio; Momentum Dance Center; Richmond Dance Studio; Spotlight Studio of Dance; Village Dance Studio
Best Fitness Class: Boho Cycle Studio (714 N. Sheppard St., 355-1151)
This high-energy indoor cycling studio will keep you fit. For a whole-body experience, sign up for the fusion class with added hand weights for upper body conditioning. You won’t have to jockey for cycle space, as classes max out at 31 students. “We have a wait list for a lot of our classes,” says co-owner Shannon Greenwood.
2. Pure Barre (two locations) 3. Gold’s Gym
Best Yoga Class Instructor: Anna Strahs Watts, River City Yoga RVA (Classes in the community listed at rivercityyogarva.com, 728-0985)
A VCU graduate, Watts will guide you to inner peace as she helps you become stronger inside and out through yoga. You’ll forget about the stress of the day and slow things down a bit, always staying in the present. Watts recently traveled to India for an immersive six weeks of training.
2. Becky Eschenroeder, Om On Yoga
3. (Tie) Candy Evans, American Family Fitness; Randi Weiss, Glenmore Yoga & Wellness
Best Shop for Wedding Gifts: Tweed (4035 Lauderdale Drive, 249-3900)
This jam-packed boutique offers a plethora of finds for the bride and groom. Just check out what the happy couple wants on the store’s wedding registry, then make it one of a kind by personalizing that special gift with everything from the couple’s initials to text from the wedding invitation. A wide variety of gifts and price points are available.
2. Mongrel 3. Fraîche
Best Commercial Gallery: (Tie) Quirk Gallery (207 W. Broad St., 644-5450); Reynolds Gallery (1514 W. Main St., 355-6553)
Art feels more approachable at Quirk, a charming craft gallery with a well-curated shop. The gallery is known for its wearable works of art also. Committed to helping the art community in Richmond develop, Reynolds Gallery features works from young emerging artists, as well as national and international contemporary artists.
2. (Tie) ADA Gallery; Brazier Gallery; Chasen Galleries
Best-Equipped Gym: ACAC (11621 Robious Road, Midlothian, 378-1600; (2201 Old Brick Road, Glen Allen, 464-0990)
Between its two fitness and wellness locations in Short Pump and Midlothian, ACAC offers strength training and cardiovascular equipment, an indoor basketball court, an outdoor water park with a slide pool and heated activity pool, 17 tennis courts, a cycle studio, group exercise classes, squash courts, and a rooftop pool. And if that’s not enough, both locations have heated saltwater indoor pools.
2. Gold’s Gym 3. American Family Fitness
Best Outlet Shopping: Williamsburg Premium Outlets (5715-62A Richmond Road, Williamsburg, (757) 565-0702)
It could take days to hunt down every bargain at this ever-growing outlet center. Among the 135 outlet stores are Ann Taylor, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Coach and Calvin Klein. Be sure to arrive early, or you may not score a parking spot.
2. Potomac Mills
Best Place to Buy Father’s Day Gifts: Mongrel (2924 W. Cary St., 342-1272)
Mongrel in Carytown makes it easy to give a gift that will keep on giving long after Father’s Day. Extendable back scratcher, anyone? How about Popular Mechanics’ Man Crafts book? Instructions on fly tying, leather tooling and ax whittling are all included. Sure, the shop sells cool socks, too, but why not get Pops a gift with some legs?
2. Green Top 3. Pleasant’s Hardware
Best Shop of Women’s Casual Wear: Need Supply Co. (3100 W. Cary St., 355-4383)
You won’t find another Need Supply Co. store anywhere in the country. This shop showcases designers from New York and Los Angeles, both new and established. The store also has three new in-house brands. Need’s dedication to connecting designer to consumer is showcased by its “Meet the Maker” series, through which designers visit the store.
2. (Tie) Fab’rik; Philosophie 3. (Tie) Ashby; Frances Kahn; Monkee’s; Wardrobe
Best Place to Buy Mother’s Day Gifts: Tweed (4035 Lauderdale Drive, 249-3900)
Each member of the staff at this overflowing shop is ready to help you find that perfect gift for Mom. Perennial favorites include colorful straw sun hats that can be monogrammed and Spartina jewelry — simple necklaces, earrings and bracelets with a story or sentiment to be shared. The store recently expanded, adding an additional 2,200 square feet of space.
2. Mongrel 3. (Tie) Nest; Penelope; The Shops at 5807
Best Men’s Shop: Franco’s (5321 Lakeside Ave., 264-2994; Short Pump Town Center, 364-9400)
Known for its vast selection and quality, Franco’s also offers alterations and tailoring on the suits it sells. The store carries a wide variety of sizes, from trim to portly and short to extra long. You’ll find a full line of shoes and sportswear as well as ties, shirts and accessories. “We keep changing the mix and adding new lines,” says Kevin Reardon, one of the owners.
2. Peter Blair 3. Ledbury
Best Shop for Women’s Evening Wear: Lex’s of Carytown (3020 W. Cary St., 355-5425)
In 2003, Lex’s of Carytown doubled in size to accommodate its inventory. “We try to buy dresses that are special and different than everywhere else,” says Gigi Wall, store manager at Lex’s. “We want you to stand out.” Styles are always in line with the latest trends on the runway, and you can choose shoes, clutches and jewelry to match your frock. What’s hot now? Black is in and mermaid styles are all the rage.
2. Levy’s 3. Cynthia Steele
Best Place to Buy Glasses: Need Supply Co. (3100 W. Cary St., 355-4383)
Whether you’re looking to correct your vision, make a fashion statement or both, there is a pair of specs at Need Supply for you. In-store Warby Parker sales associates suggest browsing their frames online, then coming to the store to try on your favorites.
2. Grove Avenue Eye Center 3. (Tie) Carytown Optical; Patterson Eye Clinic
Best Shop for Accessories: Penelope (Visit penelope-jewelry.com for locations.)
For more than 20 years, Penelope has been Richmond’s go-to accessory shop for classic and pure sterling silver jewelry. In addition to an affordable array of wearable silver jewelry, the four Penelope locations of central Virginia also carry name brands like Vera Bradley, TOMS Shoes, Alex & Ani, and more.
2. Lou Lou 3. Francesca’s
Best Place to get a Dress for the Prom: Lex’s of Carytown (3020 W. Cary St., 355-5425)
To guard against potential dance-floor catfights, Lex’s of Carytown registers each purchased dress so that every shopper is unique. “It helps people from looking like everyone else when they show up,” says store manager Gigi Wall. In addition, Lex’s offers extended hours during September, February, March and April to accommodate the dance-season rush.
2. Cynthia Steele
Best Place to get a Suit Altered: Vincent’s Custom Tailor Shop (5811 Grove Ave., 288-9127)
From the conference room to the altar, Vincent’s Custom Tailor Shop has helped Richmonders look their best for the last 34 years. Vincent Barrasato opened the eponymous shop in 1981, and his son Salvatore has managed the store since 1999.
2. George’s Alterations 3. (Tie) Franco’s; Natale’s Alteration Express
Best Women’s Shoe Selection: Saxon Shoes (saxonshoes.com)
“It is absolutely a family affair,” says Saxon’s Special Projects Coordinator Amanda Weiner. She currently works alongside six family members, but explains that her relatives “really never retire from here.” Since its inception in 1953, the family business is now the largest full-service shoe store in Virginia and expanded to Fredericksburg in 2009. Saxon receives new, up-to-date, brand-name inventory every day.
2. The Shoe Box 3. Need Supply Co.
Best Girls’ Night Out Activity: Wine and Design (2707 W. Broad Street, 359-9149)
“I wanted to bring something new to Richmond, and saw this as an awesome way to connect people and share memories,” says Layne Summerfield, founder of Richmond’s Wine and Design. She describes her staff of local artists as “super talented.” In addition to offering a menu of appetizers, beer, and wine, the Richmond studio is the only Virginia location that allows painting partygoers to bring their own vino, free of charge.
2. Paint Nite 3. Spirited Art
Best Vintage Shop: Bygones (2916 W. Cary St., 353-1919)
Owner Maynee Cayton and the “very talented women” who work with her seek to keep Bygones Vintage Clothing current. Opened in 1979, Bygones began selling clothing and accessories online in July. Bygones also offers limited high-quality reproductions so that all men and women can wear vintage clothing.
2. Halcyon Vintage Clothing 3. (Tie) Goodwill; Yesterday’s Heroes Vintage
Best Thrift Shop: Goodwill (goodwillvirginia.org)
With nearly 30 central Virginia locations, the sheer amount of reused clothing available at Goodwill outlets across the area has deemed this nonprofit retailer the best of its kind in Richmond. For the last eight years, Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia has partnered with Men’s Warehouse for the annual National Suit Drive: a six-week initiative that provides unemployed individuals with affordable attire to pursue professional lives.
2. Diversity Thrift 3. Fan-Tastic Thrift
Best Children’s Clothing Shop: Buttons & Bows (1517 N. Parham Road, 285-0482)
From flower girl gear to first communion frills, Buttons & Bows has the clothes to satisfy every childhood milestone. In addition to clothing, “we specialize in professionally fitted shoes for babies and children,” says co-owner Amanda Ayers, who took ownership of the 28-year-old business with Ann Palmore in January 2014.
2. Clover 3. Once Upon a Child