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Apr 25th
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Best Santa Cruz Shops 2009

best_shop_comictopolisBest Comic Book Store
Comicopolis

 

 

Clothing (vintage) 
Crossroads Trading Co.
Runner up
Cognito

Arts & Crafts Store
Palace
Take note: It’s year 60 for the thriving Palace, so birthday—and Best Of—honors are come hand in hand apparently. Boasting aisles upon aisles crammed with multicolored pens, tactile paper and art supplies galore, this creative emporium has been a Santa Cruz gem since 1949. It has been stocking wares for novice and professional artists alike, as well as keeping local businesses happily running with paper clips, staplers and more. 1407 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-1550,
Runner up
Beverly’s

Antiques
Flea market
The Flea Market can be the ultimate treasure hunt for anyone willing to take the time to sift through its endless array of second-hand goods. Definitely a great place to sell away that clutter that’s been sitting in your closet, it’s also the right spot to search for unique antiques at a stellar price. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s end table. 2260 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, 462-4442.
Runners Up
Soquel Village
Mr. Goodies
Saffron & Genevieve
Judy Wyant


Auto - New
Toyota Santa Cruz
Another great win for Toyota Santa Cruz.  Beyond the myriad used and new cars here—from large trucks to ultra efficient hybrids—Toyota Santa Cruz is also known for its helpful customer service that takes a lot of the pressure and anxiety out of buying some new wheels. Best of all? There’s always a hot deal. 4200 Auto Plaza Drive, Capitola, 462-4200
Runners Up
Ocean Honda
Watsonville GMC Cadillac


Auto – Used
Toyota Santa Cruz
Runners Up
Ocean Honda
Beach Auto


Auto Repair
Specialized Auto
They’ll take your car—any European car. Specialized Auto pretty much rocks in diagnosis, multiple repair services and smogs. It also sells a number of used vehicles. Going strong now for 15 years. Here’s the next 15 folks. 2115 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, 462-3458
Runners Up
Beachside Auto
Branciforte - 10
Mick's Automotive - Cliffs - 10


Jewelry Store
The Vault
You already know by now that a visit to The Vault Gallery is like a visit to a posh New York art museum: resplendent, chic and modern. New owners, Rex and Tobe Thompson,  who recently took the helm of a business that has been booming for more than 30 years, persistently scour the globe to acquire an assortment of uniquely radiant object d’arts, and their expertise when selecting a piece of fine art or jewelry is truly unparalleled. Meanwhile 82 years of service has given Dell Williams a lot of time to perfect being the best jewelry shop in Santa Cruz. Providing diamonds, colored stone jewelry, pearls, watches and a collection of gold and platinum accessories, Dell Williams is nothing but classy.  Three generations of family ownership gives this store great and friendly service. Vault: 1339 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-3349, thevaultgallery.com. Dell Williams: 1320 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-4100
Runner Up
Dell Williams

Tattoo Parlor
Staircase
Runner Up
FU Tattoo

Record Store
Streetlight
So you’ve got notes, vocals, harmonies and a plethora of experimentation. That may be good enough for streaming audio off the Internet, but that’s definitely not the whole experience. So much of what makes music desired comes in how it engages our other senses, too—like smelling the new plastic wrap on a CD, or caressing the vinyl sleeves, or just BS-ing about the latest industry hype with a fellow connoisseur down the aisle. The true place of the audiophile is in the record store, and for yet another consecutive year, Streetlight has taken top honors for those seeking refuge in aural sanctuary. 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 421-9200
Runners Up
Logos
Metamusic


Book Store
Bookshop Santa Cruz
You love it. We love it. It’s loved. The local favorite, which has been the venerable warehouse for local books, as well as memorable booksignings, continues to occupy a warm spot in our hearts. Founder Neal Coonerty did one thing—well, more than that—right when he opened for business decades ago. He gave the bookshop a truly local feel. It’s still one of the best hot spots downtown. 1520 Pacific Ae., Santa Cruz, 423-0900,
Runners Up
Capitola Book Cafe - 292
Logos
Gateways
Borders
Literary Guillotine


Comic Book Store
Comicopolis
People still need their distractions, people still need their entertainment,” says Johnnie Arnold (pictured right), who, along with Troy Geddes (left), owns Comicopolis. Geddes founded Comicopolis in 1997, because, he says, it was “something I always wanted to do as a kid. I finally had the opportunity to do it, so I did it.” Arnold bought into the business in 2007 for similar reasons. “It was a lifelong dream,” Arnold explains. “I learned how to read reading comics.” He says business has steadily increased for Comicopolis over the past decade, due in no small part to Hollywood’s recent trend of bringing comic book heroes to the silver screen. Comicopolis also offers a subscription service to regular customers, which, in addition to guaranteeing that patrons get the new titles they want every week, comes with discounts and other store perks. That might be why Arnold and Geddes are reporting their best January in five years. But Arnold will tell you that those numbers reflect more than Comicopolis’ customer service. “We have the best independent selection in town,” he says. Comicopolis is stocked with popular and hard-to-find titles, and if they don’t have what a customer is looking for they can get just about any title within a week or two of request. 829 Front St., Santa Cruz, 427-1929
Runners Up
Atlantis Fantasyworld
Clubhouse


Toys & Games
Kaleidoscope
Runners Up
Gamealot
Capitola Hobbies
Atlantis Fantasyworld


Beachwear
O'Neill
With a plethora of warm weather clothing sold at surf shops worldwide, indigenous Santa Cruz label O’Neill has won hands down for best beachwear. Being the Santa Cruz local that you are, you probably know the story of how brothers Jack, Bob and Bill O’Neill created the first wetsuit by gluing together pieces of neoprene in their garage. Since that makeshift beginning more than 50 years ago, the O’Neill brand has gone on to create a global surf apparel and accessories empire, purveying wetsuits, surfboards, board bags, swimsuits, clothing and shoes the world over. Beyond that, O’Neill has also been voted best beachwear in Santa Cruz, and the brand has been recently nominated for four Surf Industry Manufacturers Association awards in the categories of “Men’s Apparel Brand of the Year,” “Footwear Product of the Year,” “Wetsuit of the Year” and “Boardshort of the Year.” The winners of these awards will be announced in May at the annual Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Surf Summit in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Best of luck, O’Neill. Keep riding the wave. O’Neill Surf Shop, 110 Cooper St., Suite 100D, Santa Cruz, 469-4377
Runners Up
Pacific Wave
Paradise
Nubia
Rio Cabana


Bicycle Repair
Bicycle Trip
A great bicycle repair shop is more than just a specialty shop—it’s an indispensable hub of alternative transportation. According to all the two-wheelin’ readers out there, Bicycle Trip is the best place to go when in need of parts or service for your ride. With 35 years of experience under its belt, Bicycle Trip knows the needs of local riders and has all the right goods to make sure that any mishap, from frequent flats to busted brakes, can be solved quickly and simply. Top three things the Trip says you can do to keep your bike rollin’ well: 1) Make sure your bike wheels are adjusted properly. 2) Watch out for the chain. 3) Check those break pads. 1127 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-2580,
Runners Up
Spokesman
Bike Church
Sprockets
Dave's Custom Bikes


Skateboard Shop
Bill's Wheels
The store stayed in Watsonville for 11 years until 1995 when it moved to its present location in Santa Cruz. Hard to believe another decade has passed. Nowadays, Bill’s Wheels is synonymous with everything a skater needs to keep rolling on the concrete. Decks, clothing, videos and of course wheels, brim from floor to ceiling. The store also sponsors some of the hottest local talent including Emanuel Guzman and Jessie Gullings. And because skating is such a creative act, it seems natural that it spills into the world of art—depending on how youthful your perspective is. Over the years, the outside walls of Bill’s Wheels have become a veritable canvas for graffiti art with a changing exhibition nearly ever month. As Bill explains, “Sure glad I didn’t become a police officer.” Yes, we’ll have to agree on that one. He would certainly have been on the wrong side of the law.
Runners Up
Santa Cruz Skateshop
Skateworks


Sporting Goods
Jerry's Sports
Jerry’s carries everything from Adidas to New Balance to all the softball, swimming, tennis and baseball goods you can possibly imagine. Things we liked: There’s always a sale going on. 7000 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 465-1400
Runners Up
Outdoor World
Play It Again
Big 5
Pacific Wave


Surfboard Shop
O'Neill

With a plethora of warm weather clothing sold at surf shops worldwide, indigenous Santa Cruz label O’Neill has won hands down for best beachwear. Being the Santa Cruz local that you are, you probably know the story of how brothers Jack, Bob and Bill O’Neill created the first wetsuit by gluing together pieces of neoprene in their garage. Since that makeshift beginning more than 50 years ago, the O’Neill brand has gone on to create a global surf apparel and accessories empire, purveying wetsuits, surfboards, board bags, swimsuits, clothing and shoes the world over. Beyond that, O’Neill has also been voted best beachwear in Santa Cruz, and the brand has been recently nominated for four Surf Industry Manufacturers Association awards in the categories of “Men’s Apparel Brand of the Year,” “Footwear Product of the Year,” “Wetsuit of the Year” and “Boardshort of the Year.” The winners of these awards will be announced in May at the annual Surf Industry Manufacturers Association Surf Summit in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Best of luck, O’Neill. Keep riding the wave. O’Neill Surf Shop, 110 Cooper St., Suite 100D, Santa Cruz, 469-4377
Runners Up
Santa Cruz Surf Shop
Arrow
Pacific Wave
Freeline


Computer Service
Cruzio

Celebrating 20 years of business this year, Cruzio is still providing great service to Santa Cruz County as the fifth largest independent Internet provider in the country. A great alternative to bigger companies, it provides costumers with high-speed access along with computer repair, website hosting, and answers to our many technological needs. Cruzio’s own site shows its strong local presence, providing a guide to Santa Cruz and the latest on traffic, weather, news and events. 903 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 459-6301,
Runners Up
Dave's Computers
Click Away
Computer Zone
Wilkins


Electronics Store
Santa Cruz Electric

Santa Cruz Electronics is no Circuit City—you won’t find stereos, cameras or phones here. And that’s a good thing for the customer base, which relies on the store’s specific technical offerings—computer parts, electronic components, audio video connectors, cables and tools. A true tech geek’s paradise, the shop caters more to PC enthusiasts, hobbyists and tinkerers than the everyday shopper. It’s also a premiere local location for businesses to get their systems, and a regular stop for independent and computer contractors.  2808 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 479-5444
Runners Up
Circuit City
Radio Shack
Office Max
Computer Zone


Smoke Shop
Pipeline

With such an astonishing selection of smoking accoutrements available in one location, it is no wonder that smoking aficionados voted Pipeline the best smoke shop in Santa Cruz. Since 1978, this blown glass wonderland has been luring locals in search of pipes, hookahs, vaporizers, imported tobacco and other top notch smoking accessories. There’s even a studio inside the store where one can see glass pipes being hand blown. Totally cool. 818 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7473,
Runners Up
Grassroots
Irie Motivations
Ron & Bridget's
Bay Briar


Clothing – Children’s
Baby Shoppe Santa Cruz

Those who have kids know that they grow out of clothing fast. BSSC provides stylish clothing perfect for that fashionable tot. This store also features a line of eco- friendly and organic clothing so you can keep up with your child’s growing pains and at the same time protect the environment. 1101B Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 600-8406,
Runners Up
Hopscotch
Aptos Shoes & Apparel
Little Grom
Lollipop


Clothing - Men
O'Neil

Runners Up
Patrick James
Aptos Shoes & Apparel
Rouge


Clothing - Women
Pacific Trading Co.

This long-time local, upscale clothing establishment opened in 1972 and was bought in 1985 by Carolyn Heinrich, whose daughters Rama Zoe and Anandi, assist with the store. It never fails to impress. Boyfriend jeans, skinny leg pants and leggings, tunics, layering, maxi dresses (casual to the floor dresses), high-waist skirts and a men’s wear detail are all in style at the moment. Hot brands include Odd Molly, an eclectic line from Europe, Orla Kiely handbags, Michael  Stars T-shirts, AG denim, Lucky Brand denim, Free People and many others. In other words, if you walk in, you’ll walk out with something. Pacific Trading Company, 1224 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3349.
Runners Up
Pretty Mama
Jade
Galla Cabana
Dietle James
Rouge


Car Wash
Whaler's

“At the Carwash” is an almost anonymous gem of the disco era. Released in 1976 and embossed with a School of Rock font guaranteed to kindle childhood memories of swishing corduroy and shag carpets, the cover makes no mention of Ross Royce, the singer. This isn’t that unusual given the subject matter, car washes are anonymous places normally, all coin slots and robosoap guns. So it’s nice that Whaler’s still manages to wring some personality out of the banality of getting the ride properly pimped. Detailing is never gonna happen at the robowash. To get your glitter on, you got to roll to Whalers. Cool things to know: more than 110,000 cars roll through the joint every year. 2001 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-0676
Runners Up
41st Avenue
Master Car Wash
Cruz Car Wash
Scotts Valley


Carpet Cleaning
Peachy Kleen

Hosting the party at your place sounded like a good idea until you saw the aftermath of it on your carpet the next day. The great thing about PK’s service, besides the price, is that its carpet treatments dry in only a matter of hours. Party on ...14615 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, 429-9097.
Runners Up
Santa Cruz Rug Cleaners
Connoisseur
Chem Dry
Quality Carpet Care


Dry Cleaning
Classic Cleaners

We all have those few flashy somethings hanging in our closet with the formidable ‘dry clean only’ tag. Instead of tossing it in the washing machine (we’ve all done it), make sure those items stay in the shape you bought them by sending them to Classic Cleaners for a careful and thorough dry clean. Take advantage of their other great services such as tailoring as well as a pick up and delivery service that will make laundry day that much easier to get through. Aside from its daily service, Classic Cleaners has also done a great service to the community this year by hosting a prom dress drive to help out local girls who weren’t able to afford one. 609 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2630,
Runners Up
Bariteau's
Master Cleaners
Vapor
Pacific Dry Cleaning


Financial Institution
Bay Federal

This one is a no-brainer. With the current nationwide mistrust for the white collar bigwigs that head major banks, credit unions have come out on top. And besides, stock market dips or not, dialing up those that handle your cash flow and hearing the warm voice of a warm human being on the other end (after only two rings, no less!) is always a nice thing these days. Money shouldn’t be stressful, and Bay Fed operates on that notion. A nonprofit that serves our community by giving back to the community through educational services and donations—in addition to low rates and dependability—it’s refreshing to know that it’s still possible to count on the ones counting your pennies. 420 River St., Santa Cruz, 479-6000
Runners Up
Santa Cruz Community Credit Union
Santa Cruz County Bank -
Comerica
Lighthouse


Eyewear

Eye Q

Eye Q’s garners another win in this category. Services here include eye exams, contact lens fittings and eye disease management, with quality, practicality and functionality driving the product line. But that doesn’t mean Eye Q is too smart to be cool, and customers already know that they can rest assured that a custom glasses fitting will leave them looking good, too. 1101 Pacific Ave. #E, Santa Cruz, 466-3937,
Runners Up
Spex Appeal
Site for Sore Eyes
Plaza Lane


Flooring
Greenspace

Offering the most ethical and earth-friendly options in flooring, Greenspace ensures that your home or business is sustainable from the ground up—literally. By using formaldehyde-free, non-petroleum-based, sustainably harvested materials for your flooring, you decrease your impact on yourself, on endangered plant and animal species and on the environment at large. As a resource and education center for eco-minded individuals, Greenspace boasts not only a wide variety of eco-friendly materials for your building, but also an impressive selection of ecology-related books and a staff that works with businesspeople and homeowners interested in improving their health and making sustainable choices. 1122 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7200,
Runners Up
San Lorenzo Flooring
Floors Etc.
Mission Floors
Rainbow

Furniture
Sweets in the Nude

Any furniture store would be hard pressed to live up to a name as promising and attention-grabbing as Sweets in the Nude, but this family-owned Soquel business comes damn close. The furniture at Sweets is made of real wood harvested from sustainable forests, allowing the buyer to decrease his or her impact on the environment while avoiding the toxins of particle board. Choose from ready-to-go finished furniture or unfinished furniture that you or the staff at Sweet’s can finish. 3131 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 462-3446,
Runners Up
Modern Life
Hannah's
Warmth Company
Couch Potato


Garden Supply
Garden Company

This neighborhood nursery has come a long way since Charlie Keutmann and his wife Maria purchased it in 1986. In fact, It took years of energy and hurtle-jumping to resurrect the fallen nursery, which had been around since the mid-’60s. Now, it’s the town’s favorite garden supply store. “We almost act more as a community center than a gardening center,” says Keutmann as he waves goodbye to a longtime customer. He knows most patrons by name—a familiarity with the community that applies to the entire staff. Keutmann says that the bulk of clientele are Westside neighbors, but at least 20 percent regularly trek from Capitola, Scotts Valley, Soquel and Aptos. Others visit periodically from as far away as Monterey and San Francisco. They may come to peruse the vast offering of plants (anything from edibles to fruit trees, perennials to annuals, and house plants to orchids), to restock their fertilizers and organic fungicides, or to pick through the treasures in the ever-growing gift shop. “The most important thing we offer is service,” Charlie adds. “What makes us different than chain stores is that we provide a personal experience.” 2218 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 429-8424
Runners Up
Far West
Santa Cruz Hydroponics
Scarborough


Home Decorating
Best of Everything

This is a shop that really does seem to have a bit of everything, most of which you probably couldn’t find just anywhere. Whether you’re looking for a special little something for a friend’s birthday or thinking about revamping your apartment, this distinctive shop is full of colorful knick knacks and furniture accessories that can help bring a breath of fresh air to a once lifeless living room. 1540 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3005.
Runners Up
Saffron & Genevieve
Interior Vision

Storefront & Studio

Instruments
Starving Musician

This Ocean Street locale has been around for nearly a decade. Think about it as your one-stop spot for new, used, consignment, rare and vintage pieces. One of those rare gems you can’t beat. 1400 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 426-1975,
Runners Up
Sylvan - Handcrafted & vintage guitars, amplifiers, ukuleles, music instruction, band instruments.  Expert music repair in Santa Cruz.
Rhythm Fusion
Union Grove
More Music

Laundromat
Seabright

After putting off laundry day for weeks, the time comes to get it done and where better than at the Seabright Laundromat, where you can do your laundry for cheap and get some quiet reading in while waiting to put the clothes in the dryer. The dull hum of the machines mingles with the intoxicating smell of the slow cooking burgers across the street, making the experience at Seabright as good as it gets when it comes to getting your dirty laundry all cleaned up. 419 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz,  458-3352.
Runners Up
Ultramat
Wired Wash
Live Oak
Sudz


Tanning Salon
Tanner's Cove

Runners Up
Paradise Tanning
Tonic
Tan Line
Tradwinds

Lingerie
Camouflage

Apparently, readers aren’t prone to blushing. The ever-frothy Camouflage carries provocative books, chocolates, costumes, lingerie, games, lotions and a slew of other adult goodies. Its staff is also jazzed to help you navigate through all of the merchandise. It’s still a great date place, actually, and couples out for some Friday night fun continue to get a (good) rise out of visiting this spot. 1329 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7613
Runners Up
Amourouse
Purrfect Girl
Luscious
Frenchy's


New Business
Pure Pleasure
specializes in high quality adult sex toys and classes at purepleasureshop.com
Is there room for two non-skanky sex shops in downtown Santa Cruz? That’s the bet that the mother-daughter team of Janis and Amy Baldwin and their business partner, Robert Dayton, took when they opened Pure Pleasure on Church Street. Their gamble paid off, proving that there are plenty of horny folk in Santa Cruz who prefer to steer clear of roadside sex shops with sticky floors and creepy customers. The owners’ concept was to provide a pleasant, welcoming space for the non-creepy to shop for sexual accoutrements. Pure Pleasure offers an array of high-quality, non-toxic, phthalate-free adult toys. (Phthalates are chemicals primarily used to increase the flexibility of plastics. Studies have indicated that they can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system.) And for the meat haters among you, guess what? Pure Pleasure offers a line of animal-free toys to please your inner vegan (so to speak). You name it, Pure Pleasure has it: vibrators, dildos, penis rings, bondage equipment, lubrication, anal beads, strap-ons, plus books, videos and probably a thing or two you’ve never heard of before. Nothing is left to the imagination here, yet it’s all done so tastefully you’ll think you’re shopping at Macy’s. Added bonus: Amy Baldwin is a certified sex educator. Ask her a question about your sex life in the “Ask Amy” section of the shop’s website purepleasureshop.com.
Runners Up
Coastside Concierge
Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine & Chi Center
Zen Capistrano
Affordable Chef


Pet Store
Pet Pals

Why do locals love Pet Pals? Because of its enormous inventory and tiny prices. Pet Pals offers everything your dog, cat, bird or fish could want in its no-frills, 17,000-square-foot warehouse in Soquel. The store’s extensive selection includes small-brand, high-end foods and items that are hard to find anywhere else in the area. And the prices aren’t just a little lower, but often significantly under those of competing stores. There is a drawback, though. Pet Pals is almost always crowded. Santa Cruz County residents know a good thing when they shop it. 3660 Soquel Dr., Soquel, 464-8775
Runners Up
Tropaquarium
Pet Emporium
Shampoochez
Petsmart


Pharmacy
Tie: Frank's / Westside Pharmacy

You might miss the personal touch and friendly advice found at old-fashioned, small-town pharmacies, which is why you revere Franks Pharmacy in Aptos or Westside Pharmacy in Santa Cruz. These independent, locally owned pharmacies do one thing some (bigger) outlets don’t: offer the the utmost in customer service. Although you can’t but a Coke for five cents, these two pharmacies are indeed a refreshing blast from the drug store past. Franks Pharmacy:7518 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 685-1100. Westside Pharmacy: 1401 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 423-7175
Runners Up
Horsnyder's
Tom's


Second-hand Selling
Flea Market

Runners Up
Crossroads
Goodwill
Salvation Army - 47


Shoes
Bunny's

Peep toe mary janes, candy colored ballet flats, and embellished flip flops are a mere smattering of the plethora of both classic styles and fashion forward footwear to be found at Bunny’s, which is still winning raves from local readers. There is also a well-stocked sister store located on Soquel Drive by Cabrillo College. 1350 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3824.
Runners Up
Sockshop
Aptos Shoes & Apparel
Old School
Shoe Fetish
Hot Feet


Unique Gifts
Best of Everything

This is a shop that really does seem to have a bit of everything, most of which you probably couldn’t find just anywhere. Whether you’re looking for a special little something for a friend’s birthday or thinking about revamping your apartment, this distinctive shop is full of colorful knick knacks and furniture accessories that can help bring a breath of fresh air to a once lifeless living room. 1540 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3005.
Runners Up
Studio 5
Vintage Clothes
Crossroads
Cognito
Goodwill
Moon Zoom
Love Me Two Times
Ivy Company


Adult Store
Camouflage

Runners Up
Pure Pleasure
Frenchy's


Photography/developing
Bay Photo
Sort of a no-brainer, don’t you think? Of interesting note about Bay Photo—besides nabbing another win for Best Photo needs in the county, is that it offers other services—transferring video to DVD among them. Always reliable. And always winning in this category. Several locations; 119 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-1844
Runners Up
Kyer Wiltshire
Costco

Hair Salon
L'Atelier

When Jenna Culver (pictured, center), owner of L’Atelier Salon in Santa Cruz, saw the vacant building on Pearl Alley, she thought that it would be the ideal place to open her new salon. “I knew I’d found the perfect location to combine my artistic vision, my green lifestyle and my commitment to customer care,” Culver says. Her dream has since become a reality, and L’Atelier Salon has become enmeshed in the vibrant fabric of Santa Cruz. One thing that truly sets L’Atelier apart from other salons in the area is Culver’s dedication to offering green products and surroundings. L’Atelier will only use materials that are safe for clients, stylists and the environment alike, including post-consumer recycled paper, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and food-grade biodynamic and organic products. In addition to the green business plan, Culver is adamant that her stylists remain on the cutting edge of technology and style. “I am committed to fostering an environment of continuing education, where stylists can refine their technical skills and cultivate their professional development,” she says. “I attend as many local classes as possible and travel to the Bay Area, San Francisco and Los Angeles for continuing education courses.” A chic line-up of stylists offer myriad services including haircuts, glaze, color, highlighting and lash and brow tinting, and said services are available for men, women and children. There’s more: make-up application, massage, and enticing perks like teacher and student discounts. L’Atelier Salon, 114 Pearl Alley, Santa Cruz, 423-4247.
Runners Up
Urban Groove
Katwalk
Tonic
Stranded