Readers’ Choice Awards 2016: RETAIL

Best Adult/Erotic Store
For LEO’s last Valentine’s Day issue, I drove to every adult/erotic store in the city to ask: “How kinky is Louisville?” I didn’t know what to expect, but the people working at Cirilla’s couldn’t have been nicer. They know their trade, they don’t judge and they just want to help you find your kink. But seriously, don’t ask them to come home and try out your new toy with them … not cool. — Ethan Smith
#2. Adam & Eve
#3. The Love Boutique

Best Antique Store
Joe Ley Antiques
Here are some of the reasons why Joe Ley won best antique store: Toys, doors, doorknobs, vases, signs, postcards, streetlights, mantels, books, jewelry, glass, chandeliers, chairs, gates and, of course, an outstanding collection of carousel horses. All crammed in a three-story, former schoolhouse and spilling out onto the grass. If you can’t find it here, I’m not sure it exists.
—Jo Anne Triplett
#2. The Crazy Daisy Antique Mall
#3. YesterNook

Best Clothing Boutique
Dot Fox
This trendy, locally-owned clothing boutique has something to offer everyone. I’ve been shopping there for years and always find the right thing for every occasion. The staff is always willing to help and offer a smile as soon as you walk through the door. Not only that, but they always have a good sale going on, just look for the tags with the red line going through them. Dot Fox has more than just clothing — it also has shoes, jewelry and unique things for the house. I even got a grocery list pad there once. —Aleeza Gardner
#2. Apricot Lane Boutique
#3. Blush Boutique

Best Comic Book Shop
The Great Escape
I was a late bloomer to the world of comic books. I never read them as a kid and didn’t pick up my first one (“World War Hulk”) until I was in college. With all of the intertwining storylines, hundreds of characters and decades of material in circulation, it seemed a bit daunting at first, that is, until I went to Great Escape. The people working there are living encyclopedias for comic-book mythologies. All I had to do was say “I really dug this book — know anything like it?” and I left with a stack of new books and a list for the next time, when I had more money. —Ethan Smith
#2. The Destination
#3. Heroes Comics and Gaming

Best Instrument Shop
Doo Wop Shop
Being a musician is expensive, and unless you’re fortunate, it doesn’t always yield rock-star money. Enter the Doo Wop Shop. If you’ve ever had to scrounge nickels for ramen, then you know how unattainable that dope-ass Marshall half-stack, or righteous Les Paul, might be. Doo Wop has you covered. Did your gear take a dump at the last minute? Holler at your boys. Want to test out a sweet new toy? They’ve got you there, too. Doo Wop is quick and easy, and, while they might not have serious gear-nerd stuff, I promise you they’ll have something that’ll get you where you need to be. Hell, they’ll even teach you how to play, if you’re so inclined. —Syd Bishop
#2. Guitar Emporium
#3. Mom’s Music

Best Jewelry Store
Shane Co.
We all know the radio commercials by heart, with the monotone voice saying: “Now you’ve got a friend in the diamond business,”  “on the corner of Hurtsbourne Parkway and Taylorsville Road.”  Thanks Tom! It’s also got a great website, offering help to those, like me who have no idea about stone shapes, like the baguette (it’s not just bread). They also make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for — the website allows you to filter what you want. From the perfect apology to an engagement ring, Shane Co. has the resources to make you an expert. —Aleeza Gardner
#2. Davis Jewelers
#3. Genesis Diamonds

Best Liquor Store
Old Town wine & spirits
Proprietor Gordon “Gordo” Jackson has the go-to store for all of the finest bourbons, craft beers, wines, spirits and party accouterments you’ll need. He also offers a selection of premium cigars. He and his staff are attentive, knowledgeable and eager to help with anything, whether you have a special request, or you are looking for advice on what wine to pick.
—Aaron Yarmuth
#2. Liquor Barn
#3. Party Mart

Best Local Bookstore
Carmichael’s bookstore
A solid independent bookstore is a good anchor for a neighborhood — a place, like a record store, to get lost in. And Carmichael’s Bookstore, an inviting shop where everything’s easy to find, is a staple of The Highlands. From new releases, to books on travel, to novels that are missing from your collection, to a large magazine selection (something that’s not exactly easy to find anymore) and everything in between, Carmichael’s has you covered. —Scott Recker
#2. Half Price Books
#3. Barnes & Noble

Best Local Hardware Store
Brownsboro Hardware & Paint
Serving the Louisville community since 1960, Brownsboro Hardware & Paint continues to be the locally-owned shop for Louisville’s home and garden needs. It’s grown over the years and opened a second location in Prospect, which includes a greenhouse. —Aaron Yarmuth
#2. Keith’s Hardware
#3. Oscar’s Hardware

Best Local Health Food Store
Rainbow Blossom
Rainbow Blossom has been family-owned and operated by the same great people for almost 40 years. You will not find a more committed group, from the staff to the top, providing Louisville the freshest, healthiest food and wellness options. Over the years, it has grown to four grocery locations, and recently opened its first wellness center. The wellness center offers wellness “resources, education and products for mind and body health.” It even has full kitchen for cooking classes and workshops. —Aaron Yarmuth
#2. Whole Foods Market
#3. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market

Best Local Record Store
Guestroom Records
With a section devoted to local music as well as in-store events, Guestroom Records takes seriously its position as an ambassador for Louisville music. Guestroom Records actually started — and still exists — in Oklahoma, but founder Travis Searle moved here a few years back (after visiting friends and family with co-owner Lisa Foster), and decided to run the store on Frankfort full time. —Scott Recker
#2. Better Days Records
#3. Underground Sounds

Best Place to Buy a Unique Gift
Work the Metal
While I enjoy looking at Work the Metal’s latest displays of jewelry, home accessories and gifts, what I admire most is the service and attention to detail. Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves to have my purchase encased in a box, wrapped with a ribbon and placed in a gift bag. It makes whatever you bought, however small and inexpensive, float on gossamer wings.
—Jo Anne Triplett
#2. Revelry Boutique Gallery
#3. Regalo

Best Smoke Shop
Cox’s Smokers Outlet
Cox’s Smokers Outlet is a tobacco wonderland for smokers. With a massive selection of cigarettes, cigars (stored in a walk-in humidor) and all the “tobacco only” accessories you could need like rolling papers, glass pipes and small bongs (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, cough, cough). —Ethan Smith
#2. Puff Puff Pass
#3. Up-N-Smoke Syndicate

Best Tobacco Store
Cox’s Smokers Outlet
Whether you’re just looking to grab a pack for the road, that perfect cigar for Derby, or any other tobacco products, Cox’s Smoker Outlet has what you need. And with over 18 locations, chances are there is one in or around your neighborhood. —Ethan Smith
#2. J. Shephard Cigars
#3. Riverside Cigar Shop & Lounge

Best Vintage Clothing Store
the Nitty Gritty
Vintage clothing stores are depositories of wearable history. While Louisville is blessed with many good sources for vintage clothing, Nitty Gritty has won — again. And for good reason: Its two floors of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories are good quality and fairly priced. Owner Terri Burt, who can rock a vintage frock, knows her stuff; her website is full of helpful tips, especially if you are new to the collecting biz. And as Halloween is almost upon us, note that Nitty Gritty also does costume rental. —Jo Anne Triplett
#2. Acorn Apparel
#3. Elizabeth’s Timeless Attire

Best Farmers Market
Douglass Loop farmers market
It’s easy to get to and has abundant parking. But more important, the Douglass Loop Farmers Market is huge! Its vegetables and plants reflect the slow slide from spring to summer to fall. Talk with the farmers and vendors who actually grew or made what they are selling, including dairy, meat, soap and jams. After Derby, buy those tomato starts and other plants for your garden. And all the while, enjoy live music and several choices for a snack or meal, with shaded picnic tables. Bring your dog (but not your cat). —Keith Stone
#2. The Original Bardstown Road Farmers’ Market
#3. St. Matthews Farmers Market