Goods & Services 

Best of Memphis 2007

We should've seen this one coming from a mile away. For this year's "Goods & Services" section, we added three new categories: "Best Garden Center," "Best Place To Buy Home Electronics," and "Best Car Accessories." Of course, Memphis-based AutoZone put a beat-down on all the competition in that last category. The car-parts chain received more than six times the votes of the runner-up — a victory so complete we decided to award the prize to AutoZone alone without a second- or third-place winner.

We also should note the two categories that were on the ballot but are not included in our list: "Best Pediatrician" and "Best Cosmetic Surgeon." Too many votes for too many different doctors made it impossible to name a winner.

Best Florist

1. Pugh's Flowers

2. Holliday Flowers

3. Gestures

Maybe our readers just love irony. A flower shop named Pugh's — even if it is named for the owner — would be like a restaurant named Yuck's. But it seems to work, probably because of the florist's dedication to customer service, fresh cut flowers, and extended delivery hours. Or maybe it's that cute, little skunk logo.

Best Grocery Store

1. Fresh Market

2. Kroger

3. Schnucks

Just when we thought Fresh Market couldn't get any better, the store added more tempting treats: dozens of different olives in a self-service bar. No wonder our readers love shopping in this European-style market offering boxes of Godiva, oversized artichokes, gourmet coffee, made-to-order sushi, and breaded chicken nuggets for the kids. Who doesn't mind paying a little extra for choices like that?

Best Liquor Store

1. Buster's Liquors & Wine

2. Joe's Liquor Store

3. Kirby Wines & Liquors

Buster's chalks up another win this year, an accomplishment that would have pleased Romulus Morgan Hammond Jr., the store's founder and owner of 50 years who passed away in September. Buster will be missed, but his grandchildren (Morgan, Josh, and Anastasia Hammond) carry on, managing the 10,000-square-foot store with a speedy and efficient checkout and a floor full of friendly staffers happy to help customers find an affordable bottle of Cabernet.

click to enlarge JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Best Department Store

1. Target

2. Macy's

3. Dillard's

Are we surprised that more people recognize the Target bull's-eye than Apple computer's Macintosh apple? Of course not! Here's a department store that couples design with affordability on every aisle. Even the pharmacy prescription bottles have color-coded labels. Better still, Target's international fashion designers (have you discovered Alice Temperly yet?) eventually end up on the deep-discount rack, along with every other brand.

Best Shopping Mall

1. Oak Court Mall

2. Wolfchase Galleria

3. The Avenue at Carriage Crossing

Some malls struggle with image. Others lose tenants or can't keep up with retail trends. Lucky for us, Oak Court Mall, located in the heart of East Memphis, gets everything right: size, atmosphere, decent food, and perfect mix of specialty stores that appeal to traditionalists and hipsters alike. (So happy we got a Pac Sun!)

Best Gift Shop

1. Babcock Gifts

2. Maggie's Pharm

3. Pier One — tie

Hallmark Cards & Gift Shop

Mid-South brides aren't the only shoppers who can't resist Babcock Gifts. Even non-domestic types marvel at the 500 different dish patterns in the store's back room, along with the impressive assortment of glassware and serving pieces. Pottery from regional artists attracts attention, as well, along with eclectic and less expensive gifts, such as Ole Miss plastic tumblers and seasonal decorations for all the holidays.

click to enlarge Target, - 1st Place: Best Department Store
  • Target, 1st Place: Best Department Store

Best Bookstore (new)

1. Davis-Kidd Booksellers

2. Barnes & Noble

3. Borders Books & Music

Oh, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, why do we love you so? Could it be your Vera Bradley totes, play space for kids, blue-cheese tomato soup to-go, or 1,000 different magazines, including our new favorite, Garden & Gun? Then again, maybe it's all your books, especially the recommended picks selected by local staffers and independent book stores nationwide.

Best Book Store (used)

BOM 1. Burke's Book Store

2. Tiger Book Store

3. Xanadu Music & Books

We're pleased readers voted Burke's Book Store a top winner for another year, but we're even happier that the bookstore is still here to celebrate the victory. Money worries threatened the longtime literary establishment, but loyal customers dug into their pockets to help out. Their reward? A charming new location in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, right next door to a dessert and wine bar. Otherwise, it's business as usual: new and used books, collectibles, visiting authors, and textbooks in the back.

Best Bank

1. First Tennessee Bank

2. Bank of America

3. Regions Bank

Every day, it's another new bank with a confusing new name. Fortunately, First Tennessee is headquartered in Memphis, giving us no-nonsense identification along with online banking, award-winning customer service, and those lovable, human-size, one-dollar bills. The bank is a winner in community service too, supporting innovative projects to help small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Best Wireless Phone Service

1. Cingular/AT&T

2. Verizon Wireless

3. T-Mobile

Everyone seems happy with the marriage of Cingular and AT&T, proving that sometimes bigger is better. AT&T is the leading wireless carrier in the United States (over 63 million subscribers), and Flyer readers seem to like it that way. AT&T's exclusive contract with Apple's iPhone probably ups the ante, but so do convenient and cheap GoPhones and those fabulous rollover minutes.

Best Women's Clothing

1. Macy's

2. Ann Taylor

3. Target

Wondering why the envelope for best women's clothing went to Macy's? Look no further than the ensemble cast of star designers featured on Macy's new television ads, introduced during this year's Emmy's. Directed by Oscar-winner Barry Levinson, the spots featured Jessica Simpson, Kimora Lee Simmons, and Marc Ecko, just to name a few. We were a little sad when Goldsmith's morphed into Macy's, but when it comes to fashion, change is good.

Best Men's Clothing

1. Oak Hall

2. James Davis

3. Macy's

Founded in 1859, Oak Hall is still operated by descendents of the original owners. Proprietors Bill and Bob Levy are the great-great-grandsons of founder Solomon Halle. Oak Hall's commitment to service and quality won them the top spot in this, their 148th year in business.

click to enlarge Davis-Kidd Booksellers, - 1st Place: Best Bookstore (new) - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Best Vintage Clothing

1. Flashback

2. Goodwill

3. Salvation Army

Flashback is Memphis' favorite retail time machine, where customers can travel back to the days of disco or art nouveau or grunge and find anything they want, whether it's that ideal retro lamp or just a great jean jacket. It's past perfect.

Best Shoe Store

1. Designer Shoe Warehouse

2. Payless Shoe Source

3. Macy's — tie

Rack Room Shoes

DSW is a repeat winner in this category. That's probably because this spacious Germantown store offers a wide-ranging and ever-changing selection of women's and men's shoes at great prices. Must be the shoes.

Best Home Furnishings

1. Pottery Barn

2. Ashley Furniture Homestore

3. Samuels Furniture & Interiors

Our readers love Pottery Barn. And there are many reasons this place is a repeat winner for 2007. The Barn's selection of furniture, rugs, bedding, kitchen utensils, picture frames, bookstands, clocks, dishware, posters, etc., makes it a must-stop-in when any kind of housewares are needed.

Best Pet Store

1. Petco

2. Hollywood Pet Star

3. PetSmart

Petco is number one again this year. And we thought the place was going to the dogs. Actually, it is — and to the cats, birds, ferrets, fish and to people who need the perfect spot to shop for their favorite l'il creatures. Hey, maybe it should be called Creatures' Comfort.

Best Hair Salon

1. Gould's Styling Salon

2. Dabbles Hair Company

3. Hi Gorgeous

Gould's is as good as gold with its loyal Memphis customers. See next category.

Best Day Spa

BOM 1. Gould's

2. Serenity Day Spa

3. Germantown Day Spa

Yep. Gould's again. They don't just do hair; they make you feel good all over with massages, wraps, pedicures, manicures, and even limousine service. Yeah, that's a good day.

Best Health/Fitness Club


2. 24 Hour Fitness

3. French Riviera Spa

Young man, there's a place you can go. I said, young man, when you're short on your dough. You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find many ways to have a good time. It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A! ... Oh, just kidding. Actually the Y's the best place in town to get fit and stay that way.

Best Jewelry Store

1. Mednikow Jewelers

2. Las Savell Jewelry

3. Kay Jewelers

Mednikow holds onto the top spot again this year. But Jacob Mednikow opened the store in 1891, which gives these guys a bit of a head start. Nonetheless, quality is quality. Our congrats to Mednikow for keeping this award in the family year after year.

click to enlarge Flashback, - 1st Place: Best Vintage Clothing - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Best Tattoo Parlor

1. Underground Art

2. Trilogy

3. Ramesses Shadow Tattoos

Tattoos are forever, and so apparently is our readers' love for Underground Art, another repeat winner. Just remember, people, divorces happen. Angelina still has the scars from Billy Bob.

Best Antique Store

1. Toad Hall Antiques

2. Flashback

3. Bojo's Antique Mall

So many antique stores seem to think their customers want to dig through dusty bits of trash, old, broken toys, and a jumbled maze of furniture — even old toilets! — to unearth that antique desk or objet d'art. But Toad Hall, thankfully, has a different take on things. The store is organized and clean. Dressers and tables are decorated with modern touches. Even though Toad Hall's wares may be antiques, they don't look like they're ready to lay down and die. They look as if they're waiting for their second (or third, or fourth) life.

Best Smoke Shop

1. Tobacco Corner

2. Wizard's

3. Young Avenue Deli

The great thing about Tobacco Corner is that not only do they provide one of the best selections of tobacco-related products and accessories in town, they also pair it with an impressive newsstand. This makes it easy to pick up a good newspaper and better cigar in one trip — while pretending to be a '50s-sitcom dad or an ink-stained wretch from a good '40s movie, of course. Better yet, keeping the linked shops in separate rooms, gives cigar aficionados somewhere to deposit non-smoking companions while they soak in the sights and smells on the other side of the wall.

Best Dry Cleaners

1. Bensinger's Fine Cleaners

2. Dryve Cleaners

3. Happy Day Laundry and Cleaners

If you want to be old-fashioned and actually drop off or pick up your dry cleaning before or after work, this locally owned chain — which has been a Memphis fixture for more than 50 years — can fix you up, with 12 locations that dot the map heading east from Midtown. But why bother with the hassle when Bensinger's also offers free home pickup and delivery? Added bonus: a company Web site ( that delves into "The Mysteries of Moths" and answers the elusive question, "What is dry cleaning?"

Best Garden Center

1. Stringer's Garden Centers

2. Dan West Garden Center

3. Lowe's

The Memphis climate is notoriously difficult for those with not-so-green thumbs. But Stringer's, a family-owned business, makes gardening a little easier. They have a free design service for do-it-yourselfers called "We plan, you plant," where they'll do a landscape design based on information you provide. The garden centers, with locations in East Memphis and Germantown, carry the "Plants That Work" and "Proven Winners" lines, as well as organic selections.

Best Sporting Goods

1. Bass Pro Shops

2. Outdoors Inc.

3. Sports Authority

Sure, that long-promised, slow-to-materialize Bass Pro Shops wonderland at The Pyramid would be a great destination for hunters and fishermen across the region. But for Memphis outdoorsmen, the megastore on Macon Road in Bartlett seems to be sufficient. Besides, the current Bass Pro is a destination in its own right — with a new mounted-ducks display, replicas of state-record catches to envy, and, best of all, a large aquarium that's surrounded by a cool display of fishing lures. What kind of man-made lures did your great-granddaddy use? Go there to find out.

Best Place To Buy a Computer

1. Best Buy

2. Apple Store

3. Dell

With home computers as ubiquitous as television sets, it only makes sense that Best Buy, the home-electronics giant, would emerge as the go-to spot for regular folks computer shopping. Don't want to make sense of computer-company Web sites? Intimidated by specialty shops? Want a good home system for good value and advice from someone who knows more about it than you do? Best Buy fits the bill.

Best Place To Buy Home Electronics

BOM 1. Best Buy

2. Circuit City

3. Wal-Mart — tie


Best Buy has laptops, desktops, camcorders, digital cameras, cell phones, software, two-way radios, and more. But they've got quality as well as quantity. Their buy-online, pick-it-up-at-the-store feature means no hunting all over the store for what you're trying to find; no getting distracted in the CD section. Just grab and go.

Best Place To Buy a Bicycle

1. Midtown Bicycle

2. The Peddler

3. Outdoors Inc.

Hey, given gas prices and global warming, maybe biking isn't just for fun and exercise anymore. If you want to invest in some truly environmentally friendly transportation — or just have fun and get some exercise — Midtown Bicycle can find whatever fits your needs and service and repair your purchase later on. Now, if they could just do something about Memphis drivers to reduce the cycling fear factor.

Best Video Store

1. Blockbuster Video

2. Black Lodge Video

3. Midtown Video

Blockbuster has 19 area locations, a huge corporate marketing budget, and an order-from-home plan to combat Netflix. Guess that's why they are still at the top.

Best Record Store (new)

1. Spin Street

2. Cat's Music & DVDs — tie

Best Buy

3. Goner Records

The category may be music, and Spin Street's got it — new music at discount prices — but that's not all it's got. Check out Spin Street for the latest in DVDs and games. You won't walk out empty-handed. And don't walk in empty-handed either. The giant store, at the corner of Poplar and Highland, does a brisk business in trade-ins.

Best Record Store (used)

1. Shangri-La Records

2. Goner Records

3. Cat's Music & DVDs

From blues to garage to indie/alternative. From LPs to CDs, 45s, and 78s. Books and magazines. Turntables and T-shirts. What else does Shangri-La on Madison having going for it? You name it, from free in-store Fridays where you can hear live music to the latest edition of Kreature Comforts, a "low-life guide to Memphis" (and it's "still only $5.00 cheap!").

Best Music Equipment

1. Amro Music Stores

2. Guitar Center

3. Yarbrough's Music

It's been around since 1921. It's family owned and operated. And it's the place in town to go for musical instruments (and that includes rentals, repairs, and tunings) and print music too (over 52,000 titles in stock). It's Amro, at 2918 Poplar, where Elvis once bought a Gibson, John Mayer dropped by to buy a sax, and Ben Folds picked up a — what else? — piano. No problem, though. When it comes to pianos, Amro delivers.

Best Car Dealership





City Auto Sales

Just like last year, it's too close to call this category as votes were divided among more than 50 area dealerships.

Best Car Accessories

BOM 1. AutoZone

By "accessories," are we talking oil and brake fluid? You know your car needs both, and the staff at AutoZone won't blink an eye if that's all you know about what keeps your wheels running. But if you're ready to tear your engine down or do some chrome dressing, AutoZone's all over town (and headquartered in Memphis) to help you too. No wonder AutoZone's "da bomb," or as we say at the Flyer when a winner wins by a landslide in the Best of Memphis poll: the BOM.

click to enlarge Underground Art, - 1st Place: Best Tattoo Parlor - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Best Place To Buy a Motorcycle

1. Bumpus Harley-Davidson

2. Al's Honda

3. Memphis Motorcycle

And speaking of "accessories": Flyer readers voted Bumpus Harley-Davidson #1 for motorcycles, but it's #1 too for Harley gifts for him, for her, for the kids, and for the bike. You've got two locations to choose from in the Memphis area: on Whitten Road near Summer and on South Byhalia Road in Collierville. You've got a full service department and training classes too. What more do you want?

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