Readers’ picks: Goods & Services
All the people and places that locals love the most
The people and places locals love most
1ST PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center745 Main St., 893-5534
Walking through the Eighth & Main Antique Center, located at the southern end of downtown, is like taking a stroll through time. The colossal space hosts dozens of different vendors selling their curated collections from bygone eras, ensuring that new wonders from different decades await around every corner. There's something for everyone and every budget, including plenty of small items—vintage toys, postcards, dishes—if you've only got a few bucks to spare, and big-ticket items—pristine vintage furniture, framed artwork—for those with more elegant tastes.
2ND PLACE: Vintage Hen973 East Ave. J, 894-1311
3RD PLACE: Country Squyres’ Antiques164 E. Third St., 342-6764
Auto paint/body shop
1ST PLACE: Concours Elite2267 Esplanade, 891-0234
When it comes to fixing up your ride so it looks brand new—or even better than it did when it was new—Concours Elite is repeatly named No. 1. The shop consists of 17,000 square feet of work space, which includes a six-bay wash/detail building, two frame racks and the capacity to paint up to eight vehicles at a time. From estimate to pin-striping, Concours Elite has Chico's cars and trucks covered.
2ND PLACE: Knockout Collision Repair3225 Esplanade, 899-9202
3RD PLACE: JP’s Paint & Body Works1840 Park Ave., 342-1328
Auto repair shop
1ST PLACE: Affordable Automotive2106 Park Ave., 892-1774
Owned and run by Mike Button for 19 years, Affordable Automotive has earned a reputation for fast, friendly, reliable service. Specialties include everything from regular maintenance and oil changes to brake and transmission work and emergency repairs. But don't let that fool you—customers have come to rely on Affordable Automotive for just about every repair they need.
2ND PLACE: C & M Automotive Services1188 E. Lassen Ave., 343-5613
3RD PLACE: Spencer Automotive2303 Esplanade, Ste. 80, 345-5600
1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson200 East Ave., 895-1771
Chuck Patterson is on a streak when it comes to being voted Chico's favorite place to buy a car. The business has been family-owned and -operated for just shy of 50 years and today offers a vast selection of new Toyotas, as well as new Scion, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles, and many other makes and models of pre-owned cars and trucks. The dealership's salespeople are friendly and knowledgeable, as are the folks in the service department. If you're in the market for a new ride, you'll want to browse here.
2ND PLACE: Courtesy Automotive Center2520 Cohasset Road, 345-9444
3RD PLACE: (tie) Chico Nissan Hyundai575 Manzanita Ave., 891-1777
3RD PLACE: (tie) New Autos Inc.720 Main St., 894-2886
1ST PLACE: Apple Blossom Baby1372 Longfellow Ave., 345-1617
Families with kids know that Apple Blossom Baby is a full-service shop, perfect for a new mom and the rest of her little ones, as there's a nursing chair and a play area in addition to everything the kiddies might need. Merchandise includes high-quality used as well as new items, and baby and birthday registries make it simple for your friends and families to choose the perfect gift. What more could a parent ask for in a store?
2ND PLACE: Kat’s Meow138 W. Third St., 899-8811
3RD PLACE (tie): F.K.O.365 East Ave., 893-3454
3RD PLACE (tie): Kohl’s1505 Springfield Dr., 897-0920
1ST PLACE: Formal Education334 Broadway, 809-1839
Don't look any further than Formal Education if you're a guy who wants to get spiffy. With an in-house tailor and barber, this slick downtown shop offers more than just business casual to formal wear (and shoes), and the customer service is friendly and attentive. You'll walk out looking like a new man.
2ND PLACE: Men’s Wearhouse1950 E. 20th St., 342-1769
3RD PLACE: Trucker232 Broadway, 343-1073
1ST PLACE: For Elyse228 Broadway, 893-0106
It's not just the stylish selection of shoes, skirts, handbags and other necessities that have spurred Chico fashionistas to name this Broadway boutique Best Women's Clothier—it's also the service. The store's staff use their expertise to make such astute recommendations that For Elyse fans say it's like having your own personal stylist. The store also does brisk business online, and lets customers in on the best deals via its Facebook page and a sale blog found at forelyse.com.
2ND PLACE: 5th Street Clothing Co.328 Broadway, 345-5754
3RD PLACE: Anika Burke211 Main St., 918-8850
1ST PLACE: Heel & Sole Shoes708 Mangrove Ave., 899-0725
Whether you're searching for the perfect pair of boots for winter, fancy heels for your best friend's wedding, running shoes for that upcoming marathon or just a chill pair of flip-flops for hanging around, Heel & Sole is the place to go. The store looks small from the outside, but behind those doors are aisle upon aisle of every brand and style of shoe one can imagine, for men and women, and children, too.
2ND PLACE: Johnson’s Comfort Shoes801 East Ave., Ste. 145, 343-8923; and 1950 E. 20th St., Ste. 701, 342-2310
3RD PLACE: Baker’s Birkenstock333 Broadway, 345-4880
Place to buy art
1ST PLACE: Chico Paper Co.345 Broadway, 891-0900
Family-owned Chico Paper Co., downtown’s excellent gallery, is proud to showcase the artwork of some of the finest local and regional artists, along with national and international offerings. Chicoans know to go there to purchase prints of iconic Chico scenes by Jake Early, as well as brilliant works of such respected local artists as Doug Rathbun (check out his fabulous metal fish, insects and other creations) and Marilyn Jennings. The 2,500 of gallery space is filled with an extensive variety of art, from wall art and sculpture to jewelry and other accessories, plus a fine selection of greeting cards. The beloved shop also offers custom framing, with options to suit any art-lover’s taste.
2ND PLACE: Art Etc.
122 W. Third St., 895-1161
3RD PLACE: 1078 Gallery
820 Broadway, 343-1973
1ST PLACE: Pullins Cyclery801 Main St., 342-1055
With its worn door handles and wooden floors, cycle-centric antiques and conversation pieces on the walls, Pullins Cyclery has a weathered charm. It's been a Chico institution for decades, and what keeps customers coming back for generations are the shop's dynamic duo—owner Steve O'Bryan and longtime mechanic Dan Cernuda. In addition to knowing every little thing about your classic Schwinn, O'Bryan and Cernuda are always good for conversation, sans pressure or attempts to upsell.
2ND PLACE: Greenline Cycles515 Main St., 894-7885
3RD PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports178 E. Second St., 345-2453
1ST PLACE: Michael M. RooneyRooney Law Firm, 1361 Esplanade, 343-5297
Chicoans trust Michael M. Rooney with many a court-related matter, from criminal defenses to family law to personal injury suits. Satisfied customers rave about Rooney's willingness to work on their behalf and his staff's compassionate nature and true desire to help.
2ND PLACE: Nicole PlottelHarris & Plottel LLP, 3120 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10, 893-2882
3RD PLACE (tie): Denver LatimerThe Law Office of Denver Latimer, 330 Wall St., 345-1396
3RD PLACE (tie): Aaron J. StewartLaw Offices of Aaron J. Stewart, 2619 Forest Ave., Ste. 100, 345-2212
1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bankmultiple locations
Tri Counties Bank has branches in way more than just “tri” counties these days. Even though today it is spread across 24 California counties, the bank founded in Chico in 1974 still maintains its small-town charm. The six Chico branches have a friendly down-home feel thanks to their personable tellers and knowledgeable managers.
2ND PLACE: Wells Fargo Bankmultiple locations
3RD PLACE (tie): Sierra Central Credit Union352 E. First St., 345-3625
3RD PLACE (tie): Golden 1 Credit Union239 W. Second St., (877) 465-3361
1ST PLACE: Liberty Cab898-1776
Whether they need a ride to the grocery store or a late-night pickup, Chicoans know they can rely on Liberty Cab—which celebrated its 10th birthday this year—to be fast, friendly and reliable. The taxi company recently launched an app—Trac My Ride—that allows customers to book and check on the progress of their cabs. Liberty also makes a point to give back to local and national charities, making each ride a little bit sweeter.
2ND PLACE: Ecocab591-3186
3RD PLACE: Chico Yellow Cab893-4444
1ST PLACE: S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods1924 Mangrove Ave., 343-4930
S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods started in Gridley in 1967, and a year later opened a roadside produce stand selling a limited selection of natural foods in Chico. It's grown a great deal from those humble beginnings, and since 1997 has been housed—along with a full-service deli and butcher shop—in its current building. Today, S&S boasts one of the largest selections of certified organically grown produce in the North State.
2ND PLACE: Trader Joe’s801 East Ave., Ste. 110, 343-9920
3RD PLACE: Chico Natural Foods Co-op818 Main St., 891-1713
1ST PLACE: Collier Hardware105 Broadway, 342-0195
Collier Hardware has been serving Chico—in the same location nonetheless—since 1871, and it's no wonder why the venerable storefront is a perennial Best of Chico favorite. Not only do they carry everything a do-it-yourselfer might desire, but also a diverse collection of quality kitchenware (including products by Le Creuset and All-Clad), barbecues and gifts galore. The building and business have acquired a great deal of character in the last 150-or-so years, and the feeling of walking the aged wood floors through aisles of lumber and tools is an experience the big boxes can never capture.
2ND PLACE: Lowe’s2350 Forest Ave., 895-5130
3RD PLACE: Orchard Supply Hardware231 W. East Ave., 332-9226
1ST PLACE: Kirk’s Jewelry246 W. Third St., 891-0880
Step inside the spacious downtown confines of Kirk's Jewelry and it's apparent you're in the showroom of a master craftsman. Owner Kirk Bengston has been honing his craft in Chico since 1973, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that make his shop part jewelry store/part art gallery. You don't last 42-plus years without doing a lot of things right, and Kirk's has built and polished a shining reputation as Chico's favorite.
2ND PLACE: Olde Gold Estate Jewelry225 Main St., Ste. 3, 891-4610
3RD PLACE: Gabrielle Ferrar214 Main St., 345-1500
1ST PLACE: Spike’s Bottle Shop1270 E. First Ave., 893-8410
In 2012, Spike's Bottle Shop was the site of a fire that could have put owner Kevin Jaradah out of business for good. Instead, Jaradah retooled the store to focus on the rising craft beer market upon reopening, and Spike's rose like a phoenix from the ashes to help secure the fad's foothold in the North State. Spike's now offers more than 1,000 types of beer, and is more than just a neighborhood liquor store, but a destination for devoted beer fans.
2ND PLACE: Star Liquors959 Nord Ave., 891-4842
3RD PLACE: Mangrove Bottle Shop1350 Mangrove Ave., 342-7575
Local computer store
1ST PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic1304 Mangrove Ave., 636-1337
Fast turn-around service is what customers appreciate at Chico Computer Clinic. Reasonable prices, and the staff's experienced and welcoming service are also touted as pluses. One reviewer writes, “They fixed my laptop in one day. It had a ton of viruses, and now it runs great!”
2ND PLACE: PCI Business Services225 Main St., 924-4848
3RD PLACE: Computers Plus2477 Forest Ave., Ste. 150, 891-7587
Local pet store
1ST PLACE: Trailblazer Pet Supply752 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848
Trailblazer Pet Supply, located in the Safeway shopping center on Mangrove Avenue, is a one-stop shop with all the necessities to keep Chicoans' four-legged companions healthy and happy. In addition to a wide selection of healthy foods and fun toys for cats and dogs, the locally owned pet store also features grooming services, dog training and puppy socialization classes, nutrition consultations and much more.
2ND PLACE: Pet Smart2019 Forest Ave., 961-9188
3RD PLACE (tie): Chico Pet Works and Pet Salon2201 Pillsbury Road, 345-0934
3RD PLACE (tie): Northern Star Mills510 Esplanade, 342-7661
1ST PLACE: Magnolia Gift and Garden1367 East Ave., 894-5410
Magnolia Gift and Garden doesn't just offer all of the plants and decorations needed to turn a home garden into a little slice of paradise; it also supplies a healthy dose of inspiration. The nursery's East Avenue location is downright beautiful, with a brilliant mix of natural greenery and artistic touches bound to give gardeners a few good ideas for sprucing up their own green space. Owners Courtney Paulson and Chris Hunter and the Magnolia staff definitely know their stuff, and are quick to offer friendly and helpful gardening advice.
2ND PLACE: The Plant Barn & Gift Shop406 Entler Ave., 345-3121
3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen Nursery189 E. Eighth St., 891-9100
Place to buy home furnishings
1ST PLACE: The Address2444 Cohasset Road, 898-9000
The Address, a stylish furniture store at East Avenue and Cohasset Road, urges customers to “Live with the things you love.” To assist in that goal, the store is home to a full range of home furnishings and decorations to appoint your living space in the most comfortable, stylish and expressive way possible. They also offer custom furniture and an array of decorating services, from help with fabric selection to complete room design.
2ND PLACE: Nantucket Home603 Broadway, 895-1038
3RD PLACE: Finds Design and Decor1341 Mangrove Ave., 892-1905
1ST PLACE: Hubbs Stationery956 Mangrove Ave., 892-4940
In addition to offering high-quality stationery as its name implies, Hubbs Stationery also sells a wide array of knickknacks, bric-a-brac, scented candles, fine chocolates and other delightful gifts, and has been chosen by readers as Chico's Best Gift Shop for several consecutive years. The original store opened in Southern California about 60 years ago, and the Chico location is itself quite venerable, having served Chicoans for nearly two decades.
2ND PLACE: Made in Chico127 W. Third St., 894-7009
3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen Gift Shop897 E. 20th St., 897-0100
Place to buy music gear
1ST PLACE: The Music Connection973 East Ave., Ste. V, 898-0110
The readers have spoken once again: The Music Connection is where they prefer to buy their noise-makers. It's understandable, since there's a great selection of instruments and gear and the employees are some of the best musicians in town—which is probably why their music lessons are top notch, too.
2ND PLACE: Herreid Music824 Oroville Ave., 894-7777
3RD PLACE: Guitar Center2027 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 879-1731
Place to buy outdoor gear
1ST PLACE: Mountain Sports176 E. Third St., 345-5011
Whether your outdoor endeavors involve climbing Monkey Face or Mount Shasta, Mountain Sports has everything you need to make it to the top. The store offers top-of-the line equipment for hiking, biking, rock-climbing and many other outdoor activities in a convenient downtown location. You'll also get the necessary information—maps, books and insider information from a staff made up of hardcore hobbyists—to ensure the safety and success of any adventure.
2ND PLACE: Chico Sports LTD698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110
3RD PLACE: Sportsman’s Warehouse765 East Ave. Ste. 170, 897-0500
1ST PLACE: Dick’s Sporting Goods1922 E. 20th St., 343-3351
Dick's Sporting Goods is hard to beat, whether you're looking to outfit a little league team or a local militia. This impressively sized store at the Chico Mall is full of the A to Z of sporting-good needs, from archery targets shaped like wild animals to Reebok ZPumps. Dick's friendly service and huge inventory make it a favorite for sports fans and survivalists alike.
2ND PLACE: Sports LTD698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110
3RD PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods1717 Mangrove Ave., 891-1545
1ST PLACE: The Arc Store2020 Park Ave., 343-3666
Need a gently used coffee table? Maybe a microwave, or a pair of heels, or a bike? Well, look no further than the Arc Store, the actual place where one man's trash becomes another's treasure. If that's not enough, all the proceeds go to a great cause—helping Butte County's developmentally disabled adults—so you can feel good about paying $10 for that old desk; it's money well-spent.
2ND PLACE: Goodwill765 East Ave., 893-8578
3RD PLACE: Elite Repeat (Salvation Army)700 Broadway, 342-9192
1ST PLACE: Three-Sixty Ecotique511 Main St., 342-8752
Three-Sixty Ecotique is a little oasis in Chico, a place where one can spend far too much time browsing all the unique, funky, artful clothing and accessories—simply because there's so much cool stuff to admire. The owners bring their own personal styles to each rack, offering a mixture of hand-picked vintage items—which Chicoans clearly love—and new pieces by creative designers.
2ND PLACE: Pepper Grand Culee’s Funky Trunk1112 Mangrove Ave., 894-8065
3RD PLACE: Bootleg126 W. Second St., 895-1426
1ST PLACE: 3rd Generation Cleaners1354 East Ave., 899-0333
Despite the nature of their work, “wet cleaning” is the key to 3rd Generation's process, an environmentally friendly approach free of toxic chemicals. Owners Stuart and Van Depper are committed to the process and to offering friendly customer service and a knack for getting out even the toughest stains. The prices are reasonable and they also have a seamstress on hand for alterations.
2ND PLACE: Chico Express Cleaners641 Walnut St., 343-6013; and 752 East Ave., 343-8844
3RD PLACE: Esplanade Cleaners164 E. Second Ave., 342-4306
1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 100, 891-1881
This Chico icon has been in its present location alongside Big Chico Creek for more than a century, and its reputation for providing the highest-quality flowers—most selected from the San Francisco Flower Market—with attentive customer service has made it Chico's go-to spot for gorgeous arrangements, not to mention its beautiful and healthy plants and well-stocked gift shop.
2ND PLACE: Flowers by Rachelle2485 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 240, 345-2661
3RD PLACE: Cambray Rose Florist10 Whitehall Place, 514-4710
1ST PLACE: Hotel Diamond220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100
With its prime downtown location and the shining beacon of its copper-topped cupola, the Hotel Diamond lives up to its boast of being the “jewel” of Chico. Originally opened in 1904, the historic building was completely remodeled from top to bottom and outfitted with modern conveniences and artisan furnishings to complement the classic architecture. A luxurious getaway in the heart of our little college town.
2ND PLACE: Oxford Suites2035 Business Lane, 899-9090
3RD PLACE: Holiday Inn685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491
1ST PLACE: Bubbles Laundry664 Mangrove Ave., 343-8815
Despite enduring a rash of burglaries over the summer and the closing of its West Sacramento Avenue sister store earlier this year, Bubbles Laundry on Mangrove Avenue remains Chico's favorite laundromat. Regular users praise the clean, well-lit facility and attentive staff who help keep patrons up to date on improvements and outages through the laundromat's Facebook page.
2ND PLACE: Chico Laundry Co.1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 342-9274
3RD PLACE: East Avenue Coin Laundry and Dry Cleaning986 East Ave., 891-8805
Real estate agent
1ST PLACE: John BarrosoKeller Williams Realty, 261 E. Third St., 570-8489
A nine-year veteran of the real estate industry, John Barroso lives and works in downtown Chico. His specialties are commercial and residential real estate and in 2012, he earned the “Greatest Closed Volume” award from his employer, Keller Williams Realty. Barroso's background in loans helps him advise his clients in the diverse aspects of investing and financing.
2ND PLACE: Teresa LarsonCentury 21 Jeffries Lydon, 1101 El Monte Ave., 345-6618
3RD PLACE: Brandi LaffinsCentury 21 Jeffries Lydon, 1101 El Monte Ave., 345-6618
1ST PLACE: Sweetwater Day Spa1031 Village Lane, 894-7722
For the third year in a row, Sweetwater has taken home the prize for Best Day Spa in Chico. And it's really no surprise, as the staff there are full-time relaxation specialists. Patrons can expect robes and slippers upon arrival and before settling in for some serious pampering. Whether they're in the mood for a facial or massage or want a professional makeup or waxing session, Sweetwater is where Chicoans turn, again and again.
2ND PLACE: Urban Medspa3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772
3RD PLACE: Renew Float Spa1030 Village Lane, 588-7378
1ST PLACE: Forever Fades748 W. Fifth St., 636-4417
“Picasso with the clippers” is how one reviewer describes Jessica Hahn, a stylist at Chico's top-voted barber shop. Forever Fades is also noted for its multicultural vibe, hip tunes and friendly customer service. People go in for the cuts, and to have fun soaking in the style of the place.
2ND PLACE: Chico’s Barber Shop162 E. Third St., 487-7373
3RD PLACE: Gearhead Barbershop221 Normal Ave., 894-2889
1ST PLACE: Dimensions Salon810 Broadway, 894-2515
Customers love stepping into the historic building that houses Dimensions Salon for great cuts and hair color. “A gorgeous environment and friendly staff” are one customer's raves. Others noted the stylists' ability to listen to customers' hairstyle wishes, and to make suggestions tailored to each individual's needs. Reasonable prices, quality cuts and atmosphere are what Dimensions is known for.
2ND PLACE: Hair Co.2760 Esplanade, 894-2002
3RD PLACE: Crucial Salon744 Wall St., 487-7077
Place for a mani/pedi
1ST PLACE: Tammy’s Nails1354 East Ave., 899-8912
For years now, Chicoans have voted Tammy's Nails in the Safeway shopping center off East Avenue their favorite place for a mani/pedi. Whether they're pampering themselves with a spa pedicure or getting a little gloss and bling for a weekend out, customers love Tammy's for the professional, personable service.
2ND PLACE: U.S. Nails & Spa726 Mangrove Ave., 345-2520
3RD PLACE: Bliss Nails & Spa2033 Forest Ave., Ste. 100, 891-3538
1ST PLACE: Tropical Zone Exotic Tanning1354 East Ave., Ste. L, 893-3300
When it comes to tanning—either in a traditional tanning bed or via spray—Tropical Zone is where Chicoans go. “The staff is always fantastic, friendly and helpful. The beds are always clean, with fresh bulbs. The pricing is great. Can't imagine ever going anywhere else,” one longtime customer raves. The Tropical Zone seeks to provide a family atmosphere, and also sells accessories and clothes to capture that tropical mood.
2ND PLACE: California Sun706 Mangrove Ave., 674-7600
3RD PLACE (tie): The Electric Lounge995 Nord Ave., Ste. 140, 894-7090
3RD PLACE (tie): Euro Bronze2454 Notre Dame Blvd., 342-2990
3RD PLACE (tie): Lovely Glow Tanning Salon206 Walnut St., 898-1316
1ST PLACE: Eye of Jade319 Main St., Ste. 200, 345-5233
Getting a tattoo can be a deeply personal—not to mention permanent—experience, and choosing the right artist and venue are the first steps in making a decision you'll either regret or cherish for the rest of your life. Eye of Jade's clean and comfortable Chico shop is home to a stable of fantastic tattooists—Ben Lucas, Chris Peplow, Jeremy Golden and Jackie Rabbit. Two more excellent artists, Max Kilbourne and Chad Nicely, hold down the fort at Eye of Jade's Paradise location.
2ND PLACE: Red Room Tattoo231 Nord Ave., 342-1287
3RD PLACE: Victory Tattoo1818 Mangrove Ave., 896-1818