Readers’ picks: Goods & Services

All the people and places that locals love the most

Heel & Sole

Heel & Sole

Photo by Paula Schultz

The people and places locals love most

Antiques store

1ST PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center

745 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 Hen

973 East Ave. J, 894-1311

3RD PLACE: Country Squyres’ Antiques

164 E. Third St., 342-6764

Auto paint/body shop

1ST PLACE: Concours Elite

2267 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 Repair

3225 Esplanade, 899-9202

3RD PLACE: JP’s Paint & Body Works

1840 Park Ave., 342-1328

Auto repair shop

1ST PLACE: Affordable Automotive

2106 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 Services

1188 E. Lassen Ave., 343-5613

3RD PLACE: Spencer Automotive

2303 Esplanade, Ste. 80, 345-5600

Car dealership

1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson

200 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 Center

2520 Cohasset Road, 345-9444

3RD PLACE: (tie) Chico Nissan Hyundai

575 Manzanita Ave., 891-1777

3RD PLACE: (tie) New Autos Inc.

720 Main St., 894-2886

Baby/kids' clothier

1ST PLACE: Apple Blossom Baby

1372 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 Meow

138 W. Third St., 899-8811

3RD PLACE (tie): F.K.O.

365 East Ave., 893-3454

3RD PLACE (tie): Kohl’s

1505 Springfield Dr., 897-0920

Men's clothier

1ST PLACE: Formal Education

334 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 Wearhouse

1950 E. 20th St., 342-1769

3RD PLACE: Trucker

232 Broadway, 343-1073

Women's clothier

1ST PLACE: For Elyse

228 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

2ND PLACE: 5th Street Clothing Co.

328 Broadway, 345-5754

3RD PLACE: Anika Burke

211 Main St., 918-8850

Shoe store

1ST PLACE: Heel & Sole Shoes

708 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 Shoes

801 East Ave., Ste. 145, 343-8923; and 1950 E. 20th St., Ste. 701, 342-2310

3RD PLACE: Baker’s Birkenstock

333 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

Bike shop

1ST PLACE: Pullins Cyclery

801 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 Cycles

515 Main St., 894-7885

The Address

Photo by Paula Schultz

3RD PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453


1ST PLACE: Michael M. Rooney

Rooney 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 Plottel

Harris & Plottel LLP, 3120 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10, 893-2882

3RD PLACE (tie): Denver Latimer

The Law Office of Denver Latimer, 330 Wall St., 345-1396

3RD PLACE (tie): Aaron J. Stewart

Law Offices of Aaron J. Stewart, 2619 Forest Ave., Ste. 100, 345-2212

Bank/credit union

1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bank

multiple 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 Bank

multiple locations

3RD PLACE (tie): Sierra Central Credit Union

352 E. First St., 345-3625

3RD PLACE (tie): Golden 1 Credit Union

239 W. Second St., (877) 465-3361

Cab company

1ST PLACE: Liberty Cab


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: Ecocab


3RD PLACE: Chico Yellow Cab



1ST PLACE: S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods

1924 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’s

801 East Ave., Ste. 110, 343-9920

3RD PLACE: Chico Natural Foods Co-op

818 Main St., 891-1713

Hardware store

1ST PLACE: Collier Hardware

105 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’s

2350 Forest Ave., 895-5130

3RD PLACE: Orchard Supply Hardware

231 W. East Ave., 332-9226


1ST PLACE: Kirk’s Jewelry

246 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 Jewelry

225 Main St., Ste. 3, 891-4610

3RD PLACE: Gabrielle Ferrar

214 Main St., 345-1500

Liquor store

1ST PLACE: Spike’s Bottle Shop

1270 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 Liquors

959 Nord Ave., 891-4842

3RD PLACE: Mangrove Bottle Shop

1350 Mangrove Ave., 342-7575

Local computer store

1ST PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic

1304 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 Services

225 Main St., 924-4848

3RD PLACE: Computers Plus

2477 Forest Ave., Ste. 150, 891-7587

Local pet store

1ST PLACE: Trailblazer Pet Supply

752 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 Smart

2019 Forest Ave., 961-9188

3RD PLACE (tie): Chico Pet Works and Pet Salon

2201 Pillsbury Road, 345-0934

Dimensions Salon

3RD PLACE (tie): Northern Star Mills

510 Esplanade, 342-7661


1ST PLACE: Magnolia Gift and Garden

1367 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 Shop

406 Entler Ave., 345-3121

3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen Nursery

189 E. Eighth St., 891-9100

Place to buy home furnishings

1ST PLACE: The Address

2444 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 Home

603 Broadway, 895-1038

3RD PLACE: Finds Design and Decor

1341 Mangrove Ave., 892-1905

Gift shop

1ST PLACE: Hubbs Stationery

956 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 Chico

127 W. Third St., 894-7009

3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen Gift Shop

897 E. 20th St., 897-0100

Place to buy music gear

1ST PLACE: The Music Connection

973 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 Music

824 Oroville Ave., 894-7777

3RD PLACE: Guitar Center

2027 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 879-1731

Place to buy outdoor gear

1ST PLACE: Mountain Sports

176 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 LTD

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

3RD PLACE: Sportsman’s Warehouse

765 East Ave. Ste. 170, 897-0500

Sporting goods

1ST PLACE: Dick’s Sporting Goods

1922 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.


698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

3RD PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods

1717 Mangrove Ave., 891-1545

Thrift store

1ST PLACE: The Arc Store

2020 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: Goodwill

765 East Ave., 893-8578

3RD PLACE: Elite Repeat (Salvation Army)

700 Broadway, 342-9192

Vintage/second-hand threads

1ST PLACE: Three-Sixty Ecotique

511 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 Trunk

1112 Mangrove Ave., 894-8065

3RD PLACE: Bootleg

126 W. Second St., 895-1426

Dry Cleaner

1ST PLACE: 3rd Generation Cleaners

1354 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 Cleaners

641 Walnut St., 343-6013; and 752 East Ave., 343-8844

3RD PLACE: Esplanade Cleaners

164 E. Second Ave., 342-4306


1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson

250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 100, 891-1881

Hubbs Stationary

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 Rachelle

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 240, 345-2661

3RD PLACE: Cambray Rose Florist

10 Whitehall Place, 514-4710


1ST PLACE: Hotel Diamond

220 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 Suites

2035 Business Lane, 899-9090

3RD PLACE: Holiday Inn

685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491


1ST PLACE: Bubbles Laundry

664 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 Cleaning

986 East Ave., 891-8805

Real estate agent

1ST PLACE: John Barroso

Keller 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 Larson

Century 21 Jeffries Lydon, 1101 El Monte Ave., 345-6618

3RD PLACE: Brandi Laffins

Century 21 Jeffries Lydon, 1101 El Monte Ave., 345-6618

Day spa

1ST PLACE: Sweetwater Day Spa

1031 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 Medspa

3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772

3RD PLACE: Renew Float Spa

1030 Village Lane, 588-7378


1ST PLACE: Forever Fades

748 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 Shop

162 E. Third St., 487-7373

3RD PLACE: Gearhead Barbershop

221 Normal Ave., 894-2889

Hair salon

1ST PLACE: Dimensions Salon

810 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 Salon

744 Wall St., 487-7077

Place for a mani/pedi

1ST PLACE: Tammy’s Nails

1354 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 & Spa

726 Mangrove Ave., 345-2520

3RD PLACE: Bliss Nails & Spa

2033 Forest Ave., Ste. 100, 891-3538

Tanning salon

1ST PLACE: Tropical Zone Exotic Tanning

1354 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 Sun

706 Mangrove Ave., 674-7600

3RD PLACE (tie): The Electric Lounge

995 Nord Ave., Ste. 140, 894-7090

3RD PLACE (tie): Euro Bronze

2454 Notre Dame Blvd., 342-2990

3RD PLACE (tie): Lovely Glow Tanning Salon

206 Walnut St., 898-1316

Tattoo parlor

1ST PLACE: Eye of Jade

319 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 Tattoo

231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

3RD PLACE: Victory Tattoo

1818 Mangrove Ave., 896-1818