Readers’ picks: Goods & Services

Chicoans choose a few of their favorite things

Eighth & Main Antique Center

Eighth & Main Antique Center

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Antiques store

1ST PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center

745 Main St., 893-5534

If you’re looking for something old or collectible (or both), you need look no further than Eighth & Main Antique Center. Individual sellers fill the enormous two-story building—plus a warehouse out back—with just about everything imaginable. Fine furniture and nicknacks share space with vinyl records and bottle cap collections. No wonder it consistently wins Best Antiques Store.

2ND PLACE: Vintage Hen

973 East Ave., Ste. J, 894-1311

3RD PLACE: Country Squyres’ Antiques

164 E. Third St., 342-6764

Auto paint/body shop

1ST PLACE: Concours Elite

2267 Esplanade, Ste. D, 891-0234

Chicoans have grown to trust Concours Elite with their repair and paint jobs over the shop’s 30 years in business, earning it the top spot in this category. The family-owned collision center boasts more than 17,000 square feet of space for repairs, and customers rave about the staff’s ability to relieve their stress and return their vehicles good as new.

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

For four years running, Affordable Automotive has won Best Auto Repair Shop in Chico. The family-run business strives to help customers maintain safe, reliable vehicles, be they old, new, American or foreign, and their service certainly backs that up.

2ND PLACE: C & M Automotive Services

1188 E. Lassen Ave., 343-5613

3RD PLACE: Boradori Automotive

2303 Esplanade, Ste. 80, 345-5600

Baby/kids' clothier

1ST PLACE: Apple Blossom Baby

1372 Longfellow Ave., 345-1617

Apple Blossom Baby is one of those unique Chico stores that blends new, hard-to-find treasures and consignment. And let’s face it, when it comes to kids, sizes change so fast that finding a good deal on gently used items can make a huge difference. Locals clearly appreciate the model—and the super friendly staff who go out of their way to make parents and baby happy.

2ND PLACE: Kat’s Meow

138 W. Third St., 899-8811

3RD PLACE: The Children’s Place

1950 E. 20th St., 894-2589

Men's clothier

1ST PLACE: Formal Education

127 Main Street, 809-1839

This is the third consecutive year readers have named Formal Education their favorite source for menswear. Driven by the store’s continued popularity and in order to better serve the fashion needs of Chico dudes, the shop recently moved from its Broadway location to Main Street. The new location is twice the size and features a separate suit room and other amenities.

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

For 17 years, the women behind For Elyse have been bringing fashion to downtown Chico. Customers keep going back because it’s more than just a store—it’s an experience from the moment you walk in the door and are greeted by personal stylists. Over the years, For Elyse’s success has allowed it to grow to two stores—one in Redding—and, more recently, a bustling online marketplace. No wonder it keeps winning Best Women’s Clothier.

2ND PLACE: 5th Street Clothing Co.

328 Broadway, 345-5754

3RD PLACE: Anika Burke

211 Main St., 918-8850

Vintage/ second-hand threads

1ST PLACE: Three Sixty Ecotique

511 Main St., 342-8752

When Chicoans want to dress trendy but original, their first stop is Three Sixty Ecotique. The shop just south of the post office downtown has grown over the years, and continues to be the No. 1 place for vintage and second-hand threads in town. So, whether you’re attracted to locally made pieces or carefully selected hand-me-downs, Three Sixty is where you’ll find your style.

2ND PLACE: Bootleg

126 W. Second St., 895-1426

3RD PLACE: Lovene’s Clothing & Collectables

252 E. Ninth Ave., 343-7210

Shoe store

1ST PLACE: Heel & Sole Shoes

708 Mangrove Ave., 899-0725

Year after year, Heel & Sole wins over Chico’s heart—and feet—and is dubbed Best Shoe Store. There’s good reason for that, too. Flip-flops alone cover several racks inside the spacious store, which also has a great selection of athletic shoes, boots and heels appropriate for every occasion.

2ND PLACE: Johnson’s Shoes

801 East Ave., Ste. 145, 343-8923

3RD PLACE: Fleet Feet Sports

241 Main St., 345-1000

Bank/credit union

1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bank

multiple locations

Founded over 40 years ago right here in Chico, Tri Counties Bank has a long history of fulfilling local banking needs, from checking and savings accounts to home and business loans to investing. Customers have come to know Tri Counties by its core values of trust, respect, integrity, communication and opportunity (TRICO, get it?) that keep it at the top when it comes to handling money.

2ND PLACE: Wells Fargo Bank

multiple locations

3RD PLACE: Sierra Central Credit Union

352 E. First St., (800) 222-7228

Christian & Johnson

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper


1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson

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

Christian & Johnson got its start as a nursery opened by Annie Bidwell’s gardener over a century ago, and it’s been beautifying Chicoans’ homes and special events ever since. Locals continuously trust the designers at C&J to create the most elegant arrangements for all occasions, from simple to elaborate.

2ND PLACE: Flowers by Rachelle

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

3RD PLACE: Chico Florist

1600 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 145, 345-1855

Bike shop

1ST PLACE: Pullins Cyclery

801 Main St., 342-1055

If decades’ worth of bicycle-repair knowledge is what you seek, Pullins Cyclery is your place. Seriously, the guys behind the counter—owner Steve O’Bryan and mechanics David Sykes and Dan Cernuda—will have your bike running smooth as silk, and the shop itself is timeless. Go ahead and ask them about the cool, antique rides and old-school cycling jerseys on the wall, but be prepared: They’re liable to chat you up.

2ND PLACE: Greenline Cycles

515 Main St., 894-7885

3RD PLACE (TIE): Campus Bicycles

330 Main St., 345-2081

3RD PLACE (TIE): North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453

Cab company

1ST PLACE: Liberty Cab


Uber may have popped into the top three when it comes to catching a ride in Chico, but no one can surpass Liberty Cab. The locally owned company became a Living Legend last year; and this year racks up up its sixth straight win in the Best Cab Company category. That’s because Chicoans know they can rely on fast, friendly service whether they call old-school-style or book a ride via the mobile app.


3RD PLACE: Ecocab


Car dealership

1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson

200 East Ave., 895-1771

Behind buying a house, buying a car is one of the biggest purchases folks make during their lifetimes. Locally, when it comes to shopping for cars—new and used—Chuck Patterson is the dealer of choice. This longtime business (50 years in Chico!) on East Avenue is our town’s No. 1 car emporium time and time again. That could be due to a variety of reasons: the courteous staff, the clean and modern showroom, and the wide selection of makes and models.

2ND PLACE: Courtesy Automotive Center

2520 Cohasset Road, 345-9444

3RD PLACE: Wittmeier Auto Center

2288 Forest Ave., 895-8181


1ST PLACE: Gearhead Barbershop

221 Normal Ave., 894-2889

When it comes to updating the ’do, men don’t mess around—they go to Gearhead. Whether it’s a trim, a buzzcut, a dye job or a full-on styling session, the folks at Gearhead know best. Customers also rave about the hot towel and shave service, the perfect kind of primping every man craves.

2ND PLACE: Chico’s Barber Shop

162 E. Third St., 487-7373

3RD PLACE: Barber John’s

532 Nord Ave., 342-7342

Hair salon

1ST PLACE: The Hair Co.

2760 Esplanade, 894-2002

Customers choose the Hair Co. for the talented stylists, friendly smiles, modern environment and variety of products available. The staff is always eager to send customers home with the perfect cut, color and style. And it doesn’t stop there: The Hair Co. also offers skin treatments, manicures and pedicures, waxing and massage. Talk about full-service!

2ND PLACE: Dimensions Salon

810 Broadway, 894-2515

3RD PLACE: SeelaDavid Salon

1209 Esplanade, Ste. 6, 343-3600

Day spa

1ST PLACE: Sweetwater Day Spa

40 Declaration Drive, 894-7722

Sweetwater Day Spa is at once elegant, rustic and homey, making it the perfect environment to kick back, relax and let someone else do the work for a change. Customers rave about the brow waxing and deep-tissue massages, saying they always go home with a smile, feeling perfectly pampered.

2ND PLACE: Urban Medspa

3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772

3RD PLACE: Renew Float Spa

1030 Village Lane, 588-7378

Place for a mani/pedi

1ST PLACE: Tammy Nails

1354 East Ave., 899-8912

Getting pampered doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Tammy Nails sees to that. From the dozen-plus spa pedicure stations lining the wall to the friendly, talented staff, this nail salon on the north end of town draws customers back again and again. From simple polish to full sets, the nail techs at Tammy’s are top-notch and always up-to-date on the most current trends.

2ND PLACE: Bliss Nails & Spa

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

3RD PLACE: U.S. Nails & Spa

726 Mangrove Ave., 345-2520

Tattoo parlor

1ST PLACE: Eye of Jade

319 Main St., Ste. 200, 345-5233

Tattoos are pieces of art permanently placed on one’s body. So, good, clean work—from the sterility of equipment to the steadiness of the artist’s hand—are paramount to a good tattoo shop. Eye of Jade has it all in spades. With a large staff of talented artists, Eye of Jade has made a name for itself as Chico’s (and Paradise’s) go-to tattoo parlor.

2ND PLACE: Red Room Tattoo

231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

3RD PLACE: Victory Tattoo

1818 Mangrove Ave., 896-1818

Dry cleaner

1ST PLACE: Chico Express Cleaners

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

Customers love dropping their dirty duds off at the 24-hour drop boxes, and having the clothes come back “sharp and clean.” With two locations, Chico Express Cleaners also offers free pick-up and delivery for suits, shirts and household items—for families as well as businesses. Earning a strong reputation for customer satisfaction has been the goal for more than 20 years at Chico Express Cleaners.

2ND PLACE: 3rd Generation Cleaners

1354 East Ave., 899-0333

3RD PLACE: Esplanade Cleaners

164 E. Second Ave., 342-4306

Feed store/farm supply

1ST PLACE: Northern Star Mills

510 Esplanade, 342-7661

When it comes to feeding animals, be it household pets or pasture-dwelling livestock, Chicoans know they can turn to Northern Star Mills to fill their needs. One of Chico’s oldest businesses, Northern Star Mills has a large selection, including steroid-free, non-GMO and even locally sourced feed for all your chickens, goats, horses, cows, pigs and even wild birds. You name it, they can feed it.

2ND PLACE: Wilbur’s Feed & Seed

139 Meyers St., 895-0569

3RD PLACE: C Bar D Feed

3388 Highway 32, 342-5361

Northern Star Mills

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Gift shop

1ST PLACE: Hubbs & Co.

956 Mangrove Ave., 892-4940

The newly rebranded Hubbs & Co. is Chico’s go-to shop when it comes to finding the perfect gift. Looking for cute home décor items for a housewarming present? Check out Hubbs. Does your best friend just love sweet-smelling lotions and oils? Hubbs has those, too. With such a wide inventory of fashionable, fun items, you might just walk out with a gift for yourself.

2ND PLACE: Little Red Hen Gift Shop

897 E. 20th St., 897-0100

3RD PLACE: Made in Chico

127 W. Third St., 894-7009


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

1924 Mangrove Ave., 343-4930

There’s a reason why locals love S&S. OK, there are many: the carefully selected organic fruits and veggies; the hormone-free, natural meats at the full-service Butcher Shop; the wide selection of vitamins and supplements; and the dedication to supporting local businesses. Did we mention the top-notch barbecue and deli on-site? There’s that, too.

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 located in the same spot since 1935, and the space it fills has been a hardware store since the building was erected in 1871. Walking through the store’s beautifully worn interior, it’s easy to imagine John Bidwell himself picking up supplies to knock a few items off Annie’s honey-do list. The store stocks all of the immediate needs for the modern do-it-yourselfer, as well as a wide selection of quality cookwear and other items to make your house a home.

2ND PLACE: Orchard Supply Hardware

231 W. East Ave., 332-9226

3RD PLACE: Lowe’s

2350 Forest Ave., 895-5130


1ST PLACE: Hotel Diamond

220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100

The copper-topped cupola rising above the roof of downtown’s Hotel Diamond fittingly resembles a lighthouse, as it serves as a beacon to guide visitors and locals looking for a luxurious getaway to Chico’s poshest lodgings. Originally built in 1904, the building fell into disrepair in the latter 20th century, but was refurbished and reopened in 2005. In its current form, the hotel offers all of the modern comforts and conveniences inside of a historic and elegant setting.

2ND PLACE: Oxford Suites

2035 Business Lane, 899-9090

3RD PLACE (TIE): Hotel James

10 Lost Dutchman Drive, 894-5743

3RD PLACE (TIE): Ramada Plaza

685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491


1ST PLACE: Kirk’s Jewelry

246 W. Third St., 891-0880

Locally owned by Kirk Bengston, Kirk’s is regularly named Best Jeweler and it’s not hard to see why. Bengston has 40 years of experience custom-designing everything from engagement rings to pendants to hand-carved bracelets, ensuring each piece is unique. The personal service, the warm ambiance and the high quality of the jewelry produced all team up to make Kirk’s the best.

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

It’s no secret that, when it comes to craft beers in particular, nowhere has a better selection than Spike’s. What’s more, owner Kevin Jaradah and his friendly employees are always happy to make suggestions or even special order something if, on a rare occasion, what you’re looking for is not in stock. Couple that with a vast selection of liquors and wines and it’s no wonder Spike’s holds onto its title as Chico’s Best Liquor Store.

2ND PLACE: Star Liquors

933 Nord Ave., 891-4842

3RD PLACE: Ray’s Liquor

207 Walnut St., 343-3249

Local computer store

1ST PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic

1304 Mangrove Ave., 636-1337

In today’s technology-driven world, a malfunctioning computer or cellphone can create serious problems in a person’s life. Chico Computer Clinic is in the business of ensuring Chicoans’ electronic devices are back in action before their users miss a single byte of important information, as the company’s Facebook page boasts that most repairs are done within 24 hours. They also provide data-recovery services and are a source for good deals on refurbished electronics.

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: Northern Star Mills

510 Esplanade, 342-7661

2ND PLACE: Trailblazer Pet Supply

752 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848

3RD PLACE: Pet Smart

2019 Forest Ave., 961-9188


1ST PLACE: Magnolia Gift and Garden

1367 East Ave., 894-5410

A stroll through the grounds of Magnolia Gift and Garden is a little adventure. Toward the front you’ll find pottery mixed in with an array of plants of all sorts—perennials, annuals, succulents—you name it. But the plant perusing doesn’t end there. Walk around toward the back—be sure to stop and check out the awesome chicken coop made from an old school bus—and there’s even more greenery, including shrubs and trees, to get your landscaping juices flowing. Be sure to check out the offerings in the gift shop on your way out.

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 books

1ST PLACE: The Bookstore

118 Main St., 345-7441

Chicoans love The Bookstore, as evidenced by their willingness to come to its rescue a few years back when it was in danger of closing up shop. Now, it’s going strong, offering a huge selection of new and used books for all the readers among us. In addition to selling the written word, The Bookstore has become a prime venue for book signings and poetry readings.

2ND PLACE: Barnes & Noble

2031 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 894-1494

3RD PLACE: ABC Books and More

950 Mangrove Ave., 893-4342

Place to buy home furnishings

1ST PLACE: The Address

2444 Cohasset Road, 898-9000

The Address’ motto is “Live with the things you love,” and anyone who has set foot in the large showroom at the corner of East Avenue and Cohasset Road knows it’s taken seriously. With a “whole room style” approach to home décor, The Address offers more than just furniture; it offers full-service home design. Customers love the attention to detail and the personal attention paid them by the entire staff.

2ND PLACE: Nantucket Home

603 Broadway, 895-1038

3RD PLACE: Esplanade Furniture

1750 Esplanade, 891-4788

The Music Connection

CN&R File Photo

Place to buy music gear

1ST PLACE: The Music Connection

973 East Ave., Ste. V, 898-0110

The Music Connection is a favorite destination for local music-makers of all skill levels, from those just learning their first scales to seasoned professionals. The store has a full range of new, used and rental instruments, from Stratocasters to sousaphones, in stock or ready to order. It also offers lessons provided by some of Chico’s most accomplished musicians.

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

This longtime shop in downtown Chico serves as a little hub for mountaineers, campers, hikers and general outdoor enthusiasts. There are all sorts of clothing and outdoor gear, from sleeping bags to portable stoves and lightweight tents to heavy-duty backpacks. You might even pick up some advice from the savvy locals who work in the shop, like how to get to hidden spots throughout the area—but they might swear you to secrecy.

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

Whether it’s softball, soccer, tennis or water skiing, Chico and its environs offer tons of opportunities to get outside and be active. So, naturally, we need a store that offers all the clothing and specialty equipment for playing said sports. Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Chico Mall certainly fits that bill, with a huge variety of brands to make sure locals are ready to take the field.

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports LTD

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

There are plenty of thrift stores in Chico, but the one locals keep coming back to is the Arc Store. Maybe it’s the care volunteers put into choosing only the best furniture, clothing and electronics to fill the shelves, or maybe it’s the store’s mission to help individuals with disabilities lead meaningful lives. Whatever the reason, the nonprofit makes it easy to donate used goods and offers a clean, organized shop for customers to find that new-to-them gem.

2ND PLACE: Thrifty Bargain

2432 Esplanade, 774-2158

3RD PLACE: Goodwill

765 East Ave., 893-8578


1ST PLACE: Michael M. Rooney

Rooney Law Firm, 1361 Esplanade, 343-5297

When faced with criminal charges or needing an attorney in a family law or personal injury case, Chicoans know whom to turn to: Michael M. Rooney. Clients appreciate his experience having worked as a probation officer and public defender, and they trust he’s on their side no matter what.

2ND PLACE: Nicole Plottel

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

3RD PLACE: Denver Latimer

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


1ST PLACE: Urban Design Solar

2260 Park Ave., 809-1079

Happy customers rave about every aspect of working with Urban Design Solar—how smoothly it goes from calling for a bid, to installation, to follow-up. The team also gets marks for no high-pressure sales, and answering questions thoroughly. “Prompt, professional and courteous,” one customer says of how the staff “goes above and beyond.”

2ND PLACE (TIE): Alternative Energy Systems

13620 Highway 99, 345-6980

2ND PLACE (TIE): Holt Construction Inc.

37 Bellarmine Court, 899-1011

Insurance agent

1ST PLACE: Joni Ginno (State Farm Insurance)

1915 Esplanade, 891-5881

As one customer put it, “personable service and competitive rates” help make doing business with Joni Ginno a no-brainer. Others say they appreciate her fast, friendly and professional service, coupled with the multiple discounts State Farm offers policy-holders. A Chico State graduate who’s been with State Farm since 1998, Ginno has a particular passion for the safety of teen drivers, helping propel her to the top of the pack as Best Insurance Agent.

2ND PLACE: Gayle Aylward (State Farm Insurance)

1277 East Ave., Ste 110, 895-1356

3RD PLACE: Brad Jacobson (Farmers Insurance)

25 Jan Court, Ste. 120, 891-7900

Professional photographer

1ST PLACE: Teresa Raczynski

Park Avenue Photography, 15010 Meridian Road, 521-4340

“Cute, cute, cute!” That’s what people say about the family and other portraits by Teresa Raczynski, owner of Park Avenue Photography. From her ranch in north Chico, Raczynski offers an array of backdrop options, both indoor and outdoor, and customers say they appreciate her patience, creativity and professionalism. One returning client says, “Teresa and her staff are completely amazing.”

2ND PLACE: Emily Hajec Photography

(775) 686-9033

3RD PLACE: Mark Thau Photography

5867 Cohasset Road, 864-6216

Real estate agent

1ST PLACE: Sabrina Derr (The Group)

2580 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, Ste.110, 718-9115

Local realtor Sabrina Derr is well-liked and respected among her peers, who call her “bright, diligent and honest.” Clients appreciate how she listens to their needs and communicates with them throughout the buying or selling process. It can be a stressful time for people, but Derr moves with confidence the whole way.

2ND PLACE: John Barroso (Keller Williams Realty)

261 E. Third St., 570-8489

3RD PLACE: Dustin Cheatham (Century 21 Jeffries Lydon)

1101 El Monte Ave., 894-4523