• BEST NEW BUSINESS
    • The Crown & Goose
    • (See also: Best New Restaurant)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Abode, KIRA, Rebel Salon
    • BEST GIFT SHOP
    • Bliss
    • (See also: Best Store)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Abode, Earth to Old City, Mast General Store
    • BEST JEWELRY STORE
    • Markman’s
    • Runners-Up:
    • Bliss, Jared Galleria, Lamon Jewelers
    • BEST BOOKSTORE
    • McKay Used Books & CDs
    • Runners-Up:
    • Barnes & Noble, Borders-Morrell Rd., Carpe Librum Booksellers
    • BEST HAIR SALON
    • Salon Visage (Downtown West)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Belleza Salon & Spa, Lox Salon, Rebel Salon
    • BEST LIQUOR STORE
    • Toddy’s Package Store
    • Runners-Up:
    • Ashe’s Wines & Spirits, Bob’s Package Store, McScrooge’s Wines and Spirits
    • BEST SUPERMARKET
    • The Fresh Market (Bearden)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Butler & Bailey, Earth Fare, The Fresh Market (Farragut)
    • BEST ETHNIC GROCERY
    • The Holy Land
    • It’s heartening to see that there’s significant competition in this category, considering that many supermarkets now offer a sophisticated variety of Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Asian. The Holy Land is no longer the only Middle-Eastern-food source in town; it’s not even the biggest. But it’s the oldest, and people are fond of this sunny place with the bins of fresh olives, a dozen varieties of canned fava beans, several different kinds of frozen pita bread, and a case full of tempting home-prepared specialties like spinach pies. It’s located in the middle part of Sutherland Avenue, the closest thing Knoxville has to an international commercial area (it’s next door to a Mexican grocery and taqueria). In these days of high travel costs, passport complications, and concerns about Americans’ safety abroad, a Saturday day trip to Sutherland Avenue’s Holy Land may be a sensible alternative. (J.N.)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Earth Fare, Oriental Supermarket, World Market in Turkey Creek
    • BEST HEALTH/GOURMET FOOD STORE
    • Fresh Market (Western Plaza)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Earth Fare, Nature’s Pantry, Three Rivers Market/Food Co-op
    • BEST YOGA STUDIO
    • Gypsy Hands
    • No one can question that Gypsy Hands is a fun and funky environment—a deeply meditative space filled with Knoxville’s most transformative healers and more than a few talented belly dancers. It earns its name: Healing Arts Center. We’re not exactly sure why Gypsy Hands took first place among yoga studios, since yoga is not among its offerings at the present time (on the menu: belly dancing, poi spinning, tribal fusion, and hip hop). Perhaps Knoxvillians understand that the true meaning of the word “yoga” is union—with body, with soul, with nature, with God. In the truest sense of the word, Gypsy Hands is all about yoga; there’s no better place to go looking to meet your capital-S Self. But if you’re looking for the stretch-and-strength poses of yoga asana—that is to say, the exercise portion of the practice—you’ll want to check out runners-up Well By Nature, (home to Side Crow Yoga), the Knoxville Yoga Center, and The Rush at Walker Springs. (Note: Gypsy Hands hopes to add yoga to its class schedule soon, so keep checking back with them at gypsyhands.com.) (H.D.)
    • Runners-Up:
    • Knoxville Yoga Center, The Rush Fitness Center (Walker Springs), Well By Nature
    • BEST FITNESS CENTER
    • 180 Sports & Fitness
    • Runners-Up:
    • Court South (West Knoxville), The Rush (Knoxville Center), The Rush (Walker Springs)
    • BEST OUTDOOR SPORTS STORE
    • River Sports
    • Runners-Up:
    • Blue Ridge Mt. Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain
    • BEST FURNITURE
    • Braden’s Furniture
    • Runners-Up:
    • Bliss Home, Knoxville Wholesale Furniture, OP Jenkins Furniture
    • BEST CLOTHING STORE
    • Kohl’s (Knoxville Center)
    • Runners-Up:
    • J. Crew, Kohl’s (West Town), Kristi
    • BEST THRIFT/SECONDHAND CLOTHING STORE
    • Planet X-change
    • Runners-Up:
    • Amvets, Plato’s Closet, Reruns
    • BEST DRY CLEANERS
    • Prestige Cleaners
    • Runners-Up:
    • Crown Cleaners, Real Dry Cleaners, US Cleaners
    • BEST EYEWEAR
    • Luttrell’s Eyewear
    • Runners-Up:
    • Clancy Optical, Spex, LensCrafters (West Town Mall)
    • BEST TRAVEL AGENCY
    • AAA
    • Craigslist cannot tow cars, but still. How can a “come in and sit down” travel agency offer the best travel-planning option in the age of discount Internet everything? Much less this place, the office equivalent of a ‘60s rancher with a secretarial-pool style service area and no-nonsense agents sensibly dressed? The truth is, they’re the “high touch” answer to the unfriendly, high-tech Internet. “Even online you’ll pay a service fee,” says travel manager Susan Redmond. “If you pay us instead, you’ll have someone to help you find what you need. And if anything goes wrong, like your flight gets cancelled, we’ll handle it.” The agents first-come, first-serve anyone who arrives through the door, but some fees are lower if you’re a AAA member. They arrange cruises, flights, Disney packages, foreign money exchange, Eurail passes, rental cars and the like, not with a profit motive, but as a money-making arm of AAA that helps keep general membership fees down. And if you want a Triptik as part of your travel, those folks are right across the aisle. “We’ve got a bigger database and can check all the airlines at once for the best deal; five minutes for us might take you two hours online,” says Redmond. “I tried going on the computer at home once to find a low-price ticket. After about five minutes I was like, ‘I’m going in to work. This is crap.’” (R.K.)
    • Runners-Up:
    • STA Travel, Travel Authority, World Travel
    • BEST DAY SPA
    • Spa Visage
      • BEST LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPIST
      • Travis Jackson (Spa Visage)
      • If you set out looking for an oasis of calm, chances are you wouldn’t automatically point your car into the West Knoxville traffic and head out to Downtown West shopping plaza. But there it is, shimmering amid the patchwork strip of restaurants, offices, and derelict storefronts: Spa Visage. Push through the plate glass doors, and you might think you’ve walked into just another upscale salon—you’ll be greeted by a phalanx of artistically coifed receptionists, a pervasive chemical odor wafting over from the mani/pedi station, and the usual assortment of styling products, skincare potions, expensive make-up, and scented candles for sale. Keep going—through the well-appointed ladies lounge lies a real sanctuary of peace and quiet. Travel through plush, hushed halls to one of the candlelit treatment rooms, and you can be pampered, plucked, peeled, pummeled, polished, purified, and placated at your leisure. Everything you might need to feel or look better is here—a faux tan station, a microdermabrasion system, pots of hot wax (for hair removal and paraffin treatments), steam baths, and lots of cushy treatment tables for massages and facials. There’s even a room for two, where couples can enjoy a rubdown a deux, followed by champagne, chocolate, strawberries, and snuggling (or, whatever). Book your energizing, deep tissue, or Swedish session with Travis Jackson, and you’ll be doubling up on the Best of Knoxville power—he took first prize for licensed massage therapist. (H.D.)
      • Best Day Spa Runners-Up:
      • Belleza Salon & Spa, Kira’s, Natural Alternatives
      • Best Licensed Massage Therapist Runners-Up:
      • Christi Norton, Joyce Russell, Sarah Griscom (Gypsy Hands)
      • BEST TATTOO PARLOR
      • Saint Tattoo
      • Runners-Up:
      • Body Graffix, Evolution Tattoo, Mythical Markings
      • BEST TANNING PLACE
      • Fusion
      • Runners-Up:
      • A Place in the Sun, Northshore Sun, Raley’s Eurotan
      • BEST AUTO DEALER
      • Westside Honda
      • Runners-Up:
      • Carmax, Fox Toyota, Mercedes of Knoxville
      • BEST AUTO SERVICE
      • Westside Honda
      • Runners-Up:
      • Auto Technicians, Fisher Tire-Broadway, Fisher Tire (Kingston Pike)
      • BEST MOTORCYCLE DEALER
      • Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson
      • Runners-Up:
      • Alcoa Good Times, Destination Motorcycles, Knoxville Harley-Davidson
      • BEST BIKE SHOP
      • Greenlee’s
      • Runners-Up:
      • Bike Zoo, Cedar Bluff Cycles, Earth Traverse
      • BEST PET STORE
      • Petsmart (Morell)
      • Runners-Up:
      • Agrifeed, Pet Supplies Plus, Petsmart (Turkey Creek)
      • BEST VIDEO GAME STORE
      • GameStop (Turkey Creek)
      • Despite the economic meltdown currently miring the nation’s businesses, there is one industry that’s growing with relentless force: video games. And there is one game-store chain that dominates the market: GameStop. (Sorry, EB Games aficionados—your favorite stores are owned by GameStop.) Last year, the company’s profits zoomed 82 percent over the previous year with over $7 billion in sales; and with six Gamestop/EB Games locations, Knoxville has been doing its part. Known for staffing its stores with hardcore gamers who actually know what they’re talking about, GameStop is one mega-chain that makes you feel like you walked into your older brother’s gaming area in the rec room. (C.T.)
      • Runners-Up:
      • Best Buy, Game Stop (Chapman Hwy.), Game Stop (West Town)
      • BEST COMIC BOOK STORE
      • Comics Exchange
      • Don’t worry, you old sourpuss. Comics Exchange has more than enough “sequential art” by Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware to send you into a downward spiral of depression. You might even be able to grab a cheap Love & Rockets anthology or half-price volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub if you check out the discount boxes near the front door. But this South Knoxville store caters to the funny-book fan, with an entire wall of new releases, tons of trade paperbacks, complete runs all bundled up, thousands of back issues, and a pile of action figures, T-shirts, and posters. When you were 9, you would have thought it was paradise. It can still come close. (M.E.)
      • Runners-Up:
      • Borders, Sci-Fi City, Triad Comics