Best of Area Champions Part 2

Best Area Grocery Store

Gold – City Market

Silver – Divide Venture Foods

Bronze – Safeway

Last Year’s Champ – Divide Venture Foods

TMJ Best Of respondents made it clear that the oldest and most established grocery outlet is their favorite.  However, many voters rallied behind Divide Venture  Foods and the Safeway. All in all, the local grocery options on the Mountain, which in the past weren’t that great, have made a huge turnaround. In fact, there really is no reason to visit a grocery store in Colorado Springs.

Best Clothing Store

Gold – Miss Priss

Silver – Cowhand

Bronze – Creations Everlasting

Miss Priss in Woodland  Park, a fairly new boutique, is showing that the town has some definite class. And not surprisingly, The Cowhand, an anchor of the Woodland Park community for decades, and known for its huge showcase of western ware, made quite a showing as did Creations Everlasting in Cripple Creek.

Best Antique Shop

Gold – Brazenhead Vintage Market

In a new competition this year, the Brazenhead Vintage Market, one of the more unique new businesses in the High Country, cleared the deck as the winner and clearly annihilated any competitors, based on our vote. This site once served as a restaurant, a real estate office and even a medical outlet. It has definitely found a new niche as a Vintage Market, serving as a hub for local artist work, antiques, collectibles and items from a diverse range of vendors.  The antiques are amazing. Voters overwhelmingly won this title.

(Made have given you this one earlier.  If so, disregard)

Best Specialty Shop

Gold – Creations Everlasting

Silver – Clover Custom Crafts

Bronze – Brazenhead Vintage Market

Another big triumph for Creations Everlasting, as the High Country is starting to prosper with more of these types of shops.

Best Banking Facility

Gold – Park State Bank & Trust

Silver – Vectra Bank

Bronze – Ent Credit Union

Last Year’s Champ – Park State

Park State Bank & Trust captured first place for the third straight year as the financial institution of choice. Park State has gained quite a following due to their community-commitment, local ownership and diversity of services. Park State has always been a big champion of community projects, such as helping to spearhead the funding for the community’s first-ever dog park, main street improvements and more.  Their head skipper, Tony Perry, also, isn’t shy about voicing his opinions and advice on key local business issues. Snagging a close second was Vectra Bank, followed by Ent, which has a branch in  Woodland Park.

Best Liquor Store

Gold – Banana Belt

Silver –  Cripple Creek Liquor

Bronze – Jack’s Liquor/Paradise Spirits

Last Year’s  Champ – Banana Belt

Banana Belt has commanded a tremendous following, courtesy of their Banana bucks, knowledgeable and courteous staff, friendly owner, an amazing supply of prized liquors, brews and wines. They also aren’t shy about supporting the community. Cripple Creek Liquor, located off Teller One, next to the grocery store, the Paradise Spirts at Safeway center in  Woodland and Jack’s Liquor in Manitou were definitely in the race. Since the pandemic, liquor stores have thrived.

Best Internet Provider

Gold – Peak Internet

Silver – TellerWifi

Bronze – TDS Telecom

Last Year’s Champ – Peak Internet

Peak Internet, which has done some amazing expansions work in the last few years for the community, won hands down as the favorite Internet provider. Their service was heavily praised by many voters. However, the choices are getting quite diverse in the Teller High Country.

Best Area Hardware Store

Gold – Woodland Park Hardware

Silver – Foxworth-Galbraith

Bronze – Best Building Supply

Last Year’s Champ – Woodland Park Hardware

Gone are the days when locals had to head down to Colorado Springs to fulfill their hardware, building or home improvement needs. We now have a wealth of hardware hubs, which are known for great service and meeting customer demands. Woodland Hardware, one of the early success stories of the DDA and Woodland Station’s  preliminary development, captured the gold. Woodland Hardware’s expansion from a tiny store in Gold Hill Square into the heart of the downtown is quite amazing. They have always prided themselves in offering great customer service from a personal perspective, and in providing quality inventory. Foxworth-Galbraith, meanwhile, is attuned to virtually any local building or home improvement project.

Best School District

Gold – Woodland Park RE-2 District

Silver -Manitou Springs School District 14

Bronze – Cripple  Creek RE-1 School District.

Last Year’s Champ – Woodland Park RE-2 School District

Best Of voters, with their Teller roots, opted for Panther fever in picking their favorite school district.  RE-2 District leaders recently picked a favorite for their top superintendent finalist from Hawaii of all places. So, the next year should be quite interesting.   Manitou Springs, was heavily praised too for how they reacted to the coronavirus, and their ties to the area.

Best Local Brewhouse

Gold – Paradox  Beer Company

Silver – BierWerks

Bronze – Iron Tree Restaurant and Brewery

Last Year’s Champ – BierWerks

In a surprising upset, the Paradox won as the local brewhouse of choice, as part of an amazing verdict for the “Center of the Known Universe.” Divide is becoming a great place to party, sip brews and dine.  Anyone who has ever participated in the St. Patty’s celebration between Paradox and McGinty’s can understand why Paradox is so popular.  But both BierWerks in Woodland Park and Iron Tree in Florissant made  impressive challenges for this title.

Best Firearms Dealer

Gold – Alpine Firearms

Silver -Freedom 30

Bronze – Shooters Sports & Supply

Last Year’s Champ – Alpine Firearms

In another repeat victory for the highly-watched Best Firearms dealer competition, the gold title goes to Alpine Firearms, headed by Jon DeVaux, a well-known civic leader. This downtown Woodland Park store, which once served as a retail and wine tasting hub, sports a  great selection of firearms,  offers classes and prides itself  for its friendly atmosphere. It also is a great place for conversation, and even occasionally, some debates on local and national issues. Alpine Firearms beat out Freedom 30 and Shooters Sports & Supply. However, both contenders fared quite well. The interest in this competition is a testament to one known fact:  Teller County is Gun Country.

Best Hair Salon

Gold – A Wild Hair Salon & Day Spa

Silver –   Reflections

Bronze –  House of Color

In a sweeping victory, A Wild Hair Salon & Day Spa, located in Divide, behind the Market, snagged this title in impressive fashion. If Wild Hair isn’t the friendliest hair salon on the mountain, then this term doesn’t exist. The salon is known for its great service, specialties and  their amazing staff who interact well with the customers. Plus, with the COVID epidemic that assaulted salons really bad, Wild Hair adapted quite well and welcomed back familiar faces and gained quite a few new customers, such as certain TMJ editors, who sometimes look like they attended one too many Grateful Dead shows.  Reflections Hair and Tanning in Woodland Park  also generated a hefty number  of votes.




Best Jewelry Store

Gold – Lane Mitchell Jewelers

Silver – Luisa Graff Jewelers

Bronze Silver – Chimayo Turquoise

Last Year’s Champ – Lane Mitchell Jewelers

Lane Mitchell Jewelers in Manitou Springs once again claimed the top spot as best jeweler in the area. They pride themselves in being the first full-service jeweler down the pass from Teller County, and have a great location in Manitou and offer ideal customer service. But this year, many voters picked Luisa Graff in Colorado Springs, which offers, 12,000-plus jewelry items to share with you.  And Chimayo Turquoise in Woodland Park made another fine showing.

Best Furniture Store

Gold – Tweeds Fine Furnishings

Silver – Williams Log Cabin Furniture

Bronze – American Furniture Warehouse

Last Year’s Champ – Tweeds

Woodland Park is an amazing place for unique and quality furniture buys, and no places serve this quest better than Tweeds and Williams. They both are quality stores, and great places to go just for browsing and to converse with the employees and the stores’ respective owners. Warning: You may find yourself hanging out there for several hours.

Best Cannabis Outlet

Gold – Maggie’s Farm

Silver – Cannabis Depot

Bronze – Native Roots

Despite the controversy over legal recreational and medical weed, this industry has generated an unprecedented amount of revenue for the state and now represents a mini-tourism banner of a different sort, whether state or local officials want to accept that fact or not. Oddly enough, this also emerged as one industry that survived the pandemic relatively unscathed. It will be interesting to see if local communities continue their opposition against the opening of retail marijuana in their towns, or jump on the bandwagon. With all that said, TMJ voters heavily lauded the Maggie’s Farm, with one of their location right in Manitou Springs, as their prime recreational marijuana hub of choice. Manitou Springs is actually regarded as a town that did it right in legalizing recreational marijuana shops on a limited basis. Maggie’s Farm also operates a number of other medical and recreational shops throughout the region, including Pueblo and Canon City, and has gained much praise for their sun grown herb and the way they handle business. But many voters definitely sided with Cannabis Depot, located in Pueblo, and Native Roots.

Cripple Creek Results

Area Champions Part 1

Area Champions Part 3