Cover Stories

Best of Santa Cruz Shops 2014

best shops1

Best Bicycle Shop

Bicycle Trip

Project Bike sells about 900 bikes a year and services more than 3,000.

Giving back: Owner Berri Michel, who has helmed the 40-year-old shop for 26 years, also started Project Bike Trip, a nonprofit that funds high school bike tech classes.
Dandy horse
: The precursor to the bicycle was the two-wheeled, German-invented dandy horse, which had no wheels, requiring the rider to kick and pull at the ground in order to propel themselves forward.
Fast track
: Santa Cruz County has 191 miles of bike lanes, according to the Regional Transportation Commission.
Drag scene
: On a flat road, aerodynamic drag is the greatest barrier to a cyclist’s speed—most of it from the cyclist’s body, accounting for about 80 percent of the resistance felt when pedaling. Other factors include gravity and road friction. | Jacob Pierce

Best Arts & Crafts

best shops2Palace Art & Office Supply
Painted Lives

History lesson
: Palace started as a pharmacy and soda shop in Monterey in the 1890s. The then-owner shifted the focus to office supplies and gifts in the early 1900s.
Paint the town
: The store stocks more than 530 colors of top-notch spray paint. “Urban art is getting big in Santa Cruz, so I would have to say one of our most popular products is artist-quality spray paint,” says owner Roy Trowbridge.
The big 6-5
: Palace Arts & Office Supply is currently celebrating its 65th year. The Trowbridge family bought the store in 1949.
Movers & shakers
: The Downtown Santa Cruz outpost of Palace has been housed in four different downtown locations over the years—including the storefronts now occupied by Marini’s and Pacific Trading Co. It has been in its current location, at 1407 Pacific Ave., since 2000. There is also a Capitola location, at 1501-K 41st Ave. | Elizabeth Limbach 

Best florist

Flower Shack
In Bloom

Dahlias all day
: Protea is their most popular flower right now. In the summer it is dahlias. “In the summer we could probably sell dahlias all day,” says Roseanne Belville.
Extra sparkle
: In addition to flowers, they sell handmade jewelry from local artists.
Great place to grow
:  Roseanne Belville and her daughter Carly, 16, can often be found working there. Carly grew up there—as a baby she used to sit behind the counter in her car seat.
Southern Blooms
: They get most of their flowers from Watsonville. Dahlias and tulips come from Santa Cruz. | Georgia Perry

Best Home Decor

best shops3Charley & Co.
This house

Parts south
: Owner Starley Moore is originally from Oklahoma.
Designs on success
: She has been a furniture designer for more than 20 years, but this is her first time doing a retail store. She opened Charley & Co. two years ago.
Camper Van Birdhovel
: One of their most unique items is a birdhouse that looks like an airstream camper.
Material Whirled
: They use a lot of recycled and reclaimed materials for their furniture, especially wood and metal. “We get wood from all over: barns, docks, boats, anywhere we can find it,” says Moore.  | Georgia Perry

Best Marijuana Dispensary

best shops5California Grower’s Collection
Pot of Gold
: With almost 200 customers per day, the CGC has sold almost $20,000 worth of jolly green relief since the start of this year and almost $110,000 since the program launched.
A Nug for Your Thoughts
: It’s chronic, it’s dank, it’s the sweet sticky leaves from the California Grower’s Collective that soothes the almost 10,000 patients in Santa Cruz, about 10 percent of whom are 65 years or older.
Indica, Sativa and Hybrids
: The members of the CGC enjoy more than 100 pungent strains of buds and concentrates, 50 types of edibles, and a variety of vaporizers and cannabis paraphernalia.
No Card, No Problem
: In order to get medicine, you don’t actually need a card—although one from the county’s Health Services Agency will help explain to the cops why you’re holding. (The card’s considered a safeguard against arrest.) What you’ll need is a written doctor’s recommendation: start by Googling something like “medical marijuana evaluations.”
High Marks
: In just the first year of the Greenheart Compassion Program, the CGC dispensed more than $62,000 in free medicine to more than 120 patients in need. The goal for 2014: surpass the $100,000 mark in good-hearted green sales. | Hanae Armitage

Best Tattoo Parlor

best shops4Chimera

Ooh, get a hockey mask!
Home to the Friday the 13th special, where you can get ink for $31.
Steam Punk
: Chimera is known for its super clean environment, and uses autoclaves to ensure that their equipment is always sterile. If you don’t know, an autoclave is a container that sterilizes the contents using steam.
Ink Fondly
: One of the artists, Kai, has been called amazing, incredible, talented, lovely, wonderful, creative, helpful, warm and approachable. | Leslie Patrick

Best Vintage Clothing Store

best shops6Moon zooom
Thrifty Threads

: Walk into this treasure trove of a shop and let the vibes of years past wash over you. Authentic, yet still oh-so-stylish, clothes from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and beyond await your discovery.
Remember These
? Eventually, embarrassment over how we dressed when we were younger gives way to nostalgia. Fashion is a cycle, after all. Take a walk down memory lane with Moon Zooom’s collection of wares from your youth. Nineties teens, for instance, should note the impressive array of ridiculously colorful neon Tees, Hammer pants, overalls, et al.
The shop stocks loads of playa-ready Burning Man outfits, not to mention a bevy of choice Halloween costume ingredients. | Elizabeth Limbach

Category Winners & Runners-Up

Adult Store

Camouflage 1329 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7613,
Runners-Up: Pure Pleasure, Frenchy’s

Antique Store

Mr. Goodies 1541 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, 427-9997
Runners-Up: Clearwater Bazaar, Atilia’s

Arts & Crafts

Palace Art & Office supply 1407 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-1550, 1501 41st Ave., Capitola, 464-2700 • 2606 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, 476-3815;
Runners-Up: Beverlys, Lenz

Auto – New

Toyota of Santa Cruz 4400 Auto Plaza Drive, Capitola, 465-8600,
Runners-Up: Ocean Honda, Nissan dodge/Subaru of Santa Cruz

Auto – Pre-owned

Ocean Honda 3801 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 464-1500,
Runners-Up: Toyota of Santa Cruz, Beach Street Auto

Auto Repair

SpecializeD Auto 2415 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, 462-3458,
Runners-Up: Water Star Motors, DMV Auto Clinic

Beachwear Shop

O’neill Surf Shop 110 Cooper Street, #100D, Santa Cruz, 469-4377,
Runners-Up: Pacific Wave, Nubia

Bicycle Shop

Bicycle Trip 1001 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 427-2580
Runners-Up: Epicenter, Family Cycle Company

Book Store

Book Shop Santa Cruz 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-0900,
Runners-Up: Logos, Capitola Book Café

Butcher Shop

Shopper’s Corner 622 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, 423-1398,
Runners-Up: El Salchichero, Corralitos Market & Sausage co.

Cabinet Shop

Bay Custom Cabinets 379 Calabasas Road, Watsonville, 724-9473,
Runners-Up: Cabinet Town, Wallis Woodworks/Schmitz Cabinets

Car Wash

Whalers Car Wash 2001 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-0676,
Runners-Up: Cruz Car Wash, Master Car Wash

Carpet Cleaning

Connoiseur Carpet Cleaner 2888 Estates Drive, Aptos, 476-9721,
Runners-Up: Peachy Clean, Sea Breeze/Carpet Cleaner


Donnelley’s Chocolate1509 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 685-1871,
Runners-Up: Mackenzies Chocolates, See’s candies

Children’s Clothing

Little People’s Store 2601 S Main St., Soquel, 476-7244; 243 Mt Hermon Road, Scotts Valley;
Runners-Up: Jelli Beanz, Childish

Clothing – Lingerie

Camouflage 1329 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7613,
Runners-Up: Amareuse, Legs


Stripe Men 107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 421-9252,
Runners-Up: Patrick James, O’Neill’s/Pacific Wave


Pacific Trading Co 1224 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3349,
Runners-Up: Synergy, Stripe

Comic Book Store

Atlantis 1020 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 426-0158,
Runners-Up: Comicopolis, Legends

Computer Service

Pleasure Point Computers 3912 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, 464-2220,
Runners-Up: Dave’s Computers, ClickAWay

Dry Cleaners

Vapor Cleaners 285 Water St., Santa Cruz, 423-4646,
Runners-Up: Master Cleaners, Classic Cleaners

E-Cigarette Store

Beyond Vape Suite Q, 4150 Capitola Road, Capitola, 475-5828,
Runners-Up: Puff-n-Pass, Green Vapors/Ron & Bridgette’s


Eye Q 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 466-3937,
Runners-Up: Insight Eye Care, Spex

Feed Store

General Feed & Seed 1900 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz, 476-5344,
Runners-Up: Mountain Feed, Aptos Feed


San Lorenzo Flooring 3113 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 461-1300,
Runners-Up: Interior Vision, Floors, Etc.


Flower Shack
614 S Branciforte Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3877
Runners-Up: Susi’s Flowers, Ace’s Flowers


Warmth Company 140 Post Office Drive, Aptos, 688-3200,
Runners-Up: Modern Life, SC41

Gaming Store

Level up 113 Locust St., Santa Cruz, 295-6329,
Runners-Up: Legends comics and games

Garden Supply

San Lorenzo/Probuild 235 River St., Santa Cruz, 423-0223,
Runners-Up: Dig, Mountain Feed

Glass Tinting

Transparent Glass Coatings 2521 S Rodeo Gulch Road, Soquel, 476-9627,
Runners-Up: TGK, Watson’s Window Tinting

Hardware Store

Ace Hardware 849 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-7650,
Runners-Up: Scarborough lumber, San Lorenzo/ProBuild

Home Décor

Charley & Co 515 Capitola Ave., Capitola, (925) 395-3054,
Runners-Up: Stripe, Warmth Company


Dell Williams 1320 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-4100,
Runners-Up: Artisans, Super Silver

Kitchen Supplies

ChefWorks1527 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1351,
: Le Chef, Outside In


Seabright Laundromat 419 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-3352
Runners-Up: Suds, Ultramat

Marijuana Dispensary

California Growers Collective 3711 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 600-7744,
Runners-Up: Green Acres, Chai

Musical Instruments

Sylvan Music 1521 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 427-1917,
Runners-Up: Starving Musician, Union Grove

Nail Salon

Vice salon 309 Capitola Ave., Capitola, 464-1700,
Runners-Up: Tracy Nails, L’Atelier


Far West 2669 Mattison Lane, Santa Cruz, 476-8866,
Runners-Up: Alladin Nursery, Hidden Gardens

Pet Store

Pet Pals 3660 Soquel Drive, Soquel, 464-8775,
Runners-Up: Westside Feed, Mountain Feed


Frank’s Pharmacy 7518 Soquel Drive, Aptos, 685-1100,
Runners-Up: Horsnyder, WestSide Pharmacy

Produce Selection

New Leaf 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-1306,
Runners-Up: Shopper’s Corner/Staff of Life, SunnySide produce

Record Store

Streetlight Records 939 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 421-9200,
Runners-Up: Logos, MetaVinyl

Shoe Shop—Men

Sock Shop 1515 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-6101,
Runners-Up: Old School, Hot Feet

Shoe Shop—Women

Bunny’s shoes
1350 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-3824
Runners-Up: Sock Shop, Aptos shoes & Apparel

Sign Shop

Stokes Signs
303 Potrero St., Santa Cruz, 426-1570,
Runners-Up: Sign Authority, A Sign ASAP/Cattos Graphics

Skateboard Shop

Bills Wheels 1240 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-0904,
Runners-Up: Boardroom, Skate Works

Smoke Shop

Pipe Line 818 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7473,
Runners-Up: Home Blown Glass, Graffix

Sporting Goods

Jerry’s Sports1148 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 465-1400,
Runners-Up: Outdoor World, Play It Again

Surfboard Shop

O’Neill’s 110 Cooper St., #100D, Santa Cruz, 469-4377,
Runners-Up: Freeline, Haut

Tattoo Parlor

Chimera 1010 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz, 426-8876,
Runners-Up: Good Omen, Staircase

Thrift Shop

Goodwill 350 Encinal St., Santa Cruz, 423-8611,
Runners-Up: Caroline’s, Thrift Center

Tire Store

Lloyd’s Tires 303 River St., Santa Cruz, 426-4363,
Runners-Up: Big O Tires

Toy Store

Kaleidoscope 828 Bay Ave., Capitola, 475-0210,
Runners-Up: Childish, Outside-In

Unique Gifts

Charley & Co 515 Capitola Ave., Capitola, (925) 395-3054,
Runners-Up: Stripe, Artisan’s

Vintage clothing Store

Moon Zooom 813 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-8500
Runners-Up: Tomboy, Cognito/Crossroads


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