Best Video Rental Store
With five stores in the area, this national chain rents and sells DVD’s as well as games for Xbox, Xbox 360, Game Q and PS2.
Hollywood Video -- Another national chain, with two Savannah locations, boasts “the largest Classics section in Savannah” and stocks both DVD and VHS editions of most films.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Open 7 days a week, this bookselling giant in Oglethorpe Mall will also sell you coffee, CD’s and gifts, and hosts community events, children’s events, author appearances and book clubs.
E. Shaver - For 31 years, Esther Shaver and her knowledgeable staff have been a downtown fixture. Twelve rooms of books specializing in regional titles and architecture, as well as antique maps.
Best Musical Instrument Store
Annie’s Guitars and Drums, Inc.
In February this locally owned store moved to a larger space next door to their original Waters Avenue location, expanding their inventory of acoustic and electric guitars, drum sets, and pro audio gear, and adding electric keyboards. Annie’s also offers instrument and voice lessons, equipment rental, and on-site sound work.
Portman’s -- Long known for their expertise in school band instruments, Portman’s Music Superstore is strengthening its connections with Savannah’s professional music community, offering the rental of “good gear for weekend gigs.”
Best Record/CD Store
With over 5,000 CDs in stock amongst the range of appliances, computers, and stereo equipment, this Abercorn Street fixture offers rock, pop, country, rap, classical, jazz, blues, gospel and most any other genre of musical recordings. Check out the discounts on new releases each Tuesday.
Silly Mad CDs -- This store on Hodgson Memorial Drive celebrated their 10th anniversary this year by moving into bigger digs next door and adding a coffee shop/smoothie bar.
Best Thrift/Vintage Clothing Store
The Broughton Street shop’s focus on clothing is a cheap chic alternative to nearby upscale boutiques; the other four locations also offer house wares, appliances and furniture. Proceeds from your purchases fund job training for people with disabilities.
St. Thomas Episcopal Thrift Shop -- Tucked beneath the shadow of “The Globe” on White Bluff Road, this shop offers clothing, household items, collectibles sporting goods, and more.
Best Shoe Store
Globe Shoe Company
Since 1892 this family-owned shoe store has sold the most up-to-date fashion footwear for women and men in every size and width.
Pattini -- On Broughton since 2004, runner up Pattini the Collection offers women’s shoes from Italy as well as shoes and clothing by Fornarina. Stop by and say hi to Nicolai, the owner’s Jack Russell.
Best Hair Salon
B Street Salon
Now in their tenth year, Monica McMasters’ once-tiny Broughton Street salon has grown to a staff of nine hair and make up stylists. heir hairstyles for women, men and children turn heads, and their community activism raised $14,000 last fall during Cutting Pledge, a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser, and helped sponsor February’s Shoe-Per-Girl fundraiser for SAFE Shelter.
Liberty Six -- At runner up Liberty Six on the Park, 14 stylists provide women, men and children with the latest haircuts and color, and a great view of Forsyth Park.
Best Barber Shop
The Barber Pole
Owner Gary Foust calls his place on Bull Street “a great all American barbershop for men and boys--old fashioned but with a cool, fun, relaxed environment.”
Roffler -- Runner up Roffler Family Hair Center on Waters Avenue is open 7 days a week for walk ins or by appointment, for “about the cheapest haircut around,” says owner Guy Sheffield.
Best Hair Stylist
Kim Swann at Salon Della Vita
Since 1999, this former painting student has brought an artistic touch while keeping track of business details as the owner of this popular downtown salon.
Jay Marshlick -- The owner of Greener Grass salon is a hometown boy who’s been styling in Savannah for 24 years.
Best Massage Therapist
With nine years’ experience, Vanilla Day Spa’s Ridgeway provides her clients with Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone and prenatal massage therapy, along with her bright smile and personal concern.
Beth Wolff -- Track down runner up Beth for a relaxing hour of professional massage therapy.
Best Furniture Store
24e Furnishings at Broughton
For the third year in a row, this furniture store with funk and a flair for art is our readers’ favorite. Rooms of sleekly designed furniture and accessories and the coolest window displays in town make you want to move in.
Haverty’s -- The longtime Savannah presence of Haverty’s, a mostly-Southern furniture store chain selling good quality furnishings in traditional to contemporary styles, is a solid choice for first runner up.
Best Cigar/Tobacco Shop
Who knew? This tastefully appointed shop on Bull Street near Liberty not only offers cigars, pipes, specialty cigarettes and smoking accessories, but also sells chess sets and over 900 titles of hard-to-find CD’s “from Bach to Black Flag.”
Ye Ole Tobacco Shop -- The runner up has two locations for their full selection of specialty tobacco products and smoking accessories. Stop by their downtown store for a Panama Jack hat.
Best Lawn & Garden store
Hester & Zipperer
Since 1922, the Zipperer family has provided green thumbs with knowledgeable home grown gardening advice along with a full range of lawn and garden supplies. Located on Skidaway Road and on Wilmington Island.
Home Depot -- The runner-up answered the prayers of many Eastside residents when they opened their third Savannah-area store at Skidaway and Victory Drive early last year.
Best Bowling Alley
AMF Savannah Lanes
Now offering food & bev service laneside at this popular Tibet Avenue bowling center.
AMF Victory Lanes -- Making strikes on the Eastside.
Best Auto Dealer
Is it the gas-electric hybrid Toyota Prius, their special purchasing programs for active duty military, or maybe their rental department that makes this Abercorn Street dealer the top vote getter?
Saturn of Savannah -- The manufacturer’s “no haggle no hassle one price” philosophy keeps the guesswork out of car shopping. This year’s new products include that cutie-pie convertible roadster, the Sky.
Best Local Tour Company
Old Savannah Tours
The newest offering from this hometown company is the wildly popular Paula Deen Tour. Other favorites include a program for visiting Girl Scout groups, ghost tours, and shuttle service between Tybee Island and the historic district.
Savannah Walks -- Runner up Savannah Walks will guide you on foot through the historic district, on basic tours or on routes with Civil War, Ghost, or Garden themes.
Best Automotive Repair
Mall Auto Repair
Located on Montgomery Crossroads across from the Kmart, this full service shop owned by mechanic Rick Jones provides ASC-certified repair and maintenance five days a week on all makes and models to keep you rolling on down the road.
Savannah Toyota -- This runner up on Abercorn repairs more than just Toyotas, and serves doughnuts to their Saturday morning customers.
Best Toy Store
It’s a kids’ dream come true at this mega store on Eisenhower Drive. Not just bikes, balls, Barbies, and baby accessories, but also kids’ books, scrapbooking and homeschooling supplies, and even computer games.
KB Toys -- Runner up KB Toys has a full service store in Oglethorpe Mall and a discount outlet at the Savannah Factory Outlet shopping center on I-95.
ABC Childcare Center
This full service daycare and preschool offers professional care at three locations. Even the very youngest classes provide organized learning activities; they also have junior camp and “big camp” during the summer. State lottery funded programs make this an affordable option for parents.
Savannah Youth University -- The runner up offers day care and a separate pre-school program, from 6 am to 6 pm on weekdays. Their on-site swimming lessons might launch your child’s career as a future Olympian or a lifeguard.
Best Pet Grooming
Believe it or not, pet grooming is one of the nation’s most explosive growth industries, and these groomers on Montgomery Crossroad are your new favorites.
Animal Instincts -- Located on Skidaway Road, these folks can pamper your pooch or fuss over your feline.
Best Day Spa
Vanilla Day Spa
The favorite spot for an instant getaway any day of the week, this spa located inside the Downtown Athletic Club offers massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and transformation by the miracle-producing Cutera Laser Machine.
Savannah Day Spa -- This establishment on Oglethorpe is a “destination spa” providing a smorgasbord of spa packages for women and men, and featuring their own line of body products and lingerie.
Best Arts & Crafts Store
No matter where your artsy-craftiness takes you, this supermarket of arts supplies probably has something you can’t live without. The “facelift” of their digs in the green-designed Abercorn Commons shopping center transforms a visit to their longtime location into a brand new experience.
Primary Art Supply -- Stop by this ten-year-old Broughton Street mecca for artists to see what a couple of hip young women did with a crazy dream and a lot of hard work.
Best Women’s Clothing Store
This light-filled space on Broughton showcases designer collections of clothing, shoes, purses, and cosmetics. Peruse their wall of denim for jeans with a little “je ne sais quois.”
T.J. Maxx -- With their packed discount racks, they take the runner up prize, in spite of the recent return to the Savannah bargain basement market of competing discount chains.
Best Men’s Clothing Store
J. Parker, Ltd.
In late 2004, this Waters Avenue men’s specialty store opened a second location on Broughton Street. Father and son owners Jimmy and Kiefer Parker know more than they admit about offering quality men’s apparel, shoes, sportswear, and furnishings.
Banana Republic -- Drop in on Broughton for casual or business clothing.
Best Body Art Studio
Black Orchid Custom Tattoo Studio
This tattoo studio and progressive art gallery at York and Drayton features all custom-drawn body art by owner Chris Autry and two other tattoo artists.
Alien Art -- This shop on Bay Street is available for bodily transformation every day but Tuesday.
Now in its fourth generation of family leadership, the service from owners Aaron and Dayle Levy and their cousin Lowell Kronowitz, plus the knowledge and friendliness of their longtime employees, make every customer feel like a member of the family.
Zia -- The runner up has only been open for nine months but is already creating a buzz on Broughton with their gold and silver jewelry, purses, watches and fab upscale gifts.
Best Antique Shop
J.D. Weed & Co.
For classic antiques this is the place. Furniture, oil paintings, sconces, icons, clocks—all in tasteful surroundings on West Victory Drive.
Jere’s Antiques -- The runner-up has built their 30-year-old business on their huge selection of furniture.
Best Gym or Fitness Center
YMCA of Coastal Georgia
From town to Tybee Island, from Effingham to Richmond Hill, the Y has a fitness center and professional staff for every neighborhood and fitness need.
Downtown Athletic Club on Broughton -- The runner-up offers weights, cardio equipment, and fitness classes from Yoga to Step Aeorobics.
Best Gift Store
The Paris Market & Brocante
When this oh-so-French gift shop moved uptown from their Jones Street locale, they expanded their eclectic inventory of decorative wares and more than doubled the size of the store. This hot spot is high visibility on the corner of Broughton and Whitaker, and in the pages of national mags like Elle Décor, Bon Appetit, and Vogue.
Pier One -- Something is always new and on sale at the Twelve Oaks store for affordable imported furnishings for shoppers seeking decent quality interiors with a sense of the exotic.
Best Grocery Store
With eleven stores in Savannah, this chain is the neighborhood grocer in just about every neighborhood in town. Most have delis, in-store bakeries and pharmacies as well as the full gamut of groceries.
Fresh Market -- With the long-awaited arrival of runner-up Fresh Market in Savannah last year, coastal “foodies” wept in relief as they descended on this specialty store filled with imported cheeses, wines, fresh baked breads and tasty prepared foods.
Best Beverage/Package shop
Centrally located, convenient parking, friendly staff who know their stuff, and oh yeah, selection selection selection. Imported and domestic hard-to-find beers as well as suitcases of Bud; wine to compliment every meal or palate, and spirits from smooth to…er, …“affordable.”
Johnnie Ganem Package Shop -- Shopping for beverages at the runner-up on Habersham and Gaston is like visiting a member of the family. This is a longtime downtown gathering place for party prep and for running into old friends.
Best Health Food Store
Brighter Day Natural Foods
This perennial winner is the flagship of organic living in Savannah. Owners Janie and Peter Broadhead make a healthy lifestyle look easy and fun, selling organic produce, tasty vegetarian meals from the lunch counter, “green” groceries and household products, dietary supplements that are actually good for you, and books to help you really clean up your act from the inside out.
Fresh Market -- Tucked among the culinary decadence offered at the runner-up you will find organically grown produce and vegetarian offerings in an upscale shopping environment.
Best Maid Service
The green-shirted staff of this well-respected cleaning service will swoop into your home and scrub it free of paw prints and dust bunnies in the blink of an eye. You can book a “special event” cleaning for that pre-mother-in-law visit or schedule a regular cleaning weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Best Shopping Center/Mall
This “old mall” has reinvented itself into the favorite destination for shopping for all ages, styles, genders, and prices. Meals can be found in the food court or at a sit-down restaurant, and the toddler playground is a popular destination for parents needing a place for their kiddies to cavort.
Savannah Mall -- The runner-up has added the Burlington Coat Factory to their line up of star shopping venues, continuing to fill space with those places advertised on the tube that Savannah was lacking.
Garden on the Square
A visit to this third-year-in-a-row winner across from the Lucas Theatre fills the senses with color and beauty, and lifts the soul with their creative floral designs.
John Wolf -- It’s hard to resist stopping by John Wolf Florist on Waters Avenue—their arrangements spill out the doors and into their front yard. Their “Growing Together” community program helps sponsor worthy causes in Savannah.
Best Photography Service
This Habersham Street stalwart near Ardsley Park is a perennial winner.
Worldwide Camera -- The runner-up has stores on Abercorn Street and in Chatham Plaza.
Half Moon Outfitters
This Charleston-based outfitter took over the spot of much loved Rec Arts on Broughton about a year ago, and has managed to make it their own despite retaining many expert staff and popular lines of gear and clothing from the previous owners.
Bass Pro Shop -- The aquarium at the runner-up in Savannah Mall isn’t quite as big as that other one up in the ATL, but it’s right here and it’s surrounded by every type of hunting and fishing gear a cammo-head could ever dream of.
Best Pawn Shop
Welsh Pawn Shops
Whether you’re short on cash or looking for a great deal on previously owned jewelry, tools or electronics, the Welsh family can help you out at any of their six Savannah locations.
Cash America -- The runner-up has four stores in Savannah and Garden City.
Best Motorcycle/Scooter Store
Honda-Yamaha of Savannah
This Abercorn Street dealership is the favorite for imported bikes and for sponsoring everything from local races to community fundraisers.
Harley-Davidson -- The runner-up has their mac-daddy showroom at 204 and 95, and also sells HOG paraphernalia in their River Street boutique.
Best Novelty Store
This adult toy and video store has two locations in Savannah. Stop in after dark and browse their selection that runs the gamut from naughty to nasty.
Joker Novelties -- This establishment and its sister The Comedy Store offers lingerie, games, and bedroom toys for consenting adults with a spirit of adventure.
Best Pet Store
Bring your dog or cat for a visit or a grooming at this megastore that caters to all of your animalistic needs. If you don’t have a pet you can adopt one here through one of the many local rescue agencies they support.
Canine Palace -- Convenient for downtown dog owners needing a groom for their pooch or a designer doggie item.
Best Bed & Breakfast
This luxury inn on Whitfield Square is one of many jewels in the crown of master hotelier Richard Kessler. Locals might prefer to book the facility for meetings that make history and for catered parties.
Ballastone Inn -- History buffs will love the legend behind the Ballastone, which has been home to a bordello, a Civil War captain, and a gathering for Girl Scouts.
Hyatt Regency Savannah
This giant hotel built over River Street offers expansive views of the Savannah River from most of its guest rooms and from Windows restaurant.
Westin Savannah Resort -- Scores as an upscale family destination or a honeymoon retreat.
Best Real Estate Agency
Cora Bett Thomas Realty
In just over a decade this real estate agency has become a dominant force in every facet of property sales and rental. Their expansion into South Carolina, affiliation with Christie’s Great Estates, long time Savannahians on the sales staff, and a doggie-friendly downtown office are just a few of their winning ingredients.
Fox Properties -- The runner-up on Victory Drive makes sure that a portion of every commission is donated to Ronald McDonald House.
Best Real Estate Agent
Cora Bett Thomas
The legendary real estate CEO works 36 hours a day to market Savannah property around the world and still finds the time to help with nearly every civic cause in town.
Kimberly Fox -- She combines her academic background in history and political science with her real estate experience to find the perfect house for every client.
Best Local Homebuilder
Hallmark Homes of Savannah
Southern Living Magazine tapped Hallmark to build one of their prestigious “Idea Houses” last year.
Fred Buck -- They’ve long provided leadership in the local homebuilders’ association, and specializes in residential and commercial remodeling.
A partner in Inglesby, Falligant, Horne, Courington & Chisholm, this real estate and probate attorney is brainy, meticulous, compassionate, and ethical.
Thomas Hollis -- A partner at Lee, Black, Hart and Rouse who specializes in family law.
Dr. Russell Clemmons
For ten years Dr. Clemmons has provided cosmetic and family dentistry to his Savannah patients. He also donates dental care at the J.C. Lewis Health Center.
Dr. Ron Smiley -- This native Savannahian has 25 years of experience in family and cosmetic dentistry.
This historic hospital is the oldest in Georgia and recently opened the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer Care and Research Pavilion.
Memorial Health University Medical Center -- Their Trauma Center One provides the highest level of emergency care in southeast Georgia.
Dr. Ben Hubby
This iconoclastic independent general practitioner is a perennial winner in a highly competitive race. When he’s not providing personalized medical advice to his fiercely loyal patients he can be seen in local cafés typing up his next guest editorial.
Dr. Jeffrey Schyberg -- Has been specializing in internal medicine in Savannah for 11 years and has been in private practice since 1998.
Dr. Bart Wetherington
At his Waters Avenue practice, the good doctor will straighten you out five days per week and Saturdays by appointment.
Karen Voss -- Owns and operates Skidaway Family Chiropractic with her husband Clark.
VCA Greater Savannah Animal Hospital
The staff of this Derenne Avenue animal clinic provides professional care and has helped with many local animal welfare projects, including helping organize the Dog Park and the annual Doggie Carnival.
Case Veterinary Hospital -- On Eisenhower Drive, they’ll doctor, groom, and board your pet, and sells gear to delight both you and your best furry friend.
Best Cellular Service
With three sales locations, great coverage and numerous wifi hot spots, last year’s runner up has grabbed the number one spot for 2006.
Verizon Wireless -- Sponsors the PGA Heritage Golf Classic at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, making them a hero to every local golfer.
Last year’s runner-up places first this year, combining a friendly home grown feel with the backing of a nationwide institution. Saturday banking and locations in many Kroger stores help keep their clients happy.
First Chatham -- Four years ago, the runner-up was founded on Barnard Street by longtime Savannah banker Brian Foster.
Best Rental Car Company
With seven locations around town, this national chain outpolled those companies often described as number one. They’ve got discounts for military personnel and special weekender packages.
Hertz -- Has most any vehicle you might want, and can offer satellite radio and GPS navigation for the musically and directionally-challenged.
Best Taxi Service
This company is available 24/7 and takes your plastic.
Savannah Pedicab -- The cleanest, quietest, coolest ride downtown.
Best Category We Forgot
With lots of great places to find this South-of-the-Border culinary mainstay, this category will certainly be competitive next year. Readers chose another food-related topic, Best Produce, as the runner up in the “overlooked” category, making us wonder if our responders are skipping too many meals.
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