The Best of Savannah

Best of Savannah 2012: Shopping & Services

Best Jewelry Designer

Danielle Hughes Rose

Must be fun and easy to make jewelry, right? You get to play with safe, harmless little things and make shiny pretty stuff.

Uh, not so much.

“I’ve taught a few jewelry classes, and people tend to think it’s a very delicate sort of thing to do. Then they realize it can be a little brutal,” says the inaugural winner in this newly added category, Danielle Hughes Rose.

“You end up cutting yourself a lot. I have actually burned myself, but thankfully that’s pretty rare,” she says.

All par for the course for the North Carolina native who “was always the kid at Christmas dinner constantly playing with the candles.”

Danielle is a SCAD grad, but jewelry was a late–blooming passion. But once that passion bloomed, it burned — literally.

“I originally came to SCAD for the photography department. They didn’t have a jewelry department yet. I started taking jewelry classes and I just fell in love with having a torch in my hand,” she says.

“Then I ended up finding I was just dreading going to my photo classes, putting all that off until the last minute because I wanted to go play with the torch. We all sort of fell in love with the toughness of it.”

Danielle’s main tool is a torch fueled by oxygen and propane. “It’s a little tiny torch with two big tanks. It’s hot enough it can solder platinum. I’ve got torches, files, hammers, saws. A whole workshop of tools.”

A mother of young children, it’s always a challenge to find time — and space — to practice her art.

“It’s not like other things where you can have your kids hanging around with you while you work,” she says. “My equipment isn’t very kid–safe.”

So Danielle often finds herself staying up late at night.

“A lot of times after the kids go to bed at 9:30 or so, I go up to my studio and work until 2 or 3 in the morning,” she says. “I don’t do that every night, though!”

Danielle’s signature look has a clearly modern, sleek feel, which she partly credits to being the daughter of an architect. (Wife of an architect too ­— she’s married to this year’s Best Recording Studio winner, the multi–tasking Kevin Rose, who’s also a fishing charter captain and local architect of note.)

“I used to say ‘minimalist’ — in school people used to say ‘architectonic’ – because I always had Dad’s sense of inherent structure to things,” she explains.

“I definitely like a clean line, just because I like to be able to see what’s going on. For a long time I think I was too minimal, but I think I’ve found a combination of textures to balance out the hardness and cleanness of the metal.”

Danielle displays her work in local galleries and crafts commissioned pieces as well.

“I used to sell a ton of necklaces, but a lot of people are buying earrings lately. They’re in right now,” she says.

One of a jewelry designer’s occupational hazards — besides occasionally cutting and burning yourself, that is — is the fluctuating price of metals.

“It’s been a shock to people within the last few years. They want something made out of platinum or gold, and I have to tell them, ‘I’m sorry, maybe your friend got a ring for that price ten years ago. It’s doubled and tripled since then.’” — JM

Best New Store

Graveface Records

Graveface Records gets a new shipment of vinyl every week, which the owner immediately lists on the store’s website.

Uncrated just recently were titles from artists like Monster Magnet, My Bloody Valentine, Neu, Slowdive, Jack White, Sonic Youth, Johnny Cash, Herbie Hancock, Pulp, Kraftwerk, Jesus and Mary Chain, the Smiths and the Germs.

There’s lot of talk about how vinyl records are “making a comeback” after the ELE (Extinction Level Event) brought on by the arrival of CDs and then by downloading.

Ryan Graveface doesn’t exactly buy that — national sales figures prove that vinyl has only begun to climb out of the pre-recorded music toilet.

New titles — and re-issues of older ones — are only being pressed in limited amounts these days.

But Graveface is also smart enough to understand that music fans of today are intrigued by the larger and more complex artwork and packaging of the 12-inch long-player. This is, after all, a generation that grew up with teeny, tiny CDs accompanied by very little cool stuff to look at.

The Ohio native also owns a record label — it, too, is called Graveface — that specializes in colored vinyl, picture discs and the sort of ahh-inducing visual ephemera that makes indie labels like his special, their products coveted by collectors.

Prior to the tail end of 2010, he sold them primarily through a thriving mail-order outlet. He came to Savannah then, and opened Graveface Records and Curiosities, vending newly-pressed vinyl, along with some of the old stuff you can find at flea markets (used Journey, Kenny Rogers or Patti Smith albums, anybody?) and even the odd CD or two.

It has become Savannah’s browsing hotspot, and not just for the cool vinyl — the store has a massive amount of vintage toys, games, books and other examples of pop culture flotsam and jetsam.

Then there are items near and dear to the store-owner’s (admittedly dark) heart: Taxidermy. Fom the boar’s head on the wall to the bloody, roadkill squirrel mounted in a ferocious pose. From opossum and rat paws to snakeskins to bizarrely stuffed birds.

What does any of this have to do with music, vinyl and rock ‘n’ roll coolness?

Ask Ryan Graveface. And when he explains, it’ll all make sense. — BDY

Runner–up: ARC

Best Local Clothing Designer

April Johnston

The SCAD grad and former Project Runway and Project Runway Allstars contestant has wasted no time in continuing her upward career arc. Her Mangled Courtesan line continues her signature stark-but-compelling style, and her newest partnership is with JoAnn Fabrics nationwide.

Runner-up: Mamie Ruth

Best Furniture Store

Best Window Display

A dependable winner in these categories despite much increased competition. Under the leadership of Ruel Joyner, 24e is one of the most high-profile - and fun! - furniture stores in the Southeast.

Runner-up, Furniture: Whelan's

Runner-up, Windows: Paris Market

Best Place to Use a Military Discount

Home Depot

Home Depot displaces Lowe's for the first time in a long time in this category.

Runner-up: Lowes

Best Indie Bookstore

E. Shaver

Friendly and knowledgeable staff who actually, you know, like, read books and stuff.

Runner-up: The Book Lady

Best Comics Store

Home Run

Longstanding downtown institution that features a range of comics and video as well.

Runner-up: Comic Books and More

Best Musical Instrument Store


Instruments, gear, rental, studio space, bring a complete audio picture to town.

Best Cigar/Tobacco Shop

Ye Ole Tobacco Shop

A whiff of the good stuff on Eisenhower Ave.

Runner-up: Savannah Cigars

Best Lawn & Garden Store

Hester & Zipperer

Longtime local institution with a wide range of offerings both living and decorative, conveniently located on Skidaway near the Truman Parkway.

Runner-up: Home Depot

Best Motorcycle/Scooter Dealer


They're not fast, but they sure are cute.

Runner-up: Savannah Harley Davidson

Best Bicycle Store

Bicycle Link

Full-service retail and fix-it shop for your fixie. And fancier bikes too.

Runner-up: Perry Rubber

Best Place to Buy a New Car

Best Place to Buy a Used Car

Grainger Honda

This longtime Savannah institution now occupies an empire of its own on Chatham Parkway.

Runner-up, New: Savannah Toyota

Runner-up, Used: Critz

Best Auto Repair

Mall Auto Repair

Drop the car off and go shoppin' next door! First-time win for this crew which actually has a very long history in town.
Runner-up: Savannah Tire

Best Car Wash

Savannah Car Wash

Over a million cars washed since opening 15 years ago.

Runner-up: Auto Shine

Best Rental Car Company


A wide range of locations in town in addition to the airport means more convenience for customers.

Runner-up: Hertz

Best Toy Store

Toys ‘R' Us

Another dominant win in this category.

Runner-up: Four Kids

Best Daycare

Calvary Day School

This nondenominational Christian school has served local families since 1961.

Runner-up: Maggie's Morning School

Best Arts/Crafts Store

Primary Art Supply

A wonderland of fun stuff for the professional artist and the dabbler alike in this locally-owned Broughton Street institution.

Runner-up: Michael's

Best Frame Shop

Artsy's Art Gallery

This location on the east end of River Street offers framing services in addition to displaying work by local artists.

Runner-up: Michael's

Best Women's Clothing Store

Best Thrift/Vintage Store


This delightfully peaceful upstairs oasis on bustling Broughton carries a full n' friendly range of high-quality gear from hipster to business. A win in the prestigious women's clothing category is huge.

Runner-up: Goodwill

Best Men's Clothing Store

J. Parker Ltd.

A longstanding Savannah institution, J. Parker is celebrating its 40th year of clothing local men in style.

Runner-up: Arc

Best Children's Clothing Store

Sara Jane Childrens Boutique

Owner Sara Jane Strickland has built on her extensive corporate fashion merchandising experience to form her own entrepreneurial venture.

Runner-up: Carters

Best Clothing Boutique

Red Clover

This downtown boutique features looks which combine color and playfulness with fashion-forward style.

Runner-up: Arc

Best Eyewear


A very helpful and attentive staff is the key to the success of their vision. Get it? Vision!

Runner-up: Iris Optical

Best Shoe Store

Globe Shoe Co.

This historic anchor business on Broughton isn't only a perennial winner in this category, but an important part of Savannah's civic fabric as well.

Runner-up: Fleet Feet

Best Bead Store

Bead Dreamer

This Montgomery Cross Road location is so fun to shop in, even people who don't do beading enjoy browsing amongst all their pretty shiny objects.

Runner-up: Michael's

Best Jeweler

Levy Jewelers

A huge year for this iconic Savannah name, as they acquire the old Il Pasticcio building on the corner of Bull & Broughton, perhaps Savannah's single most prestigious commercial location.

Runner-up: Anderson

Best Local Costume Store

Acme Costume

This West Chatham staple is your go-to for the kids as well as those sexy nurse outfits for Halloween.

Runner-up: Party City

Best Local Novelty Store

Sunset Novelties

It may be a recession-proof business, but the folks at Sunset go the extra mile anyway.

Runner-up: Joker Novelties

Best Green Firm

Best Landscaper

Savannah Green Dirt Design

This sustainable landscape design firm won awards for its work on Bryan Square adjacent to the Trade & Convention Center on Hutchinson Island. Their work on the Ranger Memorial at Hunter Army Airfield also won design kudos.

Runner-up, Green: Thrive

Runner-up, Landscape: Marc Wilson

Best Pet Store

Best Pet Boutique


One of the most notable newer businesses in town, TailsSpin's multiple outreach efforts have quickly gained it wide public consciousness over the big chain stores.

Runner-up, Store: PetSmart

Runner-up, Boutique: The Grateful Hound

Best Pet Grooming

Diva Dogs

Want a Blueberry Facial for your bulldog? This full-service Habersham Street salon is for you.

Runner-up: PetSmart

Best Gift Store

Polka Dots

This Whitemarsh Island spot features several popular brands, including Vera Bradley, Aftco Bluewater/Guy Harvey, Lily Pulitzer, and Zou Baby water boots, among many more.

Runner-up: Paris Market & Brocante

Best Surf Shop

High Tide Surf Shop

Every beach town needs a great surf shop, and Tybee's is here.

Runner-up: Waves

Best Store for Beach Gear


This is where to go for your sandy swag when at Tybee.

Runner-up: Chu's

Best Antiques Shop

Jere's Antiques

Jere's European connections provide a constant supply of high-quality 18th-20th Century furniture and a range of

Chinoiserie pieces as well.

Runner-up: Habersham Antiques

Best Grocery Store


A pleasant shopping experience and a wider selection seem to be the keys to their success.

Runner-up: Kroger

Best Health Food Store

Brighter Day

Peter, Janie and the whole gang deliver wholesome organic livin' with a smile. Their recently upgraded checkout process has made things even more customer-friendly.

Runner-up: Fresh Market

Best Gourmet Grocery Store

Fresh Market

Did someone say "Mexican Coca-Cola?" We're there.

Runner-up: Brighter Day

Best Realtor

Don Callahan

Heading his own group (Don Callahan Real Estate Group) and a partner with Keller Williams, the always-dapper Callahan has worked his way up the ranks to become one of the Southeast's most successful and highly regarded realtors.

Runner-up: Lori Judge

Best Real Estate Agency

Keller Williams

This multinational firm with many local partners made news recently when about 100 local staffers volunteered to help spruce up the West Broad Street YMCA.

Runner-up: Remax

Best Sporting Goods Store

Best Place to Buy a Boat

Bass Pro Shops

Boats to guns, camo to Under Armor, they've got all your outdoor livin' needs.

Runner-up, Sporting: Thompson Sporting Goods

Runner-up, Boats: Thunderbolt Yacht Sales

Best Lighting Store

Circa Lighting

Savannah is actually the smallest market this regional chain (Houston, Atlanta, Charleston) has a store in. Their expertise often gets them a win in this category.

Runner-up: Pace

Best Maid Service

Merry Maids

Free estimates and frequent promotions keep this franchise hoppin' and cleanin'.

Runner-up: Molly Maids

Best Shopping Center

Oglethorpe Mall

The New York Times recently called Oglethorpe Mall "Savannah's town square," which is certainly the dumbest thing we've ever heard. But Oglethorpe Mall has never been more popular, and has several new tenants keeping things interesting.

Runner-up: Savannah Mall

Best Florist

John Davis Florist

John brings over 20 years experience to bear in garnering this win in what's actually a very competitive category every year.

Runner-up: Ramelle's

Best Photography Service

Daly & Salter Photography

This husband/wife team of Steve and Kathy carry on a 40-year family business tradition.

Runner-up: Geoff L. Johnson

Best Pawn Shop

Welsh Pawn Shop

This local empire has four locations, three in town and one in Effingham.

Best Bed & Breakfast

Ballastone Inn

Sixteen rooms of gorgeous Victorian furnishings, full Southern breakfast, high tea and an elevator! What more could you ask for?

Runner-up: Foley House

Best Hotel

AVIA Hotel Savannah

A key part of the Ellis Square renaissance, this modern-style building with boutique furnishings also offers a great kitchen and hotel bar.

Runner-up: Mansion on Forsyth

Best Lawyer

Best Law Firm

Michael Hostilo

Everybody hates lawyers until they need one, then they love ‘em. This attorney is marking his second decade of serving Savannah personal injury plaintiffs.

Runner-up, Lawyer: Ken Nugent

Runner-up, Firm: Hunter MacLean

Best Local Insurance Agency

State Farm

Fifteen agents in Savannah mean you can conveniently get full coverage from a suite of products offered by this multinational company.

Best Local Moving Company

Two Men and a Truck

So do they go to Five Guys for lunch? (rimshot)

Runner-up: American Moving

Best Self Storage

24 Hour Self Storage

If "Storage Wars" ever comes to Savannah, this would be their set.

Runner-up: Units Mobile Storage

Best Local Homebuilder

JT Turner

Now that things are picking up again you'll see even more of their handiwork.

Runner-up: Landmark Construction

Best Wireless Service Provider

Verizon Wireless

The addition of the iPhone plus their usual excellent network equals another win. Plus we heard something about a family data plan to be unveiled this summer.

Runner-up: AT&T

Best Bank

Wells Fargo Bank

An up and coming local presence with roots on the West Coast.

Runner-up: Suntrust

Best Taxi Service

Yellow Cab

They're ubiquitous for a reason!

Runner-up: Magikal

Best Limo Service

Above and Beyond

Did someone say chauffeur me in an Escalade?

Runner-up: Casino

Best Place to Work

Gulfstream Aerospace

Again setting the standard for quality of life in the workplace combined with dedication to mission.

Runner-up: Home

Store or Business You're Most Sorry to See Go


At least you still have Barnes & Noble...

Runner-up: Kasey's Grille

Best Category We Forgot

Best Local Comedian

Trick category? The funniest people in town are the ones who take themselves way too seriously.


Comments (0)
Add a Comment
  • or

Right Now On