The Best of Savannah

Best of SAV: Shopping & Services

Best Green Business

Best Landscaper

Savannah Green Dirt Design

In a city that's renowned for green space and festooning flora, scoring "Best Landscaper" for the third straight year means you're a service-oriented small business that's tilling something right.

Best of SAV: Shopping & Services
Savannah Green Dirt Design

“Clients describe what I do as ‘Savannah tropical,’ or ‘Savannah coastal style,” says Timothy Gay, owner and landscape architect of Savannah Green Dirt Design. “Typically, if you see big masses of marshy-looking cord grass, you’re seeing something that I’ve had a hand in — that’s my signature plant.”

This Savannah native’s green thumbs and good eye for earthwork architecture derive in part from his father (also a landscape architect) and the University of Georgia (Class of ‘08). After dedicating himself to strict design work for the first two years, Gay decided to break off on his own and dig his hands in some good old-fashioned Georgia dirt.

“People really appreciate that the guy who’s doing the design is the same guy who’s outside working the shovel,” he says.

Savannah Green Dirt Design is about as full-service as you can get, offering everything from concepts and installation to routine yard care. Bonus: SGDD even offers the occasional graphic design consultation, just in case you want to pump up your SEO potential while cultivating your garden’s curb appeal.

Perennial double whammy: SGDD also raked in “Best Green Business” for the second year in a row.

As far as his green business model is concerned, Gay insists that all things starts and end with good design. While it certainly helps to avoid exotic plants that require a ton of water and not copter in chemicals, Gay also says that being green boils down to appropriate design, using natural fertilizers, and staying away from synthetics.

“We choose native and adapted plants that don’t require much upkeep. You just put the right plants in the right place and make everything look good,” Gay explains. “It’s not too complicated.” — Jenny Dunn
Runner-up, Green: Savannah Pedicab
Runner-up, Landscape: All Season Long Landscaping

Best of SAV: Shopping & Services
Paris Market & Brocante

Best Gift Store

Best Window Display

Paris Market & Brocante

One of Broughton’s coolest and most unique stores is something of a destination theme park in and of itself, Paris Market features two floors of way-cool French-themed home and furniture stuff, new and vintage. They also have one of the best little coffee/tea bars in town, with views of bustling Broughton, and some retail coffee/tea/treat items as well.
Runner-up, Gift: The Lady and Sons
Runner-up, Window: 24e

Best New Store

Owl About Kids

This neat little spot just around the corner from 24e is a great addition to the Broughton Street corridor.
Runner-up: Whole Foods Market

Best Indie Bookstore

E. Shaver Booksellers

Savannah’s literary world was rocked when Esther Shaver announced she was selling her fabled store and the building containing it, all of it a downtown fixture long before the outside world ever discovered Savannah. The store’s offerings and reputation have only grown with the city’s. So what’s going to happen? We don’t know. You got a few million bucks or so? Let’s go in together.
Runner-up: The Book Lady

Best Comic Book Store

Comics and More

This Montgomery Cross Road brick and mortar location also has a very active social media/internet presence, so you can stay up to date with all the latest releases in the world of graphic novels and sequential art.

Best Musical Instrument Store

Portman's Music Superstore

Every guitar player in town is intimately familiar with Portman’s – it’s simply where you go for instruments, strings, amps, effects and every other necessary thing. Keyboard people know it too, and drummers, horn players, etcetera. It’s been the planet around which all musical satellites circle since 1936.
Runner-up: Georgia Music Warehouse

Best Place to Use a Military Discount

American Legion

Oh, is that why the PBRs are so inexpensive there?
Runner-up: Lowes

Best Furniture Store


Ruel Joyner’s fab space was the setting for last year’s Best of Savannah issue cover shoot. It’s also just an awesome place to browse around and meet folks – Ruel and staff always have something interesting going on. Don’t forget to check out the completely renovated upstairs in this historic building.
Runner-up: Whelan’s Home Furnishings

Best Cigar/Tobacco Shop

Ye Ole Tobacco Shop

Two locations, walk-in humidors, cigars from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Hookahs too! It’s all about the smokes, folks.
Runner-up: Savannah Cigars Inc.

Best Lawn & Garden Store

Hester & Zipperer

Go local! The fine people of H&Z have been looking after Savannah’s cultivated greenery since 1922. A full service retail and contractor store.
Runner-up: Lowes

Best Motorcycle Dealer

Savannah Harley-Davidson

Some things never go out of style, and Harley-Davidsons are pretty much at the top of the list. This popular location at I-95 and 204 has been delivering the heavy metal for years; they also have a River Street location.
Runner-up: Low Country Customs

Best Scooter Dealer

Motorini-Vespa of Savannah

Savannah’s only factory-authorized, full service Vespa & Piaggio dealer, in what’s basically the cutest spot in the world at that little vintage former gas station on Drayton.
Runner-up: Low Country Customs

Best Bicycle Shop

Perry Rubber Bike Shop

Get your bike stuff, or just browse around and make a wish list for when you hit the lottery. Lots of great rides and gear here for all kinds of bicycling lifestyles.
Runner-up: Bicycle Link

Best Place to Buy a New Car

Best Place to Buy a Used Car

Grainger Honda

This perennial winner in both these categories is based on the Westside and not only deals with one of the most reliable makes on the planet – they pride themselves on customer service. Not that you really have to keep bringing Hondas back...
Runner-up, New: Critz
Runner-up, Used: JC Lewis Ford

Best Automotive Repair

Savannah Tire

With several locations around town, you won’t have to get towed far to get there!
Runner-up: Dixie Motors

Best Car Wash

Savannah Car Wash

A flagship of vehicle hygiene on Abercorn for a long time, they now have a deluxe Pooler location open as well for your washing pleasure.
Runner-up: Car Spa

Best Rental Car Company


A perennial winner in this category, Enterprise rents from six locations locally including one at the airport of course.
Runner-up: Avis

Best Sporting Goods Store

Best Place to Buy a Boat

Bass Pro Shops

As Savannah Mall continues a heartfelt and so-far hopeful effort to rebrand and revamp, Bass Pro Shops has continued to pack in customers the whole time. Where else can you get a campfire lighter that looks like an M-16?
Runner-up, Sporting: Fleet Feet
Runner-up, Boat: Custom Marine

Best Toy Store

Toys 'R' Us

A perennial winner in this category. The veritable Godzilla of this category. Hey, is there an action figure for that? Bet they’ve got it.
Runner-up: Planet Fun

Best Daycare

Maggie's Morning School

As controversy continues to swirl around admission protocol for Chatham schools, Maggie’s has quietly set the state of the art for early education in Savannah.
Runner-up: In His Arms

Best Arts/Crafts Store

Blick Art Materials

So this almost never happens: Local institution gets bought out by national corporation. National corporation helps employ most everyone at the former local institution. National corporation is able to retain and continue the extraordinary goodwill built up by said former local institution.

But that’s exactly what happened with the switch from Primary Arts to Dick Blick, including a move down Broughton into the current expansive space. We sure miss Primary, but it’s good to know Blick is carrying on the tradition with respect.
Runner-up: Michael’s

Best Frame Shop

Maldoror's Frame Shop

A very deserved win, this awesome little shop in Starland offers a professional but affordable resource for serious local artists/art students. Also – and this we like, like, like – they sell prints in a space “with the aura of a Victorian curio-cabinet.” We are so there. Runner-up: Frame of Mind

Best Women's Clothing Store & Best Clothing Boutique

Red Clover

Once again Savannah ladies say their choice for pretty frocks and fabulous accessories is at this lovely women-owned-and-operated boutique on Bull Street.
Runner up: A tie! Civvies and TJ MAXX

Best Men's Clothing Store

J. Parker Limited

Southern gentleman still prefer their blue blazers and khakis, and this Broughton Street institution stocks top brands as well distinctive casualwear, including the original Jimmy Knows crab polo.<
Runner up: Macy’s

Best Children's Clothing Store

Sara Jane Children's Boutique

Children who shop at Sara Jane are unarguably Savannah’s best-dressed—until they spill their ice cream cones on those colorful smocked dresses and adorably tiny seersucker suits.
Runner up: Owl About Kids

Best Clothing Designer

Brooke Atwood

Nobody does leather like this Mississippi-born marvel—her 2014 collection of cutout t-shirts and fringed dresses rocked the runway from Bryant Park to Forsyth Park this season.
Runner up: Mamie Ruth

Best Thrift/Vintage Clothing Store


One of our favorite lil’ local thrift/vintage shops, this charming space upstairs from Gaucho faces an uncertain future – at that location at least – after the appearance of developer Ben Carter on the Broughton Street scene.
Runner-up: Goodwill

Best Eyewear Store

Eyeglass World

A full-service, inexpensive place to spec your specs out on Abercorn.
Runner-up: Lenscrafters

Best Shoe Store

Globe Shoe Company

This historic Broughton Street institution – not involved so far in any Ben Carter transactions – has been locally owned in Savannah since 1892, when it was just horses going up and down the street.
Runner-up: Fleet Feet

Best Bead Store

Epiphany Bead and Jewelry Studio

Wholesale and retail beads, with classes and repairs. Seriously, they’re so awesome that if beads are your thing you’re probably there right now as you’re reading this.
Runner-up: Perlina

Best Jeweler

Levy Jewelers

Always nice to see locals win categories, and especially nice to see Levy Jewelers rewarded for stepping up to the plate and doing something with that premier space at Bull and Broughton they moved to in 2012.
Runner-up: Epiphany Bead & Jewelry Studio

Best Local Jewelry Designer

Danielle Hughes Rose

This year’s sort of cover girl – she designed the brass knuckles Nicole is wearing on the cover – primarily works in metal, with an aesthetic that’s both minimalist and striking.
Runner-up: Zia Schadina

Best Costume Store

Acme Costumes

Hey, sexy nurse for Halloween. Where you gonna get your sexy nurse outfit? That’s right. Right here. STAT!!
Runner-up: Spirit Halloween

Best Novelty Store

Sunset Novelties

This long-running local business has kept a lot of local couples running longer. AMIRITE?!
Runner-up: Joker Novelties

Best Surf Shop

High Tide Surf Shop

Savannah’s not exactly a surfing mecca, but we have our share of surfers and this is where they get their stuff! Us regular beach-goers can find plenty of cool merch there too.

Best Antique Shop

Habersham Antiques Market

There are lots of antiques stores in Savannah. Lots. But none approaches quite the level of rambling eccentricity combined with really high-level curation as Habersham Antiques, set inside a former meat market – literally, a former meat market.

You can find vintage, working toasters from the advent of electricity. You can find old dairy bottles. You can find wildly imaginative kitsch art. You can find really excellent high-quality Victorian jewelry. You can find awesome hipster-friendly ‘60s modernist furniture.

Just go. We’ll send a search party after you if you’re not back in three days. – Jim Morekis
Runner-up: Alex Raskin Antiques

Best Grocery Store


Service with a smile, and truly invested employees, is the difference-maker for this perennial winner in this category.
Runner-up: Whole Foods Market

Best of SAV: Shopping & Services
Whole Foods

Best Gourmet Grocery Store

Whole Foods Market

The long-awaited opening of Whole Foods – right across Victory from the Connect offices, woo-hoo – did not fail to impress, as the corporation did all its local community outreach right. Locally-sourced vendors, fresh produce, killer meats & seafood, and heck there’s even a bar where you can get a pint of local brew.
Runner-up: Fresh Market

Best Health Food Store

Brighter Day Natural Foods

Not to be outdone by the arrival of Whole Foods, one of downtown Savannah’s favorite and longest-running stores – 35 years and counting! – continues to serve a faithful clientele. The addition of a cool new sidewalk walk-up deli counter is particularly inspired.
Runner-up: Whole Foods

Best Lighting Store

Circa Lighting

For real, they’ve got some cool stuff here in this outpost of the southern chain on Whitaker in the Downtown Design District. Yes, that’s a thing.
Runner-up: Pace Lighting

Best Maid Service

Green Methods LLC

Do we have to spell this out for you? Green Methods = green methods. They use non-harmful cleaning stuff. Rock on!
Runner-up: Saved by the Belles

Best Mall/Shopping Center

Oglethorpe Mall

Malls around the country are falling into steep decline with the renaissance of downtowns. Not so with Oglethorpe Mall, which continues to be as popular and relevant as ever.
Runner-up: Savannah Mall

Best Real Estate Agent

Chelsea Phillips

This realtor with Keller Williams will help you find the best home for your bucks.
Runner-up: Don Callahan

Best Real Estate Agency

Keller Williams Realty

The local outpost of this national realty firm focuses on awesome downtown properties
Runner-up: Judge Realty

Best Florist

John Davis Florist

Not only an expert horticultural maven, but one of Savannah’s most colorful characters, John runs a beloved midtown business with deep roots in the community. Get it -- deep ROOTS?! We crack our own selves up.
Runner-up: Garden on the Square

Best Photography Service

Daly and Salter Photography

A frequent winner in this category, these fine folks specialize in portraits and weddings, with a focus on Savannah’s beautiful natural surroundings
Runner-up: Bailey Davidson Photography

Best Pawn Shop

Welsh Pawn Shop

Over a century in business! That ain’t easy to do. Then again, they are heirs to “mankind’s oldest financial institution,” as they say. Congratulations to this local establishment, now with four locations.
Runner-up: Crossroads Pawn

Best Pet Store

Best Pet Boutique


For convenience’s sake we’ve got a couple of the big chain pet shops in town, but there’s clearly something great to be said for the small, locally-owned business, especially one that cares so much that it specializes in hypo-allergenic and natural pet foods and treats.
Runner-up, Store: PetSmart
Runner-up, Boutique: The Grateful Hound

Best Pet Grooming

Diva Dogs Pet Grooming Salon

Full service grooming, a la carte, nail painting, and.... Wait for it... Blueberry Facials!
Runner-up: Carol’s Pampered Pets

Best Bed and Breakfast

Savannah's Bed and Breakfast Inn

This new winner offers 15 rooms in a gorgeous antebellum row house on Gordon Street.
Runner-up: Olde Harbour Inn

Best Hotel

Desoto Hilton

Well, who would have thought with all the new hotels springing up all over Savannah like resurrection fern after a rain shower, that the good ol’ Desoto would get top spot? Just goes to show, that’s why you play the games, to see who will win.
Runner-up: Mansion on Forsyth Park

Best Lawyer

Best Law Firm

Michael G. Hostilo

Hey, Mike can’t let Jamie Casino get all the attention this year, OK?
Runner-up, Lawyer: Joel K. Gerber
Runner-up, Firm: Brannen, Searcy & Smith

Best Local Insurance Agency

Bernard Williams Insurance and Financial Services

Serving your insurance needs since 1934! Wow, that was a long time ago.
Runner-up: Stevens, Hale & Associates

Best Local Moving Company

Two Men and a Truck

Still the best-named company in the universe.
Runner-up: American Moving and Storage

Best Self Storage

Public Storage

Yeah, it’s a pretty generic sounding name, but this is the former Morningstar Storage.
Runner-up: Uncle Bob’s

Best Local Homebuilder

Lamar Smith Signature Homes

Building new abodes all along the I-95 corridor in Georgia.
Runner-up: JT Turner Construction

Best Wireless Service Provider


Still number one in your hearts, and on your iPhones.
Runner-up: T-Mobile

Best Bank

Wells Fargo

Interesting that a bank with West Coast roots would end up doing so well here.
Runner-up: Savannah Bank

Best Taxi Service

Savannah Pedicab

Now that’s keeping things real, and green, and eco-friendly. Pedal on!
Runner-up: Yellow Cab

Best Limo Service

Above & Beyond

Here at Connect Savannah, all of us use limos ALL THE TIME. Every day to and from work in fact. Sometimes even back and forth from our long, martini-soaked lunches. And we can attest this is the best limo service of all we’ve used over the years.
Runner-up: Coastal Limousine

Best Place to Work


The only thing better than being one of the world’s richest, most influential people is meticulously creating genius handcrafted state of the art engineering miracles designed to be used by the world’s richest, most influential people.
Runner-up: Savannah Pedicab

Biz You're Most Sorry to See Go

The Sparetime

Dang it, we’re still waiting to settle up so we can head out.
Runner-up: Blue Turtle Café

Best Category We Totally Forgot

Best Children's Art Studio

Alrighty then!
Runner-up: Best Teacher

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