Best Barber: Maurice's
The far-flung hair-cutting empire of Maurice's Barber & Style has shops in Jackson, Ridgeland, Madison and at the Reservoir. Much like the barbershops of yore, it's a pleasant place to hang out, and they don't mind if you bring the kids (as long as you're a customer, naturally). Of course, there's a big difference between this and your grandfather's barber shop: Most of the stylists and many of the customers are women. But like any classic barber shop, there's plenty of good conversation, stress relief and counseling available at no extra charge.
— G.B. Weaver
Second place: Hilton, 1001 East County Line Road, 957-2800
Third place: Highland Village
Best Florist: Greenbrook Flowers, 705 N. State St., 957-1951
Greenbrook Flowers creates trends; they don't follow them. That's evident in the fact that the florist's Brook Jacobs originated Good Neighbor Day. The throngs of cars vying for parking and the lines pouring out the front door each September demonstrate the power of flowers. It's a once-a-year opportunity to receive a dozen free roses –one to keep and 11 more to give away. Jacobs passed the idea along to FTD in 1996. Good Neighbor Day is now a national event celebrated by florists in communities coast to coast. Five generations of florists with a neighborly attitude have established Greenbrook as an institution in the Jackson area. They've taught us that flowers really do say it best.
— Jennifer Spann
Second place: Green Oak Florist,
5009 Old Canton Rd., 956-5017
Third place: Petal Pushers, 1437
Highland Colony Pkwy., 898-8388; and Whitley's Flowers,
749 Lakeland Dr., 362-8844 (tie)
Best Thriftstore: Hudson's,
379 U.S. 51, Ridgeland, 898-9555
My grandmother calls it "heaven," and for a few of us it might be. While not technically a thrift store, Hudson's is a great place to be thrifty. It is one of the few remaining salvage stores in the United States carrying merchandise that has been damaged by fire, flood or some other natural disaster or, in some cases, the manufacturer made too many and cannot sell the wares for retail prices. A quick trip is not advised; you don't go to Hudson's with specifics in mind. The next time you have nowhere to be for at least three hours, head to Hudson's and wander the store. You'll be amazed. Bright florescent posters proclaiming "70% OFF" and "80% OFF" and even "90% OFF" will have you leaving the store with a new set of golf clubs and a fuschia sequin tank top for Saturday night, believe you me.
—J. Bingo Holman
Second place: Gateway, Rescue Mission, 3029 U.S. 80, Pearl, 936-1668
Third place: Salvation Army, 2648 Old Brandon Rd., Pearl, 420-0328
Best Used Books: Choctaw Books, 926 North St., 352-7281
The best thing about Choctaw Books is the owner, Fred Smith. Bearded and boisterous with twinkling blue eyes and reading glasses perched on his nose, Smith greets customers from his cluttered desk beside the door with a ready smile and a hearty laugh. He loves to chat and get to know his customers and their wants and needs. Visiting with him is worth the trip, but you'll probably buy something while you're there anyway. Founded in 1982 by Smith's father, Mississippi Congressman Frank Smith—the subject of Dennis Mitchell's book, "Mississippi Liberal" (University Press of Mississippi, 2001), available at the store—Choctaw specializes in books on the South, especially those with a connection to Mississippi or the Civil War. The building isn't much to talk about, but every nook and cranny is crammed with books. There are separate rooms for collectors' items, mysteries and general fiction, even cookbooks and romance novels. (Smith feels that it's essential to have something for everyone.). The small space houses 80,000 editions ranging in price from $1 to thousands of dollars. Most are under $20, but a collector's item can be several thousand. We guarantee you'll find something you can't live without.
Second place: Book Rack, 1491 Canton Mart Rd., 956-5086
Third place: Friends of Welty Library, 900 N. State St., 968-5825
Best Manicure: Dorothy Davis,
Tops Exclusive, 3106 Old Canton Rd., 366-0841
Oh Dorothy, what can I say? Dorothy Davis is one of my favorite people in Jackson. I met her shortly after I returned to Mississippi, and she was one of those people I talked to when we were planning the Jackson Free Press. While Dorothy is doing her magic on your fingers, she talks to you like she's known you all your life, dispensing advice and her brand of wisdom. She cares about her world, and she loves people. Holed up in her delightful little pampering room, we exchange book ideas, and I'm trying to convince her to write down all those great stories she tells me. Her clients are dedicated, following her wherever she goes. (She developed her fabulous spa manicure/pedicures while she was at Barnette's.) While she works her special pedicure, she makes you hush and lie back in her massage chair and breathe for a while. It's a great way to pause in a hectic world. I'm thrilled that JFP readers are discovering Dorothy Davis' little haven on Old Canton Road. Go on over and surrender to Dorothy for yourself.
Second place: Hollywood Nails, 1060 E. County Line Rd., 957-7496
Third place: Grace at Right Touch, 540 Raymond Rd., 373-0026;
and Russell's, 449 Northpark Dr., Ridgeland, 899-8892 (tie)
Best Fashion Boutique:
Soma, Fondren Village, 2945 Old Canton Rd., 366-9955
If J-Lo, Britney and Christina came to town to, oh I don't know, protest the death penalty and/or shoot a pop diva video with Ronnie at the Governor's Mansion (he did appear on "Trading Spaces"), then SOMA would be the store they would close down with their entourage and buy out completely. J-Lo's homeboy Ben would send out for veggie nori rolls from across the way at High Noon and some Cristal from Bravo. He'd kick back by the lava lamp and tap his Armanis to some funk mix as J-Lo strutted down the aluminum dressing-room runway past curtains of faux cowhides to show off the tiniest of tanks and sheerest of skirts.
Britney would make a beeline for the sumptuous and sassy "I AM" line of perfumes and lotions. Of course, her favorite and Jackson's favorite (according to sales staff) is I AM NAKED, a perfume described as violet and rose with a metallic twist. She could also choose from other fragrances such as I AM RICH, I AM HOT, I AM POWER. Christina would be snapping up the candy-colored rhinestone belly rings, earrings and hair accessories lining the display counter that also doubles as a mega fish tank. She'd also have to have a pair of Rocket Dog chunky-heeled boots and some Charles David spike heels to go with her fishnets. Before heading for the limo the gals would stuff their Dickies bags with handfuls of fortune cookies, Soma's version of the after-shopping dinner mint, and head back to Ronnie's for a nightcap and some pole dancing.
Second place: Treehouse, 3000 N. State St., 982-3433
Third place: Baubles-N-Beads, 3218 St. State St., 364-3619
Best Festival: Jubilee! Jam,
Since 1987, the third weekend in May in Jackson has meant one thing. Jubliee!Jam with its three days of music, arts, crafts and food has become of one Mississippi's most anticipated events. Since its inception, diversity has been the key to its success, with musical talent from the full spectrum. James Brown, Little Richard, the Neville Brothers, Gregg Allman, Little Feat, The Temptations, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Blood Sweat and Tears, Sun Ra, Grand Funk Railroad, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Clinton, Johnny Cash and Smash Mouth have all played the main stage under the stars of downtown at One Jackson Place.
Jubliee!Jam compliments the eclectic musical talent with family activities, entertainment, food, arts, and craft vendors who come free of charge each year to sell their wares and an Artist Showcase limited to members of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi. Jubliee!Jam and its five musical stages are sponsored by local businesses and requires over 1,000 volunteers each year to help make it a success. If you don't volunteer, be sure to show your support and thank those who do. Keep checking http://www.jubileejam.com and http://www.jacksonfreepress.com in the coming months for this year's lineup announcement.
Second place: Farish Street Festival,
Third place: Wells Fest, 352-2585
Coffee Shop: Cups (Fondren), 2757 Old Canton Road,
Shhh. Don't anyone tell the Starbuck's Corp. about Jackson. The good side of being considered a backward, poor state by all the snobs and snits in other states is that some of the corporate giants leave us alone longer. And nothing could ruin Jackson quicker than a bunch of Starbuck's outlets stuck all over the place. Instead, we have a delightful local chain of coffee shops where Jacksonians of all ages like to hang out, read, chat and have good coffee and baked treats. Cups Fondren, in particular, is a stand-out, due partly to its location right in the middle of the Fondren Renaissance action. I can take my iBook there, use the wireless network and sip my skinny latte until I'm jittery out of control. (Or, my summer favorite: iced vanilla coffee with espresso ice cubes.) And Cups is one of the few really good places for young people to hang out, offering live music for all ages, along with continually updated art on the walls. Hat's off.
Second place: Broad Street,
Banner Hall, 362-2900
Third place: Living Room (closed)
Barnette's/Aqua The Day Spa,
Banner Hall, 362-9550
I have to admit: I'm partial to Aveda products. I'm fully aware that they're overpriced, and you often have to have them applied among the pretentious folks that I don't too much like to be around. Right after we moved to Jackson, I was looking for a hair salon and saw Barnette's in Banner Hall. When I got past the shock of the name—the Reservoir has the same effect on me, still, but there is an extra "E" here—I could see that I liked the sophisticated look of the place and, besides, it was filled with the delightful scents of Aveda. And with Lemuria, Broad Street and Musiquarium as neighbors, how bad could it be? So I called rather nervously, hoping I wouldn't end up with a stylist who looked down her perfect nose at me. No, I ended up with Lanis Noble, a gorgeous stylist who talks my head off about cars, about which I know nothing. In Lanis' chair, I find no pretension, and he doesn't try to convince me into a hairstyle that only he can make look right. And that makes me happy. Since I became a regular, they opened Aqua The Day Spa, which I haven't visited, but our readers like the Avedic-style pampering they offer there, so I believe them.
— Donna Ladd
Second place: Style World No. 2, Delta Mart, 981-6842 (salon); Resolutions (pampering), 737 U.S. 51, Madison, 856-9696
Third place: Earle & Joseph's (salon), Highland Village, 982-1741; Trio (pampering), 4810 Lakeland Dr.,
Best Tattoos and Piercings:
A-1 Tattoo by Squench, 3780 I-55 South, 372-8500
I got my navel pierced at Squench's six years ago when it was all the rage. I would call it a good (if semi-painful) experience. Very courteous and professional, Squench is located on the east frontage road of I-55 south. Open since 1985, the parlor is run by Squench Baughman, country singer David Allen Coe's personal tattoo artist. Open Tuesday through Saturday, Squench's award-winning artists can help you with everything from custom (designs that customers create) tattoos to flash (designs created by tattoo artists and kept in photo albums or hung on the walls) to permanent makeup (eyeliner, lipliner, lipstick, etc.) to body piercings.
—J. Bingo Holman
Second place: Eternal Body Art
Third place: Derma Grafix Ink (closed)
Best Yoga Class: Joyflow Yoga Center for Healing,
558 U.S. 51, Ridgeland, 898-0300
With classes ranging from beginner yoga to power yoga and from Aikido to Tai Chi, Joyflow Yoga offers a regimen for anyone looking to de-stress, relax and get fit all at once. They even teach "belly dancing," the ultimate feminine workout. Director and studio owner Debi Lewis helps her students find just the right class in one of her two locations, Oak Place Center in Ridgeland and Mangum Drive in Flowood. In addition to yoga and martial arts, Joyflow provides a healing therapies including Enneagram Counseling (a map of personality based on motivations), physical therapy and massage, and corporate stress management (tell your boss). Debi will even create an individual yoga-training program for you if you're uncomfortable in class. Her mother Dorothy Porter practices Healing Touch, Gestalt Therapy and an Avatar Course for the centers rounding out the selection. If you're already into yoga and would like to teach, Joyflow offers teacher training and is registered as a Yoga Alliance Teacher Training School.
Second place: Triangle Yoga (4800 McWillie Circle, Chastain Plaza B-8, 362-0840); and Center for Yoga and Health, 610 Hwy. 80 East, Clinton, 924-7298 (tie)
Third place: YMCA, I-55 at Fortification, 840 E. River Place, 966-3874; and Ridgeland Recreation and Parks, 304 U.S. 51, Ridgeland, 853-2011 (tie)
Best Sports Outfitter: Buffalo Peak Outfitters, Highland Village, 366-2557
Need a tent, a sleeping bag or a water-purification filter for that first-time camping trip at Tishomingo State Park? How about a kayak, a car carrier or a bilge pump for a float trip down the Black Creek? A compass, trekking poles, or hiking boots for a day on the Natchez Trace? Maybe a down jacket, wicking underwear or goggles for that coveted weekend in Aspen? You know you need a headlamp, carabiners and a harness for a trip up (or down) Mount Rainier. Well, then, Buffalo Peak Outfitters can outfit you. If you're the cool outdoors type, you will recognize brands such as North Face, Merrell and Wilderness System. For the uninitiated, Buffalo Peak's media center has a plethora of information about Mississippi state parks, the Mississippi Canoe and Kayak Club, local and regional hiking trails, float trips and maps. So, whether you are looking to be outfitted for the rivers, the trails, the slopes or the mountains, or you just want to dream a little, Buffalo Peak Outfitters is the ultimate outdoor sports store.
Second place: Indian Cycle, 677 S. Pear Orchard Road, Ridgeland, 956-8383
Third place: Bike Rack, 2282
Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 936-2100
Best Way to Spend a Rainy Day:
Last year, weather in Central Mississippi was just downright wet, the seventh wettest on record, according to the National Weather Service, in fact. With all that precipitation, we had lots of opportunities to consider the best way to spend a rainy day. Overwhelmingly, Jacksonians chose to slide between the sheets—shutting out all distractions and enjoying the comfort of a warm bed, lazing the time away in peaceful bliss with no care for tomorrow. A cloudy, drizzly day creates just the right mood for cocooning and seeking that inner comfort that recharges us and prepares us to face the world again when the sun emerges.
Some also chose to sleep.
Second place: Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, 2148 Riverside Drive, 354-7303
Third place: Movies