2011: Urban Living | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

2011: Urban Living


Best Annual Event, Best Outdoor Event: Mal's St. Paddy's Parade
Downtown Jackson, 601-948-0888

If you want to be part of a party—a colorful crowd that carpets downtown Jackson's streets with revelers on the sidewalks and in the streets, walking or riding floats for a good cause—then Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, which benefits the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital, is just what you're looking for. Every year there's a parade theme, a creative play on words with a visual twist to inspire float-makers and parade-goers from all over. I talked with Hal White and asked about this year's theme. "Haven't come up with it, yet," he said. Like all parade veterans, though, he did know that it takes place the third Saturday in March. So on March 19, 2011, go be part of the crowd.
—Lynette Hanson

Best Annual Event
Second: Mistletoe Marketplace (Mississippi Trade Mart, 1200 Mississippi St., 601-948-2357)
Third: Fondren Unwrapped (Fondren neighborhood, 601-981-9606)
Good Showing: Chimneyville Crafts Festival (Mississippi Trade Mart, 1200 Mississippi St., 601-856-7546)

Best Outdoor Event
Second: Pepsi Pops (Old Trace Park, Post Road, Ridgeland, 601-960-1565)
Third: Wellsfest (Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, 3601 Lakeland Lane, 601-353-0658)
Good Showing: Jubilee! JAM (no longer held); Pickin' and Paddlin' (Mayes Lake at Lefleur's Bluff State Park, 2140 Riverside Drive, 601-354-8855)

Best Locally Owned Business, Best Boutique: Material Girls
182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533
1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605

I recently needed a reasonably priced cute dress, quick—as in an hour before the event. I headed straight for Material Girls and found so many options it was hard to decide on just one. And I also picked up an accessory or two that I just couldn't resist. Whether you're looking for something specific or just browsing, you're sure to find something fun and hip at one of this boutique's two Jackson-area locations. The boutique has been favorite of stylish Jacksonians for years, and this is their fourth year to win "Best Boutique."

Material Girls has prospered in the Jackson area. So much so that last year, owner Whitney Giordano opened a third location in Oxford. The expansion to the college town is fitting; Giordano opened the first Material Girls' in Flowood's Dogwood Promenade in 2004 when she was still six months away from her college graduation. She opened her second location at The Renaissance in Ridgeland in 2008. Material Girls offers hard-to-find brands, and their website makes it easy to shop the latest trends online. They'll even keep you in the loop on what's new via text messaging, so you can snatch up those new riding boots before your friends do and find out about sales and coupons. Giordano's crew definitely keeps you on trend and within budget. —Julie Skipper

Best Locally Owned Business
Second: Mangia Bene (3317 N. State St., 601-982-4443)
Third: LaCru Salon (5352 Highway 25, Suite 100, Flowood, 601-992-7980)
Good Showing: Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349); Custom Cuts & Styles (2445 Terry Road, 601-321-9292); Fondren Guitars by Patrick Harkins (607 Fondren Place, 601-362-0313)

Best Boutique
Second: Treehouse Boutique (3008 N. State St., 601-982-3433)
Third: Pink Bombshell (270 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-1366; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5007, Ridgeland, 601-853-0775)
Good Showing: Libby Story and Company (120 W. Jackson St., Suite A, Ridgeland, 601-717-3300); Migi's House of Style (5352 Lakeland Drive, Suite 100, Flowood, 601-919-8203; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 9005, Ridgeland, 601-898-1126)

Best Dance Lessons: Salsa Mississippi
303 Mitchell Ave., 601-213-6355

The founders and owners of Salsa Mississippi, Sujan and Sarah Ghimire, may have been teaching dance in Jackson for five years or so, but they've only been in their current location in Fondren for a little more than two years. Now that they have their own venue and don't have to rent space, you can trust that these two dance instructors will keep things hot and fresh nearly every night of the week. "It's energetic; it's great exercise," Sarah Ghimire says. "It's a very diverse crowd. On an average party night, we'll probably have 10 or 12 different countries represented."
—Byron Wilkes

Second: Dance Connection Ballroom Dance Center (306 N. Bierdeman Road, Pearl, 601-932-2374)
Third: Ballet Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St., Suite 106, 601-960-1560)
Good Showing: Dance Unlimited (6787 S. Siwell Road, Suite A, Byram 601-373-6143; 3091 Highway 49 S., Suite E., Florence, 601-373-6143); Rhonda Whitehead's Studio of Dance and Gymnastics (111 Grants Ferry Road, Brandon, 601-992-0490)

Best Day Spa: Aqua the Day Spa (Barnette's)
4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-9550
1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, Ridgeland, 601-898-9123

Aqua the Day Spa, owned by Susan and Ralph Barnette, takes top honors again. This iconic spa reminds me of that commercial where a Russian gentlemen, surrounded by bodyguards, poker-playing dogs and gorgeous women, looks into the camera and says "Opulence, I has it!" Aqua the Day Spa definitely has "it." The spa offers beauty and bliss in an opulent setting designed to relieve stress, sooth tension and enhance well-being. If you want something yummy, try the ylang-ylang and sweet-orange age-recovery facial, the shea-butter-and-wheat moisture drench or the black-pepper slim-and-detox body treatment. Deliciously relaxing. Opulence: Aqua the Day Spa has it!
—Anita Modak-Truran

Second: Trio Medi Spa (4812 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-608-8746)
Third: Laya's Skin Care (5352 Lakeland Drive, Suite 100B, Flowood, 601-992-7980)
Good Showing: The Skin District (2629 Courthouse Circle, Suite B, Flowood, 601-981-7546); Nomi Spa (Fairview Inn, 734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429); Spa at St. Dominic's (971 Lakeland Drive, 601- 200-5961)

Best Beauty Shop/Salon: Lacey's Salon & Accessories
Best Hair Stylist: Lacey Norris

1935 Lakeland Drive, Suite C, 601-906-2253

Lacey's Salon blends the comfort of a southern beauty parlor with the sassy spirit of its owner, Lacey Norris. "This is a place where you can be comfortable," Lacey says, and she practices what she preaches. Like Truvy's Beauty Parlor in "Steel Magnolias," Lacey makes her customers feel part of a close-knit group of friends. Through excellent service and word-of-mouth referrals, she has built a loyal customer base. A true testament to the terrific services provided is that even the manliest of men feel at home at Lacey's Salon.

JFP readers also voted Lacey Norris, the super stylist with a pink passionate spirit, as top hair stylist for the fourth year in a row. The secret to Lacey's success is doing things the old-fashioned way: outstanding service and affordable prices (haircuts for women begin at $17 and color begins at $55).
—Anita Modak-Truran

Best Beauty Shop/Salon
Second: Barnette's Salon (4400 Old Canton Road, 601-362-4040; 4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-9550; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, Ridgeland, 601-898-9123)
Third: LaCru Salon Tan & Spa (5352 Highway 25, Suite 100, Flowood, 601- 992-7980)
Good Showing: Molecules Hair Salon (794 Highway 51 N., Suite A, Madison, 601-605-4511); Custom Cuts & Style (2445 Terry Road, 601-321-9292); William Wallace Salon (2939 Old Canton Road, 601-982-8300)

Best Hair Stylist
Second: Petra Coleman, Custom Cuts & Styles (2445 Terry Road, 601-321-9292)
Third: Claire Kinsey, Gloss (733 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite D Ridgeland, 601-898-8640)
Good Showing: Griff Howard, Ritz Salon (775 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite H, Ridgeland, 601- 856-4330; JoAnne Hartley, Molecules (794 Highway 51 N., Suite A, Madison, 601-605-4511)

Best Barber Shop: Custom Cuts and Styles
2445 Terry Road, 601-321-9292

For Chris Paige, manager of Custom Cuts and Styles, being voted the best barbershop in Jackson is big for more reasons than one. First, the win will hopefully bring in more customers. But beyond that, Paige sees the win as another step in the "community revitalization of south Jackson as a whole." The shop, located across the street from up-and-coming Jackson Square on Terry Road, attracts customers from all over the metro area, and regulars come from as far as Brookhaven. But, according to Paige, Custom Cuts and Styles, like many barbershops before it, is a business that serves the community. Ultimately, Paige says, "a win for us will help the community."
—Garrad Lee

Second: Maurice's Barber Shop (1060 Highway 51, Suite D, Madison, 601-856-0015)
Third: Razor Sharp Barber Shop (405 Beasley Road, 601-982-9762)
Good Showing: Bob's Cut & Curl (3015-1/2 N. State St., 601-362-0326)

Best Dentist: Jim Ed Watson,
Center for Smiles
1437 Old Square Road, Suite 203, 601-366-7645

When it comes to comprehensive dental care, the people of Jackson trust Dr. Jim Ed Watson with their smiles. Patients go to Watson not just for cavities or root canals, but also for cosmetic dentistry like porcelain veneers and braces. Watson reiterates that his office emphasizes preventative care first and foremost. "We try to get patients focused on not only going to the dentist when they have a toothache," he says. "A lot of dental problems are detected before patients are aware that there's a problem, and treatment can be much more conservative and less costly if it's done that way."
—Byron Wilkes

Second: Lewis Grubbs (1771 Lelia Drive, 601-362-2660)
Third: Brad Armstrong (459 Pebble Creek Drive, Madison, 601-856-3141)
Good Showing: Wendy Lewis (1350 W. Government St., Brandon, 601-825-3807); Amy Sherman (1004 Hugh Ward Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-9975)

Best Doctor: Dr. Manisha Sethi
6919 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland; 601-956-0911

Dr. Manisha Sethi opened Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in 2005, fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning a medical practice. In recent years. private practices have struggled due to the economy, but Internal Medicine and Pediatrics has flourished. Sethi's compassion for and dedication to her patients is easily evident, and this reputation helps her practice grow. A Greenwood, Miss. native, Sethi graduated from Millsaps College at 18 and at 22 finished medical school at UMMC, where she became the chief resident of pediatrics.
—Jesse Crow

Second: Dr. Bard Johnston (7724 Old Canton Road, Madison, 601-856-1262)
Third: Dr. Barbie Sullivan (501 Marshall St., Suite 400, 601-354-0869)
Good Showing: Dr. Shannon Carroll (1020 N. Flowood Drive, Flowood, 601-932-2230); Dr. Leo Huddleston (6500 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-0010)

Best Lawyer: Bob Owens
Owens Moss, 770 N. West St., 601-352-8443

Benjamin Franklin once said, "God works wonders now and then; behold a lawyer, an honest man." Attorneys often find themselves the butt of jokes and the subject of less-than-complimentary comments. Since Jackson has lots of lawyers, we have plenty of fodder. But most lawyers entered the profession with noble intent and work hard to serve their clients. The winner of this year's Best Lawyer Category, Bob Owens, a personal injury attorney, is an example. That's certainly one of the reasons his law firm, Owens Moss, is listed among Martindale-Hubbell Barr's Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Next time you see a lawyer around town, give 'em a pass and hold the jokes until next time.
—Julie Skipper

Second: David McCarty (David Neil McCarty Law Firm, 416 E. Amite St., 601-874-0721)
Third: Jeff Williams (Wells, Moore, Simmons & Hubbard, 4450 Old Canton Road, Suite 200, 601-354-5400)
Good Showing: Kathryn White (Shannon Law Firm, 100 W. Gallatin St., Hazlehurst, 601-894-2202); Pat Zimmerman (Mississippi Gaming Commission, 620 North St., Suite 200, 601-576-3883)

Best Flower Shop: Greenbrook Flowers
705 N. State St., 601-519-4735

Flower arranging requires more than sticking a bunch of twigs and roses in a vase. Like gardening, flower arranging is an art form that fuses nature and human expression through color, shapes, lines, forms and composition. To paraphrase from the French writer George Sand, some flowers speak with strong and powerful voices, proclaiming their beauty and dominion. Others speak in "murmured tones, scarcely audible, but exquisitely soft and sweet," whispering, "I am little, and I am beloved." With five generations dedicated to the art of floral expression, Greenbrook Flowers has mastered this art form, making stunning original creations to celebrate in all its stages. Flower power: Pass it on.
—Anita Modak-Truran

Second: A Daisy A Day Flowers & Gifts (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 194, 601-982-4438)
Third: Mostly Martha's (353 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-956-1474)
Good Showing: Green Floral (210 E. Capitol St., 601- 969-4050; 210 Town Square, Brandon, 601-825-8374), Green Oak (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017), Whitley Flowers (740 Lakeland Drive, 601- 362-8844)

Best Tailor: Al Guevara of Custom Tailoring by Al
111 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 280, Madison, 601-607-3443
258 Dogwood Boulevard, Flowood, 601-992-1373

Off-the-rack clothing rarely seems to fit me well. After tiring of wearing my pants either rolled or duct-taped to the appropriate length, I asked for the name of a good tailor. The name given to me by numerous people was Al Guevara of Custom Tailoring by Al, and it seems that most in the Jackson area agree. I can personally attest that Al and his crew of tailors are quick, affordable and, most importantly, masters of their craft. In addition to basic alterations, Guevara creates custom suits and other clothing. For the past 16 years, I've turned to Al and his talented staff for alteration needs through pregnancy, weight loss and, well, just being short. —Crawford Grabowski

Second: The Rogue (4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-6383)
Third: Finishing Touch Alterations (4551 Office Park Drive, 601-362-5288)
Good showing: Michael Armstrong (Tom James Co., 1775 Leila Drive #D, 601-713-2034)

Best Plumber: Wesley Brisendine at Skeen Plumbing & Gas
220 Christopher Cove, Suite A, Ridgeland, 601-856-5758

As someone who worked in plumbing, it's not the most glamorous job, but it's a vital profession. Wesley Brisendine, 23, specializes in trenchless drain repair and video inspection. The 2005 Terry High School graduate found himself at a crossroads during his final semester at Holmes Community College. He wanted a career where his technology training would benefit others. "I feel like I've mastered the technology available and even created some of my own," he says. When he's not attending to plumbing catastrophes, you might find him creating graffiti art, doing motocross, getting a new tat or spending time with his daughter and fiance. —Michael Jacome

Second: T.J. Hare, T.J. Hare Plumbing Repair & Services (1204 Spring Ridge Road, 601-372-5600) / Third: Chris Wright, Right Plumbing (P.O. Box 1157, Madison, 601-898-9161) / Good Showing: Buford Plumbing & Heating Co. (5625 Highway 18 W., 601-372-7676); Albert Grube, Albert's Plumbing (115 Ambrose Lane, Florence, 601-941-1086)

Best Garden Supply/Nursery: Lakeland Yard & Garden Center
4210 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-939-7304

Lakeland Yard & Garden is as big outside as it is inside. Walk in, and a simple description to one of the employees of what you're looking for—even if you don't know the name—will keep you from wandering aimlessly around the 17-acre nursery. Inside, there are all sorts of decorative items for the garden and kitchen, from pottery and sculptures, to fire pits and yard and patio furniture. They also have the necessities: bird seed, insecticides and inflatable 6-foot-long snakes to scare away the bunnies. —Briana Robinson

Second: Callaway's Yard & Garden Center (839 S. Pear Orchard Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-1731)
Third: Green Oak (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017)
Good Showing: Martinson's Garden Works (650 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-856-3078); Hutto's Home and Garden Center (1320 Ellis Ave., 601-973-2277)

Best Ethnic or Specialty Grocery: Rainbow Natural Grocery Cooperative
(2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602)

I've never vegged out on anything I bought at Rainbow and been filled with regret later, because even their junk food is healthy. Not that it's "healthy" to eat an entire pack of cookie dough in one sitting, but if you're going to, get it at Rainbow where it's made with organic sugar or is free of dairy products and gluten. Instead of a pack of greasy potato chips, grab some sweet potato or kettle-cooked chips. Trust me; they're just as delicious. Try some of their organic or locally grown produce. It's at least as good as (and usually better than) the fruit and vegetables at big grocery chains, and it's healthier and supports your local economy. —Holly Perkins

Second: Aladdin's Grocery Store (740 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-2102)
Third: Patels Grocery (6800 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-952-0332)
Good Showing: Mediterranean Fish and Grill (6550 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-0082); Van Hung Asian Market (637 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland, 601-856-9638)

Best Bookstore: Lemuria Books
Banner Hall, 4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202, 601-366-7619

One of the first things you will notice about Lemuria is just how comfortable it is. Does the Jackson area have larger bookstores? Yes, but no other bookstore gives you handpicked selections and personal service like Lemuria. You can easily spend an entire day perusing books that interest you while taking advantage of the comfortable couches. Lemuria hosts frequent book signings and readings, has a huge selection of books on Mississippi and by Mississippi authors, and will find and order anything not in stock. Locally owned Lemuria also takes care of your kids with a children's section they'll love and events just for them. Last year, the Junie B. Jones bus and the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" van came to visit.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Choctaw Books (926 North St., 601-352-7281)
Third: Heroes & Dreams (5352 Highway 25, Suite 1650, Flowood, 601-992-3100)
Good Showing: Afrika Book Café (404 E. Mitchell Ave., 769-251-1031); Pentimento Books (302 Jefferson St., Clinton, 601-925-4662)

Best Yoga Instructor: Jean R. Powers, RYT, CCYT
Courthouse Racquet & Fitness (Lakeland and Northeast locations)

A state of ease and satisfaction is where Jean Powers will take you when you attend one of her yoga classes. As a registered yoga instructor, during each session. Powers provides one-on-one attention for each student to ensure proper technique. She also offers a variety of styles, including Ashtanga, Hatha, Hot 26, Iyengar and Vinyasa..
—Diandra Hosey

Second: Scotta Brady (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313
Third: Tara Blumenthal (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313
Good Showing: Debi Lewis (Joyflow Yoga, 7048 Old Canton Road, 2F, Ridgeland, 601-613-4317); Wendy Crumpton (YMCA Metro Jackson, 800 E. River Place, 601-948-3090)

Best Fitness Center/Gym: Courthouse Racquet & Fitness
Multiple Locations

Year after year, Jacksonians say Courthouse Racquet and Fitness is the best fitness center in the area. With six locations in the metro area from Byram and Madison to downtown Jackson, you're sure to have one near you. Courthouse offers a solid range of classes and services from aquatics to yoga, spinning to weight training, tennis to golf, physical therapy, personal training and more, and members can combine free classes with state-of-the-art machines and free weights to achieve and maintain optimum physical conditioning. You can count on a professional staff no matter which location you choose. Most locations even offer child-care services, and the Byram location has an after-school program.
—Julia Hulitt

Second: The Club (multiple locations)
Third: YMCA (multiple locations)
Good Showing: Anytime Fitness (multiple locations), Fitness Lady (5720 Highway 80 E., Pearl, 601-939-2122; 331 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-0535), Baptist Healthplex (717 Manship St., 601-968-1766; 102 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-7900)

Best Martial-Arts School: Academy of Kung Fu
626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-5051

I have always admired individuals who know how to protect themselves without losing their cool or needing a weapon. That's exactly what martial arts can do for you. Forget about those flaky kung fu movies. Practicing martial arts can be a life-changing experience that teaches self-discipline, reduces stress and promotes a healthier lifestyle. Winning best martial-art school for the second year, Trey Crake and his team at the Academy of Kung Fu offer fun and effective programs for individuals from age 4 to adult. Along with its mental benefits, Kung Fu provides a full-body workout that will get you into the best shape you've ever been in. Sign up for a free trial period online (http://www.academyofkungfu.com) to see if Kung Fu is for you.
—Julia Hulitt

Second: Jason Griffin's TaeKwonDo & Jiu-Jitsu Academy (125 Dyess Road, Ridgeland, 601-977-9000; 103 Christian Drive, Brandon, 601-824-0058)
Third: Gracie South (1006 Top St., Suite H, Flowood, 601-502-7634)
Good Showing: Knock-Out Fitness (205 Belle Meade Point, Flowood, 769-233-7901)

Best Bridal/Gift Registry: The Everyday Gourmet
1625 E. County Line Road, 601-977-9258
1107 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 111, Ridgeland, 601-898-9292

The Everyday Gourmet owner Marlana Walters, who bought the store from her friend Carol Puckett, celebrates the art of everyday entertaining. "Many people don't realize that this is a family-run business," says Walters, who has always had a passion for cooking, gadgets and entertaining. Marlana's mom works at the store, and her dad helps with "fetching and toting. He doesn't like being around the pretty, sparkly things," Marlana says.

Every product offered for sale at The Everyday Gourmet is chosen with care, from the cutlery and cookware by Viking and other makers, to the dishes and tableware. "A $5 bottle of wine in the right wine glass can taste like $20," Marlana says. —Anita Modak-Truran

Second: Batte Furniture & Interiors (1010 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-0335)
Third: Belk (1200 E. County Line Road, Suite 300, Ridgeland, 601-977-0101; 150 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-5000)
Good Showing: Persnickety (2078 Main St., Madison, 601-853-9595); David's Bridal (1039 E. County Line Road, 601-957-0505); Bridal Path (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 104, 601-982-8267)

Best Yoga Studio: Butterfly Yoga
3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313

Although the building was re-staged to its original purpose as a gas station for the filming of the "The Help," Butterfly Yoga is a dedicated yoga studio founded on freedom and passion. With an array of instructors, Butterfly's classes range from belly dancing to gentle yoga and yoga basics, to beginner, intermediate and advanced yoga to the more fast-paced Vinyasa. Owner Scotta Brady, a certified Anusara teacher, also provides teacher trainings and conducts workshops around the world. In addition, Butterfly frequently hosts nationally recognized yoga teachers for weekend workshops.
—Diandra Hosey

Second: Joyflow Yoga (7048 Old Canton Road, 2F, Ridgeland, 601-613-4317)
Third: Courthouse Racquet & Fitness (multiple locations)

Best Caterer: Fresh Cut Catering & Floral
108 Cypress Cove, Flowood, 601-939-4518

There's little doubt about it: Jackson folks love a good party. There's also little doubt that we love to eat, so naturally, good food is really important. For a one-stop shop for beautiful food and flowers, Wendy Putt of Fresh Cut Catering & Floral is the go-to gal. Whether it's working her magic to turn The South Warehouse into a wedding reception fantasy for a bride-to-be or creating a killer menu for an office party, she always brings deliciousness to the function with a wide variety of offerings and the ability to accommodate the venue and concept with finesse. Party on, Jackson: Know that you'll eat well doing it thanks to this category's winners.
—Julie Skipper

Second: Mangia Bene (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900)
Third: VIP Grand Events (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-713-4040)
Good Showing: Rainbow Whole Foods (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602); Coolwater Café (1011 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-6332)

Best Mechanic: Graves & Stoddard Inc.
722 Highway 80 E., Flowood, 601-939-3662

When Willie Graves and Tom Stoddard opened their mechanic shop 25 years ago, they specialized in servicing Asian automobiles—a strong point of knowledge that they retain today. Since then, their business has grown and so has the variety of cars they service. Their knowledgeable and trustworthy mechanics now also work on domestic vehicles, like Chevys and Fords, and have serviced Volkswagens and Subarus. Graves & Stoddard is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., Monday through Friday.
—Jesse Crow

Second: Freeman's Auto Repair (847 S. State St., 601-948-3358)
Third: Tony's Tire & Automotive (5138 N. State St., 601-981-2414)
Good Showing: Putman's Automotive Service Inc. (4879 N. State St., 601-366-1886); Bullock's Auto Repair (404 Gallilee St., 601-355-2052)

Best Monogram Shop: Bridgette's Monograms and Gifts
2725 N. State St., 601-362-9947

Monogramming seems to be a staple of southern living. From diaper bags to stationery, purses to towels, there's little that can't be personalized. At Bridgette's you can bring in your personal items to be monogrammed, or you can choose from the vast and stylish selection. Their friendly and helpful staff is sure to help you find exactly what you need. Bridgette's takes pride in providing great gifts at great prices, and you won't go wrong in choosing this store for all your monogramming needs. And you can buy great bags and skip the monogram if you prefer.
—Jesse Crow

Second: Monogram Express (131 Gateway Drive, Suite A, Brandon, 601-825-1248)
Third: Monogram Magic (1481 Canton Mart Road, Suite D, 601-956-7117)
Good Showing: Monogram It (500 Highway 51, Suite Q, Ridgeland, 601-607-4115); Lil' Ms. Sew & Sew (1679 Old Fannin Road, Suite H, Flowood, 601-992-3279)

Best Thrift/Consignment Shop: The Orange Peel
3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977

If it weren't for The Orange Peel, I'd be known as Jackson's bag lady. On any given day, I am usually wearing one item of clothing from the consignment store. Today it's three: A gray dress jacket, a black jean skirt and a turtleneck sweater. Going to the Peel is like going on a treasure hunt. You never know when you are going to find the perfect shoes, bag or dress. When you do find that one-of-a-kind item, it feels like the universe is smiling on you. I call it karma shopping, because when I consign my own clothes, I know they will find a happy home. I will admit, though, that sometimes it's a little strange when you see your neighbor sporting the sweater you wore last season. Thank you Orange Peel for keeping us Jacksonians in style on the cheap.
—Lacey McLaughlin

Second: Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-605-9393)
Third (tie): Bargain Boutique (5070 Parkway Drive, 601-991-0500); N.U.T.S. (117 Wesley Ave., 601-355-7458)
Good Showing: Private Collection (101 Village Blvd., Suite A, Madison, 601- 607-6004)

Best Massage Therapist: Allin Kimbrough
G2 Fitness Institute, 1867 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite 125A, 601-366-2223

A long, relaxing massage is just the thing after a tiring day. Especially when you're aching and exhausted, your body needs to loosen up to get good rest and feel refreshed. Jacksonians say that G2 Fitness Institute's Allin Kimbrough is the person to trust when it comes to massaging away those aches and worries. His deep-tissue, full-body massages will put your body at ease and your worries in perspective. Whether you've experienced the bliss of a massage or not, do yourself a favor and allow Kimbrough to transport you to cloud nine.
—Julia Hulitt

Second: Martha Howell (Baptist Healthplex, 102 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-7900)
Third: William Boren (Mississippi Medical Massage Therapy, 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 239, 601-942-5014)
Good Showing: Kali Horner (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602); Brad Jackson (Trio Medi Spa, 4812 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-608-8746)

Best Men's Clothes: The Rogue and Good Company
4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-6383

It is easy for me to put the needs of my family above my own, but sometimes, I need to remember that my appearance is important, too. Going to a shop like The Rogue gives every man the chance to look his best. While the clothes are name brand, every man can find something here that fits his budget, whether it is a sport coat, business suit, shoes, shirts or more casual clothing. What makes the Rogue different is quality and 200 years of experience. Yes, we are husbands and fathers, but we were men long before either of those, and everything we need to dress well is at The Rogue and Good Company.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Red Square Clothing Co. (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 9004, Ridgeland, 601-853-8960)
Third: Kinkade's Fine Clothing (120 W. Jackson St., Suite 2B, Ridgeland, 601-898-0513)
Good Showing: Great Scott (4400 Old Canton Road, Suite 101, 601-984-3500)

Best Unique Gifts: Mississippi Craft Center
950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-7546

At Mississippi Craft Center, you will be amazed at amount of love poured into row upon row of unique crafts, almost all them by Mississippi artisans. Explore the one-of-a-kind selection including birdhouses, stained-glass pieces and iron works. You will see how talented Mississippians' really are when you see the hand-blown glass creations, quilts and fine woodwork craftsmanship. The Mississippi Craft Center is also a great place to hold an event. Weddings, receptions and parties are common on the grounds, as are demonstrations and classes. The center also holds an excellent kids' art camp every summer.
—Michael Jacome

Second: circa. Urban Artisan Living (2771 Old Canton Road, 601-362-8484)
Third: Pine Cone (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 220, 601-713-1421)
Good Showing: Apple Annie's (106 Autumn Ridge Place, Suites 5 and 6, Brandon, 601-992-9925)

Best Place to Buy Antiques: Antique Shops of Jackson
4525 Interstate 55 N., 601-982-1881

Antiques have the extraordinary power to introduce people to real, lived-in history. At the Antique Shops of Jackson, you'll find plenty of history that you can take home with you. Chandeliers of all colors, textures and sizes hang from the ceiling. Animal prints are scattered throughout, and colorful items fill each booth. You'll find chairs with unique styles and fabrics and, in the back corner, vintage clothing and accessories. One vendor offers to build custom tables and chandeliers according to customer's preferences, while others show off what their ancestors preferred. This special store has far to many items to describe here. If you're like me, you'll wonder about each piece's personal history.
—J. Ashley Nolen

Second: (tie) Belgique Inc. (320 Commerce Park Drive, 601-982-6060, 601-955-7214) and Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-605-9393)
Third: Antique Mall of the South (367 U.S. Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-853-4000) / Good Showing: Old House Depot (639 Monroe St., 601-592-6200)

Best Kids' Clothes and Toys: Helen's Young Ages
4750 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-0317

Kids' sense of individual style starts when they're young. They can get away with so much more than adults, and, hopefully, they'll figure it out by the time they show up for their first job interview. Helping parents and kids foster that sense of style is this year's first place winner for kids' clothes and toys: 45-year-old Jackson staple, Helen's Young Ages. Owner Shannon Vaughan and her staff work to provide only the best selection of clothing for children, from sizes for preemies up to size 16 for girls and size 13 for boys. —Julia Hulitt

Second: Pop Fizz (1481 Canton Mart Road, 601-977-1000)
Third: Lemon Meringue (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-853-2611)
Good Showing: Olde Tyme Commissary (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 122, 601-366-1849); Sweet Dreams (1896 Main St., Suite D, Madison, 601-856-2080); Cosmo Tots (2906 N. State St., 601-427-3322)

Best Art/Gallery Place to Buy Art: Brown's Fine Art & Framing
630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844

Since 1965, Brown's Fine Art & Framing has displayed some of the finest artwork in the area. While the location has changed since it first opened, Brown's has always been synonymous with quality, both in the gallery and in framing. Brown's is also notable for services including art appraisals and cataloging, restoration, consultation and artwork installation. The gallery boasts a wealth of renowned Mississippi artists including Andrew Bucci and Walter Anderson, and the space is invitingly lit and massive in scope. Brown's website also offers the additional services of their "Buy – Sell – Trade" gallery, a newsletter, and an online print gallery. The gallery averages six to eight openings a year to showcase new works by their artist clients.
—Chris Zuga

Second: Southern Breeze Gallery (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5005, Ridgeland, 601-607-4147)
Third: Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., 601-291-9115, 601-366-8833)
Good Showing: One Blu Wall Gallery (2906 N. State St., Suite 107, 601-713-1884), Mississippi Craft Center (950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-7546

Best Kids' Event: WellsFest
September, Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, 1398 Lakeland Drive, 601-353-0658

The term "Best Kids' Event" gives the impression that, like an amusement park, Wellsfest is just for kids, when the festival really has something for everyone. Last year's 27th annual festival featured a rock wall for the kids (and dads trying to remember their youth), a semi truck full of video games, vendors with carnival goodies, live music and a variety of local artists showcasing their wares. Everyone seemed to go home happy. Wellsfest ensures that the more fun you have, the more you contribute to a great cause. Organized by the Wells Memorial United Methodist Church, last year's proceeds went to the Mississippi Families for Kids program, which helps children in the foster system find loving homes.
—Michael Jacome

Second: KidsFest (April, Freedom Ridge Park, 235 W. School St., Ridgeland, 60-853-2011)
Third: Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights (August, Belhaven neighborhood, 601-352-8850)
Good Showing: Sal and Mookie's Street Festival (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)

Best Place to Buy Musical Instruments: Morrison Brothers Music
127 Dyess Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-0135

The Doors' Jim Morrison once said, "How can I set free anyone who doesn't have the guts to stand up alone and declare his own freedom?" For nearly 40 years, Morrison Brothers Music has been living this ideal and serving the community. Morrison Brothers can take care of your musical needs, and it doesn't matter what genre of music interests you. From grunge rock to classical, Morrison Brothers can outfit you with a piano, a drum kit, a guitar or whatever you need. They also offer DJ equipment and can help you set up a recording studio. You provide the guts to declare your musical freedom, and Morrison Brothers will take care of the rest. —Michael Jacome

Second: Fondren Guitars by Patrick Harkins (607 Fondren Place, 601-362-0313)
Third: Mississippi Music (1001 Sara Lane, Flowood, 601-922-1200) / Good Showing: Guitar Center (1189 E. County Line Road, 601-956-8053); Lakeland Music (5200 Highway 25, Flowood, 601-992-0089)

Best Reason to Live in Jackson: The People

As a non-native Jacksonian, I've come to love and appreciate our capital city for its greatest resource: its people. Working and living in Jackson introduced me to a diverse group. My experiences here have allowed me to interact with everyone from local business owners, artists and writers, to Grammy-award winning musicians, all of whom helped me feel welcome in a new city. A friend who recently moved to Jackson from the West Coast summed it all up by explaining that "people here actually think and care about people other than themselves," something she'd rarely seen in her hometown. Anyone who's lived in the city for any time knows this to be true; Jackson is both literally and figuratively the "heart" of the Hospitality State.
—Crawford Grabowski

Second: Fondren
Third: Rainbow Natural Grocery Cooperative (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602)

Best Place to Buy Shoes: Shoe Bar at Pieces
425 Mitchell Ave., 601-939-5203

Shoes can make or break an outfit. As far as I'm concerned, the more unique the shoes are, the better. Shoe Bar at Pieces has the fiercest and funkiest shoes Jackson has to offer. The store is located in an old house in Fondren, fostering a comfortable and personal shopping experience. Its staff is friendly, helpful and has a great sense of style, but you will never feel pressured to buy. Be warned, though, it's hard to leave Shoe Bar at Pieces without a new addition to your wardrobe. They have great clothes and accessories, too.
—Jesse Crow

Second: Material Girls (182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605)
Third: Maison Weiss (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 109, 601-981-4621)

Best Category We Left Out: Best Detail Shop

It's always fun to check out the categories folks think we ought to include in Best of Jackson. Based on the votes this year, I have deduced the following about Jacksonians: We love our cars and buildings. We want to look good in them, whether we're in town or representing our fair city in exotic locations. It's really important to know who to see when we bring back interesting illnesses and overdo our recreation, though. We also have one heckuva sweet tooth. OK, I know. I just couldn't manage to work Best Teacher into that scenario. Sue me. Personally, I think we should include Best Place to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, 'cause we all know it's coming. Don't we?
—Ronni Mott

Second (tie): Best Make-up Artist; Best Travel Agent
Third (tie): Best Nurse; Best Chiropractor; Best Architect; Best Church; Best Cupcakes; Best Teacher

Best Nature Walk: Lefleur's Bluff State Park/Mayes Lake
2140 Riverside Drive, 601-987-3923

Growing up in the City of Angels (that's Los Angeles to y'all), I naturally assumed the sky was supposed to be blueish-gray due to smog. Mississippi can rest easy knowing that smog is not a concern, so why not take a walk? There is no better place than the nature trails at LeFleur's Bluff State Park. With more than 300 acres just minutes from downtown Jackson, the park also includes a nine-hole golf course, bird watching, fishing and canoeing. LeFleur's is an oasis in the city, just the place to relax and just enjoy the scenery.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Natchez Trace (Information cabin at milepost 102.4, 1453 Natchez Trace Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-898-9417)
Third: Clinton Community Nature Center (617 Dunton Road, Clinton, 601-926-1104)

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor: Squench's Tattoos and Body Piercing
3780 Interstate 55 S., Eastside Frontage Road, 601-372-2800

While tattoos are no longer a "trendy" show of rebellion among angsty teens and 20-somethings (I'm looking at you, tribal arm bands), getting inked is still something that can symbolize a significant event in one's life, a show of patriotism or self-expression. If getting ink or pierced is for you, then you can't go wrong with Squench's Tattoos & Body Piercing. Serving the Jackson area for the past 25 years, Squench, Curtdog, Jack and Mallory can help you design just about anything you want in a variety of styles. If quick and simple is your style, see Chad about a piercing, anything from subtle to extreme. The Squench's team has tattooed everyone from your neighbor to country singer David Allan Coe.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Twiztid Images (557 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-664-0000)
Third: House of Pain (Swinging Bridge Shopping Center, 22 Holiday Rambler Lane, Suite 300, Byram, 601-321-9040)
Good Showing: Eternal Body Art (3611 Interstate 55 S., 601-346-5963); Ink Spot Gallery (closed)

Best Playground/Park: Laurel Street Park
1841 Laurel Street

Laurel Street Park in Belhaven is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The park, known for its sea creature-filled mural that greets you on arrival, is filled with candy-colored playground equipment including purple slides and a dragon made from tires with a fiery red tongue. Open year round from dawn until dusk, the park also has tables that make it a fantastic spot for picnicking. On any given day of the week, the park is filled with excited children, but with its close vicinity to Belhaven University and Millsaps College, you'll usually find a group of equally excited college students taking a break from the stress of growing up by acting like kids. Young or old, Laurel Street Park is guaranteed fun.
—Holly Perkins

Second: LeFleurs Bluff State Park (2140 Riverside Park, 601-987-3923)
Third: Winner's Circle Park (100 Winners Circle, Flowood, 601-992-4440)
Good Showing: Liberty Park (810 Madison Avenue, Madison); Parham Bridges Park (5055 Old Canton Road); Strawberry Patch Park (corner of Old Canton Road and St. Augustine Drive, Madison)

Best Tanning Salon: Sun Gallery Tanning Studio
2720 N. State St., 601-366-5811
6712 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-7502

As a transplanted Californian, I'm accustomed to seeing tanning salons on every corner. While Mississippi does not share California's addiction to ultraviolet light, the icicles on the roof of my house recently reminded me that looking pasty is not tasty. Along with tanning beds, available services at Sun Gallery include facials, massages and waxing. Can't wait for your tan? Try the popular airbrush tanning technique where you'll be treated like the masterpiece while getting a quick tan that lasts up to 14 days. The Fondren location is even open seven days a week, so you really don't have an excuse. And fellas? The women in your life love being pampered, so think of Sun Gallery for your next special occasion.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Solar 51 (398 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-898-1003; 136 S. Pearson Road, Pearl, 601-939-1990; 727 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-9747)
Third: Reservoir Tan & Salon (132D Lakeland Heights Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-3535)

Best Museum: Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
2148 Riverside Drive, 601-354-7303

One afternoon, a group of my classmates and I were about to leave the Museum of Natural Science after a morning of landscaping, when we were informed no one could leave due to President Bush passing through the neighborhood. I couldn't think of a better place to be stuck for a few hours. The museum's permanent features include aquariums with local marine life, story time for kids, science lectures and five natural trails where you can explore the surrounding woods and sloughs, the Pearl River and Eubanks Creek. Now that the megalodon exhibit is gone, there's room for butterflies (Feb. 5-May 8) and frogs (June 4-Jan. 9). The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is a little piece of nerdy heaven everyone should experience.
—Jesse Crow

Second: Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515)
Third: Mississippi Children's Museum (2145 Highland Drive, 601-981-5469)
Good Showing: Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-432-4500)

Best Campaigner for a Best of Jackson Award: Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin

You've got to admire people who see an empty ballot as a challenge. All the folks who placed in this category accepted that challenge with gusto. Wielding the social-networking tools of Twitter and Facebook plus word-of-mouth, they went on missions to get the vote out … for themselves. And as the list of top vote-getters in this category indicates, no sphere is safe from best-of campaign fever—chiropractors, restaurateurs, radio personalities—everyone wants to win, and why not? Congratulations to all of them for a great effort. Something tells me that these folks will stay on our minds—and in our Facebook feeds—even after the polls have closed.
—Julie Skipper

Second: Dr. Leo Huddleston
Third: Jeff Good
Good Showing: Jennifer Robertson (Lacey's Salon); Janis Boersma (Nick's); Nate and Murphy (Y101)

See more Best of Jackson 2011 winners.

Previous Comments


The following corrections are made above and will appear in the print edition next week: The photo above of Kermit was taken by Tate K. Nations. The "s" was left out his last night in the paper and, originally, in the above photo credit. In the third-place award for Best Locally Owned Business, we put an extra space in LaCru Salon. The wrong phone number was listed for Michael Armstrong, who earned Good Showing in the Best Tailor category. His correct number is 601-713-2034. In the write-up for Best Unique Gifts, we should have listed the winner as Mississippi Craft Center, not Mississippi Crafts Center. It was also misspelled in its Good Showing for Best Place to Buy Art. The Best Place to Buy Antiques is Antique Shops of Jackson, rather than Antique Shop of Jackson. The Olde Tyme Commissary was misspelled in the Best Kids' Clothes and Toys section, where it placed with Good Showing.


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