Winner: Nostalgia
Nostalgia not only offers an eclectic mix of vintage goods and antiques, but also an assortment of styles collected by the more than two dozen antique dealers that hunt, haul, and display their treasured finds at the original Bearden store and its newer location off McCalla Avenue in East Knoxville. Not exactly the pile of junk you might find in your grandparents’ garage or basement, these knickknacks from a bygone era have been hand-selected and meticulously displayed for your viewing (and purchasing) pleasure. Find Waldo, check out the fishies swimming in the old floor TV turned aquarium, or grab that vintage ’60s flower dress for a peace and love Halloween. And if you’re stopping by the original location, be sure to say hi to customer service reps Felix and Oscar, the shop cats. (Clay Duda)

Runners Up: Mid Mod Collective, Retrospect, Westwood Antique & Design Market

Winner: Harper Auto Square
Harper may feature the swankiest nameplates in town—Porsche, Maserati, Jaguar, among other top brands—but it’s also the home of working-class European marques Volkswagen and Fiat. You might expect the Maserati customers to receive a posher level of service, but such is not the case at the egalitarian Harper Auto Square: all customers are treated like royalty. Taking your old VW to be serviced is like visiting the salon—you are pampered with iPads, Keurig coffee pods, and an airy, sunny waiting room stocked with magazines you’ll actually want to read. Expect frequent cheerful updates on the progress being made on your repairs. And if you should ever be called back into the garage to observe your car’s maladies, you’ll be impressed by the fact that it’s as spotless as a hospital operating room. (Coury Turczyn)

Runners Up: Fox Toyota, Rusty Wallace Honda, Toyota of Knoxville

Master bike mechanic Dave Tuttle, 29, replaces a busted cassette hub at Tennessee Valley Bikes in the Old City on Weds., Sept. 30, 2015. Photo by Clay Duda.Clay Duda
Winner: Tennessee Valley Bikes
Scott Smith says it’s dumb luck and good timing that led him to purchase the pedal-pushing powerhouse that is Tennessee Valley Bikes, but since taking ownership of the Magnolia Avenue shop in 2008, he’s been building up intown ridership and hanging loose in the robust and ever-growing mountain biking scene. TVB holds a special place in the heart of Knoxville—literally—as the town’s only downtown bike shop, and in a way it’s an ever-changing shrine to Knoxville bikelife. A collage of stickers collected over the years, everything from top brands to DIY dust-ups, line the walls, while a revolving installation of various big-wheeled beauties dangle overhead: customers’ bikes freshly repaired or tuned up, new factory models completely taken apart and reassembled for quality checks, and an assortment of makes and models on hiatus from life on streets or trails. It all started as a predominantly commuter-focused shop, but today you’ll find everything from roadsters to mountain bikes to touring bikes and the occasional BMX build hanging on the racks—but its intown roots still hold true. TVB has long been a cog that keeps the urban community rolling from downtown streets to the hills in the Smokies. (C.D.)

Runners Up: The Bike Zoo, Greenlee’s Bicycle Shop, Harper’s Bike Shop

Winner: McKay’s
A couple of years ago, Amazon named Knoxville the #2 “most well-read” city in America—based on sales to Amazon. If the industry scourge would’ve dared to include brick-and-mortar sales in its rankings, Knoxville could’ve vaulted to the top based on McKay’s business alone. On any given weekend, McKay’s is a madhouse of book-, record-, and video game-loving consumers searching for great deals between two floors of physical media. It’s like a weekly collectors’ convention. If you care to disband your suspicion that everything’s going digital, just cast your eyes on the long check-out lines of satisfied customers clutching their prizes. (C.T.)

Runners Up: Mr. K’s Used Books, Music, and More, Southland Books, Union Ave Books

Winner: White Lace & Promises
Weddings are huge. They’re huge for the bride and groom and their families. And while there might not be much they can do about the crazy new in-laws, White Lace & Promises can promise you this much: They’ve got you covered—literally. They have an extensive selection of wedding dresses from a wide array of designers and they also currently have the largest selection of bridesmaid dresses in the area. And if you’ve got more than just dresses to worry about, our top bridal shop winner also offers a free service called Beyond The White Dress to aid the bride-to-be in contacting various vendors before the big day. (Marina Waters)

Runners Up: Bootleg Betty, Bridals by Connie, Gilded Gown, Wedding Wonderland

Winner: Prestige Cleaners
This year, Prestige Cleaners is celebrating 30 years of “top Knox” cleaning services. From purchasing cleaning equipment from an ad in 1985 to becoming a full-fledged, cleaning service with 10 stores throughout Knoxville, Prestige has come a long way over the years. Now with numerous honors, including Blue Ribbon Small Business of the Year awards in 2010 and 2014, and a sparkling reputation, it’s no wonder why this cleaner has cleaned up. (M.W.)

Runners Up: Crown Cleaners, Farragut Cleaners, King Cleaners

Winner: Luttrell’s Eyewear
Glasses can be costly to maintain, so it’s clear to see—pun intended—why Luttrell’s is the best. A true local talent, Luttrell’s has a more varied selection and better customer service than any of the chain stores, but they still keep prices low—they even take vision insurance. (Jordan Achs)

Runners Up: Andes Optical, Clancy Optical/Spex Eyewear, The Eye Group

Winner: Sunrise Supermarket
There are plenty of markets in Knoxville dedicated to food from around the world—Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin, African, and Southeast Asian groceries. But none of them qualify as a supermarket, except Sunrise. It’s a genuine wonderland: jackfruit, fresh and ripe or green and canned; the biggest lemongrass stalks around; hit the freezer section for yuba and dim sum supplies; and don’t forget to show up on the weekend for boba tea. (Matthew Everett)

Runners Up: Holy Land Market and Deli, India Market, Ebisu Asian Market (now closed)

Winner: Bliss Home
I scoured most of the leading local furniture stores, as well as some low-cost leaders, before buying a couch at Bliss. It was luxurious, I had a choice of many structural options, and it cost less than the equivalent elsewhere. The staff was patient and attentive with considering options, colors, and fabrics and helped me figure out the best time to buy to maximize both their and the manufacturer’s sales, and it was delivered on time. The showroom is really pleasant, with lots of great wall art, throw pillows, and accents that could energize the look of a room without requiring a new furniture purchase. It’s all displayed in a space that feels light and spacious yet skips that terrible cavernous warehouse vibe found at many furniture stores. Plus, Bliss just has a very modern yet accessible style sense. Its product choices feel trendy without sacrificing comfort or practicality in the furniture. (Heather Duncan)

Runners Up: Knoxville Wholesale Furniture, Mid Mod Collective, O.P. Jenkins

Bliss in Knoxville. Photo by Tricia Bateman.Tricia Bateman

Winner: Bliss
Stepping into Bliss is like setting foot into a playground for the shopping senses. Here, an array of irresistibly plush scarves begging for your touch. There, a vibrant orange array of Vol-friendly shirts, sweaters, and scarves. Plunge in deeper and find a selection of Votivo candles to tickle your nose with scents like Smoke on the Water, Champaca, and Black Ginger. To the right, a selection of one-of-a-kind baby gifts; to the left, a collection of books that contains everything from whiskey journals to adult coloring books themed around mandalas and whimsical cities. Still deeper, there is a section dedicated to the playful chef with cookbooks, cool kitchen tools (like a cat-head egg coddler and guitar-shaped spatula), and ukulele-shaped cutting boards.
Then there are the women’s clothes and accessories, and all of them are beautiful, with a handmade feel and a funky urban vibe. There is a mix here, carefully cultivated, of ephemera and investment pieces—the on-trend (this year: faux fur, fringe, suede) and investment pieces (neutral palates and serious fabrics with an artisan feel). By design, there are limited quantities and sizes of everything—which can be frustrating if you don’t find your fit, but rewarding if you hit the jackpot, as you know that you won’t run into everybody and their mother wearing your look. See something you like? Better buy it now. Need justification? You deserve to be swaddled in bliss. (Hillari Dowdle)

Top Gift Shop Runners Up: Earth to Old City, Nothing Too Fancy, Rala
Top Women’s Clothing Runners Up: Est8te, Fizz, Nothing Too Fancy

Winner: Gypsy at White Fox Beads
Sometimes it’s good when you don’t play well with others. Gypsy got his gig as a store cat around seven years ago, when White Fox Beads owner Gail DeLuca was looking for one, and Gypsy literally hopped into the car of one of her workers at a gas station. The worker had lots of other pets, though, and juvenile Gypsy beat them all up. On to the store with him, first living in the Maryville location and then making the move to the Homberg Drive location with DeLuca (and his original rescuer). The fun thing is, Gypsy’s inclination to love on humans is as strong as his instinct to whoop up on other cats. He particularly likes kids, and DeLuca says an out-of-town customer once sent her friend to the store just to see Gypsy—his one stop when traveling through Knoxville. Gypsy steers clear of the store’s beads for the most part, but he did once swallow a needle. Lucky for cat and store, a nearby veterinarian was able to remove it, but DeLuca still keeps Gypsy’s old X-ray in the window as a fond memory of how he used up one of his nine lives—and as a warning to fellow beading pet parents. (Rose Kennedy)

Runners Up: Felix and Oscar at Nostalgia, Henry at Lost and Found Records, Sam at Natural Pet Supply

Winner: Markmans Diamonds and Fine Jewelry
Finding quality and great service is like searching for a diamond in the rough. And since 1976, Knoxville has been home to the diamond of diamond jewelers, Markmans Diamonds and Fine Jewelry. Apart from their selection of over 20 top jewelry designers, they succeed at keeping a reputation of great customer service and amazing quality—not to mention their pieces are beautiful enough to pass on generation to generation. (M.W.)

Runners Up: Bliss, Lamon Jewelers, Rick Terry Jewelry Designs

Winner: Three Rivers Market
The motto for Three Rivers Market might was well be “for the community, by the community.” Knoxville’s only cooperative grocery store has really grown up since launching more than three decades back, today boasting nearly 7,000 members with ownership stakes in the company, and carrying hundreds of locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, products, and other scrumptious goodies. It’s the type of place where you can expect to pick up organic everything unless it’s noted otherwise. These days, the quintessentially Knoxville food emporium—named after the confluence of the Holston, French Broad, and Tennessee rivers in East Knoxville—offers more than just your average grocer experience, with free Wi-Fi, a “Barking Lot” for your four-legged friends, a fix-it station for bike repairs, fresh deli makes and sushi, designated electric vehicle charging stations, and eatery areas to chomp or imbibe. (C.D.)

Runners Up: Butler & Bailey Market, Market Square Farmers’ Market, Pratt’s Country Store

Winner: M.S. McClellan
A little oasis of traditional English country style and a bastion of Ivy League dress codes for almost 50 years, Matthew McClellan and his staff stand strong against fast fashion and mall trends with an impressive roster of top-quality brands (Oxxford, Alden, Peter Millar, and dozens more, including Top Knox runner-up Marc Nelson’s line of locally produced denim). More expensive than the Gap, but worth it. (M.E.)

Runners Up: John H. Daniel, Marc Nelson Denim, Nothing Too Fancy

Winner: The Parlor
Josh Sidman’s vintage music instrument/Western clothing/vinyl shop left Gay Street this summer and moved back to its original home in an old grocery store on Chickamauga Avenue in North Knoxville—a retreat that made sense, considering the store’s trade in high-end guitars, mandolins, amps, and other gear depends on online sales and discerning buyers more than steady foot traffic. And it proves that there’s a lot more to Knoxville than downtown. (M.E.)

Runners Up: Open Chord Music, Rik’s Music, Rush’s Music

Knoxvillian Stacy Nickell browses the vintage modern furniture on display at Mid Mod Collective off N. Central Ave. on Fri., Oct. 2, 2015. Photo by Clay Duda.Clay Duda
Winner: Mid Mod Collective
All it takes these days to hail back to the Mad Men era of free-flowing cocktails, shagadelic carpet, and soulful wailings on wax is a short trip from downtown up North Central Street to Mid Mod Collective, a new-kid-on-the-block business that has quickly earned a reputation for its fashionably modern vintage wares. No, it doesn’t serve drinks, but you might be able to snag a travel bar. Opened just this February by a smattering of antique collectors, the shop specializes in mid-century modern furniture and other finds, a design style that has seen a resurgence as children of the Baby Boomer generation have come of age. You may recognize the clean, smooth-flowing industrial lines and other hallmarks from your parents’ living room of yore (or maybe your grandparents’, depending on your age), and Mid Mod’s 5,000-square-foot showroom in the former Higginbotham’s Auto Service garage offers a rolling display of hip furnishings and happening layouts that have aged gracefully with time. Its inventory also includes a large selection of old books and vinyl. (C.D.)

Runners Up: Bula Boutique, Local Motors, Open Chord

Winner: River Sports Outfitters
Situated along Sutherland Avenue just west of downtown, River Sports is one of those all-terrain attractions that has long been a staple in town, where avid outdoor enthusiasts have flocked for more than three decades to pick up an assortment of new gear or enjoy a slice of adventure without ever leaving the city. Put your gecko-like qualities to the test on the shop’s faux rock walls in the indoor climbing center, or just get lost in the wilderness of inventory, perusing the assortment of climbing gear, camping equipment, water-sport vessels, mountain bikes, and other equipment quite literally stacked from floor to ceiling in this independently owned and operated outdoor wonderland. (C.D.)

Runners Up: Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Mast General Store, Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters

Winner: Agri Feed Pet Supply
Remember this about Agri Feed: If they don’t sell a particular food or toy, it probably wouldn’t be very good for your pet anyway. The longtime Middlebrook Pike mainstay takes excruciating pains with its inventory, with research and good common sense backing up everything from the foods to the pond stuff and health supplements. Of course they’re fun, too—lots o’ Vol gear and pet costumes and wind chimes and wild bird fixtures make their way into the store. And lots of adoptable animals make their way out of Agri Feed, too, from featured cats to any number of rescues that hold adoption events through the kindness of Agri Feed. (R.K.)

Runners Up: CitiFid-O, Misty’s Pet Depot, Natural Pet Supply, River Dog Bakery

Winner: Disc Exchange
Contrary to the prevailing consumer trends of doom for physical media, Knoxvillians still like to buy their music in formats they can hold. They’re currently supporting five record stores around town, plus several shops that feature records in their mix—that’s quite a few more record outlets than existed in Knoxville during the industry’s actual hey day. The one shop that’s been open continuously since those glory years is Disc Exchange, which remains the go-to resource for new releases, not only on CD but also vinyl. And if you’re seeking new sounds, let the humans at Disc Exchange guide you rather than an algorithm—the discoveries will be much more personal, which is what music is supposed to be. (C.T.)

Runners Up: Lost & Found Records, McKay’s, Raven Records and Rarities

The famed Market Square in downtown Knoxville, TN. Photo by Tricia Bateman.Tricia Bateman
Winner: Market Square
There are other malls and shopping centers that offer a much broader selection of merchandise, especially if you’re looking for underwear, shoes, or auto accessories. Some suburban shopping centers even offer air conditioning and roofs. And truth be told, today there are fewer than a dozen actual shops on Market Square proper, and on a typical evening, Market Square might seem more a place to shop for a sandwich or that perfect glass of beer. Still, Market Square includes some of the freshest and most tempting gift shops in town. Some even claim they do 100 percent of their shopping in the greater Market Square area (there’s a good wine store around the corner, and Union Ave Books is just a block and a half away). Whether you buy anything or not, no other place offers better people-watching options. Everybody comes to Market Square. And for five hours every Saturday, there is no better place to shop for locally grown produce. (Jack Neely)

Runners Up: Bearden District, Happy Holler/N. Central Street, Turkey Creek

Winner: Saint Tattoo
If you’re dead-set on getting “no regrets” scrawled across your forehead, you best have someone who knows what they’re doing ink it on. If you add it all up, the steady-handed artists at Saint Tattoo in North Knox have more than a half-century of experience inscribing lasting works on people’s outer bods, and with two piercers on staff the shop on North Broadway is essentially a one-stop shop for many lifestyle needs. Owner Scott Cooper got his start there in 1996 as an apprentice, then went on to study and work at shops from Colorado to New York, including a stint under famed traditional tattooist “Krooked Ken” in Maryland, before circling back around to take over operations at Saint in 2010. The studio’s strength, he says, is a well-rounded cast of artists and piercers that can tackle everything from portraits to traditional Japanese, from labret studs to naval rings, and ensure it’s all done sanitarily and free of hiccups. No regrets. (C.D.)

Runners Up: Born This Way Body Arts, Purple Heart Tattoo, Synergy Tattoo

Winner: Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries (KARM)
With 18 locations stretching from Powell to South Knox and even Morristown, KARM is “the thrift store with a mission” of offering affordable merchandise as a Christian ministry to the general public. The organization also serves meals to the homeless and those in crisis, offers emergency and residential shelter to almost 400 people each night, and has programs that offer job training in the later stages. As for the shopping, nice aspects of the KARM stores include Saturday hours, weekday evening hours at a few locations, and pickup of some large household donations, usually within a day or two of calling to schedule. (R.K.)

Runners Up: The Bag Lady Boutique, Nostalgia, Planet Xchange