Scout’s Honored 2016: Shopping

maximum heshTodd Brugman of Maximum Hesh, this year's reader selection for "Best Kid's Shop." Photo by Jess Benjamin.

Looking for the best Somerville bike shop? The coolest home decor items in the city? Read on to learn which local stores took home top honors in the shopping category of this year’s reader-voted Scout’s Honored Awards.

If you’re trying to track down the best service providers around town, those are rounded up here. Check back later this month for the winning dining destinations and the coolest arts and entertainment options!

DAVISSQUARED.COM | (617) 666-6700
This is the place to go for that unique gift—a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump cat toy, a mug to show off your ‘tude at the office that reads, “Bitch, please. I’m from Somerville.” Gifts ideas abound for adults and children (and children at heart). And many have that Somerville pride you won’t find anywhere else. The store just celebrated its ninth birthday in July and has a sister shop in Arlington called Arlington Centered, naturally. We’d love to see even more: Powderhouse Circled, maybe? Fenway Parked?

SOMERVELO.COM | (617) 628-0328
In their cozy Union Square shop, mechanics J.T. Hargrove and Tom Estrada are always ready to dish about your bicycle needs and provide top-notch service to your two-wheeled whip. “Many mechanics do what they do because they love riding bicycles,” notes Hargrove. “I like to ride, but I genuinely just love working on them.” (As a former bike messenger in New York and in Boston, he probably also finds the latter somewhat safer.)

GOODWILLMASS.ORG | (617) 628-3618
After a summer of renovations, the Davis Square Goodwill reopened in mid-August sporting a brand new look for its lightly used items. Goodwill has it all—everything from clothes to kitchen supplies to a delightfully random selection of used books, videos and CDs. And if you’ve got a good eye, it can also be a one-stop shop for putting your Halloween costume together.

loyal supply co

Loyal Supply Co. Co-Owners Ryan and Kim. Photo by Joyelle West.

LOYALSUPPLYCO.COM | (617) 996-6930
Planned obsolescence is a taboo subject at Loyal Supply Co., where the motto is “Supplies for Life.” The shop carries a wide variety of carefully crafted objects for home and office—items so attractive or fun or timeless (or all three!) that you won’t ever want to give them up. Designing their own goods as well as working with other suppliers, co-owners Kimberly LaFoy and Ryan Habbyshaw make sure their inventory is always evolving to fit their customers’ needs. And their dog, Huckleberry, helps out by testing the pet items for design flaws.

RIVERDOGDAYCARE.COM | (857) 998-3343
RiverDog carries all the toys and treats you could ever want for the canine in your life, and their training and daycare services promote healthy playtime for pups of all breeds and ages. However, it turns out that in addition to human owners Peter and Priscilla Lareau, RiverDog is really under the supervision of Dennis the Cat, who can often be found overseeing operations from his window perch—that’s why the shop offers snacks and toys for your feline friends as well. Stop by and check out the treats, including frozen yogurt for dogs, chew toys and more. If you’re nice, Dennis might even allow you to pet him.

DAVESFRESHPASTA.COM | (617) 623-0867
You go in for the pasta—and then, you discover the wine tastings, the deli, the desserts, the local produce and the freshly prepared meals from the DFP Kitchen. In an era of mega-marts and box stores lined with miles of aisles of prepackaged goods, Dave’s is a modern version of the neighborhood grocery where everything—packaged or fresh—has been selected or prepared for you by people at the store, not at some distant corporate headquarters. And yes, the fresh pasta and ravioli are incredible. They’ll even create special orders to your taste.

maximum hesh

Photo by Jess Benjamin.

MAXIMUMHESH.COM | (617) 666-0100
Whether they’re buying a new board, repairing an old one or shopping for just the right gear, an experienced skater will be right at home at Maximum Hesh. But what if you’re a kid who’d like to try skateboarding but has never done it? Owner Todd Brugman—a skateboarder for nearly 30 years—wants to make sure kids (and parents) get their questions answered so that youngsters start off on the right wheel. In fact, he’ll tell you that most of his customers are first-time skaters, and he’s happy to take the time to make sure all are well informed.

Is it the sheer variety of beer, wine and spirits? The regular weekly tastings of the same? Is it one of the special events where the entire store becomes a tasting station? Is it the gourmet food and gift packages? Or is it the knowledgeable staff that knows just what you want and where to find it? Ball Square Fine Wines offers all of this and more with a special touch: There’s never a hard sell. If you don’t buy this time, they’re not worried. You’ll be back.

SAVMORSPIRITS.COM | (617) 628-6444
Sav-Mor offers a huge selection of liquor, wine and domestic and imported beer. Its prices are competitive, and the staff is wonderfully helpful. But let’s be honest: The zany messages on the billboard are the real reason we all love this Somerville staple. This spring, the shop got national attention by picking a mock fight with the McDonald’s billboard across the street. The sign is so beloved you can buy t-shirts with some of the best messages. Our favorite? “Holidays mean family. We sell liquor.”

STANHOPEFRAMERS.COM | (617) 666-2000
You have a piece of art that you want framed. A custom frame shop should find the perfect material that will showcase the item without overwhelming it—and many stores can do that. What sets Stanhope Framers apart is what you don’t see. In addition to supporting community arts programs behind the scenes, they’re concerned about the impact they have beyond what you’re hanging on your wall and are committed to recycling and minimizing their environmental impact. They not only want your art to look good—they want you to feel good about it.

This story originally appeared in our September/October print edition, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

Check back throughout the month of October to learn which restaurants, service providers and more were winners in the 2016 Scout’s Honored Awards!