Best of Lawrence 2011: Retail & Local Business

Best Wi-Fi Hotspot: Mirth Café

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After a meal at The Mirth, Heidi LaSage, a KU senior from Minneapolis, Minn., uses the restaurant'sfree Wi-Fi to work on her computer.

We live in a wireless world. That statement is as much a truth as it is a cliché. And when it comes to where to log on and unwind, The Mirth Café got Lawrence’s vote as the town’s Best Wi-Fi Hotspot.

A down-to-earth wait staff, bottomless cups of awesome Venezuelan coffee, a strong menu and relaxing environment contribute to a fine place to get some work done.

Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mirth regularly offers a diverse rotation of menu specials while artwork from local artists is usually on display.

While it might be a little counterproductive if you’ve got a to-do list, patrons 21 and older are welcome to bring their own bottle of wine.

And if that’s Facebook on your browser instead of homework or spreadsheets, we’re sure no one will mind.

Mirth Café

Address: 745 N.H.

Phone number: 841-3282

Website: www.themirthcafe.com

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Owner/Proprietor: Robert Wilson

Opened: 2006

Honorable mentions: It’s all in the network.

Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St.

Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

Border’s, 700 N.H.


Best Hair Cut: Downtown Barbershop

With its extended hours, fast service and array of sports memorabilia, the Downtown Barbershop beat out a number of bells-and-whistles salons to win Best Hair Cut.

Owner Jon Amyx has been cutting hair for 35 years, following his late grandfather, Cecil, late father, Tom, and older brother, Mike, into the family business. He opened his own shop in 1987.

Address: 824 Mass.

Phone number: 843-8000

Website: N/A

Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Owner: Jon Amyx

Opened: 1987

Honorable mentions: [Your choice of haircut pun.]

Green Room Salon, 924 1/2 Mass.

Amyx Barbershop, 842 1/2 Mass.

Z Hair Academy, 2429 Iowa.

Best Place for Auto Repairs: Westside 66 & Carwash

Owner Richard Haig bought the Westside 66 & Carwash in 1985 and says that customer loyalty is high for the shop, which is located at Schwarz Road and Sixth Street.

Address: 2815 W. Sixth St.

Phone Number: 843-1878

Website: www.phillips66.com

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Owner: Richard Haig

Opened: 1957

Honorable mentions: Yeah, we can fix that.

Lawrence Automotive Diagnostics, 2858 Four Wheel Drive

Slimmer Automotive Service, 2030 E. 23rd St.

Best Store Cat: Sunflower Outdoor & Bike

Stanley is a lion among men.

The tan longhair male cat, who is shaved in a fashion that makes him look more like a miniature Simba than house cat, beat out other beloved felines, including Alice of The Dusty Bookshelf and Love Garden Sounds’ three cats, for our top store cat prize.

Stanley has been roaming the sporting goods store for nearly a decade after being adopted from the Lawrence Humane Society. His favorite spots are on the counter or in a tent he has set up in the display window.

His calm demeanor and formerly rough life — he has missing teeth and BBs in his body from his time before Sunflower — have earned him a devoted following. He’s got his own Facebook page and customers can purchase goods covered with his likeness.

Address: 804 Mass.

Phone number: 843-5000

Website: www.sunfloweroutdoorandbike.com

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Owners/Proprietors: Dan and Karla Hughes

Opened: 1972

Honorable mentions: Highly contested.

Dusty Bookshelf, 708 Mass.

Love Garden Sounds, 822 Mass.

The Toy Store, 936 Mass.

Best Bookstore: Dusty Bookshelf

The green loveseat. Alice the cat. Shelf upon shelf of books. You gave The Dusty Bookshelf the nod for best bookstore in Lawrence. The Dusty Bookshelf might just be the coolest thing Lawrence and Manhattan have in common.

The Dusty Bookshelf opened in Manhattan in 1985. The Lawrence location opened in 1996.

The store’s often so stocked — it claims to offer more than 70,000 titles of books exclusively from the community — that rows of books are continued from shelves to lines on the floor.

The staff will even stay in touch if what you’re looking for isn’t on hand when you’re there. Mass market paperbacks are half-off and visitors are welcome to bring books to sell.

For the serious bibliophile, The Dusty Bookshelf also buys scholarly libraries and sells rare, collectible texts online and in the store.

And, yes, postcards and T-shirts with Alice on them can be had, too.

Address: 708 Mass.

Phone number: 749-4643

Website: www.thedustybookshelf.com

Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

Owner/Proprietors: Diane Meredith

Opened: 1996

Honorable mentions: Read state.

Border’s, 700 N.H.

Half Price Books, 1519 W. 23rd St.

The Raven, 8 E. Seventh St.

Best Apparel Store: Kohl’s

It’s got everything from cookwares to luggage to toys, but Kohl’s is the place to go for apparel in Lawrence. With deep discounts and nationally recognized brands, deal-seekers stretch their bucks at the department chain, which came to Lawrence 13 years ago.

Address: 3240 Iowa

Phone number: 842-6133

Website: www.kohls.com

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Owner: Kohl’s

Opened: 1998

Honorable mentions: Still look sharp.

Weaver’s, 901 Mass.

Urban Outfitters, 1013 Mass.

Wild Man Vintage, 939 Mass.

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