Baltimore’s Best personal services 2020

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The Baltimore Sun’s readers and staff have weighed in on what’s the best in the region from art galleries to urgent care.

First, you’ll find critics’ picks from The Sun’s editorial team.


Then, you’ll see what readers think; the readers’ choice winners received the most votes during an online poll in March.

(Winners of the Readers’ Choice ballot were selected by readers.)


Find more categories at

Larry Miller, who has worked at the Ivy Book Shop for 9 years, gift wraps a book.

Best gift wrapping

The Ivy Bookshop

Great presentation can transform an ordinary gift into a thoughtful token of appreciation. But doing it well can be a chore — get the right paper for the occasion (no Christmas paper on birthdays), locate the tape from its hiding place deep in the recesses of the junk drawer, then find the scissors. That’s why we appreciate the Ivy Bookshop, where complimentary gift wrapping includes a ribbon and a seal. It just screams: “I made an effort.” Even if you didn’t.

6080 Falls Road, Mt. Washington. 410-377-2966.

Renee Wilson, owner of Bijoux Jewelry, in her Roland Park store.

Best jewelry repair

Bijoux Jewels

Bijoux Jewels does a little bit of everything: string pearls, fix clasps, restore the polish to your great aunt’s engagement ring. The Roland Park shop — the name means jewels or small treasure in French — also sells some gorgeous vintage bling, including Art Deco rings and bracelets that are hard to find anyplace else.

316 Wyndhurst Station, Roland Park. 443-948-5938.


The Well: Community Acupuncture and Wellness


For some folks, there’s nothing more relaxing than a well-placed needle. Acupuncture, the alternative medical practice from China, has been used to treat everything from migraines to fertility issues. The Well in Federal Hill regularly earns high marks from clients. In addition to one-on-one sessions, the clinic also offers $30 community acupuncture sessions, where you relax (with needles in place) in a group setting.

42 E Cross St., Federal Hill. 443-600-4329.

Cupping service

Woodberry Wellness

Cupping made a splash during the 2016 Olympics, when swimmer Michael Phelps and other athletes appeared in the water bearing purple dots on their backs and shoulders. But the technique, which involves placing heated glass cups on the skin, is more than a passing trend at Woodberry Wellness. Practitioners here offer the treatment as part of a roster of other services that include alternative therapies like acupuncture, Reiki healing and myofascial release.

2000 Girard Ave., Woodberry. 410-878-0857.

Anne Ngo Pohla, Gwynns Falls, a regular Clean Rite Center customer, folds clothes.


Clean Rite Center


Sure, you can sit and watch your duds spin round and round. Or you can watch TV, use the free Wi-Fi, have a snack and a soda or relax in one of the three massage chairs for customers at this spotless laundromat that opened in 2019.

“We focus on cleanliness and customer service,” assistant manager Laisha Best says of Clean Rite Center, which boasts 70 machines and offers free use of dryers for up to 60 minutes, depending on one’s wash load. The staff will also wash, dry and fold your clothes for 69 cents a pound.

7017 Liberty Road. 443-551-3748.

Memorabilia sits in a case at Tochterman's Fishing Tackle in Fells Point.

Tackle shop

Tochterman’s Fishing Tackle

The wooden floors creak and the walls would talk, if you could find them behind the forest of rods, tackle and maze of fishing gear crammed into this hoary building, a sanctum for wily anglers and beginners alike for 104 years. Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams shopped here, as have Arab sheikhs and little 6-year-olds. The staff ascribes to a timeworn tenet, says Tony Tochterman, 70, grandson of the founder:

“Treat everyone like he’s the only customer you have, and your best friend, and your grandmother.”


1925 Eastern Ave. 410-327-6942.

Jason Giordano, manager of Security Public Storage.

Storage facility

Security Public Storage

Aptly named, the 2,000-unit facility boasts a security alarm on every bay and more than 40 on-site cameras.

“Everyone has extra stuff,” says manager Jason Giordano. Units are filled with everything from food to bedroom sets to a taxidermy collection. Storage spaces run the gamut, from 3 by 5 feet to commercial size, but most are 10 by 10 and accessible by driving into the air-conditioned building right up to your alcove — a luxury in hot or rainy weather.

3500 Pulaski Highway. 410-698-6480.

Roscoe Tarnove, owner and CEO of Canton Canine, takes Bronson, left, and Oscar for a walk in Patterson Park.

Dog walker

Canton Canine


Seven years ago, Roscoe Tarnove left his management gig, trading a white-collar post for a dog-collar job. Now he owns Canton Canine, with nearly 100 clients and a staff of 20 to stroll your pups around Fells Point and beyond. Want Fido walked between noon and 2 p.m.? Guaranteed, or your money back. Most dogs get a brisk 30-minute jaunt —about 1¼ miles — in their neighborhoods, after which owners receive an email posting the route, distance and duration of the outing.

“They [dogs] do it with tongues a-dragging and tails a-wagging,” says Tarnove, whose maxim is: Rain, sleet or snow, they’ve gotta go.


Jasmine Simms is the owner of Scrub Nail Boutique in Fells Point.

Nail salon

Scrub Nail Boutique

Whether it’s a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with girlfriends, owner Jasmine Simms is aiming to be more than a run-of-the mill nail salon. Simms’ salon prides itself on offering a gentle and more conscious experience than a typical nail salon. That means their scrubs, masques, and moisturizers are all natural. Many of them are mixed in-house. The salon also offers an Unlimited Manicure club, where customers can receive an unlimited number of basic manicures for a month. The basic manicure option starts at $49 per month. Scrub also offers services for children starting at 5 years old.

722 S Broadway, Suite 200, Fells Point, 888-872-7961,



Tidewater Marina

This watery jewel at the mouth of the Susquehanna River is a favorite of sail and power boat owners alike. Clean and eco-friendly, with a fuel dock, discount marine store and award-winning service department, it boasts 158 freshwater slips (less corrosion than salt) and dry storage for 129 vessels in a warehouse.

“Boats tend to age more gracefully here,” says general manager Jeff Andrews, named one of Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s 2018 Dockmasters of the Year. And if you tie up here and choose to explore the town, Tidewater will drive you there or loan you a car.

100 Bourbon St., Havre de Grace. 410-939-0950.

Funeral home

March Funeral Homes

The buildings are bright and airy, with skylights, fountains and greenery. The hearses are not black but a stylish champagne-gold and burgundy.


“There’s nothing drab here,” says Victor March, Sr., CEO of the seven March Funeral Homes. “It’s all about the celebration of life.”

That resonates with a largely African-American clientele. For 44 years, the family business — which started in 1957 in the parlor of a North Avenue rowhouse — has performed more than 2,000 services a year, including that of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.

4300 Wabash Ave., West Baltimore. 410-542-2400.

— Mike Klingaman, Christina Tkacik and John-John Williams IV

Readers’ choice winners


Audiology at GBMC


Auto glass

Safelite AutoGlass

Auto repair

Hollenshade’s Auto Services

Bank/credit union

M&T Bank


Car wash

Canton Car Wash

Child care

Leaps Ahead Learning Center


Dr. Laura Dover



Stefan’s Leather & Shoe Repair


Dental Designs of White Marsh

Dry cleaner

Glyndon Lord Baltimore Cleaners


Elder care

Lorien Health Services

Eye/vision care

Sachin Kalyani, MD (Kalyani Eye Care)

Financial adviser

Williams Asset Management



The Modest Florist


GBMC HealthCare - Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Insurance company




Baltimore Lock & Hardware Inc.

Ob/gyn practice

Capital Women’s Care


Drs. Isaacs, Nawy and Stern Orthodontics


Pediatric practice

Watchemsprout Pediatrics

Pest control

Home Paramount Pest Control

Pet boarding/kennel

Tecla’s K-9 Academy


Pet day care

Tecla’s K-9 Academy

Pet groomer

One Gentle Touch

Physical therapist

Lorien Health Services


Summer camp

Good Shepherd Summer Camp


Glyndon Lord Baltimore Cleaners

Tax preparer

Dish Baltimore


Get the scoop on that new restaurant, learn about chef changes and discover your favorite new recipe. All your Baltimore food news is here.

Bowman & Company, CPA, PC


Travel Agent

The Cruise Lady Inc.

Urgent care

Patient First

Veterinary practice

Northwind Animal Hospital