BEST CLOTHING BOUTIQUE: doubledutch Boutique
Hampden residents know just where to go to find a deal on clothes -- and the word has spread.
Doubledutch Boutique presents a unique blend of fashion that bucks what the typical shopper sees everyday, said co-owner Lesley Jennings.
The store carries a variety of labels, everything from handmade selections to mass-produced lines. Both local and popular labels are available, a sense of variety Jennings said her customers enjoy.
"When we first opened, we felt there wasn’t a shop that offered that variety in the city," Jennings said. "We tend to look at things aesthetically, which may be retro in style. We're just fortunate that we can bring style and fashion that people like."
Clothing labels such as Alternative Apparel, Flying Tomato, Bird on a Wire and Quicksilver are offered.
When going through popular lines, Jennings said her staff will pick only items that fit the store's aesthetic style.
Shoppers who prefer buying clothes, shoes and accessories that make people wonder where they got them are knowledgeable about the rare treasures available in doubledutch.
"This is my first time in here, and I like what they have," Holly Boellner of Lutherville said this week. "When you have something that no one's seen before -- that's why you go shopping in a boutique."
To further entrench itself in the community, the store offers a First Friday Shopper’s Social event every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m,. complete with food, drinks and music. 3616 Falls Road, Hampden
BEST PET STORE: Pretentious Pooch
Pretentious Pooch, the dog and cat lifestyle boutique, wants what's best for your pet. Open in its historic home since 2005, the store offers unique apparel, distinguished collars and wholesome treats. But don't expect to find anything that its owner wouldn’t use for his own dog.
"There are so many things out there that massively sell well but aren't good for your dog," said owner Christopher Woodside. "If I don't believe in it, I don't carry it in the store. My values make their way into the store." 1017 Cathedral St., Mount Vernon
BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP: Five Star Consigning Connections
If you walk into a consignment shop and don't realize that you’re in one, chances are you're in Five Star Consigning Connections.
Promoting itself as the place to go to stretch your dollar, Five Star offers furniture, oriental rugs and home accessories. A spot where locals stop on lunch breaks, Five Star has become part of the Harford County community with its mission of donating unsold items to charity. 2913 Emmorton Road, Abingdon
BEST GROCERY STORE: Trader Joe's (Towson)
If a product bears the Trader Joe's stamp, it contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, trans fats, or genetically modified ingredients.
The oh-so-wholesome grocer boasts a wide selection of produce, cheese, prepared foods -- even potted plants. Trader Joe's rep is build on having tons of organic food -- which likely encouraged b's readership to vote it the best around. 1 E. Joppa Road, Towson
BEST LIQUOR STORE: Beltway Fine Wine and Spirits
Having a variety of alcoholic beverages to choose from is, well, awesome. For whatever your drinking needs, Beltway Fine Wine and Spirits is the place to go.
The staff is helpful and knowledgeable, offering detailed explanations of wine that will make sense, regardless whether you’re a world-class wine connoisseur or a newb who only knows of Moscato thanks to Drake.
The selections are reasonably priced and you can even pick up a cigar, too. 8727 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson