Goods and Services 

Best Place to Get a Hip Haircut: Courtney Krampf at Salon Ya Ya If you need a really hip haircut—and by hip I mean the sort of cut that speaks both to your preternatural ability to stay ahead of the trends and confirms your membership among the crème de la crème of the local rock scene—then you probably already know about Courtney Krampf at Salon Ya Ya. If you just want to look like you're one of these people, get yourself acquainted. The 22-year-old stylist divides her time between the upbeat salon at the corner of Blair and 21st, and various photo and video shoots for local hipsters like the Features, Laws Rushing, the Privates and the Pink Spiders. With four years of art training in addition to her styling expertise, Krampf says she cuts by feeling more than technicality and has an impressive knack for transforming a request for "something, you know, cool" into exactly that. Given her music connections (her father is Nashville session musician and producer Craig Krampf; her sister dates The Features' drummer), you might also on any given day get the scoop on a new project or the latest insider gossip. Tracy Moore

Best Improvement in Loafing Opportunities: Grimey's A good independent record store becomes a heart for a community, like Waterloo in Austin, Downtown Music Gallery or Other Music in New York, or Ear X-tasy in Louisville. With its new digs on Eighth Avenue South, Grimey's attains the status of these other stores. The new space is larger and more attractive, making it a pleasurable place in which to wile away serious time and drop a few bucks. It also serves as the place to go for information on what's happening musically around here and as a great welcome center for out-of-towners. Dave Maddox

Best New/Used Bookstore: Bookman/Bookwoman A used bookstore can never guarantee that it has your desired book in stock, but Bookman/Bookwoman comes pretty close. The mystery section surpasses that of Borders and although it may or may not have the specific Agatha Christie novel you want, it'll definitely have the other 50 million books she wrote. But the size of its collection is not the finest aspect of this used bookstore; the employees' love of the written word really makes the store unique. Owners Larry and Saralee Woods love their books and enthusiastically recommend their favorites to customers. Index cards line the shelves, offering helpful hints such as, "Like this author? Then you'll probably enjoy So-and-So!" Bring your selection to the cash register and you'll probably find a smiling woman behind the counter who will tell you her honest opinion of the book, even if it costs her the sale. It's no wonder the used bookstore thrives in its prestigious Hillsboro Village location. It will turn even the most unassuming customer into a passionate bibliophile. Claire Suddath

Best Waiting Area: Crest Honda When you pull into the service bay at Crest Honda, the guys there to help look more like stockbrokers than dealership oil jockeys. Hell, they're cleaner than I am most of the time. But even better is the waiting area, where Honda drivers can enjoy donuts and coffee while checking their e-mail on the Internet-ready computer terminal. And along with the predictable Car and Driver reading material are also periodicals of a snootier, cultural variety. There's a little something for everyone. Plus, you can climb into one of those sexy, boxy Honda Elements while you're there. Liz Murray Garrigan

Best Place to Buy a Weird Gift: The Curious Heart Emporium When I unveiled the Instant Infant—a black-and-white cardboard cutout of a baby with an easel to stand it up—at the office Christmas party, no one knew what to think. But they sure haven't stopped talking about it. Likewise, if you're in the market for a set of magnets featuring various pictures of cat's butts, or your very own set of stretchable body parts, look no further than the Curious Heart Emporium, the ultimate source for the novelty gift. Located on Bransford Avenue at the edge of Berry Hill, the cramped, eclectic store is jam-packed with vintage, kitschy and handmade items ranging from lamps to dishes to purses. The front yard features a variety of heart-, animal- and alien-inspired sculptures and decorations, but the real treasure here is the friendly service from owners Kathy and Michael Corley, who invite each customer to come right on in and stay a while. Tracy Moore

Best Fix-It Man for Your House: Julius Paschall Julius Paschall (227-6967 or 575-6185) is old-school. If he says he's going to show up on Wednesday morning at 8 o'clock and finish up by noon, then he'll by-golly be there at 8 and politely ask for his check at noon. Julius is excellent with brick, stone, concrete and wood. He's one of the rare guys who can patch up the mortar on an old brick house and make it look just like the old stuff. If you wonder if Julius can fix the thing you want fixed, just ask him. If he says he can fix it, he can. Walter Jowers

Best Tree Man: Ruel Jones at Quality Tree Surgery There are only three decent tree-cutting companies in and around Nashville, and Quality Tree Surgery (833-6638) is the best. Ruel Jones and his tree-cutting crews know how to prune trees so they look right, grow right and stay healthy. That's important, for a couple reasons: First, it takes a long time to grow a good tree. You can't just replace-or fix-one overnight. Second, if you don't take care of your trees, they might just start dropping limbs on your house, your car, your pets and you. Best way to avoid that kind of trouble is to get Ruel over to your house every year or two. Walter Jowers

Best Man to Fix Your Roof: Don Miller at Roof Doctors Don Miller is conscientious. He does better work than he needs to because he wants happy customers with no leaks. That's rare. A whole lot of homeowners want the cheapest roof possible, and there are plenty of roofers willing to cut corners and give it to them. If you need roof work done, call Don quick (874-0661 or 400-4657) before the cheap roofers drive him crazy and make him buy a yogurt franchise. Walter Jowers

Best Company to Install or Fix Your Big, Fancy, Exotic Roof: R.D. Herbert & Sons If you're dealing with a slate roof, a tile roof, a 100-year-old standing-seam metal roof, or some other truly peculiar roof, you want R.D. Herbert's top-notch commercial roofing guys, who can be talked into doing a high-end residential job (242-3501). Getting Herbert's A-team on your roof will cost you. And it'll be worth it. Walter Jowers

Best Big Plumbing Shop: Republic Plumbing Company president Andy Ward, who hosts the "House Calls" radio show on WLAC, is a third-generation plumber. His company (865-3005) has the manpower and tool power to handle jobs that would stretch the resources of a one- or two-man shop. If you need your whole house repiped, or if your sewer line erupts like a hellish geyser, Republic's your go-to shop. Walter Jowers

Best Residential Heat and Air Company: Air Care The father-and-son combo of Larry and Shane Claud run the best little heat-and-air outfit in town (228-0421). They go to the trouble of keeping up with technology, staying current on indoor-air-quality issues, and generally doing clean, quality work. Those are rare qualities in the heat-and-air business these days. The Air Care techs also do a good job of figuring out and fixing tricky problems. If half your house is hot and the other half is cold, or if one end of your house has 80 percent humidity while the other end has 50 percent, the Air Care boys will keep nosing and poking around until they figure out how to get things nice and even like they're supposed to be. Walter Jowers

Best Residential Electricians: Chad & Walt Croy, On-Call Electric Service The Croy boys (356-9098) are the best old-house-electric guys in town. They're not afraid of tackling a house filled with old knob-and-tube wiring and friable old rag wire. Compared to antique electrical messes, new wiring is a piece of cake. So don't be afraid to call the Croys for new electrical work. Walter Jowers

Best Stylist: Tania Staps I don't know precisely how or why this happened, but I managed to live 35 years without getting a decent haircut. Discovering Tania Staps (506-9404), the proprietor of a dollhouse of a shop in the Berry Hill shopping district, saved me from continued hair purgatory. Staps gives a haircut like a painter creates a beautiful canvas. Never perfunctory or hurried or pedestrian, her cuts are genuinely artistic. Bonus: sweet little dog Bruce, who belongs to a small business owner in the same building, will sit on your lap. Liz Murray Garrigan

Best Place to Build Your Own Espresso Culture: Davis Cookware and Cutlery On a block in Hillsboro Village that's otherwise striking for its funky-chic businesses, Davis Cookware and Cutlery looks like the store that time forgot. Running a family business with a distinct niche, Ted Davis III, son of the store's founder, admits to not even having a fax machine, much less a Web site. But with over 65 varieties of coffee and an immense stock of devices by which to make it, the Davis Cookware is a shrine to the holy bean. Those who've graduated to a taste for espresso can find compresso stovetop models and electric machines running from $60 to $1,000. No one who cares about the final product should really mind grinding the beans and waiting for the water to vaporize for a small but mighty cup each morning. But there's a case to be made for mid-line and higher-end machines that are fully automated, doing the grinding and measuring for you, to say nothing of a cold-water device that soaks the beans for a more concentrated flavor and allows for both hot and cold versions of several coffee drinks. Bill Levine

Best Example of Diversity in Action: Nashville Occasionals Cricket Club When the Nashville Occasionals don their whites, unfurl their pitch, bowl their spinners and tump their wickets, they create a world of their own where all Nashvillians are welcome for a visit. Captained by Nashville attorney Donald McKenzie, originally from Zimbabwe, NOCC boasts an international roster of cricket-minded devotees that resembles a miniature United Nations at play. From the West Indies to Pakistan, from South Africa to London, from original Wales to New South Wales, NOCC cricketers are men on a mission: to tame the fringes of empire via bats and balls. For game schedules or more information, contact Captain McKenzie at Marc Stengel

Best Video Rental: Spun Music and Movie Rentals From Kim's Video in New York to Vulcan Video in Austin—hell, even to the remarkable Video Culture in Murfreesboro—an indie video-rental store can cater to, stimulate and unite a community of cinephiles in ways Blockbuster can't or won't. So it's great to see Tim Buchanan's upstairs DVD-rental store, just around the corner from the Belmont Circle K, making all the right moves in courting Nashville's next wave of movie lovers. Bollywood musicals, Stephen Chiau martial-arts comedies, Asian horror, indie cult films—Buchanan stocks 'em all and is happy to discuss them. The result is to movies what Grimey's is to music: a taste of things that'll hit the mainstream six months down the road. When I want to see the '70s Swedish roughie Thriller: A Cruel Picture (one of Tarantino's avowed influences for Kill Bill) or the demented racial melodrama Fight for Your Life, this is where I'll look first. Jim Ridley

Best Place to Rent Movies: Downtown Public Library In the post-Netflix world, it may be difficult to convince anyone that there's a more viable way to experience home cinema than through the mail. But for Nashvillians, the Downtown Public Library has its perks. If the fact that films are free to anyone with a library card (though the late fees pile up quickly) isn't enough, the selection of titles alone is staggering. Granted, you won't find 60 copies of the latest M. Night Shyamalan extravaganza, but the foreign section is stocked with films by the giants of world cinema (Godard, Truffaut, Kurosawa, Bergman, Renoir, Cocteau, Ozu, Lang, Buñuel, Antonioni, Fellini, Melville, Clouzot, Tati, Dassin, Kar-Wai, Schlondorff, Resnais, Polanski, Herzog, etc.), and the DVD section boasts an impressive number of Criterion Collection titles. There is a wide array of educational materials as well, including Leonard Bernstein's "Unanswered Question Lecture Series" and the1987 Jackson Pollock documentary complete with Morton Feldman soundtrack. Of course, you have to make a point of going in consistently to get good flicks. But you have them for a week and they can be renewed for a subsequent week. Did I mention they're free? Ryan Norris

Best Pawnshop: Paragon Mills Loan Co. "Eighty-five percent of our customers come back and get their stuff," says Paragon Mills owner John Roth. Not exactly the kind of optimism you'd expect to hear from a pawnshop owner, but his isn't a typical loan establishment. Reasonable and humane, Paragon Mills charges the lowest interest rates in town. And you won't find tools, used En Vogue CD's or fake Samurai swords cluttering the shelves either. Roth and his manager, Kevin Crowley, specialize in the nice stuff—jewelry, collectibles, consumer electronics and, most importantly, musical instruments. Vintage guitars, drums and amps are Crowley's forte, and Paragon Mills is a regular stop for some of Nashville's most discerning players who are always looking for cool new gear. Paul V. Griffith

Best Rock & Roll Dentist: Dr. R. Stephen Graham Instead of Norman Rockwell prints and giant plastic molars, Stephen Graham's office is decorated with pop art and rock memorabilia from the '60s and '70s. The ponytailed dentist, who prefers jeans and Hawaiian shirts to scrubs, is particularly proud of his collection of original concert posters, which features playbills from, among others, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Woodstock. Classic rock music blares in the background as Graham, whose misspent youth has left him hard-of-hearing, casually but expertly caps, crowns and fills some of Nashville's hippest teeth. And as you might expect, the doctor's staff isn't stingy with the anesthetic: "We don't work on anybody if they can feel anything," says Graham's longtime assistant, Cherrie Fuller. Paul V. Griffith

Best DVD Selection: Tower Video There aren't really opinion-based variables when it comes to a concept like selection, and nothing tops this venerable West End tradition when it comes to variety. Their DVD section can be the only place in town to find new releases of foreign films, catalog titles, and some of the more obscure music and special interest titles. Granted, it's full retail, but Nashville buyers could do worse when it comes to consistency and eclecticism. Jason Shawhan

Best Unsung Bookstore: The Book Attic This Rivergate shop is peerless when it comes to selection (though The Book Worm in Hermitage comes very close) and friendly staff, featuring ample paperback, hardcover, and book-on-tape sections throughout its defiantly old-school layout. Nashville proper doesn't have anything to match what you'll find here for book trading, and what for the longest time has been Goodlettsville's best-kept secret can be instrumental in expanding (or downsizing) your own libraries. And their sale racks in the back possess trash and treasures the likes of which most mortal minds can scarcely imagine. Jason Shawhan

Best Place for Bargain Hunters: Great Escape Outlet Forty-nine-cent CDs, a deliriously strange-assed assortment of books and vinyl, and some near-forgotten VHS tapes all lend a great deal of charm to this hole-in-the-wall annex that unloads excess inventory, at the same time it rewards diligent shoppers who can (and will) pore through everything. I will never forget the day I found the entire recorded output of Cock Robin on CD for under $8 total, and if you ask others who frequent its narrow walkways, you will find countless other stories of finds and joy. And the 49-cent CD shelves are a sociological and musical goldmine. Jason Shawhan


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