Best Of 2014

Blair Gilbert, the owner of Gilbert’s Pro Hardware, really knows his hardware. After all, they don’t call him Mr. Hardware for nothing. He’s a third-generation hardware man and has tripled the size of Gilbert’s hardware since taking ownership. The shop sells all kinds of hardware, from nails and screws to heavy-duty tools and everything in between, Gilbert’s hardware will likely have the hardware you’re looking for, but it doesn’t stop there. Mr. Hardware has a YouTube channel in which he shows even the less-than-handy homeowner how to fix and maintain his possessions in layman’s terms. If the homeowner still can’t figure out the repair, he will direct them to a contractor who can.

At her Midtown salon, Nefertiti provides a calming refuge from hectic city life, and she views herself as much a “spiritual coach” as a hairstylist. Her focus is on providing natural hair care to men and women, helping clients embrace their inner beauty as much as the natural kink and curl of their hair. This holistic philosophy is evidenced throughout the entire enterprise, which features all-natural, organic products, along with standard salon services, such as massages, facials and nail care, and even energy balancing and shamanic healing massages.

Manager Kelly Hadin will instantly become your personal shopper if you need that perfect gift. There should be something for everyone at Shine — the store hosts an eclectic collection of knickknacks and bric-a-brac, from books to art to wallets to posters to candles to lotions to clocks.

Whether you’ve got something in mind or “you’ll know it when you see it,” Vogue Vintage will provide. From high-end antiques to $2 kitschy crap, the selection of stuff is overwhelming and fun. Its plentiful stock of antiques — furniture is one of the specialties — is generally less than even gently used, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for at the store, ask the staff about the warehouse: That’s where the real finds are stowed away. The store’s pull is best exemplified by its eye-popping window displays, so artfully created and frequently changed that even the drivers hurtling down Woodward Avenue can’t help but slow down and take note.

When Royal Oak’s 323East Gallery closed its doors in 2012, fans were left wondering where to get their lowbrow art fix next. Enter the Inner State Gallery — the latest brainchild of 323East partners Jesse Cory and Dan Armand — which brings the same brand of hip, edgy art in a new, much larger location near Eastern Market. As an added bonus, the duo operates 1XRUN — an online retailer of art prints — out of the building as well. The gist of 1XRUN (pronounced “one-time run”) is simple: The site offers limited-edition art prints of its favorite artists for a limited time, which run the gamut from pop art to surrealism to street art. Imagine the daily deal website Groupon meets an art gallery and you get the idea. 1XRUN and Inner State Gallery bring art to the masses.

Once again, this former staff attorney for Geoffrey Fieger keeps his old boss from claiming the Best of Detroit title. An aggressive and accomplished attorney, Dezsi spent five years in Fieger’s firm handling a number of high-profile cases, and was part of the “dream team” that obtained Fieger’s acquittal for federal campaign violations. Heading up his own firm for more than year now, Dezsi handles criminal defense, civil litigation, personal injury and employment discrimination cases.

One of the worst things about living in the Motor City, especially if you aren’t mechanically inclined, is when you inevitably have to take your car in for repairs — an excursion that often involves a laundry list of newly discovered repairs you didn’t even know you needed, pushy mechanics, and feeling like you’re being gouged for prices. That’s why Metro Times readers prefer Terry, praising him for his honesty and fair prices.

Customers first might be lured in by the competitive prices and the ever-changing specials. In the store, they’ll learn about the wine and beer tastings and maybe return for some “spirited” knowledge. We doubt they’ll leave without some purchases from the extensive selection of wine and beer — liquor too — of everything from Michigan-made brews to little-known vintages, purchased, of course, with the help of the knowledgeable staff.

You can deduce a lot about the philosophies behind 8 Degrees Plato Beer Company just from its name alone — “degrees plato” is a measurement of a beer’s sugar content, so you know these guys are serious about beer. As for the “8,” owner Tim Costello says it’s merely “the most aesthetically pleasing number” so you know these guys are out for fun as well. Today, 8 Degrees Plato offers Michigan-centric craft beer in addition to imports, ciders and charcuterie. Stop in on Fridays between 6 and 8 p.m. when the store hosts one of its weekly beer tastings.

Come for the organic and local food options — stay for the booze. Whole Foods offers lots of beer options — the selection weighs heavily on Michigan-made craft beer, but there are plenty of domestic craft and macrobrews as well. You can mix and match beers by building your own six-pack, and they even serve beer on tap — so you can enjoy a brew while you shop. Keep your eyes peeled for beer and cheese-tasting events on the store schedule.

When you need wine — and some gourmet nibbles to go with it — our readers concur perennially that Merchant’s is Wayne County’s place for reds, whites, blends, reasonably priced bottles and that big splurge. And the owners’ advice is free: “Wine always tastes better with food, beer is always best on a hot summer day, and always drink water before you go to bed.”