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Updated: 9/17/2014

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Front Range Retail Paradise

Many of the state’s best-known independent shops can be found in the cities along Colorado’s Front Range.

Rockmount Ranch Wear has been clothing Denverites since 1946. The store’s signature snap-button Western shirt is a favorite of celebrities and ranch hands alike and is considered so iconic, there’s one in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Nearby, the Tattered Cover Bookstore gets high praise for its lineup of famous visiting authors and was called “a bibliophile’s paradise” by the New York Times. The store’s wide selection of Denver- and Colorado-centric books is particularly notable.

Rockmount Ranch Wear in LoDo, Denver, CO

Boulder is home to McGuckin Hardware, a 60,000-square-foot local institution since 1955 that’s much more than hardware. Carrying everything a do-it-yourselfer needs to specialty dog food to a wall of unique cookie cutters to fishing waders to gift cards, most shoppers agree that if McGuckin’s doesn’t have it, you probably don’t need it. Boulder also boasts Peppercorn, which bills itself as a “retail potpourri” of kitchen and home accessories. Not for the claustrophobic, shoppers weave their way through narrow aisles artfully piled with niche cookbooks, a rainbow of silicone kitchen gadgets, luxe linens and high-design espresso machines.

Two cities not typically associated with fashion surprise shoppers with their number of quality boutiques. Paris, Milan … Fort Collins and Colorado Springs? These two locales keep the state in chunky necklaces, luxury denim and tons of “Where did you get that?” tops. Ladies in the know head for Kansas City KittyWhite Balcony and Curiosities in Fort Collins and Eve’s Revolution and Terra Verde in Colorado Springs.

Sporting Goods & Bike Shops

It’s no surprise, given the state’s beautiful outdoors, that many of our fans’ picks were cycling and sporting goods stores. These Colorado stores are not only outfitting nature lovers, they also like to show off their own love of nature. For instance, Colorado Springs’ Mountain Chalet, which has been in the same downtown location since 1968, organizes workdays where employees and customers gather to repair and restore the trails they use every day.

Employees of Over The Edge Sports, located in the mountain-biking dream town of Fruita, built many of the fat-tire trails their customers ride and teach customers about responsible trail usage. Salida’s Absolute Bikes works with a local group to expand the area’s singletrack offerings. And Wheat Ridge Cyclery’s intense bike-fitting program and selection of demo bikes resonate with riders who know the importance of buying the right bike — the shop’s general manager, the son of the man who started the shop in 1973, is a seven-time Tour de France competitor.

It’s not just about the bike. Orvis-endorsed Bucking Rainbow Outfitters in Steamboat Springs and 40-year-veteran RIGS Fly Shop in Ridgway will not only sell you the flies, reels and rods you need for a for a successful fly-fishing trip, they’ll also help you hone your technique and take you to the waters they fish themselves.