Best Of 2019

Best Thrift Shop

Winner: Texas Thrift

Multiple locations

Thrifting takes patience, endurance, agility and the willingness to occasionally haggle over price. Some may even call this kind of bargain hunting an art form. Whether or not that's the case, expert thrifters know that the search goes better when you can find a happy hunting ground — a store that's likely to have good turnover and a constant flow of quality merchandise. Fans who regularly peruse the racks count Texas Thrift's four San Antonio stores among those potential goldmines. Some even tell us they've found clothing, accessories and footwear at Texas Thrift that have become their regular fashion go-tos. From branded pop-culture merchandise to kitschy home goods to oversized sweaters from the '80s, there's a likelihood you'll turn up something worthwhile at Texas Thrift. You've just got to be willing to put in the time.

2. Boysville Thrift Store

307 W. Olmos Dr.

(210) 826-2195

3. Revolution Thrift

8513 Blanco Road

(210) 376-8909



Winner: Love Shack Boutique

1580 Babcock Road

(210) 767-9411

Now that porn has moved primarily onto the internet (that's the rumor, anyway — no one really watches that stuff, right?), the businesses formerly billing themselves as adult video retailers have shifted their focus to sex toys and other non-media items. Love Shack Boutique aspires to be sex-positive, proclaiming on its website that it store carries no DVDs or magazines and "prides itself in carefully choosing items that do not contain nudity or intimidating content." That means its array of popular items includes lingerie as well as "the We-Vibe, Womanizer, Sensuelle, or any rabbit style device." In addition, the store offers private party options — surely both educational and fun — with specialized packages such as the Blushing Bride. Hell, the store's website even hosts a sex-education blog. Apparently, Love Shack aims to be the perfect haven for sex-loving duos (or more) and perfectly in keeping with our diverse city, which includes a sizable LGBTQ+ population, as well as a swinger community recently named in the top 10 nationally. Don't let your tin roof rust, SA!

2. Sexology Institute

707 S. St. Mary's St.

(210) 487-0371

3. Adult Megaplex

Multiple locations

Winner: Sew Chic

Multiple locations

With the advent of fast fashion and the treatment of clothing as disposable — a problem unto itself — tailoring can seem like a service of yesteryear. But whether trying to rescue a motheaten sweater or customize a couture dress for "the big day," it's clear many of you have made Sew Chic your go-to for alterations. While you can certainly rack up quite the bill with intricate wedding dress alterations, the prices at this local chain aren't beyond the budget of an average San Antonian, especially given the expertise of its staff. Its three locations also make it a convenient destination for people all over the city, and if you're suffering from an emergency clothing malfunction the outlets offer 24-hour turnaround and same-day repairs.

2. Wah-Tee Tailoring

7700 Broadway St.

(210) 637-0785

3. Mina's Alterations

12411 Bandera Road, Helotes

(210) 695-6333

Winner: Karolina's Antiques

1709 Blanco Road

(210) 731-9787

Located near a bevy of other antique and thrift stores, Beacon Hill's Karolina's Antiques is a hotspot for shoppers looking for that special something unavailable at the mall. How about a random gospel from record from 1966? Check. A Selena T-shirt? They've got you. Throwback living room chairs? Got you there too, fam. There's a good chance at least one of the eight eclectic vendors occupying Karolina's has something you just can't live without — even if you had no idea that something existed before you walked through the door. And if, for whatever reason, you can't find that special gift for that special someone (including yourself), friendly staff with give you directions to the closest spot to continue your hunt.

2. Craftiques Mall

Multiple locations

3. The Junction Antiques

1704 Blanco Road

(210) 273-3439

Winner: Bike World

Multiple locations

As both a sport and means of travel, cycling has experienced an upward trend in popularity. After all, it's great exercise as well as a green way to get from point A to point B. But cycling requires a certain amount of equipment, and SA riders continue to pedal to Bike World for the gear they need. The locally owned chain sports four locations, the newest of which — a Southeast Military outpost — opened in 2017. In addition to a wide range of products available online and instore, Bike World offers repair services. The staff is knowledgeable, experienced and completes a "rider interview" to get customers paired up with the right bike. On top of all that, the shop hosts weekly rides leaving from each of its shops. The Pearl location even offers rentals, so there is no reason not to get out and ride. No bad motor scooter required.

2. Crossroad Bikes

14510 NW Military Highway #108

(210) 492-7677

3. Bottom Bracket Bicycle Shop

1603 N. Colorado St.

(210) 267-9160

Winner: Half Price Books

Multiple locations,

Founders Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson opened the first Half Price Books in Dallas back in 1972, occupying the site of a one-time laundromat. With a mission of promoting literacy and saving the environment by keeping old books in circulation, the pair filled the shelves with 2,000 books from their personal libraries. Since then, the company has opened dozens of stores, spilling out of Texas and into 16 other states. The stacks include everything from cookbooks and history to well-thumbed genre paperbacks. Even if you're not exactly a book worm, the stores' collections of vinyl, comics, gifts and knick-knacks offer plenty of browsing fun. The vibe inside is always laid back, and despite the chain's size, it retains the homespun feel of a family-run business.

2. The Twig Book Shop

306 Pearl Parkway #106

(210) 826-6411

3. Nine Lives Books

4907 Northwest Loop 410 #102

(210) 647-5656

Winner: Cavender Toyota

5730 Northwest Loop 410

(210) 681-6601

2. Gunn Honda

14610 Interstate 10

(210) 941-4556

3. Jordan Ford

13010 Interstate 35 North

(210) 653-3673

Winner: Alamo Botanicals

19141 Stone Oak Parkway #301

(210) 444-9026

If you suffer from anxiety, joint pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, menstrual cramps, insomnia, nausea, seizures, bowel inflammation, or just plain old moodiness, someone — from a physician to a family member — has probably suggested that CBD just might be the savior you're looking for. We're certainly not qualified to weigh in whether the hemp-derived remedy is a worthwhile course of treatment. But we do know that Alamo Botanicals' Stone Oak shop prides itself on helping visitors make an informed decision about how to approach the myriad products that purport to offer the health benefits of legal cannabidiol. From capsules and tinctures to beverages and pet-care specialties, the store carries a variety of products and has staff on hand with the expertise to explain them in a professional and inviting environment.

2. Simple Leaf Botanicals

6909 N. Loop 1604 East

(210) 802-3223

3. Go Green Botanicals

6923 W. Loop 1604 North, Suite 104

(830) 608-9446

Winner: Learning Express Toys

Multiple locations

2. Crib & Kids

1309 N. Loop 1604 West #106

(210) 764-2742

3. Bambinos

255 E. Basse Road #908

(210) 824-7676

Winner: Eye Candy Boutique

531 Navarro St.

(210) 363-3572

It can be difficult to find cute attire that fits, especially for those us with plus-size bodies. And just because a place carries larger-size items, that doesn't necessarily mean they're particularly stylish. Enter Eye Candy Boutique. Carrying sizes XL-3X, this store specializes in clothing designed to fit well and leave their customers looking and feeling fabulous. From jeans to dresses, tops to accessories, Eye Candy aims to be a one-stop shop on the road to a more glamorous lifestyle. Although Eye Candy is unique to itself, shoppers familiar with online stores BooHoo and ASOS may find the attire it carries comparable. Located in the heart of downtown and opened in 2015, the boutique feels right at home as part of a revitalizing city center.

2. Woven Boutique

22610 U.S. Highway 281

(210) 462-1993