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The Urban Orchid
If you need some flowers to brighten a day or mend a broken fence, you'll find any number of markets and shops that can adequately get the job done. If you had something significantly more spectacular in mind, the artists of the Urban Orchid are who you need to see. The output of this nascent shop in Ohio City can scarcely be called floral arrangements; they are floral art of the highest order.
2704 Bridge Ave., 216-785-3618, theurbanorchid.com
Staff Pick: The Cottage of Flowers
Best Beer Store
If you're craving a beer, maybe you don't require the services of Warehouse Beverage. But if you're craving a particular beer, or just feel like perusing the shelves like a bookworm in a library, this is the place for you. The South Euclid alcohol emporium boasts nearly 1,000 varieties of beer, from commonplace domestics to the most exotic of oddball craft and imported brews. You won't ever drink all that Warehouse Beverage offers, but the world is a better place because you could.
4364 Mayfield Rd., South Euclid,
Staff Pick: Minotti's
Best Wine Shop
This family-owned wine store has been providing great products and friendly service since 1939. And their longevity is no surprise: The selection is mind blowing, with everything from a 10-buck jug of New Zealand white to $3,000 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Frequent tastings are a plus, and for those who can't wait to get home: A new on-site café offers wine, breads, and cheeses brought forth on the expansive front porch.
14900 Detroit Ave., Lakewood,
Staff Pick: Rozi's
Best Lawn & Garden Store
Petitti Garden Centers
From pansies in the spring to poinsettias at Christmas, this locally owned and operated chain of lawn and garden stores is stocked to the brim with blooming beauties — many of which are grown in their Madison nursery and Columbia Station greenhouses. Better still, Petitti's helpful staff is a wellspring of advice, ensuring that your green thumbs will never turn brown.
Various locations including 24964 Broadway Ave., Oakwood Village,
Staff Pick: Bremec's
Best Auto Repair
Conrad's Tire Express & Total Car Care
A happy amalgamation of the small-time and the big-time auto shop, Conrad's began in 1969 as a local business with a single location and eight employees to get the job done. It has since expanded to more than 30 Northeast Ohio locations, each one blending expertise with the best service and surroundings a stranded motorist could hope for.
Staff Pick: The Gas Station in Lakewood
Best Eco-Friendly Business
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Not that Clevelanders need a reason to drink beer: But if we did, Great Lakes provides a kegful — especially in the form of its multiple green initiatives. The most visible may be the Fatty Wagon shuttle bus, fueled by recycled kitchen oils. But in fact, owners Pat and Dan Conway recycle nearly everything that comes through their brewery and pub. Puts a whole new spin on "green beer," doesn't it?
2516 Market Ave., 216-771-4404,
Staff Pick: Great Lakes Brewing Company