Best of Kansas City 2016: Goods & Services

Best Oven Whisperer

Appliance Masters KC, Troy D. McKay


Troy D. McKay, working under the banner Appliance Masters KC and known in professional kitchens around town, doesn’t have much of a web presence, being the sort of fixer-doer-wizard whose card bills him as a “home advisor” and provides only his first name, a phone number and a Yahoo e-mail address. (He’s on Facebook, too, with a lot of digits in the URL that we aren’t going to retype. The man answers the phone.) Perhaps that spareness of profile concerns you. It shouldn’t, for two reasons. One: Isn’t that how MacGyver would do a business card? Two, and more important: At this writing, he’s at our house, fixing an oven door that’s been stubbornly off-kilter for a year and making a gruesome dungeon-chain sound with each use. (We are on record as not the most vigilant of homeowners and not the most Martha Stewart of home cooks.) He’s at our house, fixing an appliance, at an agreed-upon time (in fact, he was early) and price (fair), and, wait, this just handed to us … he’s done. That was fast. Why didn’t we do that sooner? McKay probably wonders this himself but is too polite to say it aloud, and for this, among his other qualities, we thank him again.

Best Cleaning Service

Kinkaid Cleaning

Waldo-based Kinkaid Cleaning is a good choice for people who get an instant headache when they walk down the cleaning-supplies aisle. Kayli and Kevin Kinkaid run a green cleaning service. They wash reusable microfiber rags in an environmentally friendly detergent and use vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. When they leave a home, it smells like lavender rather than like a harsh compound under review by the Chemical Safety Product Commission. In addition to using green supplies, the wife-and-husband team makes customers feel their dwellings are in trustworthy hands.

Best Personal Stylist

Ladybird Styling

Trained in fine arts, Ladybird Styling founder Molly Bingaman shares her eye for styling with women and men who feel lost or dispirited when they shop or get ready in the morning. During the “closet audit,” she helps clients see their wardrobes with a fresh set of eyes; she is quick to identify the pieces that flatter and fit a person’s taste … and those that belong in a thrift shop–bound Hefty sack. Bingaman also provides a shopping service, guiding her clients through the racks or acting as a scout for the time-poor and the mall-averse. Finding yourself a better look doesn’t have to be elusive — Ladybird can assist.

Best Manscapers

Standard Grooming Supply

719 Massachusetts, Lawrence |

One theory for the beard trend is that it started to take wiry shape as servicemen returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers may have grown facial hair as they worked in counterinsurgency efforts in places where beards are a sign of manhood. Or, perhaps, a beard manifested freedom from the military’s grooming standards. In any case, beards are everywhere: staff meetings, television shows, church pulpits. Standard Grooming Supply, in Lawrence, is a full-service salon specializing in men’s haircuts, beard trims and beard and skin products. Open less than a year, the shop is attracting customers from Johnson County who appreciate owner Douglas Spradlin’s skills and chairside manner.

Best Local Addition to Anthropologie


Founded by Lina Dickinson, Melanie Bolin and Stephanie Lawrence — three Kansas City transplants who hail from coastal states — Merriam-based Mer-Sea & Co. (pronounced like the French merci) offers soaps, lotions, candles, clothing and other lifestyle items in more than 800 stores across the country. Its summery scents will make you nostalgic for that tropical vacation you once managed to take — think citrus, salty air, crisp linens and fresh flowers. The products fit right in at Anthropologie, which also stocks several Mer-Sea offers fragrances. Despite this national exposure, Kansas City still provides a great home base, with strong local support helping the company establish a recognizable brand in just three years. “The gift of this town is people help each other,” Bolin says. “If you make something, people buy it, and they encourage you.”

Best Socially Conscious Undies


1659 Summit |

For Hayley Besheer, underwear is about more than just feeling sexy. The creator of MADI Apparel knows an unrivaled pair of underpants should also boost a woman’s confidence, like a good haircut or a signature shade of lipstick. “Making women feel great about themselves is one of the main things we support,” Besheer says. “The MADI movement as a whole is about positivity and body awareness.” To support that goal, MADI, which stands for “make a difference intimate,” partners with several area women’s shelters, donating a pair of underwear to a woman in need for each pair purchased. It also doesn’t hurt that MADI is like the anti-Victoria’s Secret, stripping away all the frills until we’re left with no-bullshit underwear that feels as good as it looks.

Best Preservationists

KC Canning Co.

When Laura and Tim Tuohy lived in New York City, the couple had a cherry tree in their backyard. That might be no big deal in the Midwest, but in the city that never sleeps, it was an inspiring anomaly. “We were in New York, and something was bearing fruit that you could actually eat,” Laura says. “It was bizarre.” To make the most of it, the Tuohys started canning the fruit, using recipes passed down from their grandparents. Three years later, the couple moved back to Kansas City and founded KC Canning Co., prompting the creation of some of the most inventive canned goods we’ve seen, such as Sriracha-pickled green beans, bourbon-peach preserves, and hoppy pickles (available at Boulevard’s new visitors center). Their methods may be generations old, but these definitely aren’t your grandmother’s preserves.

Best Crystal Palace

Gigi Moon Gems

Garnet Booth jokes that she should be a “gemstone therapist.” Since founding Gigi Moon Gems, she has discovered that people are often drawn to specific stones based on what’s going on in their lives. A recent heartbreak might call for something green, for instance, whereas rose quartz might boost confidence for an upcoming job interview. “People often choose a certain stone, and when we look it up it’s exactly what they need,” Booth says. To that end, she has crystal necklaces that aim to empower, rings that inspire creativity, and moldavite pendants to encourage self-awareness. Ethereal and intriguing, many of Gigi Moon’s offerings are reminiscent of the desert, the cosmos or ancient times — and there’s a good chance Booth tracked down or dug up each stone, fossil or cactus seed herself.

Best Natural Touch

Hand & Land

11527 Ash, Leawood |

Walking into Hand & Land, the charming home, body and health shop in Leawood’s Park Place, feels a little like entering a spa. The clean, piney scent that hangs on the air is totally unlike the seasonal candles you throw into your basket at chain stores. Instead, the fragrances at Hand & Land are produced with all-natural essential oils, creating pure, inviting fragrances that the shop’s owners, cousins Jessica Moler and Nicole Lobdell, love to show off. Hand & Land also offers some solace amid the overwhelming barrage of mass-marketed products designed to offer that elusive quick fix. Its skincare lines are about something deeper than just buffing away wrinkles and disguising imperfections. They are more of a lifestyle suggestion. “It’s about the ritual of taking care of yourself,” Moler says. “It feels luxurious.”

Best Birthday Gift to Your Inner Daredevil

iFLY Kansas City

10975 Metcalf, Overland Park |

Inside the 14-foot-wide wind tunnel at iFLY, in Overland Park, it’s so loud that regular conversation becomes impossible. With high-efficiency axial fans creating a column of air powerful enough to suspend most humans in midair, it’s as noisy as a plane taking off or a moving train. And the best part is, under the guidance of a trained instructor, you get to step inside this wind tunnel and, you know, fly. The only barrier is the price; at $69.95 for two 60-second flights, practicing dives and barrel rolls at iFLY will probably not be a regular indulgence for most of us. But if you want to go skydiving without actually stepping out of a plane, those who have done the real thing say the iFLY experience is spot-on. Plus you get bragging rights and a colorful flight certificate to stick on your fridge.

Best Place to Swing

Kansas City Sports Club

3610 West 95th Street, Leawood

Midwest winters can be a long and sad affair, with desperate dreams of sunshine taking root before the calendar has even turned to the next year – and to the next baseball season. Open since 2012, Kansas City Sports Club, located behind the Price Chopper on 95th Street and Mission Road, features four indoor batting cages. Each has baseball and softball settings and can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of speeds and skill levels, from slow-pitch softball to baseballs that whiz across the plate at 70 MPH. The building also houses indoor turf for practicing infield drills, a weights-and-cardio area, and hitting tunnels. Even when it’s snowing outside, you can practice your swing and dream of warmer days.

Best Broadway Debut

Mills Record Company

4045 Broadway |

Whatever admixture of cynicism and earnestness is pumping warm nostalgia gas into the it’s-new-to-you-millennials vinyl bubble, there’s one big net positive: Browsing is back. We don’t mean the rainy battlements and Instagram victories of the surprise-free Record Store Day. We’re talking about the push-pull of buying and trading, of new and used — the ouroboros of music collecting, that dude’s postpunk discovery becoming this dude’s had-to-move-house discard becoming some kid’s first lifetime-listening score. It is the stardust of the restless music fan and the serpent of Marie Kondo’s nightmares, and it depends on a robust new-arrivals bin and the butterfly effect of imperfect alphabetization plus inattentive fellow shoppers. All of which are in play at Judy Mills’ bigger, better Mills Record Company, a midtown LP wonderland that opened around the corner from its original incarnation in the record-melting height of summer. Musicians play here and shop here, the help is truly helpful, and for the first time in many Westport moons you find yourself not taking the stock for granted. That old Mobile Fidelity half-speed you see when you’re passing a little time on Sunday might not be there when you go back on Wednesday. So now you’re actually thinking about leaving the office to go buy a record. What year is it? What the hell is happening to us?

Best Bookstore

Night Blooms

529 Southwest Boulevard |

Darkroom, exhibition space, Marxist speakeasy — whatever else you know or imagine Night Blooms to be, it’s in these pages because of its pages. The last book someone presented us with to mark a milestone was a small-press art tome, manageable in dimensions but unruly in content. We didn’t know the thing existed, though the artist it chronicles is someone we admire. Where’d you find this? we asked. Night Blooms, our friend said, with the faintest, most kindhearted hint of a duh. Because once you go to Night Blooms yourself, having been told and retold about it, that’s how you feel: duh. Shouldn’t we have had a spot like this a long time ago? Or was this the only moment it could have arrived? And will this supercool island of misfit ambitions sustain itself west of the increasingly un-weird Crossroads and under the punishing Amazon sun? (Yes. Probably. Please.)


Best Barber Shop

  1. Chop Tops
  2. Fifth Street Barber Shop
  3. Buffalo Mane Barbershop

Best Body Piercing

  1. Freaks Tattoo
  2. Irezumi Tattoo
  3. Supernatural Body Piercing

Best Chiropractor

  1. Crossroads Chiropractic & Wellness Center
  2. Kansas City Chiropractic
  3. Jensen Chiropractic & Acupuncture

Best Hair Removal 

  1. Bijin Salon & Spa
  2. Sassy Face Esthetics (Summer Ambroz)
  3. Beyoutify at Lush Salon

Best Hair Salon

  1. Chop Tops
  2. Bijin Salon & Spa
  3. Studio D Hair Salon

Best Manicure/Pedicure 

  1. Polished
  2. Bijin Salon & Spa
  3. Hoopla

Best Massage 

  1. Massage Envy Spa
  2. Bijin Salon & Spa
  3. Spa on Penn | Casey Leakey, LMT (tie)

Best Spa

  1. Bijin Salon & Spa
  2. Spa on Penn
  3. Sunlight Day Spa

Best Tattoo Shop 

  1. Mercy Seat
  2. Exile Tattoo
  3. Glory Bound Tattoo

Best Local Accessories Designer

  1. Meierotto Jewelers
  2. Jennifer Janesko
  3. Opal & Gold

Best Local Clothing Designer

  1. Charlie Hustle
  2. The Bunker
  3. Baldwin

Best Local Eyewear Store

  1. Brookside Optical
  2. Fairway Eye Center
  3. Warby Parker | Romanelli Optix (tie)

Best Local Jewelry Store

  1. Tivol
  2. Meierotto Jewelers
  3. Shane Co.

Best Local Men’s Clothing Store 

  1. The Bunker
  2. Baldwin KC
  3. Houndstooth

Best Local Goods 

  1. The Bunker
  2. Urban Provisions General Store
  3. Normal Human

Best Local Shoe Store

  1. Bob Jones Shoes
  2. The Bunker
  3. Garry Gribble’s Running Sports

Best Local Women’s Clothing Boutique

  1. Donna’s Dress Shop
  2. The Bunker
  3. Retro Vixen

Best Vintage Clothing Store

  1. Donna’s Dress Shop
  2. Boomerang
  3. Wonderland

Best Hookah Lounge

  1. Jerusalem Café
  2. Sinbad’s Café & Hookah Lounge
  3. Sahara Sheesha Lounge

Best Liquor Store 

  1. Gomer’s Midtown
  2. Lukas Liquors Superstore
  3. Mike’s Wine & Spirits

Best Adult Store 

  1. Cirilla’s
  2. 7th Heaven
  3. Moonlight Boutique

Best Smoke Shop 

  1. 7th Heaven
  2. Fidel’s Cigar Shop
  3. Cooper’s Broadway Tobacco

Best Vape Shop

  1. 7th Heaven
  2. KC Vapes
  3. Waldo Vapes

Best Head Shop

  1. It’s a Beautiful Day
  2. 7th Heaven
  3. Cooper’s Broadway Tobacco

Best Wine Shop 

  1. Gomer’s
  2. Cellar Rat Wine Merchants
  3. Underdog Wine Co.

Best Cigar Store 

  1. Outlaw Cigar Co.
  2. Fidel’s Cigar Shop
  3. Diebel’s Sportsmens Gallery

Best Auto Dealership 

  1. Hendrick Automotive Group
  2. CarMax
  3. Dick Smith Ford

Best Bicycle Shop

  1. Volker Bicycles
  2. Family Bicycles
  3. Velo

Best Motorcycle Dealer

  1. Gail’s Harley-Davidson
  2. Worth Harley-Davidson
  3. Donnell’s Motorcycles

Best Car Wash 

  1. Waterway Carwash
  2. Green Lantern Car Wash
  3. Belfonte’s Carwash & Detail Services

Best Auction House

  1. Kansas City Auction Company
  2. Cates Auction
  3. Equip-Bid Auctions Kansas City
  4. Andrew Turner Auctions/Kansas City Estate Sales

Best Antique Store

  1. River Market Antique Mall
  2. Bella Patina Antique Store
  3. Brass Armadillo Antique Mall

Best Comic Book Store

  1. Clint’s Comics
  2. Vintage Stock
  3. Elite Comics

Best Consignment Store

  1. Plato’s Closet
  2. Arizona Trading Co.
  3. Mary Margaret’s Home | Clothz Minded (tie)

Best Place to Buy a Musical Instrument

  1. Meyer Music
  2. Big Dude’s Music City
  3. Guitar Center

Best Record Store

  1. Mills Record Company
  2. Vinyl Renaissance
  3. Josey Records

Best Local Pet Grooming

  1. Brookside Barkery & Bath
  2. Simply Grooming by Gia
  3. Go Pet Go

Best Pet Boarding/ Pet Daycare 

  1. Dog Pawz Play and Stay
  2. Pete & Mac’s
  3. Pooches Paradise Day Spa and Resort

Best Place to Adopt a Pet

  1. Wayside Waifs
  2. Kansas City Pet Project
  3. Great Plains SPCA

Best Veterinarian

  1. Great Plains SPCA
  2. Fairway Animal Hospital
  3. Noah’s Ark Animal Clinic

Best Bank

  1. Commerce Bank
  2. Community America Credit Union
  3. UMB Bank

Best Bed and Breakfast 

  1. Southmoreland on the Plaza
  2. Jefferson House
  3. Inn at 425

Best Farmers Market 

  1. City Market Farmers Market
  2. Overland Park Farmers Market
  3. Brookside Farmers Market

Best Florist 

  1. Fiddly Fig Florist
  2. Trapp and Co.
  3. Studio Dan Meiners

Best Grocery Store

  1. Hy-Vee
  2. Cosentino’s
  3. Price Chopper

Best Hotel

  1. The Raphael Hotel
  2. Hotel Phillips
  3. Hotel Sorella | 816 Hotel (tie)

Best Landscaper

  1. Benjamin Lawn & Landscape
  2. The Greensman
  3. Laura Frank | Sterling Industries (tie)

Best Local Bookstore

  1. Rainy Day Books
  2. Half Price Books
  3. Prospero’s Books

Best Local Nursery and Garden Center

  1. Family Tree Nursery
  2. Suburban Lawn & Garden
  3. Soil Service Garden Center

Best Plumber

  1. Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating & A/C
  2. AB May
  3. Snyder’s Plumbing & Heating

Best Real-Estate Agent 

  1. Stacy Porto
  2. Sharon Aubuchon
  3. Allison Rank

Best Photographer For Hire 

  1. Nicole Bissey Photography
  2. Robert Hoops Photography
  3. Summer Arlint Photography

Best Wedding Venue

  1. The Madrid Theatre
  2. 28 Event Space
  3. 1890 Event Space

Categories: News