125 S. 14th St.
Second Place: Virginia Wayside Furniture
Third Place: Ruth & Ollie
LaDifférence co-owner Andy Thornton sees signs of economic recovery where the rest of us might not look. It's not only that sales are up, but also what folks are buying. "The last five years people have played it very safe," he says, "and it is refreshing to be dealing with people who want to push their personal boundaries and be much more exploratory and risk-taking in design choices." The design and furniture retailer is a mainstay for people looking to do just that. Thornton says the store is branching out as well, adding high-end mattresses to its offerings and "going much deeper into outdoor furniture." Virginia Wayside Furniture touts classic home furnishing staples, placing an emphasis on its selection of items made in the United States. Carytown's Ruth & Ollie blends traditional with funky and offers it all with a personal touch.