When you have to run errands and get the getting done, there are simply some things you might not be able to find in Boulder. That’s right — you might have to go “beyond the bubble” to get what you need (especially if you’re planning a holiday time party of sorts and need good supplies to keep the masses happy).
So, where do you go?
We have three great destinations beyond Boulder’s borders. And while these aren’t exhaustive in the least (there’s the entire Flatiron shopping area in Broomfield, which also boasts a ton of larger chain retail stores), they’ll give you an idea of what’s beyond the Boulder city limits.
And if you have a favorite destination, feel free to leave it in a comment for your fellow Boulderites! When we go beyond the bubble, we want to make it worthwhile and your tips can help a neighbor find just what they need.
Bulk. Cheap. These are two words that do not denote Boulder, and yet so many of the residents of the People’s Republic of Boulder need things that can be described as bulk and cheap. Now, that’s not to say that the term “cheap” immediately means “low quality.” On the contrary, much of the produce, beauty products, proteins, and other things at Costco are sustainable, organic, and otherwise excellently healthy. And in large quantities, guys!
The only catch with Costco is that you pretty much have to be someone with a car at least available to you. If you’re a non-driving, green commuting Boulderite like me, Costco is not tenable. However, if you can get a friend to drive you or borrow/rent a car, the huge bag of organic short grain brown rice alone is so totally worth the membership and transportation.
Inexpensive clothing isn’t exactly on the menu for Boulder, especially if you’re not keen on the thrift stores scene. I mean, sure, if you have a Macy’s card and are blessed by the Shopping Gods the way my Mom is, you can find good deals on new clothing, but most of us aren’t fortunate in this particular way. For us, there’s a short drive or bus ride down to the Flatirons mall to visit Old Navy.
Especially for those Boulderites who have kids in the preteen to teen age range, Old Navy can take care of the conundrum of cutting edge styles in today’s fashion without breaking the bank. Boulder’s stellar thrift stores can do this, but a) it’s hit and miss with a lot of the thrift stores, especially if you or those you’re shopping for are picky as far as current fashion. Or b) if you have other issues with wearing used clothing.
The catch with Old Navy is its being owned by The Gap, with all the questionable business practices that brings up. But it’s been said that this family of companies is cleaning up their act, and it’s undeniable that current trends are maintained at low prices there.
Boulder has an Asian market or two for specific needs in that culinary world that Whole Paycheck or King Soopers won’t satisfy. But they are few and far between and very small, with perforce limited merchandise. Pacific Mercantile near downtown Denver, however, is a paradise of all items Asian, at ridiculously reasonable prices.
Need a rare culinary item not found in Boulder? Pacific Mercantile has it. A Naropa or Shambhala student in need of tabi for your training? They have outdoor and indoor versions, plus other garments of an East Asian origin. Downtown and need a snack? Grab a packet of dried squid (a personal favorite). Need a new cast iron wok? The prices at Pacific Mercantile are far lower than their high quality.