The General Store

Trading posts, purveyors of fine goods & services, skilled tradesfolk, trinkets, gewgaws & sundries

Best Shooting Range
Evan's Gunsmithing Shooter's World
1637 N. Brian St., Orange
(714) 283-5248
Range Master Pat Potvin says what sets Evan's apart from the rest is they won't just treat you like well-armed cattle. Flexibility is the key, Potvin says, and Evan's can help you do anything with a firearm within the limits of the law. That means patrons can buy custom-built assault weapons, and then test them out with hollow-point bullets. A special rubber backing allows Evan's to use such ammunition; many ranges have steel backings that will "shoot shrapnel back at you," Potvin says. (But don't bring in your assault weapon unless you have a permit, he stresses.) Instructors are available by appointment only, but Evan's has staff on-hand at all times to answer questions.

Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.

Best Dollar Store
99 Cents Only, Santa Ana
1514 N. Main St., Santa Ana
(714) 541-7909
The 99 Cents Only chain may have outlets around OC, but the best sits right next to OC Weekly Headquarters on Main Street in downtown Santa Ana. The long lines that greet the counter clerks daily (even at noon, when folks should be having lunch) stand as testament to the small fact that the locals know it, too. The massive store carries everything from milk to condoms to "LA's Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner." Fresh fruit, batteries, massive rolls of toilet paper—you name it. Even, bizarrely enough, pregnancy tests.

Readers' Choice: 99 Cents Only

Best Place to Buy Ass-Kicking Supplies
OTM Fight Shop
17424 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach
(714) 847-6786
Bashing people's brains out with your fists, knees and elbows isn't just a hobby for assholes and short guys with an unscientifically diagnosed "syndrome" anymore; it's gone mainstream. And whenever something goes from underground to mainstream, you can bet there's an entrepreneur ready to capitalize. Nowhere is this more evident than at OTM Fight Shop, a retail store dedicated to nothing but fight supplies. What once had to be purchased from catalogs with Chuck Norris on the cover now can be bought quickly and in-person. Gone are the breathless nights waiting for your shiny yellow "Nack Suk Cao" Muay Thai trunks to be shipped from overseas, as OTM carries several colors and sizes. Don't worry if you don't have a training partner: If you have $115, you can purchase OTM's life-sized, more-than-100-pound throwing dummy. No more sleeping alone!

Best Liquor Store
Hi-Time Wine Cellars
250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa
(949) 650-8463
Even the mighty Beverages and More chain has nothing on this virtual mini-mall of vice under one roof. The claim to fame, as the name suggests, is an underground wine cellar some 3,000-square-feet in size that resembles a massive shoe store, with wine bottles on display instead of sneakers. There's a tasting bar, open in the afternoon, that occasionally goes less highbrow for such events as beer-and-chili-dog tastings. But then there's an entire upstairs, with a walk-in beer fridge, wide keg selection, and liquor ranging from giant jugs of cheap Jim Beam to $3,000 special batches of Johnnie Walker. A walk-in tobacco humidor boasts around 400 types of cigars. And they also do homemade chocolate! Remember the first time you stepped into a Toys R Us as a kid? This is as close as it gets for grown-ups. The only complaint any boozer worth his margarita salt could possibly have is that the store doesn't stay open late—even on Saturday, you only have until 9 p.m. to take advantage. But you can always order online.

Readers' Choice: Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Best Smoke Shop
Hi-Time Wine Cellars
250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa
(949) 650-8463
Part of the draw is the fact that Hi-Time is probably the county's biggest and best-known wine cellar and liquor store (see Best Liquor Store), which means you can always count on finding the right sherry, brandy, or aquavit to go with your stogies. But what really makes this the best smoke shop in the county is the huge, walk-in humidor and extensive selection of cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarettes, pipes, ashtrays, lighters, humidors, cutters and every possible accessory you can imagine for your unhealthy habit.

Best Shoe Shop
Rainbow Sandals
326 Los Molinos, San Clemente
(800) 762-7635
Established in San Clemente by Jay "Sparky" Longley, Rainbow Sandals stands proud on its own two huaraches. Rainbow's flip-flops are guaranteed to last for life, and they are so freakin' comfortable you might just wear them forever. Longley started Rainbow sandals by assembling 15 pairs of the sandals per day out of his garage, bringing his creations to the 1974 Sawdust Festival. The shoes became so popular that he soon opened a factory in San Clemente. Today, they are so big that the sandal manufacturing is outsourced to China. Each sandal is hand-made, complete with a non-skid leather surface that molds to the foot, ensuring the perfect fit for everybody. Even people with bunions.

Best Car Wash
Checkered Flag Hand Car Wash
5289 Alton Pkwy., Irvine
(949) 786-3081
Do yourself and your car a favor and say no to the mechanical drive-in car wash at the gas station. Sitting in line doesn't do much for sanity, and the rotating buffers will almost always scratch up your ride. The hand car wash is definitely the place to go for quality, and the ultimate hand wash experience can be found at Checkered Flag Hand Car Wash. The inside-out treatment on your car runs $13.99 and lasts around 10 minutes. Spend that time inside the lounge area, where free fancy-pants coffee (French vanilla cappuccinos, espressos, mochaccinos and more) or hot chocolate is available, as is free Internet access.

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