Best of Springfield®


Capital City CrossFit
1615 W. Jefferson, 726-3817

On its Facebook page, the sole self-description of Capital City CrossFit (C3 to its friends) is “forging elite fitness.” While CrossFit is a proprietary brand (read: franchise) of “physical exercise, philosophy and competitive fitness sport”  (Wikipedia), not all CrossFit gyms are created equal. “C3 has done what no gym or fitness program has been able to do for me in the last 10 years... kicked my fat ass back into shape,” said a satisfied, if blunt, customer, posting online. Concentrating on fitness through functional movement – as opposed to the less organic methods employed in traditional workouts – it is suggested that a good CrossFit program has a stringent process for placing beginners. In the case of C3, according to its website, “all new members are required to complete a three-week, three-times-per-week ‘on ramp’ program to get them on the right track.”
Runners-up: CrossFit Instinct, CrossFit XLT

T.C. Roesch at Roesch’s Gym
601 N Amos Ave., 553-4665

When looking for a personal trainer, there are many factors to consider, from the type of results being sought to the techniques being employed to meet those goals. That’s the “trainer” part – but what about the “personal” part? Commenting on the Roesch’s Gym Facebook page about the experience of working with owner-operator and trainer T.C. Roesch, one customer has this to say: “He’s a great guy and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.” That feeling of care and trust is essential to feeling comfortable and doing the work that needs to be done. The feeling seems to extend beyond T.C. himself to his entire establishment. Another Facebook comment says that Roesch’s can be counted on to “welcome newcomers with open arms and help you with whatever you need. If you are looking for a hardcore/family environment this is the perfect gym!”
Runners-up: Zach at Railsplitter CrossFit, Leah Kirk - FITT

Vision Care Associates
121 N. Grand Ave. W., 528-3233
2741 Prairie Crossing Drive, 272-7393

“Everyone was so kind and helpful,” crows one representative comment left by a satisfied customer on the Vision Care Associates Facebook page. Other posts celebrated our voters’ choice for Vision Care’s selection of frames as well as reasonable wait times for appointments. “I was very impressed with the care and professionalism I received,” reads another entry. Offering “full spectrum eyecare” according to its website, Vision Care Associates has been operating in Springfield for three decades and currently offers more than 2,000 choices of frames. It seems safe to say that if you can’t find the glasses you want at Vision Care Associates, they probably don’t exist.  
Runners-up: Prairie Eye Center, All About Eyes


BJ Grand Salon and Spa
3055 Professional Drive, 753-8880
3300 Robbins Road, 787-7770

Fernando may have famously said it is better to look good than to feel good, but with BJ Grand Salon, you’ll never have to make that choice. According to their Facebook page, BJ Grand Salon and Spa offers a “total beauty experience” and it would seem IT voters agree, naming them both Best Hair Salon and providers of the Best Massage. Of course, this is no overnight success story – BJ has been serving the Springfield community’s beauty needs for four decades with no flagging in popularity over the years. In addition to hairdressing and massage, they also offer skin, nail and makeup techniques along with spa treatments, as indicated by the second part of the company name. After a visit to BJ Grand Salon and Spa, you’ll be sure to look (and feel) marvelous!
Runners-up Best Hair Salon: Willow and Birch, Appearances Salon
Runners-up Best Massage: Bethany Shackelford, SOAK Nails Massage Spa

Craig Jones / Jones’ Chop Shop
1022 W. Lawrence Ave., 741-6062

“Harley colors with a garage theme. Bad ass!!” So goes the lead review on the Facebook page for Jones’ Chop Shop (formerly Unique Blendz) and it goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of this biker-friendly establishment. Other customers took to social media to proclaim the “amazing atmosphere, unique environment” and pronounce it a “great, friendly, laid-back place.” Perhaps Craig Jones, the shop’s namesake as well as our voters’ pick for Best Barber – puts it best: “You want that manly feel when you get a haircut and a shave? Then you’ll be in the right place.”
Runners-up: Jeremy / Precision Barber, Begg’s Barber Shop

Fat Ass 5K

Maybe it says something about our voters that their choice for “Best Run” doesn’t technically require any running. The Fat Ass 5k (“The Fat Ass” to its friends but more formally known as “The Fat Ass 5k and Street Party for Charity”) is professionally timed like a “real” race, but participants are encouraged to navigate the course at any pace they wish – and the more frequently they stop, the better they will be able to enjoy the food, beer and entertainment provided along the route. Part pub crawl, part street party, part running event and all charity, the Fat Ass 5k has has raised more than $690,000 for various charities over the eight years it’s been going on. Now those are some fat stacks o’ cash!
Runners-up: Susan G. Komen, Color Blaze 5k

701 S. Fourth St., 544-9846
4550 W. Iles Ave., 679-1625

The international YMCA organization, founded in Sweden in 1844, had only been in existence for 30 years when Springfield’s first Y opened. According to, the Y is a place where “families unite, friendships are forged, and goals are achieved” and maybe that’s part of the reason our voters chose it as this year’s best overall gym and fitness center. With the longstanding downtown location maintaining its loyal membership and the more recent Gus and Flora Kerasotes branch on the west side proving hugely popular with its state-of-the-art facility and equipment, the Y has a lot going for it.
Runners-up: Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness

Food Fantasies
1512 Wabash Ave., 793-8009

IT voters have no need to daydream about a place where they can get their hands on bulk grains, beans, flours, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, trail mixes, herbs and spices. Nor do they have to close their eyes and imagine a store filled with the smells of freshly baked bread (from the hands of master baker Jonathan Reynolds). No, there is no need to conjure up a utopian vision of organic produce, vitamins of all kinds, vegetarian and vegan ingredients and gluten-free options. No, all of this and more exists right here on the material plane at Food Fantasies – winner of this year’s Best Health Food Store.
Runners-up: Hy-Vee, Old Capitol Farmers Market

SOAK Nails Massage Spa
2963 Lindbergh Blvd., 546-3821

The “Visitor Posts” section of SOAK’s Facebook page is teeming with iPhone images of fresh manicures posted by satisfied customers and accompanied by glowing, straight-to-the-point comments such as “Love them!” and “Awesome job as always!” Stylists Jan and Kim come in for special praise over and over again. Nail care services offered by SOAK include manicures, pedicures, acrylic, nail repair and more.
Runners-up: BJ Grand Salon, Pink and White

T.C. Roesch at Roesch’s Gym
T.C. Roesch at Roesch’s Gym

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