Here are the nominees for the Best Shop category for the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards (2AWA).

Goodbye pay-packet, hello merchandise:

Sometimes we like to pretend to be filthy hippies, and care about things like globalisation, and consumerism, debt and excessive consumption. But then we see all the shiny things for sale in these shops, and all those thoughts go right out the window as we rush towards the pretties with our arms wide open.

(nominees after the jump)

A. Wanda Harland

Yes, the owner of this store, Martha, does write for the Wellingtonista, but we are not holding that against her, because Wanda Harland is such a lovely shiny new shop deep in the heart of Petone. We like that the emphasis in the shop is on quality Kiwi creations (including the work of the wonderful Sam Broad), and only stocks imported stuff when you can’t get anything like it in NZ. Colourful products stacked high on white shelving makes the place lovely to linger in, and sitting on a fat boy drinking a Foxton Fizz after some power shopping is our idea of lovely.

B. Eyeball Kicks

Remember that hotrod you always wanted? You know the one with the custom chrome and hand-painted pinstriping. You were gonna cruise around all day with your skull-tattooed arm out the window, your hotrod pin-up mama/daddy beside you, on your way to the tiki bar for a zombie, with The Cramps blasting out the stereo. Yeah.

Well Eyeball Kicks is the physical embodiment of that dream of yours. They stock all the Poster Pop artists, local pop art and the best tiki mugs in the world. And yes, Mitch O’Connell did do their logo.

C. Wineseeker

wine makethIf you’re around the Cuba/Willis quarter, it’s a relief to know that when it’s time for a BYO dinner you’re not held at the mercy of Starmart (who might not even be able to sell you wine if there’s noone over the age of 18 working), tiny dairies or the big queues at New World. Of course, saying “it’s a relief” is a terrible way of expressing the lovely personalised service available at Wineseeker. Their shelves are overflowing with all kinds of deliciously drinkable treats, helpfully labelled by taste and not variety, with clearly marked areas for “Under $20” so you don’t have to embarrass yourself by asking where the cheap stuff’s at. Instead, you can try to stump the very knowledgeable staff by asking for odd recommendations, or you can try whatever they have available for tasting that day. Not only that, but they also run regular events, running the gamut from meeting eccentric European Counts who make champagne, to Singles’ Night Wine-Tastings. Cheers Wineseeker!

D. PopUp

From $1,000+ giclée prints by Kozik et al to small cardboard boxes with anthropomorphic spray cans in them, PopUp has it all. After a slow start this little store for pop art has taken off. It now stocks local artists, many of whom have decorated the nearby “graffiti alley”.

It’s now a candy store for pop art-loving adults and kids who like the “weird-looking” toys. Also remember to take a peek inside the plan chest by the door for even more prints, original animation cells and paintings.

E. Unity Books

Once you get past the big chain bookstores of varying quality there are many proud independent booksellers scattered about Wellington. And the foremost of these is Unity Books. We ask the question seriously: if you can’t get it at Unity, is it really worth reading?

For a handy map of where to visit all these shops, use the “bestshop” tag on Zoomin. Spend up large before voting opens on November 19.