I started guitar this summer, as well.
The brand of acoustic guitar I got was "Glen Burton"; I'm not sure if it's a good brand (probably not a high-end brand though), but it seems to work fine so far. My guitar teacher said it was pretty good (idk if he meant good in general, or good for beginner, though). It was $70 dollar on sale (new). o.O;One complaint might be that the strings are a bit high over the fret, so pressing them down can be a pain for a few days...but your fingers build up and then it doesn't hurt so much.
I suggest browsing some general stores since looking directly for one brand might be hard... but I think you SHOULDN'T focus on musical instruments specialty stores because stores like that probably have good brands and cost more..
But since it's for your best friend, is it a brithday present or something? Maybe if you've been eyeing a specific guitar for him/her, you could save up for it?
Good luck with finding them a guitar!