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Home / Articles / Best Of / Best of Utah /  Best of Utah 2007 | Goods & Services Page all
Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2007 | Goods & Services Page all

Posted // June 11,2007 -

BEST BEDROOM SPICE
Jessie’s
Since Jessie’s opened its doors a year and a half ago, the upscale lingerie and accessories store has revolutionized its clientele’s bedroom antics. Part of that impact comes from its custom-fitted bras, fine lingerie, ticklers and vibrating cock rings. But manager Jessica Garcia’s secret weapon is her always-sold-out classes on striptease and pole dancing. A professional dancer teaches Garcia’s clients how to remove their clothing and do lap dances for their husband or partner. It’s all aimed, Garcia says, “for women who want to become more persuasive in the bedroom.” Partners aren’t allowed to attend. They get to enjoy the benefits at home. 6300 N. Sagewood Drive, Suite F, Kimball Junction, Park City, 435-655-0262, JessiesElegance.com

BEST HEARTWARMING CHOPPER SHOP STORY
Shaun Coon, Coonyz Customz
Shaun Coon, pictured below right, was born with a bad heart, but that didn’t stop him from starting a custom motorcycle shop where he designed and built outside-the-box bikes from the ground up, hammering out the metal shapes himself or redesigning Harleys and other bikes to each customer’s personal taste. His shop became famous among chopper lovers. Last year, the 28-year-old had a deadly heart attack and was kept alive only by machines while in an induced coma. Utah’s entire motorcycle community rallied for him, ran the shop and took care of Coon’s family until he was able to get a heart transplant months later. Coon is now back in his shop, where his chopper buddies still come around to help out for free and even do his yardwork. And the hand-built bikes are still incredible. Coonyz Customz, 8585 S. State, Sandy, 569-8585, CoonyzCustomz.com

BEST AUDIOPHILE INDULGENCE
Bang & Olufsen Gateway
You may already know the Danish make peerless furniture. Did you know this tiny Scandinavian nation also makes first-rate, designer audio and video equipment that looks as if it’s been pulled straight out of the future? This store’s the proof, and even if you can’t afford a stereo system climbing into the thousands of dollars, you just might feel inclined to spring for a $160 pair of ear-pods. Or just step into the store’s back room, which boasts one of the few B&O home entertainment systems on display in one luxurious studio display room. 357 W. 200 South, 532-0400, ttBang-Olufsen.com

BEST DOCTOR’S OFFICE AS ART STUDIO, OR VICE VERSA
Evolutionary Health Care
Most doctors’ offices make you feel as if you’re sitting on the borderline of a morgue. Not so at Evolutionary Health Care, which instead gives off all the vibes of a cocktail party just about to happen. Or, shall we say, an art exhibit in progress. As a partner with Phillips Gallery just across the street, it in fact is. It’s also a professionally staffed doctor’s office headed by the amiable Dr. Phil Haggerty. Exhibits change every month, from splashy prints to moody monograms and modern imprints. Even the waiting-room walls make you feel more at ease, a feeling very much needed when you’re about to get blood drawn. 461 E. 200 South, Suite 100, 519-2461

BEST WAKES
Starks Funeral Parlor
We’re all going to die. It’s true. We don’t, however, have to honor the dead in the same way. Starks Funeral Parlor offers mourners an opportunity to celebrate the lives of their loved ones with non-traditional services including a home with stainless steel appliances, aromatic meals prepared by a professional chef, fine wine and a vintage Cadillac Coupe de Fleur funeral coach (one of 12 ever made). Owners Jason and Shayneh Starks met in undertaker school where they cultivated an appreciation for personalized funerals with no sign-in book, long lines or stuffy speeches. Customers appreciate the chance to write a poem or memory for the deceased while a flat screen TV projects video memories that will never die. 3651 S. 900 East, 474-9119

BEST ONLINE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT STORE VIA OGDEN
HermanStreet.com
If you’re at all familiar with Amazon.com sellers, that vast array of second-party sellers riding the crest of Amazon’s name recognition, you might just know that Herman Street of Ogden offers one of the most reliable sources of games, software, movies and music at great prices and prompt shipping terms. Or just visit the store’s site direct at HermanStreet.com. Pay special attention to the store’s Shoplifter’s Corner, a treasure trove of goods at unbelievable prices. And don’t be surprised if they carry even the most obscure music title you’ve been unable to locate anywhere else, including the supposedly superior offerings of Salt Lake City merchants. Take that, elitists!

BEST SHOPPING FOR REINCARNATED WARHOL SUPERSTARS
Frosty Darling
Painter-turned-business-owner Gentry Blackburn admits that she’s always been fixated by the eccentric, glamorous troupe of bohemians who orbited artist Andy Warhol and eventually became known as The Andy Warhol Superstars. If dearly departed singer Nico, writer and actress Viva, or transsexual Candy Darling ever stumbled across Blackburn’s storefront studio and boutique which sells paintings, furniture, clothes and magnificent odds and ends produced by local artists, they would immediately notify Andy Warhol, throw an impromptu party and purchase every last bit of merchandise. 177 E. 300 South, 532-4790

BEST WEED
The Herb Shop
At the back of The Herb Shop hangs a portrait of natural medicine guru Dr. John Christopher. His herbal remedies also line some of the shelves of a store that features herbal gear from around the world. One-time Spanish Fork resident Christopher was known as much for his caring approach to patients as for his brushes with the law (and jail time) over approaches to medicine that displeased the medical establishment. The Herb Shop provides free health classes, promotes raw food diets and offers a comfortable, reassuring atmosphere of which Christopher no doubt would have approved. 160 S. State, Orem, 801-224-6900

BEST SELF-INDULGENCE
Pirate O’s
Enter Pirate O’s sprawling gourmet store in Draper, and you never want to leave. It’s a treasure chest of British and European high-end eats that staggers the mind. Here you can find an extensive range of pates and a gorgeous array of exotic cheeses. Whether it’s Italian gnocchis or British Jaffa cakes, what makes Pirate O’s stand out is its attention to getting the very best example of every kind of gourmet self-indulgence you possibly could want. 11901 S. 700 East, Draper, 572-0956

BEST SWORD PLAY
Utah Sword Academy
Fencing masters have a reputation for being short-tempered and impatient. Which makes Ukranian Sergei Gritsaev’s winning combination of charm and humor all the more impressive. Although his English can be knotted at times, his teaching is lucid and fluent, his love for the art utterly infectious. His academy’s been open a year, and already he claims a national silver medalist among his 20-odd members. Take a class and you might end up parrying a merciless 12-year-old’s attack. But age doesn’t matter in a game that’s as much mental as sweat-drenchingly physical. It’s also graceful. As Gritsaev puts it, what fencing comes down to is a conversation between two blades. 577-6183, UFencing.com

BEST BLACK-BOOT BONANZA
Vientos del Sur
Set up by two Argentine couples and a Uruguayan family two years ago, Vientos del Sur encourages the founders’ children to continue the folkloric traditions of their parents’ country of birth. Members of the group, which number 40-strong including students, can be seen dancing at everything from Living Traditions to the annual party held for Uruguay’s Independence Day. Importing their costumes from Argentina, the most expensive are the flashy soft-leather black boots central to their act. While the women swirl their voluminous skirts and wave handkerchiefs, the men duel not with knives but impressive displays of black-boot twisting and stamping virtuosity. 519-8905

BEST BET FOR WARREN JEFFS’ JAIL CD COLLECTION
Melodies From the Heart Vol. 2
Next time you stop by Colorado City’s dairy shop and pick up a bag of squeaky cheese—it squeaks between your teeth—check out CDs for sale by the till. Melodies From the Heart features songs about stalwart figures from polygamy’s recent history, including the long-running and popular Bishop “Uncle” Fred Jessop, who died in exile. Quaintly genteel New Age melodies, these songs are certainly different from those allegedly listened to by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. What he made of alt-metal band Godsmack’s self-proclaimed Wiccan lead singer Sully Erna’s wailing can only be imagined.

BEST SCHWARZENEGGER IMPERSONATION
Starry-Eyed Puppets
On a sabbatical until November when they’re planning on returning for a bumper Halloween show, Starry-Eyed puppeteers Mary Anne and Matt Heider and their writer/director partner George Plautz will be sorely missed this summer by kids who’ve thrilled to their performances since 1999. At their version of Pied Piper in the Sandy library last August, kids brayed at the corrupt mayor wheedling his way out of paying the Piper his due, while adults laughed at the Schwarzenegger accent and the judicious mentioning of “story-foreshadowing.” 272-7710, StarryEyedPuppets.BigStep.com

BEST HEATHEN HOBBY
The Beer Nut’s Wine Making Kit
The Beer Nut folks complain they haven’t had a Best of, although across the road, the Bayou has them by the boxload. True or not, it seems churlish not to celebrate those friendly folks down on State Street who’ve done so much to popularize making your own suds and vino. Admittedly, it ain’t cheap. You’ll need over $100 for a wine starter kit. But the thought of reaching out to pour yourself a glass of red wine from a bottle bearing your own label offers a pleasure second to none. 1200 S. State, 531-8182, BeerNut.com

BEST LEAF LOVER
Natalie Hewitt
While Hewitt was growing up, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and other outdoor activities were a family tradition. Out of that childhood also came a fascination for leaves. When her leaf collection got too big, she turned to preserving and framing them, and so, Leaf Décor was born. The 29-year-old’s framed works turn leaves into the most gentle art forms. Her pictures show leaves in many different lights. She leads you to appreciate not only colors and textures but also the leaf’s life cycle and how much like a human being it is—the skin, the veins, the skeleton. 864-6321, LeafDecor.com

BEST WITCH CRAFTS
Elemental Inspirations
You know it’s hard out here for a pagan in Zion. If you want to find a place that celebrates your distinctive brand of spirituality, try Sugar House. You’ll find tote bags, platters and other gear proudly sporting pentacles. You can pick up a carved broomstick. You’ll even be able to pick out that new wand—willow, walnut, rosewood just to name a few options—that you’ve been needing. Blessed be. 2152 S. Highland, 455-2165, Elemental-Inspirations.com

BEST GREEN THUMB
Engh Gardens
As nurseries go, Engh is as much about education and kids having fun as it is about selling fuchsias and peonies. Would-be gardeners can learn about lilacs, edible flowers, growing perennials for your cottage garden and caring for lavender through events offered spring through autumn. But it’s the kids club that draws the most appreciation, at least from gardening parents. Flower-garden story time, an Easter egg hunt, learning about butterflies; kids leave Engh with a hunger and love for nature that parents might otherwise struggle to instill. 8214 S. 700 East, Sandy, 748-0102; 6220 S. Highland, 277-3908; Della’s: 3985 S. 2000 East, 277-9338

BEST BLACK T-SHIRT CROWD
Dragon’s Keep
Manager Mike Osborne’s been into collectible fantasy card games for decades. He’s three months into the job of running the Provo-based, 19-year-old game store. What surprises him most is customer loyalty. The store’s been through three owners in the past couple of years. But despite the ups and downs, the role-playing gamers keep coming in, hanging out, talking and playing War Hammer fantasy battles on Wednesday or Magic the Gathering at get-togethers on Fridays. 260 N. University Avenue, Provo, 373-3482, DragonsKeep.com

BEST KINDER CARE
Kids Etc.
For 15 years, Kids Etc. preschool director Stephani Froisland has pursued the idea of a kindergarten as a place for education, enrichment and soul-shaping, rather than a glorified baby-sitting service. In the morning, kids focus on phonics, maths, music and art and, in the afternoon, dance, sports and drama. She pairs sweet, nurturing teachers with louder, more active ones. Come Christmas and the end of the school, the children put on extravagant performances that showcase not only the dance skills they’ve learned but also the close bonds teachers and students enjoy. 9825 S. 1300 East, 523-8500

BEST DOGGIE LOVE
Second Chance for Homeless Pets
Seven years after Rhonda Hughes started her campaign to find homes for dogs and cats on animal-shelter death row, the experience, she says, is “bittersweet.” Although she has a no-kill policy, sometimes animals are so sick from disease-ridden shelters, there’s no choice but euthanasia. And then there’s the stagnancy of the Christmas-to-taxes period when no one wants to adopt. But put that against the joy she feels each time a dog or a cat finds a new home, and it’s not hard to see why she soldiers on with her fund-raising to build a facility in Murray, where she’s currently renting kennel space. “We want to save them all,” she laughs, “and put ourselves out of business.” Open by appointment only, 232-2354, SecondChanceForHomelessPets. PetFinder.com

BEST SOUL HAIR
Expressions in Hair
Sandra Shipman grew up in California with a barber father and a hair-stylist mother. She’s been cutting hair in Salt Lake City for 20 years, and her salon, Expressions in Hair, rings with laughter and camaraderie. Expressions, which got a makeover itself this March, is truly one big family. Shipman extends that definition to clientele who’ve fallen on hard times. “I know they need help and can’t afford it,” she says. Shipman goes down to the shelter, picks up old clients, does their hair, feeds them and lets them hang out for the day. She’s like a wing to shelter under, a loving soul who understands what looking good does for the damaged soul. 6066 S. State, Murray, 261-0646, ExpressionsInHairSalon.com

BEST COOL PURCHASE
B. Ashworth’s
Can you put a price on cool? If $25,000 sounds reasonable to you, drive down to Provo’s Main Street where collector Brent Ashworth has for sale the tweed sports coat James Dean wore in Rebel Without a Cause, among a host of movie memorabilia that reminds you how they just don’t make stars like that anymore. 127 W. Center, Provo, 801-368-6001

BEST MUGGING
Rose Call
Rose Call is a split personality when it comes to pottery. On one hand, the 36-year-old potter produces homey batter bowls for pancake-making, along with jars resembling cut-crystal popular with those shopping for a wedding present. Add that to the cheery sense of humor on cups embossed with “I can handle it” and the abiding image is comfortable kitchen fare. But then there’s her little Satan-head bells, inspired by the expression “hell’s bells.” These bright red sculpted devils draw the curious at art fairs. The bells sit next to the batter bowls, managing to look both spicy and acerbic at the same time. Which begs the question, can satanic pancake plates be far away? 466-1635

BEST REAL SALT
Real Salt
Most Utah residents concern themselves with the highs and lows of Real Salt Lake soccer. Others, however, are more interested in the tasty effects of Real Salt, a product manufactured in Redmond, Utah. True, the Morton Salt Girl is more pleasing to gaze upon, but she’s promoting a substance filled with additives. Real Salt is unrefined, Kosher-certified sea salt—something you can feel good about when risking high blood pressure on a plate of delicious pasta. RealSalt.com

BEST LOCAL CLOTHIER
Jared Gold (Black Chandelier)
Black Chandelier always seemed like such a marvelous little secret. While Jared Gold has left his mark on New York City runways, he debuted his ready-to-wear Goth renaissance in Salt Lake City—a town typically two years behind fashion trends. Gold (who’s not a businessman, but a business man) opened his flagship store in Trolley Square before branching out to The Gateway, Fashion Place and River Woods shopping malls. He recently took Chandelier public with plans to open an additional 50 shops nationwide, officially ending our monopoly on his brilliant, bizarre talents. It won’t be long before Misfit Toys and giant horror puppet shows replace Leslie and the Lys as hipster-household names. 602 E. 500 South, 359-2426; 170 S. Rio Grande St., 456-0197; 6191 S. State, 268-0439; 4801 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-224-0728; BlackChandelier.com

BEST TACTILE ARTISANS
Saltgrass Printmakers
Many argue it’s just a matter of time before paper is irrelevant. Tell that to Stefanie Dykes and Sandy Branvard, founders/organizers of Saltgrass Printmakers, a local nonprofit dedicated to the art of printmaking. Located in a modest brown bungalow, Saltgrass provides interested community members with professional printmaking facilities, educational programs, networking opportunities and gallery exhibitions. Reach out and touch something tangible with upcoming classes on press-and-peel etching, mixed media and drypoint lithography. 2126 S. 1000 East, 467-1080, SaltGrassPrintmakers.org

BEST HELP ON WHEELS
SLC Bike Collective
Thanks largely to soaring gas prices, bicycles aren’t just for kids, athletes and hipsters anymore. The mainstream market is blowing up with nontraditional customers purchasing sweet rides for their daily work commute. But with new wheels come new responsibilities—and a whole boatload of questions: How do I fix a flat tire? Which routes are safest at night? Salt Lake City Bike Collective saves the day with courses designed to increase mechanical skills and confidence on the road. They also have a shop with tools for DIY repairs and used bikes available to purchase when your wheels finally give out. 2312 S. West Temple, 328-2453, SLCBikeCollective.org

BEST KICKS
Children’s Hour Bookstore
Despite seemingly endless construction blocking its entrance, the 9th & 9th boutique attracts hordes of shoe shoppers hip to its stash of unique heels, flats, sneakers, slippers and boots tucked amid pop-up books and pricey, handmade kiddie clothes. A unique selection of imported and boutique items range from high-end to college-student affordable. Stop in every month or so to see what new items fit your budget—and personal style. 914 E. 900 South, 359-4150, ChildrensHourBookstore.com

BEST CANOE PIT STOP
Sid Sports
For many, the idea of jetting around lakes in gas-guzzling vehicles is more offensive than voting for Bush. These greenies would rather visit Sid Sports to support their nonmotorized boating needs. Weekend warriors swear this is the place for kayaking, canoeing, rafting and sailing enthusiasts anxious to exercise ninja-stealth. 265 E. 3900 South, 261-0300

BEST ROCK & SMOKE SHOP
Aztec Highway
And when was the last time you got to watch a Dave Matthews Band video while shopping for, ahem, tobacco supplies? Aztec Highway’s got you covered the minute you walk through its age-restricted swivel doors and right into its bounteous collection of glass pipes and other paraphernalia, including Blunt Wraps, hookahs, vaporizers and rolling papers. This shop’s got most everything for the discerning smoker, who also might just be a rock & roller. 675 E. 2100 South, 466-2235

BEST HALLOWEEN HEADQUARTERS
Pib’s X-Change
The last weekend in October generates an outpouring of frenzied shopping comparable to Christmas Eve’s last-minute consumer chaos, with would-be Halloween celebrants scrambling for gear to assemble something, anything that might pass as a costume. Local consignment shops supply more creative options for the adults. Pib’s X-Change is especially ideal for those planning to attend a party or concert in disguise. With a hefty stock of ready-made outfits, myriad wigs, make-up and naughty-nurse apparel, there’s no reason anyone should leave without a passable get-up. Pib’s even opened its basement this season to accommodate demand for tutus, sunglasses and other scary stuff. Wicked! 2144 S Highland Dr., 484-7996

BEST RETRO THREADS
Grunts & Postures
While Grunts & Postures holds its own against competing consignment shops at Halloween, the popular thrift store enjoys year-round appeal. Loyal customers feared Grunts might lose its counterculture charm after ditching its original 300 South digs, but the newly relocated space is groovy and easy to navigate. Clean and bright, it houses row upon row of vintage shoes, clothing and accessories along with racks toting local band merchandise. Still lost? Owner Marguerite Casale and her loyal staff will help you achieve at least a hint of their stellar style. 579 E. 100 South, 521-3202

BEST TRASH AS TREASURE
Deseret Industries
Deseret Industries is a beacon of humanitarian aid. The LDS Church’s nonprofit thrift store provides job training and essential items for those in need. For some, however, the DI is not only a model of community service but also an obscure pop-cultural heaven on Earth. From VHS copies of The Burbs and Death Sport (with David Carradine) to resin grapes and A-Team books on tape, you’ll score plenty of nondenominational swag to fill your home—and heart. Ahhh. Various locations

BEST ARTFUL REBOUND
Kayo Gallery
Kayo never really went away—it just chilled in the balance until owner Kenny Riches could pick up the pieces and put his big-city gallery back together again. After Salt Lake City cops—armed with the irrational argument that all-ages music venues encourage under-age drinking—shut down concerts at Kayo, Riches transferred the visual art component to TRASA Urban Arts Collective in The Pickle Company, operating as the progressive nonprofit’s first-floor curator. While Kayo’s new space is small and narrow, the art on its walls runneth over with big ideas. Watch for future exhibits featuring works by former local Camilla Taylor and a showcase of metal necklaces cast out of nipples to support the fight against breast cancer. 177 E. Broadway, 532-4717, KayoGallery.com

BEST NEW-ISH INK SLINGERS
Eleventh Street Electric Gallery
They’ve been around the block as employees; now they’re masters of their own domain. Situated in what could pass for the lobby of a hip sushi bar, Eleventh Street’s pristine quarters indicate attention not only to detail but safety in spades. Skilled tattoo artists, the Sugarhood crew deserves props not just for turning you into a living, breathing work of art but for treating you with respect and not a drop of attitude. Entering a tattoo studio can be intimidating. Eleventh Street will put you at ease. 1994 S. 1100 East, 467-4418

BEST STAIRWAY TO COOLNESS
Paul Green’s School of Rock Music
God bless the child who’s got his own ax—the one who raises devil’s horns in loving tribute to Black Sabbath and AC/DC or channels Devo instead of whatever marginally talented pop idol is currently clogging terrestrial airwaves. Since 1998, Paul Green disciples have spread his word of hands-on instruction and baptism by live performance through the School of Rock. Local headmaster Steve Auerbach keeps the flame alive with not one but two Utah schools molding bright minds into the next Ozzy Osbourne (minus the whole bat-eating behavior). Auerbach’s instructors, most of whom play in local bands including Starmy, Form of Rocket and The Wolfs, are apparently so good they helped four students gain a spot on July’s West Coast All-Stars tour through 10 Western states where they will rock all night. Maybe party, but in a parentally approved way. 503 N. 400 West, 413-2894; 9083 South 255 West, 542-7179; SchoolOfRock.com

BEST GREASE MONKEYS
Glen’s Tires
Unlike its chain competitors who dazzle you with choices and price ranges but still seem to end up expensive with those little extras, Glen’s give it to you straight: the tires the staff considers best for your car at the best possible price. Just three guys—Shane, Kelly and Glen—cheery, laid back and hard-working. If it sounds like a sitcom, there is a touch of a gritty studio set about their premises on State Street just opposite Jordan Commons. These guys are the antithesis of the suburban experience—right down to being open on Sundays. 9534 S. State, 255-9488

BEST REASON TO DRIVE TO MOAB
WabiSabi
While recognized as a premiere destination for extreme hiking, biking, camping and climbing, Moab is also home to one of Utah’s most progressive nonprofit organizations. Intended to become a “community life force,” WabiSabi offers residents tools to promote positive change through two thrift stores (Thriftique and The Warehouse), workshops (Alternative Building II, Xeriscaping, Bike Repair) and special events including the annual spring fashion show. Held on Fat Tuesday, this year’s Mardi Gras-themed affair featured unique clothing lines fashioned out of recycled materials with proceeds benefiting WabiSabi’s outreach programs. Function and form? Now that’s something we can all get into. 350 S. 400 East, Moab, 435-259-9114, WabiSabiMoab.org

BEST INJURY PREVENTION
Salt Lake Running Co.
Pounding pavement 15 to 40 miles a week might be good for your heart, but in the wrong shoes, runners of all stripes risk sidelining injuries. Weekend warriors and serious athletes stay on track with Salt Lake Running Co., where staff members well versed in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and nutrition help customers find the right kicks, clothes and meal plans. The store’s Website also links to information about local running clubs, running paths and upcoming races. On your marks … 3142 S. Highland Dr., 484-9144; 1132 E. Draper Parkway, 676-0844; SaltLakeRunningCo.com

BEST GIRLIE MECCA
Got Beauty
If you’re a girl, or you have an ounce of girliness in you, Got Beauty can be downright dangerous. The full service “virtual” salon, with a brick-and-motor base in Sugar House, doubles as a veritable beauty candy store that features shelves of dangly earrings, nail polish, T-shirts, high-end hair products, makeup, books, lotion, purses, wallets, sunglasses, wigs, shoes (yes, shoes!), and scores of other marvelous knickknacks that can easily soak up your latest paycheck. 904 E. 2100 South, 474-2090, GotBeauty.com

BEST LIZARDS AT YOUR PARTY
Scales & Tails
People have grown bored, or frightened, of clowns blowing up balloon animals at birthday parties. A livelier alternative is to bring Scales & Tails in with its array of reptiles. The show specializes in reptile education and exhibition, so kids learn how to not drop the reptile on its head. Highlights include a skink—a creature that looks like a snake that sprouted mini-legs—a giant snake and a wisecracking host who insures everyone will leave smiling and with no detached limbs. 577-7182, ScalesAndTailsUtah.com

BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT
Free Shoes from Haight
For the shoe-a-holic in every woman, Haight offers a free birthday gift far superior to any restaurant’s free ice cream dish … shoes. Not a discount, but free shoes in designs so outrageous and creative that heads turn at every glance. These shoes also are ordered only once in limited quantities and never replenished. Because most shoes are vegan creations, right down to the glue, even animal lovers can buy these shoes to wear or eat! To receive a free pair of shoes for your birthday, just buy another pair anytime and sign up for the mailing list. 2126 S. Highland Dr., 487-7771; South Towne Mall, 572-2390

BEST IPOD WORKOUT
PodFitness.com
Finally, Utahns with an idea for staying fit, a rarity in the land where funeral potatoes and Jell-O are considered a healthy meal. This Sandy-based company is the leader in quality for iPod based fitness programs. The programs use the nation’s top trainers and individually designed programs to help people achieve the best results while working out. Programs can be designed for the gym, indoors or outdoors, and they play your music library in the background during the workout. If you already enjoy blocking out reality by listening to your iPod in public, this is a great way to enhance your workout.

BEST HIGH-ALTITUDE PRICK
Park City Ink Tattoo & Piercing
If you think that getting tattooed up in Park City lessens the machismo of it, remember this: You produce more blood at higher altitudes. Park City Ink has already become a welcome addition among the high-priced restaurants and tourist shops that populate Main Street. Now, families can return from their ski vacations with matching “Best Snow on Earth” tattoos. 255 Main, Park City, 435-649-4972, ParkCityInk.com

BEST PRICE BIKE GUY
Fuzzy’s Bicycleworks
Rider-owned and -operated, here’s where you’ll find local friendliness and small-town service. Owner Fuzzy “the Bike Guy” Nance is the area’s bike go-to guy who will help you trick out your mountain bike. Why fight the tourists in Moab? Support someone living the dream who wants to share his wild adventure with you. 640 E. Main, Price, 435-637-2453

BEST CANINE COUTURE
iPaw
This not your average mutt’s store. Not by a long shot. iPaw has all the accoutrements for the fashion-conscious pooch. Looking for a nice rhinestone-studded collar or a dish of doggy bon-bons? This is the place, so to speak. Pricey it is, but it’s also oh so cute. It does have items for the, ahem, bigger dog, but frankly, iPaw caters to the little yippy (yuppy) pups. 2146 S. Highland Drive, 355-0820

BEST WAY TO PAMPER WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE
Finnish Touch Day Spa Brazilian
The best part about getting a Brazilian is that you’ll want to show it off. Better yet, give one as a gift to a friend, and they’ll want to show off. Plus, men, pay attention: Have you noticed how women don’t like hair down there? Do you think they hate their bits and pieces being furry, but love your hairy buttocks? Wrong. Certainly there are advertisements aplenty for people who will yank your chain and pull out your hair. I just felt very comfortable in the prone position letting it all hang out with Lisa at Finnish Touch Day Spa. 2100 E. 1301 South, 582-3467, FinnishTouchDaySpa.net

BEST BLUE (& YELLOW & GREEN & POLKA-DOTTED) RIBBONS
The Lace Place
Whether it’s for wrapping up a package or decorating your little angel’s pigtails, the right color matters. If your local gift store’s selection leaves you unimpressed, trek to Sugar House, where there isn’t a color in God’s creation that you won’t find on a spool. Snip off your favorites by the yard, in plain colors or a variety of patterns. 2682 S. Highland, 474-2697

BEST RUSS MEYER BOOKSTORE
Red Light Books
The pioneer of American exploitation cinema would feel right at home in this brand-new downtown shop. The selection of books and magazines leans towards material that wouldn’t exactly make the cut at Deseret Books—the walls sport more cleavage than a Porky’s movie. With plans afoot to screen vintage B-movies in the back room, this is one risqué business that understands its roots. 179 E. 300 South, 355-1755

BEST TICKET OUTLET
Slowtrain Music
Even though the tickets that actually make it onto their menu board are limited at best, those that do surely make the trip into the hip music store well worth any extra expended energy. The Ticketmaster wars of the ’90s brought the issue to the forefront of the music industry—not to mention the egregiousness of various services fees that can quickly add up to a whopping 50-percent plus of actual ticket prices—and Slowtrain’s underlying philosophy toward ticket retailing is a surprisingly fresh and fairly revolutionary response. Charging a mere $1 per ticket, Slowtrain provides another good reason, as if one more is even necessary, for consumers to shop local and take one more stab at sticking it to the man. 221 E. Broadway, 364-2611, SlowtrainMusic.com

BEST REARVIEW CAPTIONS
Megaplex 20 at The District
It’s not easy for the hearing-impaired to keep up with current theatrical films, and the few that do make it into theaters with open captions don’t appeal to hearing people who prefer their movies without words on the screen. The new Megaplex 20 in South Jordan helps out with regular weekly showtimes in an auditorium equipped with rear-view captioning—essentially, allowing hearing-impaired patrons to view captions projected backwards in the projection booth onto a mirror that fits into the armrest cup holder. The theater’s other patrons might never even realize that they’re watching a film with value added. 11400 S. Bangerter Hwy., South Jordan, 304-4020; MegaplexTheaters.com

BEST SUBLET
Nobrow Coffee & Tea Co./Kenny Riches
It’s hard out there for a pimp, even harder for a Salt Lake City gallery owner whose attempts to support local art are foiled at every turn. Last summer marked the deaths of The Unknown Gallery and Kayo Gallery, the latter of which also served briefly as an all-ages music venue. Down but not out, owner Kenny Riches resolved to restore Kayo when funds allowed. To keep his big-city space out of corporate developers’ hands, Riches subletted it to Joe Evans, who needed a new home for NoBrow Coffee & Tea. Brown barely remodeled, adding only a slim espresso station. He also hosts art shows and free music showcases, preserving Kayo’s spirit until Riches brings back the real deal. 315 E. 300 South, 364-3448

BEST PLACE TO SCORE A TOM
Backbeats Drum & Backline
Local drummers choose this independent music store over corporate peddlers largely employed by annoying sales staff whose unwarranted suggestions taint the shopping experience. Backbeats’ Kelly, Shawn, Nate and Meter offer advise when requested—and each tip is gem. They’ll even address minor malfunctions for free. Whether you pound skins or simply love someone who does, stop in. They’ll make it worth you’re while. 6089 S. Highland Dr., 274-8400, BackbeatsDrumAndBackline.com

BEST FILL-IN-THE-BLANK PARTY FAVOR
Monster Mural
Private parties, street fairs and public gatherings around the country have been singing the praises of this unique Web business launched by Salt Lake City resident Collin Surles. Monster Mural creates massive tarps and wallpapers (up to 20 feet by 6 feet) and table-size sheets that can be selected from standard designs or customized for any occasion. The giant pieces then become participatory art projects for kids, who can bring them to life with paint. Here’s a monster no child need be afraid of. 296-6644, MonsterMural.com

BEST BIBLICAL PUPPETS
Puppet Partners
Sesame Street teaches plenty of important lessons—secular lessons, that is. When retailers across North America want to provide character puppets with a spiritual bent, they turn to Utah-based puppet-maker Carolyn Frank. Established in 1994, her Puppet Partners business expanded in 2000 to include products that represent biblical figures from David and Goliath to Daniel and the lion. The collection grows annually and can be ordered online or purchased at The Quilted Bear in Sandy. 1343 W. Flint Meadows Drive Suite 4, Kaysville, 877-262-4117, PuppetPartners.com

BEST BUILD-A-BABY WORKSHOP
Bountiful Baby
The days of the slightly stylized baby doll are no more. In the 21st century, your artificial tot must look straight-outta-the-birth-canal authentic. This Salt Lake City-based online-only retailer offers not only fully completed one-of-a-kind sculpted newborns—some complete with umbilicus—but also do-it-yourself kits and spare parts for repairing existing dolls. The results are either breathtaking or creepy—and probably a little bit of both. 746-4438, BountifulBaby.com

BEST FREE PAINT
Salt Lake Valley Household Hazardous Waste Reuse Centers
That splash of color you’ve wanted to add to a room needn’t cost you a dime. People bring cans of unused paint to the Health Department’s Hazardous Waste Disposal Centers, and if it doesn’t belong in a landfill and still has some life in it, Reuse Centers make it available to the public for free. Check it out as well if you’re in the market for pesticides or fertilizers. Why buy something that you’ll just be taking to a disposal center some day? 6030 W. California Ave.; 4646 S. 500 West; 10873 S. 7200 West; 313-6697, SLVHealth.org

BEST BARBERSHOP
Ray’s
City Weekly’s “Best Barber” find of 2006 just keeps getting better. Success of his barbering over gimmicks has required Ray Francom to add two additional chairs. The happy result is something of a multi-ethnic flare. Chair 2 is occupied by a recent arrival from Jamaica; Chair 3 by a woman. Both are equally skilled as the shop’s namesake at forgotten arts like a shave with a straight razor or a fade cut. Ray’s isn’t a leftover from an earlier generation but a resurrection. 1328 S. 2100 East, 583-7297, RaysBarberShop.com

BEST DOG MASSAGE
Cloud 10
“Loving, healing touch is beneficial to all beings,” touts the Website for this Park City-based massage therapy center. While they serve two-legged customers, Cloud 10 also offers unique services for canines, whether working dogs, show animals or lay-about family pets. In-home services are offered primarily to Summit County residents—travel surcharges may apply to out-of-area calls—but those fortunate enough to live close by could be proud owners of the most relaxed pooches in the state. 435-602-9379, Cloud10Massage.com

BEST IN-HOME BABY SIGN LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION
Brilliant Bundles
Just because your baby can’t talk, that doesn’t mean he/she can’t communicate. And just because it’s sometimes tough to get out of the house, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. This Bountiful-based operation offers courses for pre-talkers to learn American Sign Language—and if you can gather three or more friends, they’ll come out to your residence for your own personal “signing party,” with free instruction for the host. What’s ASL for “sign me up?” 2727 S. 625 West, No. C304, Bountiful, 750-5327

BEST QUAINT MALL
Lamplighter Square
Why can’t all malls be like the one affectionately known to east-bench residents as “liquor store square?” Small, quaint, and anchored by a state liquor outlet, the two-story stores of Lamplighter have balconies and look like small, peak-roofed houses. It feels like a neighborhood gathering place, and all the necessities are represented: a funky sushi place, Thai restaurant, salons, a chiropractor and an Indian food and gift store. What more could anyone want? Maybe the great Indian restaurant Bombay House, which has moved to a new location. 1615 S. Foothill Drive

BEST ORCHIDS
The Orchid Dynasty
Owner Shelly Huynh Lewis and husband Clinton Lewis grow many of the orchids they sell in a greenhouse at the back of the store that also specializes in bonsai trees trained by the couple. To ensure customers remain happy with spendy purchases, the owners educate buyers on how to care for the temperamental plants. They spent the last two years developing their own formula of orchid food designed to work best with Wasatch Front water. Orchid Dynasty also sells cut flowers and makes arrangements for weddings, but even in the more traditional florist role, they specialize in the exotic, from tropical arrangements to ikebana, traditional Japanese flower arranging. 1344 S. 2100 East, 583-4754, OrchidDynasty.com

BEST HANDMADE GIFTS
Blue Cockatoo
Before giving a present purchased at Blue Cockatoo, be sure to make up a story about the charming street fair or art festival where you found it. Much of the merchandise has, in fact, come from such digging, but the store’s owners have saved you the time by scouring nooks and crannies—many local—to find unique, handcrafted pieces. 1506 S. 1500 East, 467-4023

BEST SLC SOURCE FOR NATIVE LANDSCAPING
Grow Wild
The water-sucking West continues to be a haven for Kentucky bluegrass lawns and plenty of other flora with no real business being here. Your suburban yard can be a showcase for plants that belong in Utah, and you don’t need to go far to find them. This seasonal nursery (open March-October) offers literature on designing the optimal water-savvy landscape and a wide collection of shrubs, trees and grasses. Turn on your mind, and turn off the sprinklers. 372 E. 2100 South, 467-8660

BEST SURVIVAL INSTINCT
Spotted Frog
Keeping an independent bookstore alive in pricy Park City can’t be easy. But Spotted Frog has found a way. Named for another endangered species, Spotted Frog is also a wine bar with its own resident sommelier trained at the American Sommelier Association. The store brings ’em in with wine classes, occasional open Scrabble games, and, of course, books. Redstone Shopping Center, Kimball Junction, Park City, 435-575-2665, SpottedFrogBooks.com

BEST WHISKEY STILL IN THE MAKING
The High West Distillery
During prohibition, whiskey came to Park City hidden in the bottom of coffins. Now the city is set to be home to a legal still, likely the first ever in Utah. Parkite David Perkins has secured federal and state permits to set up a large pot still imported from Germany. He beat out other contenders in a competition, winning the right to use historic property on Park Avenue near the Town Lift. He plans to make bourbon, scotch, vodka and rye at The High West Distillery, where patrons can judge results in person. Stay tuned.

BEST RECYCLED SKI FURNITURE
Rhinebeck’s
When the slopes are bare and the mountains are green, how do you stay in that downhill state of mind? Maybe your living room should sport a coat rack made entirely from skis. Or maybe you’d enjoy decorating your deck with an old lift chair. Take a trek to Kimball Junction, and let the spirit of winter be with you all year long. Redstone Shopping Center, 6400 N. Hwy 224, Suite E2, Kimball Junction, Park City, 435-655-3110

BEST KNITTING BEE
Piper’s Quilts & Comforts
Unless you have mounds of blue hair and the ability to trace your lineage to the pioneers, it’s difficult to find a knitting spot in Utah to feel comfortable. At Piper’s—located inside a charming renovated home in Sugar House and run by a team of mother, daughter and daughter-in-law—everybody’s welcome. 1944 S. 1100 East, 484-5890, PipersQuilts.com

BEST FURNITURE SALES PEOPLE
Campo Home
There are few experiences worse than trying to pick out a couch and feeling like you’re on a used car lot with slimy high-pressure salesman at your elbow. At Campo, customers are free to stroll through the store’s mazelike rooms in peace, examining furniture imported from India, Asia and Mexico. A helpful and knowledgeable employee will be there when needed, but not before. 2855 Highland Dr., 474-1240, CampoHome.com

BEST SMELLS
Scentsations Lotions & Oils
The store sells every manner of body-care products, which customers can have custom scented from a long bank of bottles along the back counter. Scents can also be bottled by themselves for use in aromatherapy. Scentsations is great shop to find gifts for women that can’t be found anywhere else, like goat’s milk soap or boiled wool slippers imported from Peru. The store has a girly interior but carries lines for men as well. 1316 S. Foothill Drive, 364-0168, ScentsationsLotionsOils.com

BEST BIG BOX BUSTER
Betsy Burton, King’s English
The mild-mannered owner of the cozy book lovers paradise King’s English at 15th & 15th, is also the feisty public face of Local First Utah, an organization dedicated to banishing chain stores from our midst, helping locally owned small businesses survive, and letting all of us enjoy a life more fulfilling than bad food, bad architecture and goods indistinguishable from Anytown, USA. Burton helped launch Local First after national book chains set up shop in Salt Lake and nearly put her out of business. King’s English has bounced back since, proving the battle can be fought. 1511 S. 1500 East, 484-9100, KingsEnglish.com; P.O. Box 576, Salt Lake City, 828-0676, LocalFirst.org

BEST O2 INFUSION
Cactus & Tropicals
Wandering the winding paths of C&T, breathing in tropical scents while lingering over water fountains, is like a mini island vacation. The store also has a perfect setup for those who want to bring the island home with them but lack a green thumb. Employees will come to your business weekly to water, clean prune and fertilize your plants. The store also offers classes in feng shui, orchid care and Xeriscaping. 2735 S. 2000 East, 485-2542; 12252 S. Draper Gate Dr. (1325 East), Draper, 676-0935, CactusAndTropicals.com

BEST STICKING IT TO THE MAN
Free Speech Zone
Ask most in Sugar House about Joe Hill, and you’re likely to get a blank stare. Never mind that the American labor hero was executed around the corner at what was then the state pen, now SugarHouse Park. No such problems at Free Speech Zone. Store owners know their history and will sell you posters commemorating Hill and other labor martyrs made, sweatshop free, in the most left-leaning enclaves of the country. More than a store to buy clothing to label yourself one of the goodies, Free Speech Zone is the spot to plan protests, screen progressive films and generally plot the revolution. 2144 Highland Dr., 487-2295, FreeSpeech-Zone.com

BEST CHICKEN WALKER
Karen Bayard
The specialty of Bayard’s Heart 2 Heart Pet Services is dog walking. The New York transplant takes dogs on off-leash hikes year-round in the canyons, but her pet-walking and -sitting service is seemingly open-ended.She also cares for house plants and, recently, chickens. A trained masseuse, Bayard is now looking for ways to incorporate animal touch therapy into her sitting services. 2981 S. 2300 East, 487-0263, H2HPets.com

BEST SILK
Sakura Saigon
The artisans working for this Utah operation are largely in Vietnam, creating silk fashion accessories for import. The Sugar House showroom shows off handbags, scarves, shoes and ties beautifully and intricately embroidered. In addition to silk, the store features wooden jewelry boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl and bamboo curtains. Sakura Saigon also will customize orders to meet customer requests for color or design. 2682 S. Highland Dr., 466-3853, SakuraSaigon.com

BEST LEGAL UPPER
The O2 Oxygen Spa
Go in for a simple pedicure, and you’ll get at least a contact high—the oxygen spa is so filled with the stuff. Better yet, plop into an anti-gravity chair for a 20-minute oxygen session, or one of the many other services, ranging from massage to B12 treatments, hot-stone therapy and herbal body wraps. Soon, the inversion will take over the valley for good, and we’ll all walk around in pressurized bubbles. Until then, O2 is your best bet for a spot of fresh air. 2150 S. Highland Dr., 428-3020, TheO2SLC.com

BEST BUILDING MATERIAL
Green Building Center
If you must build a McMansion, at least build it using products that won’t destroy the environment. The Green Building Center sells soy- and organic-based paints, paint thinners made of citrus peel, recycled glass tile, beautiful artisan-made sinks, bamboo lumber and floors made of salvaged wood. There, now you can sleep at night after you make the 30-mile commute home in your SUV. 1952 E. 2700 South, 484-6278, GreenBuildingCenter.net

BEST SPICES
India Unlimited
The name is truth in advertising. India Unlimited is a one-stop shop for everything Indian from groceries, to dresses, to precooked and frozen meals, to videos from Bollywood. Indian music is always wafting through the store mixing with scents from cooking. The best thing about India Unlimited, however, is the collection of hard-to-find spices, curry pastes and oils. If you are working from a recipe that calls for ingredients that can’t be found anywhere else, they are probably here. 1615 S. Foothill Drive, 583-3300,

BEST DOORKNOBS
Silver Star Hardware
The last stop for your home remodeling, here you’ll find bathroom towel bars shaped like tree twigs, plus hinges, outdoor art and nice knockers in baroque and lion head varieties. The store additionally carries odds and ends like a collection of vintage plastic motel keys. Silver Star is also the only hardware store we know with a coffee bar and a “peace” section, featuring peace symbols in stained glass, rusted metal, banners and flags. 2327 E. 3300 South, 487-1117, SilverStarHardware.com

BEST MY-KID-IS-SMARTER-THAN-YOURS TOY STORE
Tutoring Toy
Ever see a kid playing with something that looked like it would be more fun for an adult than an 8-year-old? Well, Tutoring Toy is probably where it came from. Ignoring the action figures and video games of the chain stores, they specialize in toys specifically designed to help kids learn while they play. With a knowledgeable staff ready to answer any and all questions, it’s one of the friendliest stores around, too. 1400 Foothill Dr., No. 108, 581-1060, TutoringToy.com

BEST RACE TUNES
Sports Den
There aren’t many places where you can get a real race tune for your skis, but Sports Den in Foothill Village sports two World Class ski techs. Mark (Ho Ho) spent time on the World Cup circuit, tuning skis for the U.S. ski team racers. Brother Matt opened the well known Arcs ski shop in Park City. But the two are artists of the edges, not businessmen, so they ended up closing their shop and coming to the valley. A race tune will improve your skiing exponentially, even if you don’t race. Skis will be easier to turn and control. Get the job done by Matt and Ho Ho before you hang ’em up for the season; you will thank yourself when the lifts start again in the fall. 1350 Foothill Dr., 582-5611, SportsDen.com

BEST SHRINE
Super Saigon Market
Look to your right as you walk in. A gold leaf Buddha sits in an alcove on the floor, surrounded by fresh flowers, fruit and burning incense. Feel free to take a stick, light it and place it into the sand-filled container. Then, stroll around the overflowing shelves. Fresh sesame oil is cheaper than in the supermarkets. Try some of the many fish sauces and pastes, especially the sour fish paste and holy basil paste; they’re addicting condiments. There’s a large selection of beautiful Oriental dinnerware at very low prices. Best food buys: whole barbecued duck, $11; traditional Vietnamese sandwich of mystery meat and veggies on a crispy hoagie roll, $2, also addictive. 1850 W. 3500 South, 975-7244

BEST OGDEN BOOKS & GAMES
The Bookshelf
As the 21st century matures, it’s abundantly clear that books are unfortunately becoming more and more the domain of online retailers and chains. It’s immensely refreshing, then, to come across a store where science fiction and fantasy titles thrive among games, comic books, obscure VHS titles for rent, and a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. That’s the Bookshelf of Ogden, your one-stop shopping for used Philip K. Dick titles, more than 14,000 cult and specialty movie titles, and even a tabletop game and Frank Miller graphic novel if you so choose. After more than 25 years in the business, some 80 percent of book titles here are used and therefore highly affordable for word hounds of all types. 2432 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-4752

BEST AFFORDABLE ALTERATIONS
Double Save
Got a pair of pants you want shortened? A skirt to be hemmed? A jacket you want taken in? Here’s a place that does superb alterations at great prices. Shortening or hemming a pair of men’s or women’s pants is only $7, doing a full skirt will cost just $10. Of course, there are always drawbacks to such a good deal. The owner does not speak great English. She talks in a kind of fast yelling tone, as if angry; and if she’s on the phone when you come in, she will ignore you until her conversation is finished. So what? She can tailor your jeans to make them fit perfectly. 1839 W. 3500 South, 972-5397

BEST LAYTON MUSIC STORE
Music to the Maxx
Aside from the Hill Aerospace Museum and the wondrous “PorcuPig,” (see the March 12 issue of Weekly World News), the distance between Salt Lake City and Ogden may be dotted with precious few roadside attractions. But Layton does have one fine music store in Music to the Maxx, especially in light of the dwindling offerings of Salt Lake City music merchants. Though cast in the grand strip-mall tradition, this is a store that seemingly has it all, from karaoke to country and classical and Christian to pop and rap. A coming expansion will see its offerings branch out into Apple products as well. 763 W. Antelope Dr., Layton, 801-776-1642

BEST REASONS TO BUY A BIKE
Taylor’s Bike Shop
At this family-owned business of 20 years, you’ll find an astonishing inventory of competitively priced Diamondback, Giant and Raleigh brands. You’ll get five free tune-ups with every new bike purchase, and any purchase over $350 includes an accessory kit. Plus, Taylor’s repair shop services all makes and models. But why listen to us? On its Website, you’ll see “10 Incredible Reasons to Make Us Your Choice.” No. 8 includes: “Studies have shown that people who purchase our bikes live longer, have brighter smiles, are promoted quicker, encounter fewer red lights, are 17 times more likely to win the lottery, produce smarter children and, of course, are infinitely more physically appealing.” 3269 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville, 969-4995; 1520 N. Freedom Blvd., Provo, 801-377-8044, TaylorsBikeShop.com

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