Best Geek Fix
Dr. Volts Comic Connection
Dr. Volts is a fixture of the local geek culture in Salt Lake City and surrounding parts. On any given Wednesday, you’ll find Salt Lake City geeks—including X96 Radio From Hell’s resident geek, Kerry Jackson, pictured above at the store—filing in and out, picking up their weekly drug of choice: comics. Dave Landa and his staff are friendly, knowledgeable and will get just about anybody hooked on comics. And for those of you buying digital comics, you can still support your local store—just click the link on the Dr. Volts website.
2043 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-6114, DrVolts.com
Best Local-Pop Gallery
Caleb and Hillary Barney have already established themselves and their gallery/apparel store as one of the biggest hotspots in the city for experimental and local-culture artwork, but this past year, the gallery expanded on two fronts. First, it became a shop for the alternative Utah Jazz fan with the now infamous “Jerry” T-shirts that have been popping up at games and on TV. Second, it’s expanded to include books and literature of artists and designers from around the country that normally wouldn’t have a spot in a Utah book store. We can only wonder what they’ll add next.
15 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-9075, www.BlondeGrizzly.com
Best Store for the Four-Footed
The Dog’s Meow
More than simply a pet (sorry, “companion”) supply store, The Dog’s Meow goes several extra miles for the welfare of our furry friends. In addition to providing storefront space for local nonprofit adoption groups, it also hosts donation drives to help feed mouths at places like Salt Lake County Animal Services and holds free quarterly nutrition seminars to ensure that your cats and dogs eat healthier than you do (the staff also dispenses nutrition info daily). And don’t forget the impressive array of food and “fun stuff” on the shelves—if PetSmart is Walmart, then The Dog’s Meow is Whole Foods.
2047 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-468-0700; 12215 S. 900 East, Draper, 801-501-0818; DogsMeow.com
Best Musical Wood
Violin Making School of America
The art of handcrafted violins dates back to the 1560s in Northern Italy, but gone are the days of student apprentices. Now, many would-be violinmakers venture to Utah’s Violin Making School of America—it was America’s first school of its kind, and is one of just three other established American schools. Students come from all over the world to attend classes in the three-year program. They learn to whittle wood into something that sounds as beautiful as it looks, all while surrounded by wood shavings and the smell of linseed oil. And, most important of all, these students are keeping this art alive.
304 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-209-3494, VMSA.net
Best Acting-Based Personal Coaching
The most important tenet to improv comedy is saying yes. This is also the most important part of everyday communication, says Valerie Kittel, who hosted the workshop Re-training Your Mind One Improv at a Time at the Salt Lake Acting Company in 2011. Her company, Conscious Speaking, takes a performance-based approach to communication, teaching laypeople the riches of theatrical training as applied to life’s everyday moments. As William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players.”
Best Bold Bras
Pretty You Boutique
Pretty You Boutique drew ire in conservative Kaysville for its window display of—gasp—women’s underwear and nightgowns! Owner Christy Allen—also a major in the Army Reserve—opened the store to focus on giving women a wider range of bra selections than one can find at Victoria’s Secret or department stores. She stuck fast against requests to cover her shop’s windows, and has gained a strong clientele who now can’t live without Pretty You’s selection of bras for women on every point of the size spectrum. Thanks for the support!
11 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-682-8959, PrettyYouBoutique.com
Best Yoga Cover Up
Yoga pants don’t leave much to the imagination. While some women might like to flaunt what their mamas gave ’em in down dog, others find a bit of modesty preferable. The Park City provider of all things yoga clothes has got these women’s backs—er, bums. Flowmotion yoga founder Sarah Tomson, who lives in Park City, started the company in 2009, and has since expanded the line of asset-covering yoga skirts to include five varieties. The newest in the line, Trixie, is “equal parts moxie, foxy and a dash of adventure.”
Best Bike Mechanic on the Move
Flying Sprocket Mobile Bicycle Repair
Sometimes the logistics of getting a broken-down bicycle—or the household’s entire fleet—to the bike mechanic is every bit as difficult as getting a dead car to the auto shop. Grease monkeys don’t generally do on-site work, but, luckily, now a member of the chain gang does. Troy Michaud brings his van to wherever a two-wheeler lies dead and gives it life anew—be it in Park City, where he is based, or in Salt Lake County.
Best Hidden Used-Book Harvest
The Book Garden
Who knew there were so many books in Bountiful? The Book Garden has packed its 4,000 square feet with books for every taste—from vintage collectibles to the latest kids, teen and adult best-sellers. Occasional huge sales mark down all adult fiction titles to $1, making it almost too easy to turn your “to read” list into a wheelbarrow full of books.
2 N. Main, Bountiful, 801-292-2818, BookGarden2.com
Best Way to Mind Your Mind
Mindfulness for Beginners, Golden Braid Books
One’s personal journey—or as mythologist Joseph Campbell puts it, The Hero’s Path—is one that is harder and harder to get on with each passing decade, what with big expensive toys (iPad, for example) to tinker with or Facebook to noodle on. Technology is one hurdle, one’s mind is another—and it might be the hardest to overcome. The sanctuary for conscious living, Golden Braid Books, can help with that. Since January, it’s presented a monthly educational series—facilitated by Tara Schofield—to discuss Jon Kata-Zinn’s Mindfulness for Beginners.
151 S. 500 East, 801-322-1162, Salt Lake City, GoldenBraidBooks.com
Best Luthier for Jazzbos
At many a concert during the Jazz SLC series, hosted by the GAM Foundation, beautifully handcrafted guitars are on display in the lobby. Made in Cache Valley by Ryan Thorell, the gems include arch tops, flat tops, acoustic and electric guitars. But the lobby isn’t the only place they can be spotted: The biggest names in jazz guitar—including Frank Vignola, who’s been through town the past two seasons—are wont to pick Thorell’s six-strings.
Best RoadKill Procurement
Not a hunter? Don’t even know how to operate a gun? Want some free meat? No problem. During the winter, Highway 40 is lined with freshly plowed deer for your pickin’ and eatin’. You can eat like your hunter-gatherer ancestors did, without all the work. A sharp knife, a tarp, a cooler and a rudimentary knowledge of how to field dress (look it up online) are all you need. You’ll also need to get a DWR permit (or call the local authorities) before you get started.
Highway 40 (from Heber to Vernal)
Best Savvy Fashion
Suzanne Holifield started her clothing business in 2003 with nothing more than some design ideas and a few patterns. Over the years, she’s built herself up by utilizing craft fairs, online retailers, local models and her persistence to make a career out of her unique creations. Now, Sorry Clementine is a local must-have, with one-of-a-kind creations coming out of the woodwork monthly, only to be snatched up within days (or immediately off the runway after their debut) by the fashion-conscious wishing to stand out from the rest. Sorry shoppers, you gotta be fast to catch Clementine.
Best Solar Cookery
Solar Cooking Class, Wasatch Community Gardens
Baking in the summer can be sweltering. And it’s not always convenient to naked-bake—wearing only an apron—with roommates around. To help with the predicament, Wasatch Community Gardens hosts a workshop every year in July to teach folks how to bake using the sun. Lasagna, winter squash, quiche, pies—the sky is the limit with a handy solar oven. But the professional contraptions are pricey, so facilitators Jonathan Krausert and his wife, Julie Nelson—who have a decade of experience with the things—not only teach students how to use them, but also how to make inexpensive, recycled versions of their own.
Best Haunted Attraction
For years, that rundown cement factory on the way into downtown Salt Lake City served as nothing more than a dumping ground for construction materials and a refuge for the homeless. But throughout 2011, the property saw a transformation from a useless reminder of lost industry to that of a massive haunted attraction. Upon completion, the Fear Factory automatically earned the recognition for being one of the biggest attractions of its kind in the United States, with a grand opening receiving attention from media and horror fans alike. Casting calls have already begun for the 2012 season.
666 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, FearFactorySLC.com
Best Green Clean
Eco-Star Green Cleaning
Eco-Star is a green cleaning company that is passionate about both the environmentally friendly cleaning products it uses and about doing the dirty work. The company does regular or one-off residential and commercial cleanings so folks can keep their hands, and the Earth, clean.
999 Murray-Holladay Road, Suite 109, Murray, 801-214-9734, EcoStarCleaning.com
Best Cure for Taking Life Too Seriously
Cabin Fever Cards & Gifts
Cabin Fever is 30 years old this year, but it still seems like a young and irreverent prankster—like that crazy co-worker who has quirky wind-up toys in his desk drawer and will pull them out while you’re trying to have a serious conversation with him. Cabin Fever’s eclectic cards and ribald novelties make it a fun and therapeutic stop. It’s a great place to thumb through curious books, squeeze rubber duckies, wind up robots and fantasize about sending an obscene greeting card to a secret crush.
Trolley Square, 602 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-0828, CabinFeverCards.com
Best Recycling of Bad Art
Kat’s Creepy Art
There’s only one way you can truly enjoy a bad painting you’re apt to find in a hotel room or your grandmother’s bathroom: if it’s been repurposed by Kat Martin. For a modest price, she’ll seamlessly add in your favorite characters from all the best geek franchises. No tranquil landscape is safe from Star Wars, Doctor Who and everything in between.
Water Wellness Center
In Masaru Emoto’s Messages from Water, and described in the metaphysical film What the Bleep Do We Know?, there are photos of water crystals that have been changed by attaching a written word to the bottle overnight—from a fractured, ugly design under the phrase “You make me sick, I will kill you” to a beautiful one under “Love and appreciation.” The film poses the question: If our bodies are approximately two-thirds water, how do our thoughts affect us at a molecular level? With the ionized alkaline- and mineral-infused, steam-distilled water sold at the Water Wellness Center, you might not even need to put love labels on your H2O. The center also sells accessories to filter pure, clean water at home. However, they’d probably be happy to write whatever message a customer wanted on their container.
3727 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-904-2042; 3440 S. 5600 West, West Valley City, 801-967-9669; WaterWellnessCenter.com
Best Magic Fingers
Julieta Hernandez, Matrix Spa & Massage
At the end of 2011, Julieta Hernandez celebrated 10 years as founder and owner of Matrix Spa & Massage by throwing open her doors and giving any and all free 10-minute massages. Hernandez understands that for the committed massage client, deep-tissue massage—her specialty—is the route to both a healthier relationship with your body and unknotting those really deep, troublesome muscles. Along with a steam room and massages, she offers a meditation room to escape the stresses of everyday life. For this oasis opposite Trolley Square, we lift our carrot juice in gratitude.
533 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-799-4999, HotOilMassage.us
Julieta Hernandez, Matrix Spa & Massage
Best for Joints
Lamont Alignment Clinic
As we age, the word “joint” ceases to have a positive connotation to a pot cigarette and becomes more grimly associated with body parts whose pain and stiffness sends us hobbling to orthopedic surgeons. Before going under the knife to replace a knee or hip, consider scheduling a series of deep-massage treatments with the Lamont clinic to realign your skeletal frame, reducing pain and possibly even the need for surgery. The professional clinical program, created by Salt Lake visionary Taylor Lamont, is life-changing and every bit as mood-altering as the joints of yesteryear.
420 E. South Temple, Suite 240, Salt Lake City, 801-990-0000, LamontClinic.com
Best Special Delivery
If you find that the bigger your baby bump gets, the less excited you are about going to a hospital to have your baby, then BetterBirth’s focus on natural birth may be for you. This group of local midwives and their students serve Orem, Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Magna. They attend home births, facilitate births at their spa-like Bella Natal Birthing Suites and specialize in water births. If money is an issue, expectant parents can save big by working with well-supervised student midwives. For most moms, birth is a normal, healthy process, and BetterBirths works hard to give parents more control over the birth experience.
Multiple locations, 801-225-5668, BetterBirth.com
Best In & Outside the Box
Mail Masters Utah
In this day and age, we all need a secretary, and Mail Masters Utah is the closest thing to having one. Locally owned and operated, Mail Masters accepts copying jobs, including high-quality, large-format printing up to 44 inches wide. There’s a digital-photo kiosk, and the helpful Mail Masters employees can make photo prints as well as photo DVDs and greeting cards. If you need to send a gift, they will sell you one, then pack and mail it. And, of course, they’ll rent you a mailbox so you’ll stop in and see them every few days. They’re even good guys when it comes to the environment—using a cardboard shredder and biodegradable packing materials. Pretty much the only thing they don’t do is take dictation.
3953 S. Wasatch Blvd., Holladay, 801-998-8670, MailMastersUtah.com
Best Local Salt Scrub
While raising eight children, Marcia whipped up a natural mineral exfoliant with her own recipe of salt and oils, thinking her salt scrub would make a nice holiday gift. After feeling the “magic,” her gift recipients came back asking where to buy more. Thus began her cottage business. She uses Redmond Real Salt (mined from a rock-salt deposit near Redmond, Utah), mineral oil, aloe, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, vitamin E and various fragrance oils to achieve the aroma of cucumber melon, lovespell, pearberry, mint and lavender. Use the magic and enjoy your glow.
Best Cheapo Depot
Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Thrift Store
Utah’s network of Deseret Industries stores—along with shops like Savers, Value Village and Thrift Town—suggest Utahns are hell bent on a good deal on clothing and household goods. And now for the homebuilder and remodeler, there’s a thrift store selling everything from household items to furniture to appliances to quality used and surplus building materials. Proceeds help Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity build homes while reducing the amount of materials sent to the local landfill. Nationally, ReStores keep more than 950 tons of materials out of the landfill each year. To donate materials, volunteer time and/or become a customer, contact the store.
1276 S. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 801-263-0136, HabitatSaltLake.com
Best Hoarder Hangout
The NPS Store is a salvage and freight-recovery company that sells its products in two stores in Salt Lake City, and online via eBay and Amazon. It has two stores, one that sells grocery/household goods and another that sells industrial items. The grocery store is organized like a regular grocery store, but prices are shockingly low because of damage or upcoming expiration dates. NPS also has a decent fabric section and even a dollar store. The building with industrial products requires more time and patience for rummaging through items. But if you love to shop as much as you love low prices, your inner hoarder will be rewarded.
1600 S. Empire Road, Salt Lake City, 801-972-4133; Industrial Store: 1601 S. Empire Road, Salt Lake City, 801-886-8285, NPSStore.com
Best Cheap Book Fest
The Library Store Book Stand
Every year, the Salt Lake City Public Library’s supporters, the Friends of the City Library, organize two sales of the library’s surplus stock. The sales in April and October can start out as a fight to the death as everyone searches for quality goods. But when you consider the book stand outside the Library Store that the organization maintains, you wonder what’s the point of all that huffing and puffing. Along with remarkably cheap, contemporary books in excellent condition for sale, all sorts of curios can be found, be they a weighty Dickens tome or a Yasujiro Ozu DVD.
210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-524-8238, SLCPL.org
Best Intelligent Designer Theory
It does seem a shame that when your bod is the hottest it will ever be—when you could actually rock designer styles with conviction—you may be the brokest you will ever be, working at an entry-level job, paying off your car and student loans. Hence, Name Droppers. Founder Tiffany Colaizzi’s goal is to bring savvy buyers and sellers together. At either of these consignment stores (the Parleys Way location is more of an outlet store), for almost half off original retail prices, you can buy gently used or never worn (and still with tags) designer shoes, clothes, handbags and accessories. Top brands, including Nanette Lepore, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Steve Madden, Free People, Juicy, St. John, Tibi, DVF, Guess, J Crew, Plenty and Milly, are waiting for you to take them out for a test drive and imagine the possibilities.
3355 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1128; 2350 E. Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, 801-474-1644, ShopNameDroppers.com
Best Trim & a Shave
John DeCloe, Ray’s Barbershop
A smooth operator with the shears of steel, John DeCloe will not only line you up and trim your ’stache, he’ll also destroy you in sports knowledge. This is a necessary trait for any barber. While John holds down a Utah Jazz debate, he’ll also treat your dome to a perfect fade or classic straight-razor shave.
154 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-7297; 1328 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-583-7297, RaysBarberShopSLC.com
Best Southern Secondhand Book Store
If it were simply that Cedar City’s largest secondhand bookstore had some of the best prices for used novels and nonfiction in the state, Braun Books would be worthy of celebration. But its spacious layout, friendly staff and adjacent coffee bar make it a haven in the generally caffeine-challenged streets of the LDS-dominated Cedar City. This quiet, browser-friendly store understands that the true pleasure of the reader is the hours dedicated to searching for just the right book to read.
25 N. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-8303, BraunBooks.com
Best Legal Beagle
Kent Hart works both as a federal court public defender and as executive director of the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In the latter capacity, he is a dedicated advocate for defense attorneys and, by extension, the rights of the defendants his membership does battle for every day. At his best, he is a passionate advocate for our legal rights, whether speaking out for the rights of Ogden gang members to congregate or lambasting justice courts for what he’s called their “Wild Wild West” ethos. He has long proved an invaluable foil to the disproportionate power wielded by the prosecutorial system.
Best Inspirational Garage
Benji’s Auto Repair Inc.
If you’re looking for a garage to do your safety and emissions inspection, Benji’s Auto Repair offers a cheap and oddly inspiring spot on Redwood Road. The owner, Luis Delgado, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, writes his goals on a board in his reception area, citing the Book of Mormon in enthusiastic, even endearing terms for the non-LDS skeptic. It’s akin to being in the presence of a Utah Latino version of Dale Carnegie, and as you head out to pick up your car, you can’t help but smile at the upbeat work ethic Delgado promotes with such sincerity.
2747 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-638-0381
Best Book Binding
Rodent Bonz Bindery
Journal keepers and bibliophiles alike can find much to love from the unique works of Rodent Bonz Bindery’s Michel Rogerson. With more than 20 years of bookmaking experience, Rogerson can custom-bind books and journals for customers, from found art like vintage travel post cards to old Tarot cards.
Best Chic Beanies
Luxurious Handmade Headwear
Utah designer Tom Clark has taken on head fashion by revitalizing the design and craft of beanies and winter scarves. His passion for comfortable and fashionable head coverings has given the crochet enthusiast the moniker of the “Beanie Cap Guy” after word spread of his exceptional hats and scarves. Try beanies knit from fine cashmeres or more exotic fabrics like yak down or bison and alpaca down.
1121 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6588, UnhingedSLC.com
Best Snapshots of SLC
Pretty Little Pixel
Stephanie Swift takes Salt Lake City’s iconic landmarks and popular hangouts like the Capitol Theatre and the Blue Plate Diner and gives them a Technicolor, Warhol-esque treatment that makes them appear both familiar and exceptional. With digital prints of the signs of the Cotton Bottom Inn, the Downtown Judge Building, a Crown Burger billboard and other Utah gems, Swift has a pretty little pixel of home that’s perfect for any Salt Laker.
Best Place to Bring Your Friend’s Brother’s Truck
Now & Again
Looking for a cool vintage lamp to complete the look of your sparse apartment? Get up off your milk-crate seating and head to Now & Again, a consignment shop packed with everything from wacky knick-knacks to complete furniture sets. Owner Michael Sanders is friendly and helpful and prices everything reasonably so that it moves quickly out the door. Come for a vase, leave with a retro couch—and if you didn’t show up with a truck, Now & Again offers free delivery.
501 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0664, NowAndAgainSLC.com
Now & Again
Best Home loans for Good Credit
Box Home Loans
This Utah County loan company has come up with an out-of-the-box-idea that wins by not selling a one-size-fits-all home loan. The company prides itself on being the In-N-Out Burgers of the home-loans industry by focusing its business on just one product—a home loan that requires a 3.5 percent down payment and a 700 or higher credit score. By taking on only clients with good credit, the company has cut down on paperwork and can pass those savings on to the customer. Because the product is tailored specifically to a certain kind of customer, Box can also offer 24/7 live quotes on home loans. It’s easy to find out if you qualify, and if you do, you might want to start thinking inside the box to save on a home loan.
380 Technology Court, Suite 200, Lindon, 877-905-0005, BoxHomeLoans.com
Best Snow & Ski Threads
Sam Barsketis is a local businessman with global dreams to take his functional streetwear/snow apparel from his basement startup to the global market. Since he was a young man, Barsketis has doggedly pursued this dream—of course, that wasn’t too long ago, as the 17-year-old Park City High School student started his business in 2011. Since then, he’s been attacking social media to promote his slick line of affordable fitted hoodies and snapbacks. The line is impressive, stylish and functional—sportswear that you can sport on the slopes or the streets with equal panache.
Best Disaster-proof Design
Roi Maufas made Utah his new home after Hurricane Katrina displaced the Louisiana native. Inspired by the harrowing ordeal of being pushed from his home, Maufas has now created unique disaster-relief housing units that are affordable yet can hold their own against the elements. Made from recycled shipping containers, the housing units can sleep four comfortably and are stocked with a water-filtration system, a microwave, stovetop, refrigerator and freezer. The recycled units may be tough, but they’re nice on the environment, since they are portable and power themselves through solar-panel units.
Best Hoop Dreams
Salty Hoops Boutique
Do you have hoop dreams or plans of taking your passion from hobby to lifestyle? Then maybe it’s time you took your hula-hoop interest to the next level and got in touch with the hoopsters of Salty Hoops Boutique. The boutique offers all manner of hoops, from traditional to adult, heavy duty to sport. You can learn the art of hooping and come to realize that a hula hoop is one of the cheapest pieces of exercise equipment around, and easily one of the most fun. And don’t worry if you worry the only fun will be others mocking your uncoordinated hip movements—Salty Hoops even offers instructional classes in the art of hula hoopery.
Best Curators of the Curious
Lost Media Archive
With technology evolving at a breakneck pace, there are plenty of forms of media going the way of beta tapes and dinosaurs. Fortunately for us, Blair Sterrett and Tyrone Davies of the Lost Media Archive have diligently been collecting arcane media from bizarre foreign films, such as the delightfully low-budget Turkish Star Wars and obscure martial-arts flick Lady Iron Monkey, and screening them as part of their Incredibly Strange Movie Nights that take place in Utah County and periodically at Brewvies in Salt Lake City. They also collect and sell the strangest in music and videos, from Mr. T self-help tapes to vintage vinyl like Mad River or the soundtrack to The Hobbit. Some more obscure pieces, like Michael Jackson narrating the story of E.T., or Music for Washing & Ironing, sadly are currently out of stock.
Best Maternity Clothes Community
It’s difficult for expectant mothers to find chic clothing that’s affordable and that fits. That’s why the proprietor of HoneyBump started this business, a chic secondhand-clothing shop where mothers can bring in gently used maternity fashions to trade or to sell. Moms-to-be use HoneyBump as a giant maternity-clothing closet to find styles they like and try them on at the store. This Layton maternity boutique is also a great place for expectant mothers to meet and shop together. The store hosts regular classes on breastfeeding, natural childbirth and other subjects of motherly interest.
1155 N. Main, Layton, 801-444-0900, HoneyBumpMaternity.com
Best Recycled Art
Forked Up Art
For the eco-friendly art lover, nothing could make a kitchen more complete than a small, decorative shot-glass holder that is a small figure of a man, made out of forks, flipping the bird. If that kind of forked-up sense of humor resonates with you, then you ought to check out Forked Up Art. A project started by broke college students, Forked Up Art now sells figurines made out of recycled forks into decorative kitchen pieces, be they salt- and -pepper-shaker holders, a fork man riding spoons like downhill skis or the functional fork or spoon man designed to hold iPhones and iPads.
Best Custom Metal
Off the Back Fabrication
If you’ve got custom eyes to customize a tired, beat-up old motorcycle, car, truck or even just a bumper, then take it to the good folks of Off the Back Fabrication, formerly Ogden City Murder Cycles, and let them transform your factory-issue ride into something uniquely you. As maestros of custom metal fabrication, they’re handy when it comes to the use of CNC plasma cutters, which allow for incredibly intricate designs to be cut directly into metal. After you’ve chopped your chopper, it’s time to consider getting the custom details down with laser-like precision. Beyond vehicle work, the mad scientists of Off the Back also do custom metal decorations and signs.
1430 Gibson Ave., Ogden, Facebook.com/OTBFab
Best Green Emporium
Green the World
It used to be hard for Ogden greenies to find a one-stop eco-friendly shop. That is, until Green the World opened. Now Ogdenites can make one stop and pick up organic cotton T-shirts, personal-care products, reusable bags, baby clothes, biodegradable stationery, hemp products and Earth-friendly cleaning products. It’s like a mini, not-evil Walmart for the environmentally conscious.
143 25th St., Ogden, 801-781-3931, GreenTheWorldStore.com
Best Throwback Shop
Whether you’re quirky or artistic or just looking for items from a bygone era, retro is one of the biggest trends. Many shops have carved out a niche in Salt Lake City and Ogden, but one of the most successful is Rocket Rebellion in Spanish Fork. The selection of vintage-inspired dresses, cardigans and shoes to match, along with trinkets and collectables, hearken back to the days of 5 cent sodas and helpful gas attendants.
168 N. Main, Spanish Fork, 801-798-5301, Facebook.com/RocketRebellion
Best Cycling Bags
Velo City Bags
Nathan Larsen’s Velo City Bags combine the best of the bag worlds: a high-quality, sturdy messenger or backpack that can be personalized to meet your aesthetic fancy. You can choose your own color scheme, pocket placement and material, or pick from many ready-made products. Best of all, they are locally made with salty pride.
Best New Chapter
Weller Book Works
After struggling with low foot traffic on Main Street and limited parking, Sam Weller’s Bookstore finally found a new home in Trolley Square. Thanks to a years-long bargain sale, Wellers lightened its load of dusty tomes and has a more curated selection at its new digs, as well as a new name. Big-name author events are in the works, and favorite book clubs are back, including the twice-monthly Lit Knit nights.
Trolley Square, 602 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2586, SamWellers.com
Weller Book Works
Best Eye-Catching Crafts
Ever since their debut on the local craft scene, the Grimmleighs have become synonymous with handmade goods and DIY marketing. The hand-knit dolls with handpainted faces, twisted vegetables and a catalog of animals ranging from ninja kitties to demented squid, caught on quickly with the Craft Sabbath crowds. Since then, the line has expanded into custom orders of people and pets, most notably local-celebrity re-creations such as those of Sister Dottie S. Dixon and Fox 13’s Big Budah. But the most popular creations have become the zombies, both originals and versions of popular cartoon and comic-book icons.
Best Green Auto Mechanic
Everyone knows that driving a car on a daily basis is a great way to expand your carbon footprint. Really, though, commuting on a bike in Utah is usually only possible six or eight months out of the year. So if your soul is truly green, take your car to Clark’s Auto. Clark’s has been operating in Salt Lake City since 1964, and new owner Alan Boyer’s commitment to recycling and eco-friendly products makes this green garage the only place to take your ailing auto if you’re feeling guilty about your oil dependency.
506 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2858, Facebook.com/ClarksAuto
Best-Kept Fashion Secret
Q Clothing has been a part of the thriving small-downtown-business culture for nearly three years, and ever since it took up shop on Broadway, it’s managed to be a focal point for local fashion while remaining something of a closely guarded secret. A fine mixture of local names and carefully chosen national brands have kept the boutique ahead of the trends and the customers coming. Q Clothing is also a must-see store every time the SLC Fashion Stroll holds an event just a few hundred feet away.
215 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-474-2000, QClothing.com
Best Designer Lingerie
Estilo Hair & Brow Salon
Conventional wisdom tells us that if your bra is showing, you need to re-adjust your clothing. But all of the bras packed into the little room on the second level of Estilo Salon come in daring cuts and peek-a-boo-pleasing styles, with accessory-worthy straps that are a sin not to show. Estilo Salon is the only seller in the United States that carries the full line of Marlies Dekkers bras, a designer line of lingerie that has transformed the way women look at and wear bras. These bras should forever be peeking out of tops and dresses instead of buried beneath layers. The salon’s staff knows fit, style and sexy, and will have you walking out of the shop in a bra that will make you want to rip your shirt off in the middle of the street.
380 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-9300, EstiloHairAndBrowSalon.com
Best Corner Market
Grocery shopping isn’t always a particularly fun activity. Stores can be huge and crowded, making you trek a mile to get from the cereal to the toilet paper. At The Store, you can get all of your basic shopping necessities and more in an entirely different atmosphere. The Store feels like the corner market where your grandparents shopped. It’s small and quaint and, if you’re a regular, the cashier is likely to know you by name. It carries hundreds of products made locally, and within its aisles are treasures you can’t find anywhere else.
Multiple locations, TheStoreUtah.com
Best Main Drag
Ogden’s Historic 25th Street
Those who won’t step a toe past the northern point of the mountain don’t know what they’re missing. What Salt Lake City lacks in a true Main Street experience, Ogden has in spades on 25th Street. The downtown street is packed with local restaurants, shops, clothing boutiques, bars, coffee shops, salons and entertainment venues. A robust farmers market fills the sidewalks and park in summer, and a Christmas village gives the area a Rockwellian air in winter. With the Ogden Frontrunner station just a block away, it pays to visit Ogden.
Best Baby Your Binky
If you’ve been the parent of a baby and toddler, you are familiar with the dropped pacifier—and hoping that the “three-second rule” applies to stuff you’re allowing your precious child to shove back into his or her mouth. Salt Lake City-based BinkySpritz is a nontoxic, all-natural, alcohol-free cleaning agent that allows for guilt-free disinfecting—and it doesn’t have a cleaning-product taste to make your bundle of joy unhappy. It also works for dropped utensils, high-chair trays and anything in the vicinity of a teething child’s mouth.
Best Office Armor
Silver Wolf Chainmail Ties
Has the tedium of typical business attire got you down? Do you long for something with more style and romance, something that says, “I take no prisoners”? Then set aside the silk and wrap some metal around your throat. Chainmail artist Steven May turns his plying of the ancient art into jewelry, keychains and decorative covers for wine bottles, all expertly crafted. But it’s particularly intriguing seeing him turn chainmail into a necktie, in plain silver or even a diamond-weave pattern. Opt for the matching chainmail vest, as well, and you’ll be ready to soldier on all day—and perhaps even work “knights.”
Best Steampunk Salon
Absinthe Hair & Grooming Parlour
In the 2011 film Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson travels to 1920s Paris, rubbing elbows with the likes of Hemingway and Picasso in glamorous settings. Absinthe Salon offers you an experience similar to Wilson’s, with much better hair. The inspired staff—trained in “bespoke” barbering and hairstyling—take into account your personal preferences, profession, social circle and wardrobe to give your mop of hair a complete “image design,” not just a haircut. As you soak in the decidedly un-salon, Old World atmosphere, complete with hints of Victorian Gothic flair, and receive the neck-and-shoulder massage that finishes the elegant experience, you’ll be tempted to stay in this era forever.
1549 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-883-9940, AbsintheHairParlour.com
Absinthe Hair & Grooming Parlour
Best Alpaca Yarn
The traditionalist among you may stick with good old-fashioned wool from sheep—but there are alternatives. Kamas’ Sunrise Ranch raises alpacas and llamas for yarn that’s locally spun and processed without any chemicals or artificial dyes—the white, black and brown yarn comes from animals of that color. The soft fleece can give a unique Utah twist to that sweater you have planned. You’ve probably never created clothing from an animal that could be identified by name.
150 N. Democrat Alley, Kamas, 435-783-6142, Sunrise-Ranch.net
Best Giftable Glassware
Second Hand Chic
If you ever find yourself drawing a blank on what to get for your friend or loved one, look no further than Second Hand Chic. This shop is a treasure trove of quirky, unique items you won’t find anywhere else. With its selection of colorful glassware, antique furniture, funky jewelry, vintage postcards and much more, you’re sure to find something for someone with even the most unconventional of tastes.
2006 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0044, 2ndHandChic.com
Best Magic Beanstalks
Every goal or desire you have needs some metaphorical planting before it can come to fruition; now you can transfer that energy into literal planting, as well. Utah-based iBeanInspired etches more than 30 different intentions and desires directly onto sword beans—everything from “gratitude” and “faith” to “good grades” and “healthy baby”—that are planted in a biodegradable grow kit. The plant that emerges will be marked with that message, a way of seeing your greatest wish come to life.
Best Recycled Beer Tumblers
Glass Roots Trading
Glass recycling hasn’t always been easy, and what it can be used for is sometimes unclear. But the answer can be right in front of you: How about turning something that once held a beverage into something else that can hold a beverage? Glass Roots Trading takes recyclable glass drink bottles and turns them into glassware objects, from beer glasses retaining the distinctive markings of brands like Corona and Carlsberg to tumblers decorated with stylish environmental themes. You can even get Judaica-themed wine goblets.
Best Long-Lasting Flowers
The sentiment to send flowers is a lovely one; the only downside can be that they don’t last. Silk flowers provide one alternative, but there’s an even sturdier solution. Salt Lake City’s WoodYouLikeARose provides handcrafted wooden roses in colors from traditional red to peach, lime green and violet. Delivered two at a time, it’s a flower that’s also a work of art, something the recipient can keep for a lifetime.
Best Baby-Carrying In Style
Here’s a business that understands women don’t want to sacrifice a sense of individual style just because they’ve got an infant to tote around. Seven’s vibrantly patterned baby slings are individually sized for mom’s shape; buy a gift set, and you can get baby leg warmers in a pattern matching your sling. And, of course—crucially—every one is machine washable.
Best Soap For a Cause
Silver Firs Farm
Why support a company like Ogden-based Silver Firs Farm? Because it’s local; because the products are 100 percent natural and handmade; and because the soaps and soy candles are vegan-friendly. But proprietor Kirstin Brandt gives you yet another reason: All profit from selling the products is dedicated to fundraising for a trip to the Rock & Walk, an event in Tacoma, Wash., for the TEARS Foundation’s work supporting bereaved families who have lost infants and children. You’ll feel cleaner in so many ways.
Best Doggie Treadmills
Let’s face it, dog owners: Utah’s climate doesn’t always make you enthusiastic about taking your four-legged friend for a walk. One all-weather alternative is an indoor treadmill, and Ogden’s PetZen can hook you up. Side railings can keep your pooch focused forward, and a booklet of training guidelines is included to help establish the patterns that will help the treadmill become part of any dog’s exercise routine.
Best Gift-Card Upgrade
The gift card has become the 21st century’s answer to throwing a 10-spot in an envelope, but it can still seem impersonal. Sandy-based Bäks Company has put together something to help: decorative gift boxes designed specifically for a more special delivery of your gift card. Classy, stylish and ready-to-construct, they add some heft to that little slip of plastic. Find them at Dan’s, Harmons and Macey’s supermarkets.
Best Organic T-Shirts
The Green Element
Every year, more and more Americans look for more ways to reduce their global footprint, from what they eat to how much they drive—and, of course, what they wear. The Green Element offers clothing items—notably T-shirts, hoodies and hats—made exclusively with organically grown cotton and printed with water-based inks (special washing is required). A portion of the proceeds are directed to like-minded environmentally conscious nonprofit organizations.
Best Rainbow of Ribbons
The Lace Place
Ribbons and bows: That’s pretty much all you’ll see when you walk in the door. Racks and racks of spools and spools of ribbons in every imaginable color, texture, width and style. Satin, silk and velvet. Pre-made specialty bows. Plain or patterned, simple or fancy, for packages, crafts or just to tie up a ponytail—it’s hard to imagine not finding exactly what you need somewhere in the very specialized aisles of The Lace Place.
2682 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-474-2697, TheLacePlaceRibbons.blogspot.com
Best Old-School Fixtures
Retrospect Water & Light
Home design and remodeling often seem to be about current trends: marble-countertop this, stainless-steel that. Or you could find something with more style and personality. This downtown shop specializes in vintage and reproduction light fixtures and plumbing fixtures—stuff that looks like it might have been pulled from an old house, and that has an artistic flair. Check out beautiful chandeliers and glass shades, plus decorative art glass and pottery.
68 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-517-3876, RetrospectWaterAndLight.com
Best Bedside Manner
Dr. Ted Burningham, Tanner Clinic
If you visit Layton’s Tanner Clinic with a medical issue, you’ll feel like the luckiest patient around if you’re looked after by general practitioner Dr. Ted Burningham. In a time when physicians seem completely disengaged from their “clients,” Dr. Ted is a doc who actually listens. And he never rushes folks through the door. If you have a story to share about your health problems, he wants to hear it. And he’ll speak to you in plain, unvarnished English about diagnoses, treatment options and so on, often using his computer to visually help patients understand their conditions. Plus, since he’s banned drug-company salespeople from his office, you won’t have to fight drug reps for his attention or worry that he’s been bought by a pharmaceutical company.
2121 N. 1700 West, Layton, 801-773-4865, TannerClinic.com
Best Footwear Fixer
Ray’s Shoe Repair
Located next to the Kaysville Theater on Main Street, Ray’s is a throwback to the day when cobblers knew their clients and folks hung on to shoes and boots forever. Randy, son of original owner Ray, handles all the repairs, whether it be a broken high heel, a worn-out sole or serious scuff. Best of all, he won’t B.S. you. Bring in a new pair of Clark’s boots and, rather than sell you something you don’t need, he says, “With these, you just wear ’em until they’re all broken in, like Indiana Jones; they’re not supposed to be polished.” That sort of honesty is priceless.
15 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-546-1804
Best Hem & Haw
There aren’t too many places where you can have a skilled hand alter your clothes and receive a snarky comment while your measurements are being taken. Additionally, owner Diana Antii is on her game when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not, and doesn’t hold her opinion back when she wonders if you really want to get those baggy pants altered, or just donate them to charity instead. But Antii’s skillful tailoring lasts longer than whatever fashion fad might be making waves, so maybe those MC Hammer-esque pants might have a second life after all.
327 Pierpont Ave. (250 South), Salt Lake City, 801-883-9283, AlterationsSaltLakeCity.com
Best Body Work
Higgins Body & Paint
Forget the torn and lumpy plastic couch most shops provide. Higgins offers an elegant waiting room furnished with new upholstered recliners, pristine magazines and a flat-screen TV with a remote on an antique-looking table. An employee will always come in and offer you water or a soft drink. Classy. But it’s the excellence of the work and extra service that make Higgins the best place to have your crumpled bumper repaired. They not only wash and wax your entire car, they detail the interior. Repairman Mark Maxfield, who has been there 14 years, says, “We try to give a little extra to the customer to make them more satisfied.”
745 W. 200 North, North Salt Lake, 801-936-1780; 4014 W. Nike Drive (8250 South), West Jordan, 801-280-7800, HigginsBodyAndPaint.com
Best Computer Repair
The Geekbox crew began as two friends runnng a PC-repair business out of their basement. After years of seeing firsthand the common problems computers present to their users, they started building customized machines, fit for hard-core gaming or office drudgery. Even though Geekbox now ships its machines internationally, the “computer artisans” still care just as much about ridding your laptop of those viruses and malware.
8912 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-233-9333, Geekbox.com
Best Ugly Sweaters for a Cause
Sweater Boys Calendar
Tacky Christmas sweaters have started becoming a sign of the season just as much as carols and Black Friday. That’s why freelance filmmaker Miaken Christensen decided to parlay her ever-popular ugly-sweater party into a commemorative calendar filled with 12 months of hilariously grotesque and awkward sweater-clad models. Her Sweater Boys 2012 calendar not only has some of the worst in sweater fashion, but calendar sales proceeds go to help the charitable organization Project Renew, which seeks to help remove cluster bombs in Vietnam left over from the Vietnam War.
Sweater Boys Calendar
Best Northern Boutique
According to Persian Peacock’s Facebook page, they are “fornication specialists” and “know absolutely everything about good sex ... and a whole lot about everything else.” Got your attention? Well, this Logan women’s boutique specializes in sexy stuff like corsets, lingerie and the like. But you can also find a sassy little red (or black) dress; accessories like handbags, wallets and purses; and sensual specialty items like naughty foreplay dice and pheromone massage candles. It’s the best way to spice up your love life in Logan.
47 N. Main, Logan, 435-752-7181
Best bargains & Potstickers
As outlet stores go, Overstock.com’s 18,000 square feet in a strip mall in Sandy brings warehouse-simplicity to displaying what are often some excellent deals in everything from DVDs to Hoovers, suits and shoes. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, bargain hunters, often young people or newlyweds keen to decorate their new homes, prowl the aisles full of ever-changing stock, some of it lightly used. If that weren’t reason to head over there, the neighboring Chinese restaurant, Szechuan Garden, continues to be one of the best Asian eateries in Utah.
8550 S. 1300 East, Sandy, Overstock.com
Best Lover of Light
Michael Fatali Photography
In 2002, landscape/nature photographer Michael Fatali was banned for two years from the two Utah national parks he loved and was fined $10,000 for leaving scorch marks on the sandstone base of Delicate Arch, the result of lighting fires for a nighttime photography class he taught. Over the past decade, he’s worked doggedly to return from the shadows and take his place as one of Utah’s most iconic nature photographers. He uses an old-school large-format 8-by-10-inch box camera to achieve an almost-surreal effect. His eye-popping images are shot only in unfiltered natural light, he says, with no coloration and no computer enhancements after the fact—just a “perfect moment in a perfect light.” He once learned the hard way not to play with fire, so he made light his true love.
145 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, 435-772-2422; 556 Main, Park City, 435-615-6765, Fatali.com
Best Man Wax
Darrell McCurtain, The Golden Door Spa
A seasoned esthetician who has been practicing everything from man waxes to massage therapy for more than 10 years, Darrell McCurtain, who works in the Golden Door Spa in the Waldorf Astoria Park City, is the go-to guy for back-, crack- and sack-hair removal. Gentle and caring, his professional demeanor will make anyone from the veteran hair-hater to the most delicate of n00bs feel right at home. McCurtain also does skin care, pedicures and manicures.
2100 Frostwood Drive, Park City, 435-647-5555, ParkCityWaldorfAstoria.com
Darrell McCurtain (left), The Golden Door Spa
Best Crocheted Facial Hair
The cold chill of mountain air can cut into your face when you’re zooming down the slopes, and the temptation to grow a Unabomber-style beard to keep one’s face warm is strong. But now you don’t need a Viking beard to fight frostbite, thanks to North Logan knitter and entrepreneur Taralee Duffin’s Beard Beanie. It’s a beanie cap with a knit beard attached to it. The Beard Beanie classily covers your face from the elements while giving you a burly countenance from a distance.
Best Brewing Kits
The Beer Nut
Since most of us are more practiced in imbibing, it is actually quite sobering to learn the ins and outs of homebrewing—what with the assortment of grains, malts, hops, juices, yeast and equipment available in this jam-packed shop. The Beer Nut realized how daunting such choices could be and wisely created beer- and wine-brewing kits with simple instructions. Now, the power to brew is in your hands, waiting to ferment in your basement. And since the Legislature finally “legalized” homebrewing in 2009, you can even do so without fear of a vice-squad raid.
1200 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8182, BeerNut.com
Best Coop d’etat
Chris Gleason, Art of the Chicken Coop
Let’s just get the obligatory egg pun out of the way: This is an eggs-traordinary guide to chicken coops for chicken owners, chicken lovers and homesteaders. Local Chris Gleason, a woodworker by trade and author of several other DIY books, is a backyard-poultry evangelist who has compiled seven easy-to-follow chicken coop designs with gorgeously rendered pictures. He’s added several profiles and a flock of supplemental information that will make your inner rooster crow.
Best “New You” Hair & Makeup
Got an image problem? When you need a new look, call or text Jared Gomez. Formerly of Ulysses’ trendy State Street salon, Gomez has ventured out on his own and now maintains his own suite at Image Studios. Gomez’s attention to color, style and hair health is the perfect antidote for any frumpiness that might have invaded your look. Gomez is also a passionate citizen, giving of his time to events such as Miss City Weekly pageant. Gorgeous to look at and fun to be with, Gomez is the best at helping you redefine your image.
1850 S. 300 West, Suite 117, Salt Lake City, 801-755-0649, GorgeousJared.com
Best Training for Yoga Teachers
InBody Yoga Academy
If the names D’ana Baptiste and Centered City Yoga mean anything to you, then you’ll be wanting in on the InBody Academy. Taught primarily by Baptiste, Centered City’s founder, who has more than 24 years of experience, the training draws from all paths of yogas and uses diverse teaching modalities to instruct a “root” 200-hour class on how to teach poses, and a more in-depth 500-hour “hybrid” program. Registered with Yoga Alliance, the next session begins May 2 with an annual retreat. As the saying goes, if you really want to master a subject, teach it.
Centered City Yoga, 918 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, InbodyLife.com
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