Best Custom-Leather Cow-Kickers
A sturdy pair of leather boots will likely last longer than your brief time on this planet, and a good pair is worth every penny—especially if it’s been custom-built to your feet and fashion sense. Don Roundy has been crafting specialty boots, shoes, sandals and even saddles for more than 30 years. No matter how weird your foot is shaped, Roundy can cobble a snazzy pair of boots to any specification.
4826 S. 2200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-209-7561, RoundyBoots.com
Best Women’s Fashion Statement
A blend of local, international, eclectic, and uniquely personal styles, this Sugar House boutique doesn’t stop at simply selling new and vintage women’s clothes, jewelry and footwear, but also offers patrons a chance to custom-build their very personal style. The owner herself creates some of the store’s items, like dresses made from tie-dyed slips, and skirts made out of vintage scarves. Patrons can even bring in favorite clothing items to be custom-studded with nail heads for a tougher, industrial-chic look. And, in keeping with the store’s community spirit, every Saturday, shoppers are treated to free hors d’oeuvres and beverages and, if they’re feeling bold, the chance to jump into the occasional in-store karaoke singalong.
1950 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2909, Solissa.com
Best Fashion Metal
Metalhead Jewelry Design
All fashion trends come full circle—that’s why you suckers shouldn’t have thrown away those snap bracelets from 1993. But when it comes to medieval gear, it was only a matter of time before someone like local artist Carrie Wakefield started slinging chain-mail jewelry accessories. Wakefield’s unique chain-mail creations are made with galvanized steel and are regular head-turners at Craft Lake City.
Best Sharp Skills
Lorenz Knife Shop's Mobile Sharpening
You can tell a lot about a man by his shoes, the adage goes. You can also tell a lot about him by his knives—what varieties he keeps, how clean they’re kept, how sharp they are. Lorenz won’t let you be judged by your dull blade. This family business, which dates back to 1886 in Austria, has built a solid foundation on hard work. And, starting in 2012, they took that foundation on the go, with mobile knife-sharpening services. Lorenz can be found at the Downtown Farmers Market or hired for on-site expert sharpening.
Best Curvaceous Aprons
No Plain Janes
An X-rated apron might not have much function, but it sure is fun to think about. Also fun are designer Lynne Dickey’s No Plain Janes aprons (rated G to PG), smocks and tops. Dickey’s been at it since 2007 with adventurous material, playful patterns and even era-specific styles. The curve-accentuating cover-almost-alls put the fun in fennel, the spring in spongecake and the sexy in spaghetti.
Best Handcrafted Paper Goods
Ink Run Press
Nothing says old-school like a 1,500-pound press in a church basement. Artists Shannon Petty (pictured) and Ashley Smith have turned their small idea of handcrafted letterpress into a booming business. Their beautiful, unique designs and patterns decorate everything from business cards to invitations to giant posters. The duo’s simple operation and careful attention to minute details have put them in a higher league of crafters.
387 E. First Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-554-6440, InkRunPress.blogspot.com
Local guitar gods and goddesses have a secret weapon: Eric Sopanen and his über-savvy staff at Guitar Czar. This is the place where the real guitar-slingers—from shredders to Django-style pickers—go for their goods. And by goods, I mean not only the standard stuff—Fender, Gibson, Marshall and such—but also G&L, Matchless, Tony Bruno, Bad Cat, Victoria, Bogner and much more. Lessons, maintenance, repairs and mods are available, too.
2953 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-466-8666, GuitarCzar.com