Best Green thumbs
Located at the south end of Layton, Joe’s is a secret weapon of Davis County green thumbs. The family-owned garden store has been in business since 1950, serving customers with an extensive knowledge of what grows in Utah, and offering prices that even Walmart and Home Depot can’t beat. We haven’t found a question yet about growing plants, trees, shrubs, flowers and such that the friendly folks at Joe’s can’t answer.
779 S. Main, Layton, 801-544-3820, JoesGreenhouse.com
Best Sewing Classes
At the west end of a Sandy strip mall, this treasure trove of colorful fabrics and quilts is a magnet for young people with sewing machines. For an hour and a half, a few children at a time huddle over sewing machines under the guidance of Elizabeth Preston, creating masterpieces ranging from pajamas and dresses to stylish bags. Doting parents should make sure to pick up their children immediately at the end of class, or else they’ll be spending your hard-earned cash on the wide range of fabrics and designs they’ve found while waiting.
8617 Highland Drive, Sandy, 801-733-7397, CottonwoodFabrics.com
Best Made-to-Order Shades
In 2008, Tristan Noone was figuring out how to further his creative self-expressive street-style art; he wanted to make it accessible to more people more often. It finally dawned on him during a skateboarding sesh: sunglasses. Toaster Shades offers new and retro designs that are fresh—because, according to the website, your face is out of style. These trendy and affordable ($30-$40) eye protectors are handmade and even customizable—practically any style, pattern or phrase can be put on a pair of Toaster Shades.
Best Zombie Preparation Course
ZAPS stands for Zombie Apocalypse Preparation & Survival, and though co-owners Sean Stephens and Garrett Middaugh don’t actually believe a zombie threat is imminent, they do believe that if you’re ready for a zombie takeover, you’re ready for anything. With a combined background in pharmaceutical development, law enforcement, emergency medical services and pathophysiology, these two teach disaster preparation and survival techniques with a fun and topical twist. They also sell hats, T-shirts and “zombiestrong” wristbands to help ward off the undead, should the time come.
2ND TRACKS SPORTS
Best Recycled Gear
2nd Tracks Sports
At 2nd Tracks Sports, you’ll find a dizzying array of both new and used sports gear. Ski and snowboard equipment is the main draw here, along with backcountry gear and some bike stuff. It’s all priced to appeal to the stingiest budgets, but plan to spend some time when you visit; there are lots of nifty goodies to peruse.
2927 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-466-9880, 2ndTracks.com
Best Gathering Spot
We all keep an eye out for that perfect place to hold a special gathering, whether it’s a wedding, a corporate training or a swanky catered party. The 13,000 square feet in historic Pierpont Place is that “blank canvas” ready to be transformed into the eclectic, mood-enhancing backdrop to your downtown function. The friendly staff can put you in touch with event planners who know how to make the occasion pop for as few as 20 or up to 500 happy campers. Come, mingle and meet right here … for tomorrow you may be home on your couch, surfing Netflix.
163 W. Pierpont Ave. (240 South), Salt Lake City, 801-598-4444, PierpontPlace.com
Best Precious Jewel Hound
Dana Richardson is a Salt Lake City-based certified gemologist who sources spectacular emeralds, rubies, diamonds, pearls and other precious gems from around the world—without the usual hype and overhead. She has designed pieces for generations of families, manned diamond-fraud hotlines for the Federal Trade Commission, and keeps her cool when guys want to start shopping at 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day eve.
1115 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-581-9900, ComplexSimplicity.com
Best Clicks for Clucks
At 19 years old, Joe Lookinland is hard at work building an empire of colorful, handmade chicken coops. Built to withstand Utah’s harsh winters, Lookinland’s plywood coops are built on stilts and come with pre-installed heat lamps, durable roosting dowels, egg boxes and hinged, vented roofs. He even designed the ramps and doors to fend off predators. His prices include delivery from his Midvale shop to anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley. Click and soon you’ll be crowing about your coop.
Best Cooperative Shopping
If you’re starting to feel both cynical and hungry, consider shopping at the Utah Co-op. The nonprofit co-op is open to everyone, without a membership fee. Whenever available, it sells organic and locally produced eggs, milk, poultry and grass-fed beef products as well as 5,000 other items. You can shop at the co-op like a regular grocery store on the days it’s open (Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), or you can pre-order produce baskets online or in person for about a week’s worth of fruits and vegetables. This is living the cooperative life for the betterment of all.
4892 S. Commerce Drive (300 West), Murray, 801-566-2223, UtahCoop.org
Best Spirit Protector
Even if you’ve got some pretty good mojo and have been racking up positive karma, that doesn’t mean some jerk won’t put a curse on you. If someone stabs a voodoo doll made in your likeness, you’d better visit Fernando Almanza of Botanica 7 Potencias. He’s been a spiritual reader and protector for more than 15 years and can put the smackdown on any evil demon trying to jam up your day.
1500 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-548-2252
Best Portable Solar Panels
While technology has advanced in astonishing ways over the past decade, we unfortunately cannot yet plug iPhones into the knots of a pine tree for a battery charge. But Bluffdale-based Goal Zero has figured out a way you can harness the energy of the natural environment while you’re actually in the natural environment. Goal Zero sells three sizes of portable solar-panel packs, which can charge devices from smartphones to flat-screen TVs and mini fridges. The solar kits are rugged and can take a beating, so you’ll never have to worry about not being able to Instagram your nature experiences.
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