BEST NO-BOYS CLUB
Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective’s Women’s Night
Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective operates on the philosophy, “Teach them to fish, and they can feed themselves,” but many students won’t even ask for lessons. Walking into a warehouse full of gearheads can be intimidating, especially for fiercely independent women who are embarrassed to admit they can’t change a flat bicycle tire. The collective understands, completely. This year, the local nonprofit added to its impressive list of outreach programs a bi-monthly Women’s Night, with female mechanics teaching women how to work on their own bikes in a friendly, pressure-free environment. All ages and levels welcome, each second and fourth Wednesday.
2312 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2453
BEST GOAT CHEESE
Drake Family Farm
Smack in the middle of West Jordan, the Drake family runs more than 100 dairy goats on 10 acres. The family farm, begun by a Drake in 1880, actually predates West Jordan by many years. The goats came along in the 1980s as a child’s 4-H project. Today, the dairy produces everything from goats milk and yogurt to lotions and soaps, available at the on-site store or specialty markets throughout Salt Lake County. The Drake cheese has always had freshness going for it, but increasingly Drake is turning toward sophistication as well with many different styles of cheeses, the first runs of which can often be sampled at the Downtown Farmers Market.
1856 W. Drake Lane, West Jordan, 801-255-6455, DrakeFamilyFarms
|BEST HELP FOR THE CLUELESS HOPELESS ROMANTIC
Hip & Humble
It’s Valentine’s Day/Christmas/ your significant other’s birthday—and you have nada in the way of gifts. When flowers, chocolate or another tie won’t do, head to Hip & Humble for something clever and new. From jewelry to hats, fine linens, soaps and heart-shaped flasks, the modest-size shop packs an impressive amount of product into one cute little abode. Staff members are friendly and knowledgeable with an almost eerie understanding of what each client needs. It’s not rocket science, but better put the address in your OnStar for safe keeping.
1043 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3130, HipAndHumble.com
BEST ANIMAL LOVER
For the last seven years, ex-cop turned West Valley’s animal services director Kelly Davis has fought to make life better for the abandoned animals, and the staff who share the Magna-based animal shelter right on the outskirts of the city. Dogs, cats, snakes, buffalo, donkeys and rabbits are among the animals that have called this shelter home. With a new and much larger shelter under Davis’ stewardship set to open later this year, the stench of the 40 year-old facility and its painful lack of space and resources will be a thing of the past. While his background is in law enforcement and city management, Davis’ heart is with his staff who love the animals they care for, even if they have to put them down. He’s shared that duty with them in the past as well as adopting a terrier from his own pound. While publicity has focused on an onsite gas chamber in the new facility, Davis says it is to help put down, as humanely as possible, very difficult cases. He hopes the central location of the new shelter will lead to much more adoptions and Davis’ dream—a shelter without clients.
4063 S. 7200 West, Magna, 801-965-5800
BEST PSYCHIC FAIR
Wondering if there is a promotion or an ass-kicking coming at work? Will the Jazz win the playoffs? Is it the love of your life about to stumble into your life? Or conversely, is the love of your life about to make your life a living hell? These are things we need advance warnings on. Luckily, psychic author and teacher Suzanne Wagner and her crew of aspiring soothsayers keep the answers coming fast and furious at their monthly psychic fairs held at the Golden Braid bookstore. Why wait till the other shoe drops? As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.”
Golden Braid Bookstore, 151 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-322-1162; Suzanne Wagner, 801-359-2225, SuzWagner.com
BEST PLACE TO MINGLE WITH U FOOTBALL PLAYERS
At Ray’s, you get the feeling some customers don’t really need a haircut, they just like to hang out at the place. That might help explain January’s through-the-wall expansion that added six chairs to the shop Ray started a few years back with himself and an antique barber chair. Probably because of its (relative) proximity to the University of Utah campus, Ray’s has become among the most diverse shops of any kind in Salt Lake City, with barbers proficient at both a crew cut and a fade. Buttoned-down business types mingle with working people and members of the U’s football team. In fact, one team member has been cutting hair at Ray’s during the off-season.
1328 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 583-7297
BEST VINTAGE FASHION
If Provo is a bubble, it’s about ready to pop, with independent businesses like Coal Umbrella revitalizing the city’s music, art and fashion scene. Co-owners Maht Paulos and Liz Lightfoot renovated the second-level space by basically deconstructing the floors and wallpaper for a truly retro look. The resulting décor matches Umbrella’s frequently updated stock of affordable vintage men’s and women’s clothing (we scored a pair of gold pumps for $20) which includes items purchased at out-of-state flea markets. Truly unique—and well worth the drive from Salt Lake City.
157 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-374-7446, CoalUmbrella.com
BEST ONLINE PERSONAL SHOPPER
Freelance writer Ali Anderson Smith and her crew of in-the-know contributors guide online users to scores of hidden treasures, from a good set of antique chairs to a new favorite lunch spot. YHO is a blog dedicated to “shopping, dining, decorating, entertaining and traveling” in Salt Lake City and Provo. Smith and Co. cruise around town and test—seemingly at random—various restaurants, clothing boutiques, kitchen goods, cupcakes, letterpress and contemporary art … they even feature a Hatched In The Beehive section profiling Utah natives doing cool things with crafts, words, and more. Best of all, YHO searches for the best finds on Craigslist so you don’t have to! Each week, the blog selects four or so items—a set of retro chairs, for example—and links to the original classifieds post. We heart YHO!
BEST UNIQUE BIKES
Ye Olde Salt Bike Shoppe
Ever wonder what a Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) is? Pop into the Olde Salt Bike Shoppe and find out. It has the heart of a bicycle, the soul of a scooter and will save you big at the pump. It’s even Frontrunner friendly. It offers unassisted power for up to 20 miles. Could be the wave of the future but then again, so could the Olde Salt’s 3G Primitive (looks like a ‘40s cop bike); the Felt Racing LilBastard with 24-inch rims with 3-inch fat tires; or the Chicago Bears bike. From such specialty cruisers to electrics to commuter bikes and choppers, this shop is all about a fun ride that leaves a thin carbon wheelprint.
105 Historic 25th St., Ogden, 866-594-6500, OldeSaltBikes.com
BEST STITCH IN TIME
A no-nonsense mom and pop shop located across the street from the Guthrie Building, United Tailors is a refreshing step back in time with store owners and employees using just a pencil, pad and calculator to ring up customers’ orders. Services, however, are hardly dated. They know exactly how to handle your pair of expensive boutique jeans, with care and precision—two things that will never go out of style.
161 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1888
BEST DIY TECHNOLOGY
Yudu’s line of screen printers won’t necessarily turn you into the next Leia Bell, but the locally made tools make it easy to crank out personalized T-shirts, posters and other items emblazoned by your own graphic designs. The compact machine comes with ink, a squeegee, an emulsion sheet and everything else you need to get started. Plus, Yudu’s online tutorial, while incredibly cheesy, is simple enough for even the most amateur artists to master the first time out.
BEST PLACE FOR BIG-EYED
Tokyo’s Anime House
“Japanimation” conquered America decades ago with Speed Racer and Battle of the Planets, but another generation continues to make its slow progress from Pokemon to Yu-Gi-Oh to Naruto. Recently relocated to Sandy, this retailer offers everything for the discriminating fan of anime and Japanese pop-culture, from DVDs, music and manga comics to posters and pillows. New imported items arrive all the time. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a little slice of Tokyo.
9312 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-562-2022, TokyosAnime.com
BEST CLEANER BURN
You only have to look at the winter-inversion sky to know that wood-burning stoves are part of the problem. But there’s an option for wood burning that doesn’t do the same damage. Arbor Pellet offers wood-pellet fuel made from 100 percent recycled wood waste, such as construction debris. The resulting compressed and dried product puts out 84 percent less particulate matter than conventional firewood. That’s less in the landfill, and less in the air—all for a warmer and cozier you.
3268 W. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-8310, ArborPellet.com
BEST WALMART GREETER
Entering the door, you are shaken out of your malaise at having to shop at Globalization Ground Zero: “Weeeelllllcome to your Midvale Waaaalllmart.” It’s a Rainman voice, sort of monotonic and robotic, but at the same time, it is a playful, inventive voice, one that should have had its own radio talk show or football game to announce. It’s a voice that emanates from a shy older gent, sporting a crew cut, sitting unassumingly by the door. It’d be easy to pass by and pay him no mind; many do as they bound off in search of all things Walmartian. But then they miss the one real, human aspect of shopping at Walmart: Joe. Maybe you’ll luck out on the way out and hear him whistle a tune or spout: “Theeeaaaanks for shopping at your Midvale Waaaalllmart. Y’all come back now reeeaaall soon.”
7250 Union Park Ave., Midvale, 801-255-0224, Walmart.com
|BEST SWEET T-SHIRTS ON A BUDGET
At its heart, Sugar House remains a lovely little shopping district devoted to supporting local businesses. Solissa fits the bill perfectly. The little boutique resides within an old bungalow with a wide front porch—a nicely inviting entryway to the chic inventory inside. A fine selection of blue jeans, dresses, shoes and jewelry exists. But the real find is the line of unique T-shirts and tanks. The tops are adorable, with whimsical prints and great colors. Best of all, they are nicely priced (ranging between $20 and $60). Solissa makes sure to keep a good variety of sizes, while not overstocking the racks, which helps ensure you won’t find the same shirt, on the same day, walking down the same sidewalk as yourself. Don’t forget to pet Shadow, the black and white shop cat.
1950 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2909, Solissa.com
BEST WRITING IMPLEMENTS
Mike Rutter needed a hobby when he retired. He had a lathe and a basement in which to work. He decided to make pens. But these aren’t just any pens. Rutter’ calls them Phat Pens, and they are fine. Choose from a variety of pens in stock—Rutter fashions ballpoints and fountain pens from fine woods, ceramic and uniquely, deer antler. Turquoise and other precious stone can be inlaid, and Rutter will make a pen to your personal specifications, as well. You’ll find Rutter set up at the Downtown Farmers Market in summer months, on the outer periphery of Pioneer Park.