|BEST FEEL-GOOD CONSIGNMENT
Love Deseret Industries but disagree with the LDS Church’s stance on gay marriage? Or maybe you couldn’t care less about gender politics and have simply exhausted the D.I.’s collection of paisley-shirt dresses. In both cases, Our Store has your number. Billed as “Your Thrift Store Alternative,” the downtown consignment shop is an equal opportunity nonprofit that welcomes all customers—LGBT or otherwise—to pick up everything from clothing to electronics, kitchenware, books and assorted knick-knacks. Best of all, proceeds benefit the People With AIDS Coalition of Utah.
358 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-819-7884, YourThriftAlternative.org
|BEST PADDLING EMPORIUM
Sid Sports is the place to visit during the other six months of the year in Utah—when it isn’t snowing. A smart and helpful staff will help you find the perfect canoe, kayak, water skis, raft or sailboat to enjoy on the scores of lakes and rivers in this pretty, wet state. Sid Uyetake started the business in 1973, and son Kory has practically grown up there. Besides selling an extensive inventory of paddling necessities, Sid Sports is also committed to the community. Uyetake and his staff are generous donors of equipment to the annual Utah Rivers Council Paddle Festival, which gives the public a chance to test nonmotorized watercraft every summer at Little Dell Reservoir in Salt Lake City.
265 E. 3900 South, South Salt Lake, 801-261-0300, SidSports.com
BEST REASON TO WORK OUT IN THE MORNING
What has a thick neck and broad shoulders, huge tatted biceps, a well-earned beer belly, and a fauxhawk? If you said a badass biker with a Harley, you’d be half right. Brian Benedict is all of that, and he’s also a personal trainer at The Fitness Club. No strutting about the gym flaunting his buns and guns. This guy just doesn’t take himself that seriously. Each morning, he comes in with a whispered joke or two and dang it, he’s funny! Cup o’ joe and a workout with Brian in the morning … that’ll get you started any day.
The Fitness Club, Foothill Village 1400 S. Foothill Drive, No. 20, 801-583-0200, TheFitnessClubFoothill.com
BEST PIT STOP
Bubble & Bee Organic Pit Putty
An earth-friendly and organic option to chemical-laced antiperspirants, “Pit Putty” in a 2.5-ounce stick will give your poor pits a break. The natural formula doesn’t clog pores and irritate your skin. Company founder Stephanie Greenwood takes lemon oil and white clove oil for stink control and natural arrowroot powder to absorb wetness. It works.
Trolley Square, 600 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-560-7899, BubbleAndBee.com
BEST BRITISH GROCER
While in the U.K. the British corner store is long dead, thanks to U.S.-style malls and supermarkets. It is curious that the one place you can still find a Brit grocer is in the United States. While numerous markets across the Valley enjoy a brisk trade in all things Brit, it’s the Union Jack on West Temple that best holds up the spirit of what a good British grocer should be. Go into the Union Jack and you can almost hear your mom call out, “Shall I put the kettle on, love?” as you peruse the McVities biscuits and pickled onions. Whether you’re pining for Blightly or just fancy a bit of Brit tourism, the Union Jack’s the place to go.
652 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2375
BEST WINTER MARKET
Old World Christmas Market
For many of us downtowners, it was over before we knew it. But a lucky few made it to Gallivan Center to take in the Downtown Alliance-sponsored Christmas market that spanned eight days in late November 2008. After all, why should Gardner Village have all the holiday fun? So downtown had its own little European-style “village,” complete with wooden chalets that sold unique, artisan-made gifts as well as baked goods, kettle corn, candied nuts, spiced cider, and hot chocolate. Topping it off was daily “commuter” caroling that wafted and echoed along Main Street and the Gallivan TRAX station. It was a shot in the arm, at least, for a downtown hanging on by a thread.
4594 Fillmore Ave., Ogden, OldWorldChristmasMarket.net
Magical Santa Letters
Lots of kids send letters to Santa during Christmas ... but how many of them get a letter back? A Utah County operation has provided a way for parents and loved ones to create personalized letters that can be sent to children on “Santa’s own” stationery and hand-signed. Or maybe a postcard with a picture of the jolly old elf and one of his reindeer would be more your speed. There’s even an option for Santa to send a pre-emptive letter in the fall, reminding the little ones to be good, for goodness sake. It could be worth it for the wide-eyed look alone.
770 E. Main, Suite 125, Lehi, 866-691-4764, Magical-Santa-Letters.com
BEST PLATES FOR TOTS
It’s happened to every parent of a toddler at some point: A restaurant visit turns into a game of “how soon until the plate of food ends up on the floor.” A Utah entrepreneur figured out a crazy-simple solution: a table-side clamp with a suction cup on top. The Lil Diner device allows kids to eat off standard restaurant plates without constant hands-on attention. And the best part? The restaurant has to wash the plate, not you.
BEST GREEN DEALERSHIP
Timpanogos Harley Davidson
When one thinks of roaring Hogs blazing down the highway, the first thought that comes to mind isn’t usually “green.” That was until entrepreneur Dave Tuomisto built his massive Harley Davidson dealership in Lindon. The sprawling 60,000-square foot lot not only showcases some mean machines—but does it green. The building is constructed from 70 percent salvaged materials. If the massive dealership has a tough, industrial feel, that’s because a lot of the building material was resurrected from the old Geneva steel plant. Besides being a monument to dreaming big and building green, this hog heaven is also a pillar in the charitable community, hosting numerous rides raising money for causes like the monument to Utah’s fallen in the law-enforcement community and breast-cancer survivors’ ride for the cure. With a stellar Harley Davidson showcase, a great restaurant and even a corner of the shop dedicated to customizing kids wheelchairs—this earth-friendly dealership has got everything to make a true gearhead smile, especially knowing they can ride green and not have to do it on some hippy-scooter.
555 S. Geneva Road, Lindon, 801-434-4647, TimpHarley.com
BEST DISCOUNT LIT
The King’s English Frequent Reader Club
You don’t need to become a card-carrying member of The King’s English Frequent Readers Club. In fact, you don’t need a card at all to enjoy great benefits from the locally owned independent bookstore—just a passion for reading! The store keeps members’ phone numbers on record so that with each purchase, customers accumulate credit toward a pretty significant discount. One cash-strapped reader recently walked home with not one, but two great novels thanks to $16.12 in Frequent Reader credit.
1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City 801-484-1900, KingsEnglish.BookSense.com
BEST OCEANS OF FISH
Tropical Fish Wholesale
Pet stores have to get their brightly colored fish from somewhere ... and if you’re in Utah, they probably came from their original home to this huge facility. Built on top of a natural geothermal spring, this tropical fish emporium provides an environment of constantly circulating warm water for its fishies, making them some of the healthiest specimens of their kind in captivity. You can get all your supplies as well, but the draw here is the massive selection and a staff that knows what to do to keep it that way.
12270 S. 700 East, Draper, 801-571-8500, BuyTFW.com
BEST MULTI-USE RENTAL FACILITY
There are places that are just right for a business event, and places that are just right for a family event. And then there’s Noah’s, which can accommodate gatherings and special occasions that probably haven’t even been defined yet. Meeting and conference rooms provide a perfect setting for a professional seminar or retreat, while the recreation areas—including pool tables, arcade games, racquetball court and a comfy screening room—are perfect for kicking back whether you’re attending a wedding reception or a corporate party. And don’t miss out on the rooftop room, which in the winter provides ice skating with some of the best views in the valley.
644 N. 2000 West; 322 W. 11000 South, South Jordan, 800-696-6247, MyNoahs.com
|BEST CUSTOM CORSETS
Salt Lake Tightlacer
Run by a self-proclaimed “workaholic and a slave-driving control freak,” Salt Lake Tightlacer is Jennifer McGrew’s labor-of-love operation specializing in custom-made corsets whose beautiful, intricate creations reflect her vast experience designing costumes for theater and dance companies. McGrew helps customers feel at ease by answering any questions they might have before taking the plunge. Whether it be fashion, fetish, glamour, weight-control or fantasy, individual needs are honored and respected, judgment-free. Just don’t waste her time. These things don’t sew themselves.
335 W. Pierpont Ave, Suite 4, Salt Lake City, 801-320-0521, SaltLakeTightlacer.com
BEST ONE-STOP KID ROOM SHOP
That’s My Room
Won’t someone please think of the children ... or at least where they sleep every night? Jon and Aimee Levy did, opening a place for everything you could want for a kid’s special place. Customized furniture, tables, rugs, toys, murals and more fill this store, giving you a one-stop shop for making a bedroom the happiest place on earth.
2226 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-466-5437, ThatsMyRoomUtah.com
BEST CRITTER HOUSE CALLS
Rick Whitty, DVM
Dogs, cats and your household exotics aren’t hypochondriacs. They don’t get sick for attention. They don’t get sick to stay home from school. It’s always the real deal when they become quiet and inactive. Sometimes, though, you feel like you stress them out even more by dragging them into a vet clinic where they encounter the sight, sound and smells of other critters. That’s where Rick Whitty comes in. Literally. Through your door to your home. In this day and age where doctors of all kinds seem remote and removed, this vet still makes house calls. And a home exam is more affordable than you’d think. He’ll even come in when it is time to euthanize your pet so this intimate deed can be done in your pet’s familiar space. Stress is not good for people or pets. Let Rick Whitty come to you.
4020 S. Howick St., Murray, 801-261-3655
BEST HOME ECO-CHECKUP
With “carbon footprint” becoming the buzzword of the 21st century, we should all be looking at the way our homes use—and often misuse—precious resources. Greenstar’s in-home consultations provide you with an opportunity to determine where your residence can become more cost- and energy-efficient, from energy auditing and improvement of weatherproofing and insulation, to solar power design and Energy Star appliances.
1098 E. South Union Ave., Midvale, 801-542-7444, GreenstarUtah.com
BEST MODEST MARITAL AIDS
Husband & Wife
Way back in the day, “marital aid” was the discreet description for “sex toy.” But what if you really are married, and are looking to add a little spice to your relationship without embarrassment (or batteries)? This Utah County store caters specifically to a more modest clientele—perhaps of a conservative, religious bent—with its selection of lingerie, massage oils, scented candles, games and “stimulating gels.” For those who want to feel frisky without feeling naughty, there are options.
57 E. Main, American Fork, 801-756-LOVE, HusbandAndWifeIntimacy.com
Paper or plastic? It was the mind-bending no-win choice of the ‘80s. (Plastic isn’t biodegradable, but paper comes from trees.) Choose wrong and you’d be booted from your Avenues bridge group. Today, either answer is likely to garner a scowl from fellow shoppers who bring their own bags to the store. But don’t be fooled. Not all shopping bags are created equal, or eco. Today’s smart set packs its Red Butte picnic in a bag from Salt Lake City bagmaker J.M. Alexander. Woven from biodegradable jute (sort of like hemp with less smoking appeal), the bags are lined with plastic, but apparently the good plastic—specifically those ring things that hold together six packs. (According to J.M. Alexander, the plastic quickly crumbles when exposed to sunlight.) Still not convinced? The Utah Barack Obama campaign had J.M. Alexander make up a line of Obama-themed jute wine carriers to appeal to the wine-and-cheese crowd.
Independent grocers throughout Salt Lake City, JMAlexander.com
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.
BEST HUMANITARIAN TOOTH JOCKEY
Dr. Robert Lucero
Draper-based dentist Bob Lucero doesn’t just have a gentle hand when it comes to fillings and crowns for his insurance-blessed patients. He also likes to give back to the community. His form of philanthropy is to go to impoverished areas of Honduras or Guatemala and do back-to-back crown work for the truly needy. Such is the danger of some of the shanty towns they visit, Lucero and his fellow dentists need bodyguards. It’s a punishing schedule. They fly in, pound away at the decay 12 to 14 hours a day for hundreds of folk who will never get a sniff at health insurance, then fly out again. Way to go, Dr. Bob.
856 E. 12300 South, No. 8, Draper 801-553-9824, DraperDentalSolutions.com
BEST SAKE SOAK
The Kura Door
Is it a delicious beverage to accompany your sushi, or an energizing body tonic? Maybe it’s both. This Avenues day spa offers plenty of fascinating services—papaya body facial, anyone?—but none more intriguing than one special pedicure. Sake comes geisha-approved for its exfoliating properties; combined with ginger, it provides a unique treat for your feet.
1136 E. 3rd Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-364-2400, TheKuraDoor.com
BEST KIDS’ STUFFED CREATIONS
Whether it’s a stuffed animal, a pillow, a blankie or a little bit of all of the above, this Utah-based operation creates a collection of critters for naptime, bedtime and every time in between. Choose one of a dozen animal favorites—from koalas and pandas, to lions and tigers—and zip out the accompanying blanket (removable for easy washing) whenever it’s needed. This award-winning design will make it your child’s equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.
1111 W. 100 South, No. 2, Provo, 801-802-0507, Zoobies.com
BEST BOARD GAME RENTALS
The world of board games is richer than you might remember from your nights of Monopoly and Clue with the family, thanks to the rise in popularity of European-style games over the last 15 years. But where do you begin? Maybe by trying a game on for size to see if it fits. At either of Boardgame Revolution’s two stores, you can rent games for 10 days for 10 percent of the regular retail price. Or try a monthly $10 fee for unlimited rentals. Your party can be lively, and it can be different every time.
293 E. 930 South, Orem, 801-360-8594; 153 E. 4370 South, 801-400-3964, Murray
BEST WOMEN’S PAJAMAS
Scentsations Lotions & Oils
This tiny boutique is packed to the walls with bath salts and body lotions, massage oils for customized scenting and other luxurious skin care products. But the pleasant surprise is Scentsations’ inventory of beautiful cotton, silk and bamboo pajamas and nightgowns, starting at about $50. There are also classic men’s pajamas in pastel floral prints, colorful stripes and bold geometric prints. Bamboo sleepwear is to die for, it’s so soft and clingy. Also a nice selection of silk and cotton bathrobes.
1316 Foothill Drive, Foothill Village, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0168, ScentSLC.com
|BEST CUSTOM KIDDIE SHOES
Take it from a dad: Some girls’ love of unique shoes begins long before they can tell a Jimmy Choo from a Manolo Blahnik. A Utah home-based business, Flashy Ashleys turns Converse All-Star hightops into customized delights for girls, from the twinkly toes to the bright ribbons-turned-laces. Toddlers and youngsters (through youth size 3) will have more fun on their feet than should be allowed.
BEST DOWNTOWN SPIRIT
“Mr. Downtown” Dick Wirick
Dick Wirick took over the Oxford Shop, an upscale men’s shoe store, 57 years ago when he was only 20 and never looked back. Sticking it out in the downtown area, Wirick has made a name for himself in fine shoes and downtown revitalization serving with five civic organizations including the city Business Advisory board. He’s consulted with more mayors and city leaders than one could care to count and has been close to some of the city’s most major renovations, including bringing The Gateway into the central business district so that it was part of downtown—instead of the competition. As for all the City Creek construction clogging up the streets around his business, Wirick can see through the dust to the bigger picture. “In life, you have to have an optimistic point of view,” he says. “When [the construction] is all finished, it will be the grandest thing that’s happened to Salt Lake City.”
65 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-8636
High West Distillery in Park City has only just begun the process for what several years down the road will become the first legal whiskey distilled in Utah since Prohibition. That didn’t stop High West from putting a product on Utah liquor store shelves early in 2008. And if Rendezvous Rye is any indication, Utah tipplers have greatness to look forward to. The floral, golden rye is an elegant whiskey that will make the best bourbon you’ve tasted a letdown forever after. Rendezvous Rye comes in heavy molded glass bottles reminiscent of old Park City before the mining town became a playground for the rich. The two rye whiskies inside come from undisclosed distillers out of state. (While High West already is marketing vodka made from oats in Utah, it will take years to finish a locally made whiskey.) But the talent of High West owner David Perkins and distiller Brendan Coyle shows through in the mixing. Rendezvous Rye was the hit of the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where it won “double gold.” (Whiskey Bros. called it the most sophisticated rye its reviewer ever tasted.) At $40 per bottle, you’ll savor every drop—and look forward to High West opening a saloon inside the 100-year-old livery stable just remodeled as High West’s home in Park.
703 Park Ave., Park City, 801-972-2566, HighWestDistillery.com
BEST CANDIED APPLES
C. Kay Cummings Candies
These treats are so exotic you’ll scarcely believe they start with a humble Granny Smith apple. There are 18 varieties, each coated with top-quality caramel and finished off with unique toppings. To wit: Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, Oreo cookie crumbles, English toffee, cheesecake or good old dark chocolate. It’s worth springing $7 apiece for these eye-popping goodies.
2057 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-456-1031, FineCandies.com
BEST DIY CHRISTMAS
Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree at Fishlake National Forest
Nothing makes for a more Rockwellian and/or Griswoldian Christmas then venturing into the snowy woods to fell your very own Christmas tree. C’mon, when’s the last time you felled anything? Well this year may be time to start a new Christmas tradition, and anyone looking for an idyllic trip into a wintry wonderland ought to claim their very own Christmas tree. All it takes is a $10 tag that can be purchased at any number of ranger stations. The Richfield station will give you the best tips on where to bag your dream tree. But the areas around the Fishlake National Forest offer a bounty of beautiful spruce and pines to choose from. And while in the area, you might take advantage of winter discount prices at Fish Lake Lodge (FishLake.com) and enjoy the rustic environs as a base camp for your festive tree-cutting expeditions. Just don’t forget your ax.
115 E. 900 North, Richfield, 435-896-9233, FS.fed.us
BEST FINANCIAL LEG UP
Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund
Don’t let the name scare you away. The Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund is just a fancy way of saying, “Hey, budding entrepreneurs, we’re here for you.” The local private nonprofit is a community development financial institution that makes business personal. UMLF decides to help out applicants—businesses with five or fewer employees requiring less than $35,000 startup capital—based on plans, not credit scores. That means people like Sophi-Flan’s Horacio Pena was able to achieve his goals through UMLF when no one else would think twice about risking the bank on a struggling Mexican immigrant. Who will benefit next? Stay in the Local First loop to find out.
154 E. Ford Avenue, Suite A, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1180
|BEST RETRO LIGHT FIXTURES
Retrospect Water & Light
So, you have this little reading nook that needs just the right period light fixture. Odds are you’ll find what you need at Retrospect Water & Light, where inventory includes authentic vintage lighting and bathroom fixtures as well as spiffy reproductions. With Art Deco and Arts & Crafts period pieces galore, store manager Buzz Talbot will happily set you up with exactly what your interior design needs demand.
68 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-517-3876
BEST CONSUMER DEMOGRAPHIC
The past 12 months have been difficult for banks, newspapers, mortgage lenders, Republicans, Iceland and the retail sector. Not so for Utah’s firearms and ammo shops, which have been going great guns since the election of President Barack Obama. While enormously popular the world over, it seems the Big O isn’t quite so beloved among backwoods-survivalist types. They’re just waiting for the jackbooted liberal thugs to come knocking at their, er, “doors” or thatched huts or camo tents—where, exactly, does a backwoods survivalist live, anyway?—to confiscate their firearms. (We hear flags, unaborted fetuses, Bibles and apple pies are also on the thugs’ list of contraband.) That’s why gun shops are doing so well these days—guys with camouflaged beer guts are stocking up on AK-47s while they still can. Meanwhile, Republican bankers and business types continue to rape the economy ...
BEST WALL “LEATHER”
Kits Martha, watch your back. Here comes a woman with a paintbrush, and she knows how to use it. Kat Torello’s passion for graphic design and decorative painting have a new outlet in her paint kits created for people who just want their walls to pop. The kits come in a plastic paint bucket and in 72 hours, you can have walls with a textured-leather look using tissue paper, paint, dry pigments and wax. Kat says it’s easy to do, affordable and eco-friendly. There’s even a DVD to guide you through the process. If your walls are closing in, show them who’s boss. Bring out the brushes.
|BEST MORMON SWAG
The Souvenir Stop at Temple Square
A Temple Square musical waterball that plays “Come, Come Ye Saints,” a snowflake ornament made of real Utah salt, a Mo Tabs greatest hits CD: These are a few of our favorite things. While some play down their Mormon identity and heritage, here, it is celebrated. And on steroids: Key chains, magnets, CTR rings. But best of all: T-shirts like The Mormonator, Laban’s Sword Company, Caffeine Free, Mormon Girl: Worth the Wait, Bee Happy and My Bishop Rocks. Getcher Mormonobilia right here.
149 S. Main, Suite 100, Salt Lake City, 801-537-7766, SouvenirStop.com
BEST SOLE SAVER
G’s Sole Express
Got a hole in your sole? Has your heel lost its seal? In these days of 21st-century frugality, it’s good to know your favorite shoes can have a second life. The cobbler art is alive and well here at G’s, with its 20 years of experience. Known for speedy customer service and a hometown touch, Gary makes everyone feel welcome. He’ll talk politics and sports with you while making your shoes look like new again. For those of the “throw it out when you don’t like it anymore” generation, G’s will be a novel experience.
2239 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Salt Lake City, 801-424-3551
BEST NEW ARTISAN CHEESE
Old-time Italians and Greeks remember the Nicoletti goat ranch in Butterfield Canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains. They also remember Tony Nicoletti weighing, cutting and selling his cheeses from the trunk of his car in Bingham Canyon and elsewhere migrants gathered. Tony later opened his own store at 3900 S. State which still stands as the Mediterranean Market. The ranch is long gone, and for many years, the cheese it spawned was, as well. But now, Michelle Nicoletti, Tony’s daughter has dug up the old family recpies and is making Nicoletti cheese at her home in Copperton. Her ricotta is as good as can be found around here, and her Greek kasseri is redolent in richness and texture. Rumored next is Nicoletti feta.
Available at Mediterranean Market and Caputo’s.
BEST WORLDLY SHOPPING
If your plans to travel abroad have been given the kibosh until the economy improves, you may be cranky. One way to fool yourself into thinking you’ve been somewhere is to load up the family and drive to Draper—you know, that far-away land in the south valley? Just driving there serves as a road trip for our city-centric folk. Look for that one-of-a-kind Trader Joe-inspired food fortress on 700 East, and start filling your basket with imported pastas, olive tapenades, pickles, sausages, olive oils, nuts, cheeses, curry pastes, chutneys, salsas, crackers and breads. Hey, these well-stocked aisles aren’t just for returned missionaries, nostalgic for the international junk food of their youths (though they shop there, too); you’ll even find tasty microbrews and cocktail mixes to help wash down that worldly fare.
11901 S. 700 East, Draper, 801-572-0956, Pirate-O.com
BEST KNITTING SHOP
The interior of this renovated house is utterly and unapologetically cozy. A crackle in the fireplace, the aroma of coffee, a clutch of knitters around a big table chatting amiably as their fingers work the yarn. Even the skeins of yarn on display are warm mauves and taupes, not the prosaic purples and browns of store-bought sweaters. Services include classes for the beginner, camaraderie for the experienced, suggestions for the stumped, and hands-on help for the stalled. It’s a place Rosie Grier, one of the “Fearsome Foursome” of the L.A. Rams, would have spent his leisure hours, doing the needlepoint he loved to do. Knitting is not just for women anymore.
1365 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5648, BlazingNeedles.com
One of the only spots in the United States to get authentic Italian salami is Utah. Who’d of thunk. It’s possible because of Cristiano Creminelli who brought his salami- and sausage-making skills to Utah after meeting up with Utahn and now-business partner Chris Bowler during the Torino Olympics. Creminelli makes his salami from ancient family recipes by hand, then naturally cures them in a laborious process used by only a few others in the United States. The results are available at Tony Caputo’s Market. As superlative, but less expensive, are Creminelli’s traditional sausages, available at Caputo’s, Emigration Market and some Dan’s Foods locations in Salt Lake City as well as The Market in Park City. Creminelli has been recognized by the international Slow Food movement for preserving real food for future generations. Help his mission succeed by eating his salami. If you have only ever had commercially made sausage and salami, you haven’t eaten either.
Tony Caputo’s, 308 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-8669, Creminelli.com
BEST GREEN CONTRACTOR
Aaron Johnson, AD Johnson Remodeling
It ain’t easy building green, and if anybody knows that, it’s green contractor Aaron Johnson. Johnson a veteran contractor of more than 20 years, has been leading a local revolution in encouraging green construction projects helping residential home projects become more eco-friendly and more energy efficient. Johnson has jumped ahead of the curve to start designing homes with geothermal heating, salvaged materials, solar power and many other green-friendly features. That’s because, at heart, Johnson has always been earth-friendly. Before becoming a successful contractor, he was an idealistic art major at the U. He got into contracting to help pay for school and ended up sticking with it for a career. “I’ve always kind of had a moral dilemma being a contractor and an environmentalist,” jokes Johnson, who has found his own kind of redemption in pioneering green home building in Utah. That’s all right. We’re happy to forgive anyone who can help give development in Utah a much-needed dose of green.
Lara’s Tailoring & Alteration
This little home-based tailor shop is a bit tricky to find. But once you do, pull up to the house with the wooden sign on it. Don’t be intimidated—just ring the bell. You’ll be greeted by a delightful seamstress who knows how to sew, hem, stitch and solve just about any sartorial dilemma you could throw at her. From pants to wedding dresses, Ms. Lara brings old-world style and technique to her alterations and for a very reasonable price.
3366 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5766
BEST FREE HEALTH CARE
Junior League CARE
Fare Chances are, you know at least one person who routinely skips the dentist because “flossing is good enough.” Besides, his benefits are nonexistent. These days, fewer and fewer people are lucky enough to enjoy access to proper health care. That’s why after 16 years, the Junior League’s annual community CARE fair is more important than ever. The two-day event brings together community agencies and medical service providers to offer free examinations and immunizations, physicals, vision and dental screenings, HIV testing, and other preventive measures that many struggling families and individuals would otherwise forgo.
526 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-328-1019
BEST SOUR MILK
Next time you’re driving through Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, pointing out the children in the old-fashioned dresses on the street to your tourist friends, keep a look out for the local dairy. There you will find polygamy’s gift to local cuisine: cheese curds. These hard little yellow balls of fat are bland to the point of tasteless. Whoever decided this pallid imitation of cheese was worthy of distributing to the outside world clearly needs to educate his/her palate with something slightly more pungent.
BEST MARKET TO DANCE IN
What distinguishes this chain of local Mexican supermarkets from the many mercados that pepper the West Valley and Glendale is not only the extremely low-priced fresh vegetables, above-average chorizo and quality of well-priced meat. What truly elevates it is the upbeat tempo of Latin music—notably the swirling pleasures of norteño—that’s piped over the aisles. As you browse the shelves, whenever the mood takes you, grab your partner, or an obliging fellow shopper who syncs into your mood, and twirl along the aisles to your heart’s content to the beat of some truly wonderful bands.
Multiple locations, RanchoMarkets.com
Ray’s Shoe Repair
When a favorite pair of cowboy boots bites the dust one more time, head to Ray’s Shoe Repair where they can be reincarnated and made good for another few years. Randy Parker, the legendary Ray’s son, is a shoe-repair wizard who fixes trashed heels, pumps, dress shoes, sandals, boots, and anything else you can find to put on your feet. His tiny cobbler shop looks like a shoe store exploded but he knows where each and every sole, heel, and upper is and whose feet they belong to. Once you visit Ray’s, you’ll never throw out another pair of shoes or boots again.
15 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-546-1804
|BEST NATURAL PROGRESSION
Sunflower Farmers Market
In these economically sour times, Sunflower Farmers Market is a ray of sunshine offering affordable organic and locally produced food for the health-conscious shopper on a budget. Founder Mike Gilliland, who also helped launch Wild Oats, cuts cost on store construction by purchasing directly from growers and paying them straight away. The result is fresh fare that does your body and your wallet some major good—or, as Sunflower’s logo says, “Serious Food at Silly Prices.” Check the store Website for coupons to save even more dough.
6284 S. State, Murray, 801-434-1501; 1375 S. State, Orem, 801-266-3566; SFMarkets.com
BEST TILE FOR YOUR MILE
Spencer Mabey at Atlas Tile
Looking for inspired craftsmanship in tiling your shower, bath area, floor, fireplace, backsplash or countertops? One look through Spencer Mabey’s photo album of recent projects, and you can’t help but be convinced of Mabey’s magic with rock, travertine, ceramic tile and porcelain. It’s veritable “slate” of hand. He’s priced in the middle and, according to satisfied customers, is worth every penny. So reserve your slot with Mabey before summer projects pull him away. Glowing recommendations don’t grow on trees in the building trades.
1074 E. Beverly Way, Bountiful, 801-556-6248
BEST ARTISAN BREAD
Crumb Bros.’ ciabatta is about as close as you will get to Italy while living in Utah. The Logan artisan bakery has perfected the art of making the “slipper” and several other authentic bread styles using flour milled locally in Logan. The bread is available at better groceries in Salt Lake City. But if you stop by the bakery, you can try some amazing pastries and cookies as well.
291 S. 300 West, Logan, 435-757-3468
BEST SPINACH MULTI-VITAMIN
Vegetable gardeners try potion after potion trying to get the tallest corn, the crunchiest carrots or the earliest tomatoes. Flower gardeners vie for the prettiest, longest-lasting blooms. Gardeners of all stripes are now learning about a new Utah product called Dino-Mite. Dino-Mite literature boasts that it is chemical free, induces special flavors, will “monsterize” your plants and is loaded with minerals, micro-nutrients and trace elements—a “super multi-vitamin” for your plants. Not only have we heard of incredible results on tomatoes, we even heard some humans consume it, though we can’t recommend that. No answer if their thumbs turned green on the spot. Available at Glover’s Nursery and soon at multiple garden shops in the area.
BEST GOURMET ROASTS
Despite its Italian-sounding name, Rimini is a local 16-year-old wholesale specialty coffee roaster whose products are served in coffee shops around the Valley including Sugarhouse Coffee, Cafe Marmalade and Baxter’s Cafe. The public can also buy freshly roasted beans right at their shop. Roasts like Milano Italian Dark Roast, Baldoria Espresso, Cascata, Espresso Perugia and Stellato Espresso. There’s the feel-good Mexican Fair Trade Organic. Plus tea, chocolate, syrups, biscotti, cups, lids, equipment, etc. A great local company that supports a grew brew.
532 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-539-1210
BEST BEER STORE
The Beer Store, Utah Brewer’s Co-op
With seven fresh-brewed Squatter’s and Wasatch beers on tap at all times, not to mention its Brigham’s Brew root beer, who needs further enticing to head in to the Utah Brewer’s Co-op? But, of course, there’s always more. For instance, you can pick up that Polygamy Porter T-shirt you’ve been wanting or a chilled liquor-store quality six-pack. And even though you can’t actually partake of the liquid wares on premises, your helpful and friendly “Beer Information Specialists” Abby and Deb are always on hand to make sure your visit is a memorable one.
1763 S. 300 West, 801-466-8855, UtahBeers.com