|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