Best of Utah 2010: Goods & Services 

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Best Outdoor Gear Rental
University of Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Program

Outdoor gear is expensive—generally, only the privileged can afford it. If you’re dabbling in a new sport or just don’t want to break the bank, consider renting gear before you buy. From whitewater kayaks to headlamps, backcountry-skiing skins to rock-climbing harnesses, the Outdoor Recreation Program has just about everything you need for your outdoor endeavors—short of a in-camp chef or porter to lug all that newly rented gear to the top of the mountain. 2140 E. Red Butte Road, Building 650, Salt Lake City, 801-581-8516

Best Green Builder
PCR

Frequently recognized by Build Green Utah, the folks at PCR (Planet Concious Resource) are the epitome of forward-thinking. PCR builds, designs and remodels to make our homes and offices greener. Sure, every builder could build green, but every builder doesn’t. 797 N. Washington Blvd., Harrisville, 801-782-9009, Built-Green.com

Best Homegrown Jeans
Nappi Clothing

Danny Nappi’s way of finding the perfect pair of jeans meant creating his own clothing company. Five years later, he has achieved his goal with Nappi jeans, arguably the best-fitting pair of pants you will ever own. Made out of both Italian and Japanese denim, these no-frill pants will flatter nearly any figure and become a staple for any wardrobe. According to Nappi, next on his radar will be perfecting the basic T-shirt and perhaps the leather jacket to complete the classic James Dean look. It’s nice to know that it’s possible to support local designers without having to sacrifice quality or style. 2105 S. Main, Salt Lake City, NappiClothing.com

Best Local Outdoor E-Tailer
Backcountry.com

Lacking an actual brick-and-mortar store, it might seem contrary to call Backcountry.com the best local outdoor outfitter. But, this online retailer does call Utah home, and there are some serious benefits to having the company here in our back yard. First, it offers a huge selection of discounted gear. Second, the shipping costs are negligible and the time from purchase to delivery is usually less than 24 hours. The clear advantage is that customers can return and/or exchange merchandise by going directly to Backcountry’s place of business; they can pop into their warehouse to see if they have what you need. Backcountry.com

Best Institutional Yard Sale
University of Utah Surplus & Salvage

The end of the line for the university’s stuff is a historic, red brick Army building near the residence halls in Fort Douglas. Its three floors are filled with desks, chairs, filing cabinets and the like, and there are also mountain bikes, telephones, automobiles and enough computers and electronic gizmos to excite any hardcore tinkerer. Prices on unsold items drop in 20 percent increments monthly. 210 Connor St., 801-581-7917, utah.edu/surplus

Best for Self-Actualization
The Wrench-It Center

Talented but unfulfilled? Willing to go where few have dared go before? Fortify your ego while padding your bank account with do-it-yourself car repair at the Wrench-It Center. There, in a warm-ish, clean, well-lit place, you can change your oil, restore your brakes, get rid of that unsettling “check engine” light, and replace the whole damned engine if you want! The Wrench-It Center provides space, tools and step-by-step instructions. Parts, delivery and overnight storage are free. Just do it! 1245 S. 700 West, Salt Lake City, 801-977-7500, Wrench-It.com

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Best Chic on the Cheap
Name Droppers

Want basement-level bargain prices without the basement vibe? Name Droppers is a high-fashion consignment shop that looks and feels like an upscale boutique, but whose merchandise sells for at least 75 percent off original designer prices. It offers the thrill of a sweet D.I. score without the smell, concrete tile floors or outdated appliances. 3355 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1128; 2350 East Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, 801-474-1644, ShopNameDroppers.com

Best Extreme Makeover (Boutique)
The Children’s Hour

“Between the dark and the daylight/ When the night is beginning to lower/ Comes a pause in the day’s occupations/ That is known as the Children’s Hour.” Longfellow’s poem served as inspiration for naming a children’s bookshop some 26 years ago that became one of 9th and 9th’s stalwart boutiques. Some have compared it to moviedom’s “Shop Around the Corner.” Now in newly remodeled digs on the northwest corner of 9th and 9th, it’s anything but quaint. Yes, there are still the remarkable children’s books, but it is also one of the grooviest places to shop for novelty toys; designer clothes and shoes for men, women and children; as well as linens and household items. Whether you be a babe, tween, teen or adult, there’s a bauble, accessory, teacup, sundress or puzzle with your name on it. 898 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4150, ChildrensHourBookstore.com

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Best Male Underwear
Cockers/Spark

If you were teased last summer for wearing swim trunks to a pool party, you can rectify that before people start getting the wrong idea about you (namely, that you’re boring). Cockers offers a complete line of male swimwear, gym wear and so-not-holy undergarments. Brands include Andrew Christian, N2N, Joe Snyder, American Apparel, Unico, Junk and more. The front store, Spark, sells men’s and women’s clothing, hats, jewelry and accessories. One of a few stores that are succeeding after being dislocated by the premature bulldozing in Sugar House, we’re glad Cockers didn’t get stuck in the Sugarhole. 629 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-467-1574

Best Wax On/Wax Off
Kathy’s Electrolysis

Brazilian waxing is a rather intimate, maybe even embarrassing, experience. When you get right down to it, who really needs to be pampered with cucumber water or aroma therapy during this procedure? Just rip it, strip it and go. Kathy works in a private office space. Here, you’ll only find Kathy and a few of her tools of the trade—no distractions from the task at hand. Kathy is quick, no nonsense, reasonably priced and, damn, she’s good. Now, get the hell outta here. 1073 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-463-1950

Best Singing Bowls
Dragon Dreams

Crystal bowls are made from 99.992 percent crushed quartz that is heated to about 4,000 degrees in a centrifugal mold and fashioned into bowls between 6 and 24 inches in diameter. Dragon Dreams boutique on 9th and 9th is a primary outlet for locally made Crystal Tone bowls. If in need of having your aura cleared, stop by the shop and ask for a free demonstration of the singing bowls. Running a mallet around the rim, you’ll hear a haunting vibration that reverberates through your mind and body. When many bowls are played at once, the effect is exquisite. The shop teams up with Centered City Yoga every few months to sponsor a singing-bowl meditation, guaranteed to infuse the entire block with good vibrations. 920 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-509-1043, DragonDreamsGifts. com

Best Fort Union Hair Affair
Gemini Salon

Not every stylist here is Ken Paves. And the salon is not trying to be the Frédéric Fekkai of Fort Union. Rather, this is a place for a relaxing, unhassled quick & easy ’do that you can afford to keep “doing,” even in these indecent times. It’s full-service, offering professional cuts, color, weaves, extensions, waxing, makeup, nails and tanning as well as wedding and special occasion styling. Yet, as busy as they are, there’s no pressure to hurry you along or to make you buy products. They’re more interested in hitting it off with you, so you’ll return for more pampering on another day. And yes, even on Saturdays, walk-ins are welcome. 771 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-563-1999, Gemini-Salon.com

Best Flower Purchasing Power
Skyline Flowers

Need flowers at a good price? Skyline Flowers have been florists for decades, located in an unassuming little shop on Highland Drive, near the old Villa theater building. They’re strictly old school: no Website, no credit cards. With a low overhead, they can afford to give you more bloom for your buck. They’ll take cash and checks, or if you have an account, they’ll take orders by phone and bill you later. The key is not to be in a rush or too demanding. Some of the staff speak Spanish, while others are senior citizens. Just be patient when ordering your flowers, and you’ll smile contentedly all the way to the bank. 3064 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-466-8118

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Best Throwback Art
Pretty Little Pixel

A favorite among local art collectors and those who have a love of nostalgia, Stephanie Swift’s works have caught the eye of many. Swift takes photos of classic electric signage (itself a lost art) from across the city, breathing new life and color into her printed reminders of a time gone by. She’s captured urban signage for businesses like Blue Plate Diner, Bonwood Bowl, Bar X and the lost DV8 for all time and turned her product offerings into highly sought-after art. PrettyLittlePixel.com

Best Dealership in the Face of Disaster
Mark Miller Toyota

The economy has dealt car dealerships a cruel blow for well over a year now. And things have only gotten worse for Toyota as news has spread of its floor-mat and gas-pedal problems believed to cause unintended acceleration in a number of models. In the face of recalling millions of cars, you’d think Toyota service departments might be on the verge of cranking up the bitterness quotient. If so, the folks at Mark Miller Toyota did not get the memo. Their service people continue to solve everyday crises for customers, going the extra mile to ensure things like garage-door remotes in their vehicles work. They maintain a spotless facility and proudly give tours of it. Yep, real people, not hard-sell types, appear to work in the Mark Miller Toyota service department. 730 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-364-2100, MarkMillerToyota.com

Best After-Hours Swine Flu Diagnosis
Redwood Urgent Care

It’s Friday night and you’re ready to party—only you’re not. Turns out, you’re sick as a dog. Now what do you do, hope to survive the weekend so you can see a doctor on Monday? The University of Utah’s Redwood Health Center can hook you up. It offers evening and weekend hours in its urgent care clinic to treat flu, fever, earaches, nausea, rashes, allergic reactions, animal and insect bites, sprains, cuts and even minor broken bones. It has an onsite X-ray, lab and pharmacy services, which means your one stop may be the only stop before going back home to bed. 1525 W. 2100 South, 801-213-9900, Healthcare.utah.edu/Redwood/Urgentcare

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