Best of Utah 2010: Goods & Services | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2010: Goods & Services 

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IFA Country Store - JESS LEONARD

Best Whiff of Green Acres
IFA Country Store

You can’t buy petunia pomegranate room freshener or test-spray eau de vanilla springtime at the IFA Country Store. But, you can steep yourself in the primal scents that surrounded your ancestors—the sharp smell of leather, the fresh earthiness of topsoil and the potpourri of fur, feathers and cedar shavings rising from cages of baby critters. Even the 20th century chemical tang of fertilizers and the cottony canvas of stiff Carhartt coats are accessible to the appreciative nose. Wander the aisles, then—saddles, deer repellent, dog chews, cowboy hats—and allow the aromas to awaken your agrarian soul. Multiple locations,

Best Place to Bury Your Pet
Angels Rest Memorial Cemetery

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a sprawling 36 acres of mountain red rock outside Kanab. A few miles up a dirt trail, you come to an almost surreal sight: three acres of chimes hanging from trees and hundreds of photo-embossed burial stones marking the remains of beloved animals. With a view of a canyon on one side and cliffs on the other, the cemetery is devotedly maintained by volunteers. Pet lover or not, it’s hard to ignore the serene solemnity of this remarkable tribute to pet owners’ love affairs with their pets. 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, 435-644-2001,


Best Cowboys for Rent
Hired Guns

Lannie “The Marshal” Scopes, left, and Craig “Creek” Johnson certainly look the part of the old-time cowboy: weathered visages and abundant facial hair. But that’s just the outward manifestation of the love for the Old West that the longtime “In Cahoots” partners have brought to their public speaking and meet-and-greet venture. Whether it’s cowboy poetry, humor, music or rustlin’ up a big “Howdy,” Scopes and Johnson have made it their business to keep a certain authentic Western spirit and code alive. If the event calls for cowboys, it calls for these hired guns.

Best Sole Saver
Village Cobbler

What’s that, you ask? “Cobblers still exist?” That’s right, they do, and some in this day are actually thriving. Take, for example, the Village Cobbler near Foothill Village. A proud family operation that alternately employs the seven children of owner Rob Morgan, Village Cobbler has mended his customers’ favorite shoes since 1968. A simple profession, perhaps, but in these economic times, Morgan not only earns his bread and butter cobbling shoes, he helps people avoid forking over a lot more dough for a brand new pair, a classic win-win. The Morgan family can be relied upon to keep us stitched up, re-soled and worry-free—at least about spending too much on new footwear. 1455 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-582-7784

Best Party Favors
Smile Now Photo Booths

There aren’t many places in Utah that provide access to old-school photo booths. However, entrepreneur Suzzi Williams wisely scooped up several of the nostalgic camera machines to rent out. Though primarily for weddings, the attractive booths add to any festive occasion. Customers also have the option of purchasing one of Smile Now’s customized candy buffets. Price and packaging vary, but each photo booth order comes with an on-site technician and unlimited photos. Say cheese!

Best Friendly Gas Station
Bob Nafus Sinclair, Kanosh

Kanosh is a little off the beaten path. But if you’re driving to Las Vegas and find yourself in need of gas at the halfway mark, turn off Interstate 15, drive the seven miles to Kanosh and say hi to Bob Nafus. He owns and operates the Sinclair garage—about the only surviving business in this dusty town. Nafus laughingly says he sells all the sin products—tobacco, beer and sickly sweet coffee—along with ammo and gas. He also owns the 24-hour towing service and rents out ATVs and small equipment. Nafus takes a genuine interest in his visitors and reminds travelers what Utah hospitality is all about. 115 S. Main, Kanosh, 435-759-2652

Best Snack & Snip
Caffe Niche & Dexterity Salon

At Tara Southard and Jeff Martin’s Caffe Niche & Dexterity Salon, you can get an all-new you while you nosh on some of the best cafe food in town. Make an early hair appointment and enjoy Caffe Niche’s daily quiche, or maybe its breakfast sandwich with egg, asparagus, Fontina cheese and truffle oil. Or, later on in the day, enjoy a great grilled cheese while you’re getting snipped: Irish cheddar, Stilton, pecans and Dijon mustard on sourdough or whole-wheat bread. Why not enjoy a great meal along with a great new ’do? Caffe Niche: 779 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-433-3380,; Dexterity Salon: 777 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-1420,

Best Beer & Boots Shop
Ream’s Foods, Layton

Yes, many grocery superstores have clothes, but this Ream’s has devoted seemingly half its store to classic Western wear. Their selection is varied and colorful, especially the shirts, which are suitable for riding bareback broncs, drinking whiskey on the back of a pickup truck, or swingin’ to honky tonk. At the same time, Ream’s is a grocery store, making it possible to grab your snap button shirt with a rose on the lapel and a case of cold beer. Now that’s one-stop shopping. 1040 N. Main, Layton, 801-547-9842

Best Tight-Knit Community
Blazing Needles

Blazing Needles might sound like a tattoo shop, but the Sugar House store specializes not in skin art but the art of knitting. Located in what looks like your sweet grandmother’s house, the business offers a cozy, inviting atmosphere in which to shop for a vast selection of yarn, patterns and books. Blazing Needles also serves as a community gathering place for knitters of all levels, with affordable classes and events available monthly so that you don’t have to brave the “magic loop” on your own. 1365 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5648,

Best Break From Your Workout Norm
Fight for Your Life

Looking to spice up your fitness routine? Want to arm yourself against would-be attackers? Or maybe, just maybe, your ego needs to be taken down a notch. At Fight For Your Life, serious athletes and weekend warriors engage side by side in intense workouts combining punching bags with lunges, weights, ladders and other things you hated about gym class but are surprisingly handy in the battle of the bulge. Group classes, personal training and boxing for aspiring professionals are all great ways to tap into folks’ fight-or-flight response. 1483 S. Major St., Salt Lake City, 801-326-9647,

Best Function & Form
Shabby Apple

Utah-based online clothing site Shabby Apple takes the guesswork out of dress shopping with Fit to Flatter, a guide that doesn’t pretend “one size fits all.” The feature uses a three-question quiz to help customers determine which pieces will best suit their figures. Whether the results are hourglass, pear, apple, pencil, athletic, womanly, tall or short, you’re sure to find an amazing addition to your wardrobe with just a few easy mouse clicks.

Best E-Cycler
Used Computer Warehouse

Used Computer Warehouse is just like it sounds, except instead of actually being a warehouse, it has two spacious stores in Midvale and Layton strip malls. But the computer systems they sell at prices as low as $200 will work well for most users. If the configurations they have don’t quite fit your needs, they’ll rearrange the components to build you a custom system. Since “reduce” and “reuse” are even more important than “recycle,” buying from this store gets you a halo or two in conservation heaven—and saves you cash. 7045 S. State, Midvale, 801-561-8733; 1991 N. Main, Layton, 801-776-8733

Best Gathering of Spirit
Native American Trading Post

This store has the duel spirit of a powwow and Native American Church meeting, each boiled down to their constituent parts—music, beads, feathers, fans and drums—then blended and displayed with price tags. But more than just a powwow/NAC supply store, the Native American Trading Post is also an art gallery, specialty grocer, jewelry purveyor, gift store and occasional classroom. Ask owners Dru and Leslie Drury to tell you the tale of the business’s evolution from a booth at a nearby flea market to the full-fledged super store it is today. 3971 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-952-0184,

Best Cheap Ride
U Car Share

Utah isn’t the best place to live without a car. While our mass-transit system is certainly improving, it hardly compares to those of bustling bergs like New York City and Chicago. And, when time is of the essence, waiting for TRAX can make or break your appointments. Obviously, then, we jumped for joy when Salt Lake City and Ogden joined up with Phoenix-based U Car Share, a subsidiary of U-Haul. The system works as follows: Participants pay a one-time $25 membership fee, then pay rates as low as $4.95 per hour to drive cars available at select locations around the city. The peace of mind that comes with U Car Share? Priceless.


Best Vacuums
Smith-Crown Co.

Since 1947, Smith-Crown Co. in Sugar House has been the city’s finest purveyor of vacuums. As vacuum cleaners have increasingly become the domain of the big-box stores, it is refreshing to find a company still specializing in various product lines. The Smith family has made selling quality merchandise and providing old-fashioned customer service its stock in trade. If you need to bring your vacuum in for service, the Smith family (who still run the joint) will remember you. They’ll honor product warranties and provide any needed repairs without haggling. As members of the Sugar House Merchants Association, they’re also great boosters for local business—all the more reason to make Smith-Crown your go-to destination for all your vacuum needs. 2005 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-5259,

Best Reason to Pray for Snow
Goldsmith Co. Jewelers New Year’s Eve Promotion

Most of us would rather not deal with a storm while making our way to and from New Year’s Eve celebrations, but a Provo jewelry store gave its customers plenty of reason to pray for snow. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Goldsmith Co. Jewelers ran a promotion promising that if 4 inches or more of snow fell at the store location on Dec. 31, 2009, everything purchased during that time frame would be free (an insurance policy was readied for that possibility). No big storm ended up striking on that day, but according to store owner Wil Feller, “We’re definitely hoping for snow next year … we have to pay the insurance, regardless.” 120 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-375-5220,

Best Celebration for Your Little Princess
Princess Parties

Disney has made a mint on this simple realization: Little girls love their princesses. And they’re bound to love a birthday party in which a real live princess comes to the door to lead the festivities. Princess Parties sends performers dressed as beloved storybook characters to homes to tell stories, play games and even give lessons in how to curtsy and dance for that upcoming ball. Someday their prince may come, but their princess can come any time. 3176 S. 400 East, Bountiful, 801-897-3345,

Best Marsupial Maintenance
Sugar Glider Shop

An exotic pet like a sugar glider—an adorable, tiny marsupial with gliding wings and some very distinctive sounds—is nothing to take lightly. In Utah, you even need a special permit to own one. But if it’s the right choice for you, there’s a place in Sandy to help you with everything you need to know. Cages, warming lamps, guidebooks, special foods and more can all be yours to help your new little friend be more comfortable and to help you be more knowledgable caring for him. 9460 S. Union Square, Sandy, 801-432-7192

Best Doggie Diapers
Pocos Pet Products

Yes, it looks silly—but tell me the convenience doesn’t make sense after you’ve cleaned up your dog’s latest mess. Utah-based Pocos sells washable sanitary garments for dogs of all sizes that are practical for taking your dogs to other people’s houses, in the car or leaving them for an extended stretch inside the house. And you can match the pattern choice to your personality (or that of your pet). A clean, dry home has its aesthetic appeal, too.

Best Hive Maintenance
Hansen Hives & Honey

Urban gardening has grown more popular in recent years, both for health and economic reasons. But the question is: Is your garden getting properly pollinated? Locally owned Hansen Hives is a resource for would-be backyard beekeepers, both by setting up entire hives in homes willing to host (a service already ordered to capacity for 2010) and by consulting individuals setting up their own hives. Order your hive parts and accessories, or have Hansen Hives extract the honey from your hive for you. And if you happen to find a swarm on your property, they’ll remove them safely to provide the foundation for a new hive. 1254 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-1854,

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