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

Best of Utah 2010: Goods & Services 

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Best Beehive Bargain Blog
Utah Deal Diva

Stay-at-home mom Jessica—aka the Utah Deal Diva—took the lemons of her husband’s unemployment and turned it into the sweet lemonade of tips that help her readers live more frugally. Her site offers everyday useful instruction on how to shop with coupons and stretch food dollars, in addition to suggestions for finding giveways, free samples and other local deals. Take it from someone who can feed a family of five on $170 a month: There are more ways to live inexpensively in Utah than you’ve ever dreamed.

Best Value-Added Scrapbooking
Cherish Bound

Utahns love scrapbooking and can’t get enough of turning memories into bound collections of photos with cutesy borders and mats. But don’t some of these stories work even better with, you know, words? This Lehi-based company offers consulting to help folks turn weddings, vacations, family histories and more into full-fledged books, then binds them to your specifications. Other products provide tools to guide the home memoirist-to-be. Time to kick that scrapbook up a notch. 3375 W. Mayflower, Suite B, Lehi,

Best Store for All Things Windy
Breakin’ Wind

It’s a unique enough retail specialty: filling a store with things that flutter or jingle in the breeze, whether they be chimes, windsocks, kites, flags or spinners. But Cedar City’s AJ Hegedus gave his establishment the kind of moniker that’s likely to make folks do a double-take, whether it’s when driving by or spotting an ad. Also a supporter of southern Utah kiting and ballooning events, Hegedus isn’t just breakin’ wind; he’s breakin’ new ground in goofily entertaining business names. 50 W. Center St., Cedar City, 435-586-8851,

Best One-Stop Home Breadmaker’s Resource
Kitchen Kneads

There are few things more satisfying for an amateur cook than pulling freshly baked bread from an oven and subsequently filling a room with its aroma and your belly with its goodness. If you want to get really serious about baked goods, it’s time to visit Kitchen Kneads. As an all-purpose kitchen-goods retailer, it sells plenty more than the grain mills and bread machines specific to the bread-making task. But, it also offers great classes in bread-making that will have you eager to fill that oven whenever possible. 3030 Grant St., Ogden, 801-399-3221,

Best a la Carte Cooking Instruction
Bob Bryant

In the age of the Food Network, everyone feels that home-cooking brilliance is at their fingertips. At Harmons Culinary Education Center in Draper, Bob Bryant—a chef with 35 years of professional experience—can give the boost your kitchen skills need. Want to make killer stocks and sauces? There’s a class for that. Ditto for preparing seafood, making delicious vegetarian dishes or crafting delectable desserts. With costs between $30 and $50 per session, it’s like being able to craft your personalized culinary-school curriculum. 125 E. 13800 South, Draper, 801-617-0133,


Best Tires & Tamales
Victor’s Tires

Why it took us a decade-plus to discover the unique combination of tires and tamales is a mystery—and a damned shame. To think, we’ve been wasting all this time at corporate tire chains, flipping through outdated issues of US Weekly and sipping watery vending-machine coffee while our axels get cozy with new wheels. We could have been at Victor’s Tires, munching on muy authenticopozole, quesadillas and menudo! Victor Galindo and his wife, Elvia, started offering customers chips and salsa years ago before installing a full kitchen at the Salt Lake City shop. How good are their traditional meals? Good enough to make your next flat tire cause for a celebration. 1406 S. 700 West, Salt Lake City, 801-978-9595,

Best Big Bang for Your Buck
Lantis Fireworks & Lasers

Fireworks only as flashy ooh-and-ahh-inspiring entertainment? C’mon, Bub, it’s the 21st century. Utah-based Lantis Fireworks & Lasers has pumped up its show-stopping potential with the addition of German state-of-the-art machinery and the ability to put on dazzling displays that you won’t see just anywhere. Lantis’ experience across the country and around the world—from city celebrations to bowl games—creates something more than simple eye candy. With this kind of style, it’s more like eye truffles. 801-673-4465,

Best African Crafts Marketplace
Beautiful Options/A Gift to Africa

“Fair trade” isn’t just a buzzword meant to assuage guilty consumption; it’s a choice that allows people all over the world to live a better life. And if doing so allows you to bring more beauty into your life, so much the better. Beautiful Options distributes handmade jewelry and crafts from Swaziland, Kenya, Uganda and other African nations, all made by rural women in those nations. Buy them for their beauty, and consider the social consequences a wonderful bonus. 1807 Nobility Circle, Salt Lake City, 801-746-1194,

Best Sew-Original Greeting Cards
Stitched Cards

The Hallmark-ing of American sentiment has led to a situation in which buying a card may indicate that you remembered, but not that you’ve really given someone much thought. Utah’s Jeni Shirley decided to turn the giving of cards into an opportunity to give something truly distinctive—a one-of-a-kind piece of embroidered art. Birthdays, graduations and every other possible occasion are covered by one of Stitched Cards’ designs; there are even cards honoring other similarly local-minded enterprises, like Sam Weller’s Bookstore. And unlike disposable cards, you’ll want to pass these on in a way that makes “re-gifting” make sense. Visit one of the partner retailers, or check out the full catalog online.

Best Male Toiletries
Tabula Rasa Social Stationers

Women’s moisturizers are sold door-to-door and in every department store, but men who want a body that looks primped—but doesn’t smell feminine—have to search a lot harder to buy anything more spectacular than drug-store lotion. While pens and paper are—quite literally—the store’s calling card, Tabula Rasa is so much more than stationery. Among the offerings is a carefully selected menu of male grooming products that is anything but common. For men whose masculinity isn’t threatened by healthy skin, Tabula Rasa offers Jack Black, Caswell-Massey, Crabtree & Evelyn, Claus Porto and other brands that understand men get ashy, too. 330 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-575-5043,

Best Wool Baby
Mountain Top Alpacas

Alpacas resemble little Wookie-horses or miniature llamas. But you don’t have to know what they look like to know that alpaca wool is a silky and lustrous luxury in itself. While these unique creatures hail from the Peruvian Andes, they seem to like Utah’s rugged terrain, as well. Thus, you can buy alpacas and alpaca products here in Utah, and your first stop in doing so ought to be Mountain Top Alpacas. Mountain Top sells all major breeds as well as alpaca wool for your knitting needs. Or, if you’d rather just strut in the fabric of Incan nobility, you can simply purchase Alpaca wool socks directly from the farm. 2686 W. 6000 South, Lake Shore, 801-254-5627,

Best Thrifty Fiction in Kaysville
ABC Paperback Exchange

If you’re a bookworm, pack your tote bag for your stop at ABC Paperbacks—you’ll walk out with a stack. ABC runs on a trade system, meaning they’ll take the original cover price of any books you bring in and apply it as credit toward the dirt-cheap prices of its used books: 75 cents for mass markets and $2-$4 for larger paperbacks. Specializing in genre fiction, ABC also offers a respectable selection of general fiction and children/teen titles. Eric Conley, there most days of the week sorting through recent used-book arrivals, can keep track of specific titles or authors and give you a call when one you want comes through the door. The service and opportunity for endless browsing are well worth the drive north. 575 N. Main, Kaysville, 801-544-6510

Best Green Lodging
Treasure Mountain Inn

Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn was once renowned simply for its mere tiptoe of a carbon footprint, being 100 percent wind-powered as well as 11 percent carbon neutral. In 2010, however, the Inn kicked the green up a notch by adding 18 solar panels across half an acre’s worth of roof space. The Inn can now count on generating its own solar energy, making it a bright and shimmering beacon of green business in Utah’s resort industry. 255 Main, Park City, 800-344-2460,

Best Odd But Useful Classes
Always Learning SLC

For anyone looking for some mad skills, a unique learning collaborative has hit Salt Lake City that will teach you everything from parkour to crafts, Spanish lessons to Dumpster-diving strategies. Always Learning SLC is almost like a makeshift university of esoteric knowledge. Classes are always free and always interesting and in classrooms anywhere from the alleys of downtown to the Salt Lake City Public Main Library to a locale known as the Temple of Doom. Come learn Salt Lake City, and come with an open mind.

Best Nonprofit Collaboration
Candy Cane Corner Holiday Shop

When the economy was forcing the for-profit world into a survival-of-the-fittest showdown, Utah’s nonprofits resisted a similar fate and came together for the common good. The Candy Cane Corner is a collaboration between Volunteers of America, the YWCA and Catholic Community Services where low-income and homeless families can “shop” for donated Christmans gifts with dignity. “It’s a service we can’t really provide singularly,” says Sam Stephenson of the VOA. “But it’s a service we can provide very effectively and efficiently when we combine our efforts.” 322 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City,

Best Downtown Renovator
Ben Logue, The Laporte Group

Somewhere in rich-developer school, Ben Logue missed the class on screwing over the poor, razing historic buildings and raping the Earth. The plucky developer has made a profitable business out of developing with an eye to historic preservation and affordable housing. Logue’s redeveloping of the Regis and Cambridge Hotel SROs on State Street between 200 and 300 South will preserve the historic character and guarantee subsidized housing at a rate comparable to what low-income tenants are paying now. When complete, it will provide a mix of low-income and market-rate housing for folks at the poverty line and working-class stiffs. It will also offer solar-panel heating, retail shops and offices—all the ingredients that make for a true downtown. 2505 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-484-4775,

Best Book of Mormon Re-translation
Sunstone Magazine

If navigating all the “begat”s and “verily”s of the scriptures is forcing you to pound Adderall just to get through the Book of Mormon, then there may be a better way for you to find the spirit—like scriptures in comic-book form! In each month’s edition of Sunstone magazine, you not only get some great scholarship on Mormon studies, but also a new installment of a comic series retelling of stories of the Book of Mormon. Recent editions have been telling the “Saga of Zeniff,” with wonderful depictions of battles between the Lamanites and Nephites. You get all the story, without the usual editorializing of the original scriptures—plus some great lines, like: “Time for Nephite Kabob!!” when the Lamanite army has cornered the Nephites.


Best Custom Longboards
Balance Longboards

Nothing takes the counterculture fun out of a longboard faster than thinking about the kids in the Bangladesh sweatshop who built your board for a nickel-a-day wage. That’s why you’ll be happy you can purchase custom, hand-built boards, made with love and care at Balance Longboards, a Utah-based online enterprise. The boards are selected from the lumberyard using the highest-quality hardwoods cut to your exact specifications. Whether you need a board for cruising your neighborhood or careening down hills, there’s one just for you, waiting to be released from a block of hard lumber. All you need to do is let the artisans of Balance make your dream board come true. 801-750-6054,

Best Stolen Bikes
Salt Lake City Bike Collective

Whether you need a bike for commuting, a starter ride for aspiring fat-tire daredevils, or simply some advice on bicycle repair, the SLC Bike Collective can provide what you’re looking for—for pennies on the dollar, compared to other places. No, you probably won’t find any carbon-frame road bikes, but thanks to a partnership with the Salt Lake City Police Department, unclaimed bikes found by police are donated to the collective, and the selection is quite varied. Plus, the options for purchase go beyond cash or credit. By volunteering at the collective, people can earn their rides while learning bicycle care and repair. 2312 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2453,


Best Hand-Rolled Leaves
Hungry Trout Cigars & Smoke Shop

This small and unpretentious Sandy humidor may not have the largest selection of smokes, but they make up for it with special hand-rolled cigars, sent directly from a Florida roller. With this hookup, Hungry Trout can offer a wide variety of impeccable smokes at just $4.65 that would otherwise run twice the price. Enjoy a lovely Habano Robusto 2000 or a pressed Maduro Churchill or many others for just about $5, with tax. The charming humidor also has all your pipe tobacco and Hookah needs, but it’s their exclusive hand-rolleds that will really get you hooked on the Trout. 8634 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-566-5178,

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