Best Of Utah 2014: Goods & Services | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best Of Utah 2014: Goods & Services 

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Best Antiques/Collectables
Now & Again
Since bursting onto the retro scene in 2009, this downtown shop has racked up loyal fans who count on the keen eye of owner Michael Sanders to find the choicest mid-century furniture and fun accessories. Those looking to sell their set of vintage barware also rely on that sense of style and good taste when consigning items; under Sanders’ hands, the shop is packed tight but not cluttered, and nothing sticks around long enough to collect dust. A recent move to larger digs on 300 South closer to downtown means that there’s even more to love, like local art and a new retro clothing boutique in the basement.
207 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0664,
2. The Green Ant
3. Retro Rose

Best Anti-Gravity Moment
Salt City Float Spa

You’re weightless. You don’t know where your limbs end or begin. Your brain is releasing endorphins rapid-fire. Believe it or not, you’re not on drugs; you’re simply floating in an isolation tank at Salt City Float Spa. The saltwater, heated to your body temperature, has removed gravity from the equation; you’re floating weightlessly, freed from all sensation and stimuli. Not everyone has years to spend in deep meditation to capture the Buddhist-monk state of mind, but just one hour of floatation therapy will relieve stress and recalibrate the old noodle.
7050 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-599-1327,

Best Vinyl Kingdom
Randy’s Record Shop

If you’ve ever felt empty knowing that you were born in the wrong decade and missed your chance to walk into a real record store—pre-digital, pre-CD, pre-cassette—well, mourn not: Randy’s Record Shop remains. Bulging with probably the largest selection of vinyl records in Utah, Randy’s opened in 1978 and has weathered the storms of the compact disc, the dominance of big-box music stores and the brick & mortar-slaying monster that is the Internet. In a documentary on his website, Randy compares CDs and digital music to fast food, while vinyl is more like a three-, four- or five-course meal. “That’s why I stuck with vinyl,” he says. “It’s just better.” Vinyl is currently enjoying a bit of a revival, but at Randy’s, records never went out of style—vinyl has always been, and will always be, king.
157 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4413,

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Lina's Dart Shop

Best Darts to the Heart
Lina’s Dart Shop

You can buy a ho-hum set of darts and dartboard at nearly any sporting-goods store in America. But what you won’t find anywhere outside of Salt Lake City is Lina’s Dart Shop. Owner Lina Recupero stocks darts made from tungsten, nickel and brass, as well as a dizzying variety of accessories. One wall is dedicated to flights—those plastic things, kind of like wings, that attach to the end of a dart to make it fly straight. You can choose from every color of the rainbow, or rely on your favorite beer brand or—ahem—even silhouettes of assorted erotic positions to deliver your dart to the “Triple 20,” as they say. When it’s time to finally pay your tab, Recupero writes you out a hand-written receipt and tells you how much she appreciates your business. You’ll leave wishing you needed dart supplies more often.
3149 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5330,

Best Book & a Slurpee
Todd Hansen’s 7-Eleven

Reading Corner A nondescript Provo 7-Eleven gas station may not even register a blip on the radar of most motorists, but local children know it as the one place that respects their love of both sugar and reading. Owner Todd Hansen built a reading corner into the convenience store where children can check out a book, read it and bring it back to receive either a balloon or a Slurpee or other treat. By giving kids who might not have access to a lot of reading material the chance to discover new books, Hansen promotes literacy in his community, which we think is pretty sweet.
300 S. Freedom Blvd., Provo, 801-373-5089

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Best Clothing Boutique (Men)
Men all too often get the short end of the clothing stick—a few button-up shirts and pairs of pants crammed into the corners of boutiques as though half-heartedly fulfilling some sort of equal-clothing-opportunity requirement. Not at Fresh, though; while women’s clothing is sold here, too, it’s often the men’s stuff that takes center stage: rows of soft sweaters, hand-selected coats and jackets, sleek wallets arranged on a table with the precision and care usually reserved for fine jewelry. It’s a store that can satisfy both halves of a fashion-conscious couple.
870 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-3458,
2. Unhinged
3. Fice

Best Local Inhaling
Urban Vapors

The future of inhaled vice is smoke-free and vaporiffic. If you’re like the thousands of Utahns who’ve ditched burning tar for inhaling flavor, then you probably know about Urban Vapors in Bountiful. If not, then you need to stop by this marvelous vapor emporium to try flavors ranging from gummy bear and root-beer float to the locally produced Cold Smoke and WOWI. After your purchase, you can even hang out in the Urban Vapors lounge, shooting pool, playing video games and enjoying the company and misty ambiance of your fellow vapor aficionados.
310 S. 200 West, Bountiful, 801-695-7957,

Best Salve for theSenses & Skin
Mom’s Stuff

Artist Lee Udall Bennion started making Mom’s Stuff in the 1990s for friends and family. Now, people around the world use the natural salve—made from cold-pressed olive oil, Utah beeswax and Utah pinyon pine pitch—on their dry skin. If you rub a little on your hands in the morning, it’ll carry you through even the darkest, most polluted winter days with scents of the cold, clean desert. You can buy it online in a pinch, but the preferred method is to trek to Spring City, where you can buy it straight from the source at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery. The potter, Joseph Bennion (Lee’s husband), is often there, throwing pots and rubbing a little salve on his well-worked hands between projects.
278 S. Main, Spring City,

Best Feel-Good, Look-Good Cosmetics
Inside & Out

Nothing looks hotter than a clean conscience—that’s why Inside & Out offers a line of products that are big on glamour and low on consumer guilt. These glosses and lipsticks are all-natural, certified organic and never tested on animals; even the packaging they ship in is eco-friendly. The company also donates 10 percent of its revenue—not just profits—to supporting organizations that empower women, such as the Utah-based Women of the World, a nonprofit that helps refugee women in the state.

Best Locally Made Swords
DBK Custom Swords & Scabbards

It’s common knowledge that the best way to attract the fine maidens of the realm is to roll into the local faire with a sweet custom-made sword. A typical sword from DBK Custom Swords starts at around $500, but faint heart never won fair lady, and each individual blade is made to your demands using traditional methods, with historical touches like handcrafted leatherworks.
5586 S. Capitol Reef Drive, Taylorsville, 801-967-5562,

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Contender Bicycles

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Best Bike Shop
Contender Bicycles
As Salt Lake City becomes more and more of a bike-friendly community, the demand for knowledgeable bike shops like Contender Bicycles has never been greater. Located in the quaint 9th & 9th shopping district, its professional staff has no problem servicing bikes for all types of riders, be they Tour de France stage winners or novice kid cruisers. But the centerpiece of the shop is its show floor, packed with top-tier bicycle eye candy. No matter if you’re looking for a road bike, mountain bike or an everyday commuter, Contender’s got you covered like Spandex.
989 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0344,
2. Bingham Cyclery
3. Saturday Cycles

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Best Bookstore
The King’s English
There’s a fine line to be walked when selling books. Do you shove the front of the shop full of the same best-sellers stocked at Walmart to appeal to casual readers, or alienate those same customers by featuring only obscure authors and raising an incredulous eyebrow when some hapless creature dare ask for the latest thriller? Thankfully for Utah readers, The King’s English does neither. It’s a shop that appeals to everyone, both spine-stroking book nerds and those simply looking for a good story to pass the time on a weekend flight. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the shop often hosts author events featuring local and national names. Co-owner Betsy Burton and her team simply love books, and want to help Salt Lakers do the same—no matter what form their reading comes in.
1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9100,
2. Weller Book Works
3. Ken Sanders Rare Books

Best Portable Wheels
Just Fold

Just Fold is Salt Lake City’s one-stop shop for compact, foldable transportation, including bikes, longboards, scooters and skateboards. Remember that Simpsons episode where mobster Fat Tony wanted Krusty the Klown to ride a pocket bicycle through a spiral ramp? OK, now discard that image and imagine a lightweight bicycle that transforms down to about the size of a small folding chair. Just Fold specializes in bikes that you can pack easily in the closet, carry with you on public transportation and leave by your desk at work without hassle. Just Fold lets you test ride ’em first, so if you like what you ride, you can buy it, fold it up and carry it home.
944 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-900-3653,

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Mod a-Go-Go

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Best New Boutique
Mod a-Go-Go
This new shop on South Temple is a bright beacon of all that’s possible when two smart, stylish souls come together to build a dream. You’ve likely gazed enviously at the beautiful scene on full display in the always-lit building as you’ve driven past on South Temple at night; visiting in the daytime makes it possible to open a time-space wormhole of cool design in your own living room. A mix of art gallery and consignment shop, Mod a-Go-Go features mid-century furniture and accessories, with complementary pieces from local artists hanging on the wall in the shop and the upstairs gallery. With an already-devoted customer base of furniture fans and art lovers, co-owners Eric Morley and Marcus Gibby have quickly made their mark on downtown.
242 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3334,

2. E3 Modern
3. Diabolical Records

Best Eyes On You
Classic Optical

Your eyes are two of your most valuable tools—but it’s easy to take them for granted until they stop acting like they used to. The doctors at Classic Optical treat their patients with the knowledge that their good eyesight is of the utmost importance—they’re not just selling glasses. They’ll ask careful questions to make sure that your eyes are taken care of with the best methods; two appointments are usually necessary to ensure that your vision is adjusting to your new lenses. Failing eyesight might be an inevitability of life, but Classic Optical is there to help you through it.
192 E. 4500 South, Murray, 801-261-2020,

Best Spot to Find Sol’kanar the Swamp King
Oasis Games

There’s no hangout in Utah for Magic: the Gathering players (aka planeswalkers) quite like Oasis Games. This downtown gaming hub hosts tournaments almost daily and specializes in pre-release parties and resale of rare cards, so you can finally snag that Jace, the Mind Sculptor card you’ve been dying to own.
145 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-738-4413,

Best Macabre Accessories
Prevailing Atrocity Clothing

Like something straight out of a grotesque Masque of the Red Death-style ball, Prevailing Atrocity’s accessories have just the right touches of bold and terrifying. Skull earrings are of course delightful, but for something a little more moribund, how about earrings with noosed skeletons perched atop tiny razor-blade replicas? For something on the softer side, Prevailing Atrocity’s other earring options include silver octopuses and skeleton hummingbirds with roses, and the miniature sewing-machine necklace is something even Ma would appreciate. No matter what you’re looking for, Prevailing Atrocity has the right accessory to liven up (or deaden) any occasion.

Best Cache Valley Comics
Death Ray Comics

On any given Saturday morning, just as Logan’s sleepy Main Street is starting to wake up, there’s already a crowd inside Death Ray Comics—a scrum of people asking for recommendations, chatting about new releases and pricing pristine used comics. Forget the snooty geeks-only stereotype; the Death Ray staff is just as enthusiastic about recommending great kid comics for newer readers as they are debating finer plot points with comic-book regulars. Open just a year, the space has evolved into a gathering spot of sorts; open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, Death Ray hosts book clubs, trivia and movie nights—all overseen by local celebrity Sherman, the owner’s large, friendly Bernese mountain dog.
72 W. Center St., Logan, 435-535-3259,

Best Recycled Fashion for a Cause
Olanova Global

Sona Quiroga Thomas, the “mompreneur” behind Olanova Global, believes in the three “goods”: doing good, feeling good and looking good. The company fulfills this mission by collecting old clothing items and upcycling them by pulling them apart and stitching them into chic new creations. Fleece hoodies are transformed into colorful skirts, and jeans are reinvented as vests. And the company’s affiliated nonprofit works to bring sewing machines to developing nations to provide impoverished women with jobs to help sustain them and their families.
1121 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-318-0356,

Best Proxy Pal For Your Best Friend
AARF Pet Care

It’s just days before that long-dreamed-of vacation, and suddenly you realize: What is Tabby going to do while we’re gone? Don’t cancel the cruise or spend your week in the Alps worrying that your teenage cousin has let your favorite family member escape; just call Suzie Ellison at AARF. She can arrange for your cat to have scheduled visits from trusted pet caretakers, who’ll put out fresh food and water, clean the litter box, play the wand game and even administer medication and bring in the mail. Dog-sitting (including walks) is also available, as are dog-hiking and dog-running excursions if your pup needs more exercise than you can provide even when you’re in town.

Best Specialty Kicks
Fice Gallery

If you’re the type of shoe collector with a pair of unworn Nike Air Force Max Fab 5s sitting in the closet, then you probably already know about Fice. For the uninitiated, this downtown boutique hosts monthly gallery strolls and album releases and specializes in carrying hard-to-find, limited-edition kicks, clothes and jewelry. It’s also one of the few spots in Utah where you’ll find sneaker-heads camping out for a fresh pair of LeBrons.
160 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4722,

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Unhinged Boutique

Best Boutique for Local Oddities
Unhinged Boutique

This Sugar House store and its Provo outpost are a must-stop for all curio collectors and fans of fashionably odd and one-of-a-kind accessories. Unhinged plays host to more than 25 local artists and designers, who offer everything from knit beanies and silver spoon rings to feather earrings and even deer-antler necklaces. And the store’s Rewind section offers a delightful selection of vintage fashions and styles for those who look to the past to inspire their future wardrobes.
2165 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6588; 16 W. Center St., Provo, 385-312-1268,

Best Man Cave Antiques
Country Village Antique Mall

Every antique store is a hodgepodge of vintage baubles and doodads, but the curio-lovers of Logan’s Country Village Antique Mall deserve credit for appealing to a certain kind of antiquer. Their “man cave” displays showcase vintage toy models of sweet P-51 Mustang fighter planes, mountain man salt & pepper shakers, old Dodge Mercury hubcaps and bullhorns. Country Village also has a great selection of commemorative beer steins and shot glasses, plus more contemporary antiques like a classic 1994 Gambit action figure from X-Men, still in its original packaging. Finally, the manly antique hunter can know exactly where to shop for everything he needs to add a touch of retro class to his man cave.
730 S. Main, Logan, 435-752-1678,

Best Oils of the World
Mountain Town Olive Oil Co.

Some of the world’s most sumptuous batches of extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar and spices are right here at your bread-dipping fingertips. Mountain Town Olive Oil Co.’s award-winning oils run the gamut from traditional blends to specialties like California garlic olive oil or black-truffle oil. You can also find dark balsamic vinegars and even fruit-infused balsamic options like the bold cinnamon pear.
613 Main, Park City, 435-649-1400; 21 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, 801-456-0149,

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Best Clothing Boutique (Women)
Q Clothing
There are certain clothing sites that tease you all day via Facebook and Instagram with photos of new, ever-more-adorable dresses and whimsical shoes. But you don’t have to resign yourself to just browser-window-shopping: Downtown’s Q Clothing has a mix of Instagram-worthy indie and vintage-inspired dresses, skirts, tops and shoes, plus must-have jeans and accessories. Best of all, you can try everything on to determine just which flouncy patterned dress best shows off your assets—polka dot, houndstooth or tiny flamingos?
215 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-474-2000,
2. Fresh
3. Unhinged

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Best Consignment
Name Droppers
Specializing in current styles and name brands like Gucci, Dior and Marc Jacobs, Name Droppers helps you simultaneously live two of the business world’s popular prescriptions for success: “fake it till you make it” and “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If your current job isn’t providing you with enough dough for a brand-new Chanel scarf, you can pick up a like-new one at Name Droppers for a fraction of the cost and achieve a put-together confidence that’ll help you float to the next rung of the social or professional ladder.
3355 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1128; 2350 E. Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, 801-474-1644,
2. Pib’s Exchange 3
. Decades

Best Nonfunctional Lingerie
Electronic Couture

Local designer Brittany Bond makes dazzling custom bras and tutus adorned with flowers, feathers, sequins, studs and more—even candy. Electronic Couture’s pieces are designed with the rave crowd in mind, but would definitely make a stir at a costume party—or a private one. If you think lingerie is something to wear just under your clothes, you’re probably not partying with the right people.

Best Rock Hound Haunt
Rockpick Legend Co.

Die-hard amateur geologists will unearth a treasure at Rockpick Legend Co., an indispensable source for rock-collecting equipment, rock tumblers, mineral and fossil specimens and everything else a seasoned rock hound needs to supplement an ever-growing collection. For beginners making their first mineral purchase or venturing in search of that rare stone, owner Rick Dalrymple is your knowledgeable guide. And classes on topics that range from rock-tumbling to silversmithing can help you transform your beautiful finds into one-of-a-kind keepsakes. Those who yearn to learn more about the state’s unique rock profile are in luck; Rockpick Legend Co.’s own museum is home to a huge collection of Utah minerals and fossils. But when it comes to discovering the outdoors’ most mystifying beauty, Rockpick Legend Co.’s first advice is to look under your feet.
1017 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7952,

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Jeanie's Smoke Shop

Best Pipe Dreams
Jeanie’s Smoke Shop

No mode of tobacco smoking conveys the same Sherlock-level sophistication and allure as a traditional pipe, and Jeanie’s Smoke Shop has a diverse selection of shapes, colors and prices. Whether you’re looking to tap into your inner English gentleman or bohemian writer, the expert staff can help you pick the pipe that was meant for you. Perched on tall wooden shelves are large jars of aromatic loose tobacco varieties to pair perfectly with your new pipe. There’s also a sizeable humidor housing robust Cuban-style cigars, as well as hookahs and, of course, cigarettes. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
156 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-9001,

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Graywhale Entertainment

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Best Record/CD Shop
Graywhale Entertainment
Yeah, we can’t lie; digital downloads are certainly convenient. But clicking a button just can’t measure up to the waves of nostalgia that’ll hit you when you’re idly flipping through a row of used CDs at Graywhale and come across that life-changing Fiona Apple CD you loaned to your jerk high school boyfriend and never saw again because he was a jerk and you were too broke to replace it. Even leaving trips down memory lane aside, Graywhale is a pretty awesome shopping experience; in addition to used (and new) CDs, the local chain stocks toys, audio equipment from headphones to record players, DVDs, video games, LPs and more. With locations all over the Wasatch Front, it’s nice to know that you’re never far away from endless entertainment options.
Multiple locations,
2. Randy’s Record Shop
3. Raunch Records

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Best Bike Repairs
Bingham Cyclery
Before the dawn of designated bike lanes and long before a carbon-fiber road bike was more expensive than a used car, Bingham Cyclery was selling new bikes and fixing used ones. And while the mechanics at Bingham have developed a stellar reputation as the finest gearheads in the valley, their prices have remained more than fair. A basic tune-up costs $60, but if you just need some new shifting cables and an expert’s eye with a derailleur adjustment, you could be on the way to smooth riding for as little as $20. For more than 50 years, the shop has withstood the whims of fashion, always recognizing that hordes of people—out of necessity, recreation or pure joy—continue to ride, and that on occasion, even the best bike needs the healing hands of a true mechanic.
Multiple locations,
2. The Bike Guy
3. Contender Bicycles

Best Postcard Treasure Trove
Ken Sanders Rare Books

As a shrine to the written word, Ken Sanders Rare Books is unmatched in its devotion to preserving rare and historical books. On mazes of shelves, in stacks on the floor and even lining the stairs to the employees-only section, so many books fill owner Ken Sanders’ hallowed walls that a book lover could die happily here, their finger stuck in a book marking a favorite passage. But nearly hidden in the northeast corner of the store is another type of history waiting to be discovered: hundreds and hundreds of vintage postcards, many complete with their original postage. Hours could be pleasantly whiled away reading snippets of faded, spidery handwriting, which entreat the past recipient to please visit soon or have a happy holiday. Purchasing one of these poignant postcards for a special person and scribbling your own message next to the old one continues a magical chain of human connection.
268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3819,

Best Place to Tame Wild Animals
Animal Art Taxidermy Utah

“Hey, is that a live bear in your living room?!” Nope, it’s just Animal Art Taxidermy Utah with another realistic mount. Since 1998, owner Bruce Capes has stuffed and mounted just about every beast that roams the Wasatch Front: bears, moose, bison, even raccoons and wolverines. Whatever the creature, Capes can lovingly gut and skin it, taking your trophy room to the next level.
8496 S. Harrison St., Suite 105, Midvale, 801-566-5858,

Best Temple Decorations
Koi Piercing Studio

Your body is a temple, and discerning souls know that only the finest jewelry deserves to adorn their mortal forms. When that drab hunk of metal just isn’t doing you justice anymore, the jewelry at Koi is made in all sizes from quality metals and organic materials, with designs that range from modest to full-blown fabulous. If you’re considering going under the needle for the first time, Koi’s experienced (and patient!) piercers work with precision, expertise and care, whether you want to add a touch of sparkle to a spot like the nose—or to somewhere a little more risqué.
1301 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-7070,

Best Cook-spiration
For Your Kitchen

This giant store is arranged simply—rows upon rows of gadgets and dishes for mixing, baking, braising, slicing, grating and everything else you could do in a kitchen. Whether you’re a master chef, getting started in the kitchen or just enchanted by gadgets—ooh, a cute ceramic cow that keeps butter soft!—this shop has what you need, plus cooking classes and knife-sharpening services.
772 E. 700 South, Clearfield, 801-866-1111,

Best Gifts for Nature Lovers
Backyard Birds

Filled from floor to ceiling with wind chimes, garden ornaments, bird feeders, statuary and more, Backyard Birds has everything you need to create a beautiful sanctuary, whether you have a full yard or tiny balcony garden. A visit to the store itself is a treat for the senses, as delicate whirligigs sparkle in the sunlight that slants through the many windows, tiny bells tinkle and figurines of animals and gnomes peek out from the shelves. And if you’re looking to give the feathered friends in your yard some much-appreciated victuals, the staff is more than happy to help you pick out the perfect birdfeeder and accompanying seed, depending on the types of birds that live in your area.
2698 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-7222

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Kirkham's Outdoor

Best American-Made Tent
Kirkham’s Outdoor

Products When packing your family into that two-person backpacking tent you bought in college sparks marital tension, there’s really no place better than Kirkham’s to turn. Sure, you could shop around for a six-man synthetic tent, but they’re damned near as pricey as the iconic Springbar tents that have been manufactured by Kirkham’s in Salt Lake City since 1969. Heavy, durable and comfortable, a Springbar will keep you, your family, the food, board games, pets and anything else you drag along dry and out of the wind on the worst of desert days. Oh, and if you manage to break the thing, you can drive it down to the shop and have them fix it—person to person, like the old days.
3125 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-486-4161,

Best Mentor to Future Rock Stars

Junior high can be some of the most difficult years in a young person’s life, and finding your passion and someone who believes in you can make all the difference. For many local young folks, MusicGarage founder Steve Auerbach is that person. The music-education programs and private instruction available through MusicGarage are often a kid’s bridge from feeling like an outcast to working toward a common goal with likeminded musicians. The kids are challenged through group sessions, as well as playing at local shows and festivals. When they graduate, they do so equipped with the tools to make a career out of playing music—or at least to do what they love for life.
250 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-577-2263,

Best Sweet Gifts
The Queen Bee

With a selection of hand-picked books, children’s toys, jewelry, plus fun whosits and whatsits for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life, this multifaceted little nook on Ogden’s 25th Street is the place to find the perfect gift—even the edible kind, as The Queen Bee carries a huge selection of fine chocolates. The shelves are stocked with locally made treats—beautiful boxed Bluebird chocolates from Logan, intriguingly spicy chocolate bars from Torrey’s Red Desert Candy, chocolate-covered honeycomb from Bountiful’s Ascot Royale—as well as exotic national and international varieties to satisfy any sweet tooth.
270 25th St., Ogden, 801-791-0241,

Best Technological Nostalgia
Worlds Game Store

Technology continues to march forward, but many shrewd gamers believe that the best games were released 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. Worlds Game Store ensures that those beloved vintage games are never lost and remain available for new generations of video-game fans to enjoy (and for collectors to treasure). From video games on the original Nintendo and Atari systems to rare computer games, Worlds Game Store has just the thing to satisfy your nostalgia (and they stock modern games, too). There’s also a repair service, if your old Sega Genesis received too much rough love in its heyday.
2815 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-486-1442,

Best Modest Prom Dresses On a Budget
Modest Prom Rentals

In Utah, that teen rite of passage of the school formal often collides with the realities of family budgets and their sense of appropriate attire. Mapleton-based Modest Prom Rentals tries to address both issues, providing a variety of dresses that avoid showing too much skin, while also circumventing the need to spend too much green. Dresses are available to preview online before you head in for a fitting, and if you have previously worn dresses clogging up the closets, they’ll be your consigner.
1682 N. 740 East, Mapleton, 801-489-9790,

Best Bootfitter
Mike Thorpe, Sports Den

Nothing can ruin a day on the slopes quicker than ill-fitting ski boots. Well, Sports Den managing partner Mike Thorpe is here to help. “I’m a little anal about feet,” he says as he grinds down a custom insole to make a customer’s feet happy. We’ve never met anyone who takes bootfitting so seriously, which is why Thorpe is our go-to guy for ski boots, and why many competitive skiers feel the same.
1350 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5611,

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The Salty Dog Car & Dog

Best New Car & New Dog Smell
The Salty Dog Car & Dog

Wash Yes, there is a way to clean your vehicle and your dog at the same time that doesn’t involve driving around in the rain with your pooch tied to the roof ... because that would be horrible and wrong. Instead, stop by the Salty Dog, where you can use the automatic wash or a self-service bay complete with clear coat, spot-free rinse, tire cleaners, vacuums and even scented shampoo for your ride’s carpet. Inside, doggy-washing stations can accommodate animals as big as Saint Bernards. All the doggy detailing stations come with ramps so your pet won’t be subjected to the embarrassment of being lifted into the tub. It’s finally a way to efficiently pimp both your ride and your pooch.
2912 Glen Eagle Drive, West Valley City, 801-969-9889,

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Best Pet Store
The Dog’s Meow
It’s not a giant warehouse—and that’s a good thing. The Dog’s Meow carries only the most well-made and healthful products for cats and dogs, so you’ll know that no matter what you walk out with—gourmet kibble, a new toy, earth-friendly kitty litter, even an irresistible Halloween costume or glitzed-out leash—is worthy of your very best friend.
2047 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-468-0700; 866 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-501-0818,
2. Mark’s Ark
3. Ma & Paws

Best Utah Hemp Connection
SLC Hemp

It’s no secret that Brigham Young was a huge supporter of the versatile, industrial properties of hemp, and why shouldn’t he have been? You can make just about anything out of it. SLC Hemp owner Adam Wong understands this better than most and is continuing Utah’s hemp legacy with his Sugar House shop, which opened in August 2013. A hemp version of practically every necessity can be found here: men’s and women’s clothing, food, oils and even socks.
1117 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 385-229-4197,

Best Finger Puppet Pals
T&C Creations

Based in Pleasant View, T&C Creations has been creating charming knitted characters to adorn the digits of kids—and their parents—for more than 30 years. And you’ll need a whole lotta hands to enjoy them all, since as many as 40 different sets are available, from farm and woodland creatures to characters from favorite children’s stories and nursery rhymes to more general creations for creative play. A pinky unadorned with The Hulk or Peter Rabbit is a sad pinky indeed.,

Best Literary Lodging
Blue Boar Inn

If you have literary leanings, an escape to Midway’s Blue Boar Inn should be just the ticket. For starters, it’s named for the tavern in Howard Pyle’s classic telling of the Robin Hood story. And the guest rooms are each named for and designed with famous literary figures in mind, from Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson to Rudyard Kipling, Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer and, of course, William Shakespeare.
1235 Warm Springs Road, Midway, 435-654-1400,

Best Place to Get Needled
Shepherd’s Bush

When you walk into Ogden’s Shepherd’s Bush Fine Needlework shop, you’ll see needlepoint and all things relating to needlepoint literally hanging from the rafters. This one-off shop is so popular and renowned that needlepoint fanatics flock to it from around the world when visiting Utah. The store, run by the exceedingly friendly and helpful Teri and Tina, offers needlepoint kits, threads, tools, books, designs, patterns, embroidery and all other things of interest to needlepoint nuts.
220 24th St., Ogden, 801-399-4546,

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Best Comic- Book Store
Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection
It’s a pretty simple calculus to rise to the top in this category: First, have a ton of comic books. Next, sprinkle in employees who know comics to an astronomical degree without being patronizing snobs. Finally, have a name that looks both geeky and cool on a T-shirt. Dr. Volt’s more than meets these criteria, and also delves into other related entertainment with action figures and gaming supplies. See you at the Pokemon league.
2043 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-6114,
2. Black Cat Comics
3. Night Flight Comics

Best Local Suits
Beckett & Robb

Unless you’re the dude who inappropriately overdresses for a trip to the grocery store, the donning of a suit is usually reserved for a special occasion—thus, the suit itself should be extra special, and not something that makes you look like you’re about to head off on a mission. The suit enthusiasts at the locally founded Beckett & Robb partner with customers to design their suits, from the cloth itself to the color of the undercollar. And the attention to the detail has proven contagious—the shop has branched out to serve clients in Provo, Farmington and even San Francisco.
Multiple locations,

Best Camera Shop
Acme Camera Company

Getting into photography is no easy task, if you want to do it right. And when the heads of wannabe photographers are swimming with contradictory online reviews and friend recommendations, Acme Camera Company can come to the rescue. The Sugar House shop has cameras for rent to make the all-important choice between Nikon and Canon a bit easier, while more experienced photogs can rent equipment and lenses or buy film for specialty products. Film isn’t dead—you just have to know where to look for it.
1993 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 385-229-4077,

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Best Farmers Market
Downtown Farmers Market
No surprise here—the weekly summertime event is the farmers market against which all other farmers markets will be judged for all eternity (we assume). The huge Pioneer Park affair attracts folks of all ages from all over the Wasatch Front who are looking to buy or sell fresh cilantro, artisan soaps, gourmet crepes, bunches of radishes, hand-carved chessboards … you name it, it’s probably for sale at the Downtown Farmers Market. Vendors range from inmates selling produce from the jailhouse garden to well-established purveyors of gourmet cookies and mom & pop tamale operations to Cache Valley farmers. Whether you’re looking to load up on salad supplies for the week or are trolling for a cute, environmentally conscious guy, there’s no better place to be on a summertime Saturday than Pioneer Park.
300 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, Saturdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m., June-October,
2. Murray Farmers Marker
3. Wheeler Farm

Best New Lifestyle Brand
Damn Son!

The motto for Damn Son! is simple: “Do what you love.” It’s a slogan that owners Omar Prestwich and Kade Call live by, and that’s why this local music label, clothing company and action-sports brand has become a catalyst for unleashing unique creativity and design. At only a year old, Damn Son! has launched a successful clothing line and dropped 17 music releases (all free for download) that can be found on sites like Symphonic and Pandora.

Best Character Builder
The Green Ant

So your Dream Living Room board on Pinterest and your actual living room are complete opposites. So what? Don’t slump down on your sagging futon in despair; Rome was not built in a day, so how could the perfect mid-century modern room be? Simply head over to The Green Ant for inspiration and perhaps the perfect accessory to begin the gradual transformation of your space from college utility clutter to sleek space-age chic or modern woodsy simplicity. Green Ant owner Ron Green (and his friendly bulldog) will eliminate the discouraging aspects of redecorating and make the furniture-shopping fun and fulfilling, as it’s supposed to be.
179 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-595-1818,

Best Grocery Checkout

Though Harmons has blossomed into a huge local chain—both in number of locations and sheer size of some of those locations—it still retains the charm of a neighborhood grocer. Every Harmons is packed full of local products, many of which are displayed alluringly at the checkout stand—yeah, you don’t need a bag of gourmet curry-flavored popcorn, but yeah, you actually kinda do. And the checkout is also where you’ll find some of the friendliest faces in town—people who seem to really enjoy their job. That’s probably due in part to Harmons’ focus on moving their employees up the company ladder, giving everyone the chance to train and become well-versed in all of the things that makes Harmons great.
Multiple locations,

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Best decor for your lair

Leather-bound books, check; scent of mahogany, check … what’s missing? Perhaps a beautiful glass display of perfectly preserved beetles in every color of the rainbow—or maybe an upside-down bat under a glass dome. If all this sounds a tad creepy, you need to head into Natur, where the stunning artistic presentations will make you look at bugs (dead or otherwise) in a whole new way. You won’t be able to help feeling awed by the beauty and grace of insects, butterflies, sea creatures and more, especially as owner Jean-Michel Arrigona talks with passion and pride about each tentacle and antenna.
94 W. 7720 South, Salt Lake City, 801-232-4311,

Best Utah Flair
Signed & Numbered

Leia Bell, the owner of this gallery and frame shop, started making Utah a more colorful place in the early 2000s by printing concert fliers for Kilby Court—whose owner, Phil, she eventually began a family with. Over the years, Bell’s eye-catching pieces—which often feature animals and are characterized by strong lines and vibrant hues—have practically become currency among Salt Lake City’s trendy residents; it’s rare to walk into a Sugar House bungalow without seeing a distinctive Leia Bell magnet on the fridge or a framed print on the wall. Now, Bell’s focus is on handcrafting high-quality wooden frames with Phil in their wind-powered gallery and woodshop—but don’t fear, Leia-lovers; that just means her work is now available on new mediums like clever wooden boxes and in colorful wooden frames that are worthy of her work.
2320 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-596-2093,

Best Gadget Gifts
Clark Planetarium’s Planet Fun

Remember the things that wowed you as a kid—gyroscopes, plasma spheres, geodes, glowing constellation maps and chemistry sets? Don’t bemoan the good old days “when toys were more than toys”—head over to the Planet Fun gift shop at Clark Planetarium, where your inner child (or inner geek) will be delighted by all of the gadgets on display. You’ll find everything from top-tier telescopes and Galileo thermometers to prank kits and holographic planet mousepads, so you can indulge your curiosity without spending your whole allowance—er, paycheck.
110 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 385-468-1264,

Best Financial Adviser
Nick Bapis, The Bapis Group

When you think about the world of high finance, you think of New York City, perhaps Chicago or Los Angeles. But Salt Lake City is home to one of the nation’s best financial advisers right here. Born in Bingham Canyon and educated at the University of Utah, Nick Bapis is a consistent presence on Barron’s lists of the top advisers in the country, but he’s elected to stay close to his roots—much to the benefit of Salt Lakers, including everyone at City Weekly, where he oversees our robust 401k plans. In these times, Bapis’ expertise and experience is more necessary than ever, and we couldn’t be happier.
2603 E. Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, 801-401-8700,

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Blue Boutique

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Best Adult Store
Blue Boutique
Well, yes, there is a curtained-off section of Blue Boutique where you wouldn’t want to run into a relative or former teacher. But even those whose bedroom escapades aren’t quite up to HBO levels can feel comfortable walking into a Blue Boutique, where the whole goal is helping you have fun and feel sexy—whether that’s with the help of a glittery unicorn purse, a new piercing, chocolate-flavored edible massage oil or something more explicit. The shop also hosts classes and parties to demystify certain aspects of adult relationships, so that back room and all its secrets can be yours, if you have the desire.
Multiple locations,
2. Cahoots
3. Doctor John’s

Best Women’s Wellness
Avenues Women’s Center

Going to the doctor or the hospital isn’t fun for anyone, but the sort of issues that send women to seek medical advice or treatment can be sensitive—not the sort of thing that you want to discuss in a cookie-cutter exam room, surrounded by the sounds of coughing and broken bones being reset. Whether your visit to the Avenues Women’s Center is for an annual gynecological exam or something even more personal, its experienced and supportive team will help you feel at ease, and your doctor will treat you as a friend, not simply a name in her appointment book. And when you’re dealing with some of the toughest parts of being a woman—infertility, miscarriage, the list goes on—a board-certified friend is the best kind of friend to have by your side.
455 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-9951,

Best Place to Gamble in Utah
Clark Phelps Antiques Warehouse

Things just aren’t what they used to be—and one of those things are the more-charming days of not-quite-gambling in bars and coffeeshops with kitschy punchboards. Prior to a 1979 crackdown, a person could pay a quarter or so to punch through one of the holes on a colorful punchboard and reveal a piece of paper that might make you the winner of a prize—stuffed animals, candy, lighters—or even cold-hard cash. Clark Phelps’ Midvale shop likely contains the world’s largest collection of punchboards, from pristine, never-punched boards with thousands of holes and still-attached prizes, to pocket-size boards featuring grinning pin-up girls. Even though there are no longer any ill-gotten gains to be had by playing these punchboards, they’re a diverting amusement. And since Phelps also sells vintage slot machines—you know, the kind with the crank handle and the spinning fruit—a trip to his quirky shop could be the beginning of your own no-stakes basement gambling empire.
7610 S. 700 West, Midvale, 801-450-4000,

Best South Valley Dough
Big Dawg Pawn & Jewelry

These two mom & pop pawn shops put their customers first. If you need a loan without getting dinged on your credit or dealing with shady payday loan sharks, the friendly team at both Big Dawg locations will pay you fairly for your item—which they’ll keep safe and sound—and won’t charge fees for lost tickets or late payments. And since both locations are open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., south valley residents are never far from a safe source of cash—or the chance to browse Big Dawg’s wares.
9361 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan, 801-352-1010; 5805 S. State, Murray, 801-262-1010,

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