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

Best Of Utah 2014: Goods & Services 

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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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