Best of Utah 2020 | The complete list of winners from our readers and staff | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2020 

The complete list of winners from our readers and staff

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Goods & Services | Readers' Picks

Best CBD Product
Hemplucid

Founded in Utah in 2016 by four friends living in Utah County, Hemplucid has quickly become one of the most popular and trusted CBD companies in America, with products now in 3,500 retail locations. Hemplucid is committed to providing lucid information to help others make educated decisions about their health. New to CBD? Start with a low dose with one of Hemplucid's products and work your way up to a serving size that's ideal for you. (MS) Multiple locations, hemplucid.com
2. Muscle MX
3. Beehive Buds

Best Barbershop
Jed's Barber Shop

Did an extended quarantine and months without human interaction leave you a little too comfortable with a scraggly beard or unkempt hair? Get back to your confident 2019 self at one of Jed's Barber Shop's three Salt Lake locations. 2020 is a wild year, but your luscious locks don't have to look as crazy. (MS) Multiple locations, jedsbarber.shop
2. Salt Lake Barber Co.
3. City Barbers

Best Salon
Landis Lifestyle Salon

Tired of running around town and seeing different hairstylists, nail technicians and estheticians? Landis Lifestyle Salon is your one-stop shop for hair styling, coloring, nails, waxing and other spa services. Get the treatment you deserve at their Marmalade or Sugar House locations. (MS) 569 N. 300 West, SLC, 801-364-3354; 1298 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-485-5506, landissalon.com
2. Lunatic Fringe
3. Got Beauty

Best Tattoo Artist
Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson of Studio Elev8 has been tattooing since 2002 and has developed a specialty in illustrative and realism tattoos. Johnson is also masterful in handling scar tissue, a tough component for novice tattoo artists. If you're looking for some badass ink that'll last a lifetime, Johnson is your best bet in Utah. (MS) 3752 W. Azara Lane, South Jordan, 385-229-7048, studioelev8.com
2. Buck Harvey
3. Alex Gregory

Best Garden Supply
Millcreek Gardens

When stay-at-home orders went into effect and people were at home for extended periods of time, they took to gardening and houseplant care. Many garden supply stores had their hands full with customers coming in droves to service Utahns' newfound hobbies of shrubbery and gardening. Millcreek Gardens, in business since the 1960s, rose to the task and kept patrons safe and healthy in their spring shopping. (MS) 3500 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-487-4131, millcreekgardens.com
2. Glover Nursery
3. Cactus and Tropicals

Best Thrift/ Consignment Store
Pib's Exchange

For over 20 years, Pib's Exchange has been fitting customers with unique clothes, accessories, Halloween costumes, magical outfits and day-to-day awesomeness. For those selling their gently used items, Pib's offers 55 percent in in-store credit, or 30 percent cash. They also have preferred donation services at Big Brothers and Big Sisters, MS of Utah and Odyssey House. (MS) 1147 S. Ashton Ave., SLC, 801-484-7996, pibsexchange.com
2. IconoCLAD
3. The Other Side Thrift Boutique

Mike & Holly Cash
  • Mike & Holly Cash

Best Smoke/Vape Shop
Blackhouse Vapor

Owners Mike and Holly Berry have decades of experience in the retail and service industries. They founded Blackhouse Vapor on the premise that customers deserve the best possible care and products. Step into their Sugar House vape shop, and you instantly get the picture—the clean and classy shop is chock-full with vape options, and a knowledgeable staff to help you with your decision. (MS) 2148 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-467-6526, blackhousevapor.com
2. Smoke Break
3. Murray Vape

Best Tattoo Shop
27 Tattoo

With two studios in Salt Lake and a third about to open in St. George, 27 Tattoo canvases a wide swath of the state, in geography and in skin. They offer custom, individual artwork in a relaxed, comfortable and clean environment. Their professional artists offer a wide range of skills and styles, so you're sure to find the design and look you're looking for. (MS) 535 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-906-8116; 1790 S. 1100 East, SLC, 435-708-1999, facebook.com/follow27
2. Yellow Rose
3. Good Times

Best Comic Book Store
Dr. Volt's Comic Connection

Back-to-back winner! Dr. Volt's is Utah's Best Comic Book Store over many consecutive years. Now entering their 30th anniversary year, the Millcreek comic book shop has been giving joy, thrills and entertainment to comic book and graphic novel aficionados for generations. Dive into a new world with ease in their expansive collection. (MS) 2043 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-485-6114, drvolts.com
2. Heebeegeebeez
3. Black Cat Comics

Best Medical Cannabis Dispensary
Dragonfly Wellness

Utah's medical-cannabis program didn't launch without some kinks. In the spring, medical cannabis patients were often left confused about the process of obtaining a recommendation and being issued cannabis cards, which left the burden of dealing with their angst on the first dispensary to open, Dragonfly Wellness. Now nearly a year into the program, patients have adapted to legally purchasing and using medical cannabis, and Dragonfly has been a trailblazer from the beginning. (MS) 711 S. State, SLC, 801-413-6945, dragonflyut.com
2. WholesomeCo
3. Perfect Earth

Best Piercer
Dustin Robbins

If you're itching to add a new piercing to your collection, look no further than Dustin Robbins of Enso Piercing + Adornment. For nearly 25 years, he's been making Utahns quirkier, cooler and more pierced. The crazy thing is, he doesn't have any piercings of his own! Just kidding. He's super pierced. Get your piercings from people who are super pierced, like Dustin. (MS) Enso Piercing + Adornment, 336 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-953-0201, ensopiercing.com
2. Courtney Marriott
3. Patrick Bogdanich

Best Boutique
iconoCLAD

With an unabashedly quirky style, iconoCLAD's wide variety of offerings has become a local favorite for thrifters. Interested in consignment? iconoCLAD will carry your previously rocked stuff and give you 50 percent of the cash. During the era of COVID-19, iconoCLAD has been one of the premier face-mask sellers around, with plenty of sparkles and sequins to keep you safe and fashionable. (MS) 414 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-833-2272, iconoclad.com
2. Blue Boutique

3. The Stockist

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Best Piercing Studio
Koi

Curt Warren opened Koi's doors in 1997, and since then, it's become one of the most trusted and high-quality piercing studios in Salt Lake. The skilled staff strives to work by the motto, "Safety, quality and trusted skill." They follow an abundance of health and safety measures and are currently taking appointments over the phone or on their website. (MS) 1301 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-463-7070, koipiercingslc.com
2. Enso
3. Abyss

Best Bookstore
The King's English Bookshop

King's English Bookshop has been matching books to readers since 1977. When the beloved independent shop closed to foot traffic at the end of summer for the safety of its staff, the store put out a plea to its loyal patrons to make holiday purchases early, since it was possible the business wouldn't survive until the holidays otherwise. The result was such a wave of orders in September that the staff could barely keep up, proving that a wonderful local business inspires equally wonderful behavior in those who care about it. (MS/SR) 1511 S. 1500 East, SLC, 801-484-9100, kingsenglish.com
2. Weller Book Works
3. Ken Sanders Rare Books

Best CBD Retailer
Koodegras

Opening its doors in 2015 as Utah's first CBD retailer, Koodegras has blossomed into three Salt Lake Valley locations. The parents of two chemical engineers, owners Mike and Diane Bingham's family-run operation ensures high-quality products fill their shelves. Their THC-free topicals, gels and salves help reduce pain and ailments. (MS) Multiple Locations, koodegras.com
2. Blackhouse Vapor
3. Farmer and Chemist

Best CBD for Pets
Roxy Pets

Skeptics of CBD are quickly turned into advocates when they see the effects whole-plant CBD extracts have on their pets. Does your dog or cat have anxiety, trouble sleeping or is geriatric? Offering a droplet of Roxy Pets, produced by Provo-based extractor Hemplucid, is a sure way to help your furry friend with an assortment of ailments and keeps them healthy and happy. (MS) Multiple Locations, hemplucid.com
2. Koodegras
3. Proper Hemp Co.

Best Pet Supply Store
The Dog's Meow

If you have a furry friend in your life, you want suppliers of their pet products to share your concern and dedication to their health and well-being. Mother-daughter duo Alexis and Alyssa have teamed up to provide two Dog's Meow locations, featuring high-quality products to keep pets happy and healthy for years to come. (MS) 2047 E. 3300 South, Millcreek, 801-468-0700; 866 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-501-0818, dogsmeow.com
2. Rockstar Pets
3. Paw Paws


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Goods & Services | Staff Picks

Best Bird Boutique
Backyard Birds

Even if you don't make a hobby or habit of feeding your feathered backyard friends, meaning you may have no need for nyjer, black sunflower or safflower seeds, you still should make a visit to this colorful, charming cottage store that sets your senses ablaze from the moment you first walk in. From baths to birdfeeders, from suet to shelters, you will find everything and anything your birds need here. COVID-19 caused so many people to work from home. The ideal pastime for those folks is a watching the busy life that unfolds just feet from our windows and porches. Stop here for starters advice and become master of your own aviary. (MS) 2698 S. Highland Drive, SLC, 801-467-7222, facebook.com/backyardbirdsslc

Best Celebration of a Milestone
AAA Jewelers

More expensive doesn't always mean better—in the jewelry world, paying more for the same product is just throwing money down the drain, especially when there is a wholesaler on the scale of AAA Jewelers. The family-run store, operated by Mike and Lisa Vardakis with their son, Michael, will beat any price or quote in town for rings, gold and watches. AAA also creates custom jewelry. Before your next milestone celebration, give the iconic store a call for an appointment. (MS) 601 S. State, SLC, 801-359-2035, AAAJewelryUtah.com

Best Rice Cookers
Asian City

Rice cookers are essential to the Asian kitchen, giving you a light, airy texture—possibly even better than a restaurant's version. All you do is simply measure and rinse the rice, then set it to cook while you focus on the main course. Asian City has an entire aisle dedicated to rice cookers, and our favorite of the pack is the Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer (NS-WTC10), made by Zojirushi. This reputable Japanese brand features advanced cooking technology. (ML&CL) 1653 W. 9000 South, West Jordan, 801-255-5667, utahasiancity.com.

Ken Sanders
  • Ken Sanders

Best Treasure Hunter
Ken Sanders, Ken Sanders Rare Books

The literary community's thirst for knowledge is quenched at Ken Sanders Rare Books. The local treasure is headed by none other than Mr. Sanders, a rare-book collector since his childhood, who has amassed a collection that is nationally acclaimed. When COVID-19 swept through the state, and readers shifted their buying tendencies, Salt Lakers stepped up with a campaign to raise KSRB over $120,000 (the campaign is about half funded), helping ensure this gem has a future in our city. (MS) 268 S. 200 East, SLC, 801-521-3819, KenSandersRareBooks.com

Best Real Estate Tag Team
Babs De Lay & Julie Brizzée

When you pick up a copy of City Weekly each week, you've likely noticed these goofballs on the inside back cover in their weekly ad, dressed up as Wonder Women, teachers and many other costume-themed campaigns. They've done it all. And, in the craziness that is the Salt Lake real-estate market, they've seen it all. When looking for a knowledgeable real estate broker and a trusted lender these two have your back just like they have City Weekly's each and every week. (MS) Babs De Lay, 801-201-8824, urbanutah.com; Julie Brizzée, 801-971-2574, intercaplending.com

Best Way to Look Sharp
Bonneville Sharpening Service

A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, they say, but dull scissors may only be a danger in the hands of the do-it-yourself barber. "Out of an abundance of caution," the COVID catchphrase, visits to haircutters and dentists have been curtailed. Many people have taken to self-barbering using scissors so dull that more hair is pulled than cut. Witness the bad haircuts on display: The Army Recruit, The Sheared Sheep, The Dog's Mange, The Tufted Mongo and The Moe Bowl. If you're bent on lowering your own ears and trimming your own bangs, do yourself a favor by sharpening your scissors. Bonneville Sharpening Service is the place to go. Expert service for the inexpert. Bring your knives and they'll give you loaners. (JR) 2161 E. Browning Ave., SLC, 801-913-5753, bonnevillesharpeningservice.com

Best Idli Cooker
Cash 'n' Carry Indian Groceries and Spices

A less common but widely popular rice cake in India is the savory idli, which can be dipped into sauces or eaten alone. With a texture that's warm, soft and spongy, like a handheld cake, they soak up flavors from each dish they're served with. Common pairings include tomato, onion or coconut chutneys, sambar lentil soup or a simple curry sauce. Batter of fermented lentil and rice for idli can be made from scratch but a prepared mix is available for purchase at Cash 'n' Carry along with the cooker. The idli cooker steams up to 16 bite-size cakes at a time. (ML&CL) 8750 S. 700 East, Sandy, 801-561-0499, indiacashandcarry.com

Best Way to Electrify Your Bike
Electrify Bike Co.

Electric bicycles are all the rage. Streets are literally humming with them. While they may not flatten the curve, they damn sure flatten hills as steep as I Street. Because most e-bikes are built in China, however, the pandemic has caused imbalances in supply and demand. You may not be able to find the new e-bike you want even if you are willing to spend big bucks. Fortunately, most standard bikes can be retrofitted with a pedal-assist, electric motor by Electrify Bike Co. Efficient, friendly and knowledgeable, the Electrify conversion specialists provide up-front quotes. Get one for your cruiser on the company's website. (JR) 8060 S. 1300 West, West Jordan, 801-997-0550, electrifybike.com

Heather Smith, Orson Gygi Brand Developer
  • Heather Smith, Orson Gygi Brand Developer

Best Reason to Be a Home Cook
Orson Gygi

The upside to quarantine? We've all learned how to cook more than quesadillas. Time to reward your newfound chef skills with the tools to match at Utah's premier culinary supply store, Orson Gygi. Yes, silicone baking mats will change your life. Splurge on those Wusthof knives. Buy an oven thermometer and never burn your banana bread again! Follow on Instagram @orsgongygi for virtual classes, promos and cooking tips. (MW) 3500 S. 300 West, South Salt Lake, 801-268-3316, gygi.com

Best Perfectionistic Painter
Kevin Miller of Freedom Services

Those with older homes are always in need of miracle workers to deal with aging plumbing and wiring. But when peeling paint on the home's exterior becomes the latest emergency (that day will come), contact Kevin Miller for a painting bid. Miller and his cohort, Casey, are the friendly, hardworking team behind Freedom Painting Services who not only take on any number of handyman repairs as they give your home a new lease on life, but their painting expertise (interior, exterior, residential or commercial) is top notch—perfectionistic, in fact. They take care of the power-washing, prepping and taping in advance, and then the transformation begins. All of a sudden, your neighbors are stopping to tell you how amazing your house looks. (JW) Freedom Painting Services, 5574 W. Poacher Circle, Kearns, 801-755-0079

Best Friend of the Free Press
Glover Nursery

This giant, 10-acre nursery in West Jordan has garnered lots of City Weekly awards over the years (their tree and shrub selections are unmatched), but for our hibiscus, none means as much as the staff pick we grant them for this year: Best Friend of the Free Press. The nursery industry was one of the business categories that actually thrived during the coronavirus outbreak. It was not lost on brothers Rod and Bryce Glover that their good fortune was not universal to others, especially to the hospitality industry or this newspaper. They wanted to give back to our community. In August the two began reaching out to their suppliers to solicit in-kind plant and product donations—annuals, perennials, vegetables, rocks and sod—that were resold with proceeds going to pressbackers.com—the 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that helps support City Weekly and independent journalism. By September, when the paper's reserves were razor thin, the Glovers had donated $20,000 to the fund, the largest such donation supporting the local free press to date. Glover has sold nursery products in the valley since 1895. With your pay-it-forward support, they'll do it for another 125 years. Our humble hat's off to two of the greatest guys to ever graduate from Hillcrest High School—Rod and Bryce Glover. (MS) 9275 S. 1300 West, West Jordan, 801-562-5496, glovernursery.com

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Best Ever-Evolving Indy Bookstore
Weller Book Works

Since 1929, the Weller family has sold books in Salt Lake City. Now located in historic Trolley Square, Weller Book Works continues their successful mantra of being kings of new, used and rare books. Rare books and Weller are like bread and butter. Like other local bookstore survivors, Weller has changed radically in the digital era. Today, one can peruse the shelves or order your favorite books online but also shop for specialty merchandise like mugs, tees and totes. (MS) 607 Trolley Square, SLC, 801-328-2586, wellerbookworks.com

Best Stone Pots
Seoul Market

Ceramic stone pots are a fixture in almost every Korean restaurant. Korean signature rice bowls, called bibimbap, are highly differentiated by the crunchy, fried rice along the outer edge of a stone pot called ddukbaegi. This stone pot acts as a mini Dutch oven, crisping the rice in a heated pot. Top with your favorite veggies, meat and chili gochujang sauce—you've got yourself the ultimate rice bowl. Although these pots require care, they are microwave safe. (ML&CL) 153 E. 4370 South, No. 10, Murray, 801-266-2228

Best Florist
Sweet William Floral & Design

If you're in the market for something fresh and floral, leave it to Sweet William. Sisters Sara and Emily are happy to take on even the wildest ideas and work with clients one-on-one to create perfect petal pairings for every personality, be it for a wedding, event, funeral or just because—all at prices you'll dig. (MW) 10506 S. Redwood Road, South Jordan, 801-679-5352, sweetwilliamdesign.com

Best Oasis in a Grocery Store Desert
Lee's Market at 4th West

Here's a wonderful addition in what has been a grocery desert in west downtown. Lee's might appear to be a bodega at first, but it's actually a full-service grocery store with many specialty items, sushi, a hot bar, etc. The produce is fresh, too, often from local growers. Their employees actually remember your names. Locally owned, Lee's has locations in Logan, Ogden, Smithfield, Heber and North Salt Lake, and is a sight for sore eyes for those living in the high-end apartments that have popped up north of North Temple behind West High. (BDL) 255 N. 400 West, SLC, 801-869-1000, leesmarketplace.com

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Best Beard Trim and Cut Combo
Salt Lake Barber Co.

Isaac Atencio and Eric Stone are longtime friends and co-owners of downtown's Salt Lake Barber Co. The duo have a staunch following that continues to grow larger, giving cause for Atencio and Stone to annex an adjacent space to add more barber chairs to the mix. Customers enjoy an array of specialty barbers and beard trimmers. Going to anyone other than your steady barber may feel like cheating, but the inclusive and inviting crew at Salt Lake Barber Co. won't rat you out. (MS) 10 E. 800 South, SLC, 385-261-2196, SaltLakeBarberCo.com

Best Reborn Nostalgia
Top Hat Video

Sure, you're thinking, video rental is as dead as disco. No way, Mr. Gibbs. While it's true that video rental shops are as nearly as rare as fish in the Great Salt Lake, one very notable exception is the 40-year tenured Top Hat Video in Bountiful. Yes, they pivoted in part to disc repair and video transfer, but their 40,000 titles of videos march steadily out the door even in this age of on-demand movies. Hard to find and rare movies are actually found at Top Hat. As long as you have a disc player, you might as well use it. A trip to Top Hat will convince you Netflix isn't the only movie game in town. (MS) 521 W. 2600 South, Bountiful, 801-292-2221, tophatvideo.com

Best Woks
Vinh Long Oriental Food Market

When shopping for a wok, consider the next evolution in stove-top cooking: a ceramic marble wok, available—along with a wide variety of kitchenware and cookware—at Vinh Long Oriental Food Market. Unlike traditional Asian woks, this all-in-one pan/pot is lightweight, nonstick and cooks just about anything without taking up all the real estate in your cupboard. It can saute, boil, fry and sear kung pao chicken, ham-fried rice, hot and sour soup or even fried vegetable tempura. Best of all, the wok fits other pan lids of the same size. (ML&CL) 119 W. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-561-4380, vinhlongorientalmarket.com

Best Cobbler
Village Cobbler Shoe Repair

If your best boots, heels and loafers need a new lease on life, Village Cobbler near Foothill Village is a shoo-in. With 30+ years of experience, cobbler Troy Morgan and staff can repair, resize and resole just about any pair of shoes and make them look brand new again, not to mention deep cleanings and dye jobs to restore leather and suede shoes to their original luster. (MW) 1455 S. 2300 East, SLC, 801-582-7784

Best Survival Mode Collab You Didn't Know You Needed
Dianormical Drop Days by Diabolical Records and Normal Ice Cream

The pandemic has shifted many of our everyday perceptions, but an unexpected one is this: records and ice cream belong together. Or at least, that's the conclusion reached by Diabolical Records and Normal Ice Cream—plus all their fans. Diabolical started doing "drop bag" bundles of records and other goodies at the beginning of the pandemic to make up for the loss of foot traffic in-store, collaborating with businesses like lifestyle shop Atelier to start. That quickly led to other collaborations, most notably the "Dianormical" collaboration with Normal, which gave buyers both records and pints of ice cream with every bundle purchased. (EM) 238 S. Edison St., SLC, 801-792-9204, diabolicalrecords.com, normal.club


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Commerce | Readers' Picks

Best Minority-Owned Business
Icy Mountain

In 2019, Jared Clavell opened a gourmet shaved-ice truck that specializes in what the Black businessman calls his "boujee" shaved ice. According to Clavell, this is not Hawaiian style you may be used to. Rather, it's a morph of the island original—soft ice over vanilla ice cream, your pick of syrup flavors, sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, caramel drizzle—and damn it!—fresh fruit or candy! There are a slew of crazy flavors that you don't usually find, such as peaches 'n' cream and strawberry lemonade. Also, look for vegan, gluten-free and dye-free flavors—even "pup cups" of ice just for dogs. (BDL) Find them on Facebook or Instagram (icy.mountain) or via thefoodtruckleague.com
2. Empire Body Waxing
3. Fillings and Emulsions

Best Utah Retailer
Cotopaxi

Named after the world's largest active volcano (in the Andes mountain range in Ecuador), this outdoor gear company is en fuego in sales and popularity for several reasons: 1. they create quality clothing and camping/outdoor gear; 2. they give back to the community and 3. during the pandemic, they've donated over 100,000 face masks made of teca cotton (so soft!), and for every mask we buy, they donate one to charity. They put 1% of annual revenues towards addressing poverty and supporting community development. They have awarded 42 grants in six countries they focus on to help improve our world. May more firms step up and follow Cotopaxi's good-karma lead. (BDL) Multiple locations, cotopaxi.com
2. Black Diamond
3. Kühl Clothing

Best Bank for Small Businesses
Mountain America Credit Union

MACU is a federally chartered credit union headquartered in Sandy. With branches in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, it's the 12th largest credit union in the country with almost 900,000 members, 95 branches and 5,000 shared branch locations. When a 5% tax from the Utah Legislature was going to be required on the three largest credit unions in the state who were competing with big local banks for members and money, MACU moved from a state charter to a federal charter in 2003 to avoid that tax. (BDL) Multiple locations, macu.com
2. University Credit Union
3. Zions Bank

Best Company that Gives Back
Ogden's Own Distillery

Five Wives, Porter's Fire Liqueur, Porter's Peach Liqueur, Porter's Apple Liqueur, Underground, Madam Pattirini booze ... and Five Husbands vodka during Pride. How can you not love these people? From using local spring water from Ogden Canyon that must be hiked out five gallons at a time to distilling corn spirits and risking the wrath of the DABC with racy labels of Victorian women in their undergarments, Ogden's Own is now a force to be reckoned with in the distilling world. Plus, they used their mixology brains and compassion to be the first to turn their plant into producing hand sanitizer and giving it to first responders in Utah as well as shipping truckloads of sanitizer to the Navajo Nation. (BDL) 615 W. Stockman Way, Ogden, 801-458-1995, ogdensown.com
2. Mark Miller Subaru
3. Vivint Smart Home

Best Company to Work For / Best Tech Company
Qualtrics

When 75% of the Fortune 500 companies rely on a company's platform, you should pay attention to that company. Qualtrics' subscription platform is one of the first employee-management platforms to measure employee experiences through metrics powered by "predictive intelligence." Their leading research software scoops up data on all sorts of industries, and for nearly 20 years, they have served millions of management professionals in more than 100 countries to help them better listen, understand and take action. (BDL) 333 W. River Park Drive, Provo, 801-374-6682, qualtrics.com
Best Company to Work for Runners-up
2. Intermountain Healthcare
3. Adobe
Best Tech Company Runners-up
2. Pluralsight
3. Domo

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Best Made-in-Utah Product
Beehive Cheese

The amazing bovines in our state produce some of the creamiest milk this side of the Mississippi. In 2005, Tim Welsh and his brother-in-law, Pat Ford, had an idea in mind for that milk when they opened a creamery in the mountains of Utah. But not just any creamery. Beehive Cheese has taken Utah and the world by storm with their award-winning cheeses, including Barely Buzzed, Apple Walnut Smoked, Red Butte Hatch Chili, Seahive, Big John's Cajun, Promontory, Teahive and Pour Me a Slice. They like to say, "This isn't the cheese you grew up with." The Legislature should vote it the official cheddar of the state! (BDL) 2440 E. 6600 South, No. 8, Uintah, 801-476-0900, beehivecheese.com
2. Fivewives Vodka
3. Hemplucid

Best Trade School
Stringham Schools

For more than 30 years, this local real-estate educator has been turning out graduates of what is now a 120-hour real-estate sales agent course. They almost guarantee that you will pass the state exam and teach you how to take the test. If you’ve been in the business and want to move to broker status, they offer advanced classes as well as continuing education courses that licensees are required to take every two years. The founders sold the school 12 years ago but, as the current owners say, “it has continued to offer high-quality education with personable staff that’s like family.” And they offer home-inspection courses through a nationwide sister company, American Home Inspector’s Training. (BDL) 635 W. 5300 South, Ste. 301, SLC, 801-269-8889, stringhamschools.com
2. SLCC
3. Healing Mountain

Best Business School
U of U David Eccles School of Business

Founded in 1917, the school offers 12 institutes and centers, priding itself on delivering "academic research and support in an ecosystem of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation." Thousands have graduated from one of nine undergrad and four MBA programs, and (before COVID-19) students traveled the globe through Eccles Global to see how the world does business. The DESB helps students launch companies, offers scholarships and focuses on diversity in a business world needing to innovate. (BDL) eccles.utah.edu
2. Westminster College
3. BYU Marriott School of Business

Spencer Young Sr.
  • Spencer Young Sr.

Best Family-Owned Business
Young Auto Group

This family-owned company has been in business in Utah since 1924 and now has 18 retail automotive franchises as well as several other companies across the state and in southern Idaho. They've understood how important family (and extended family) are during COVID-19, stepping up and sanitizing workplaces throughout the day and offering free pickup and delivery for sales and service. Through charity work, in partnership with Davis Education Foundation, they've helped clothe 475 kids and have helped their communities since they opened shop in Morgan, Utah, just before the Great Depression. (BDL) youngautomotive.com
2. Tony Caputo's Market and Deli
3. All Hours Plumbing

Best Local Manufacturer / Best Local Gear Brand
Black Diamond (Clarus Corp)

Clarus Corp., which owns the Black Diamond brand, is a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of outdoor equipment and lifestyle products that focus on the climb, ski, mountain, sport and skin-care industries. Their products are sold under the Black Diamond, Sierra (bullets), PIEPS and SKINourishment brand names. Their climbON skin cream bar is one of their newer products that's never been tested on any mammal other than humans and meets high environmental sustainability standards for our earth and waterways. They make specific products for runners, skin and general clean hands, as well. (BDL) 2084 E. 3900 South, SLC, 801-278-5552, claruscorp.com
Best Local Manufacturer Runners-up
2. Purple
3. Lifetime
Best Local Gear Brand Runners-up
2. Cotopaxi
3. Klymit

Commerce | Staff Picks

Best Myth Shatterer
Wells Fargo Center

A popular Salt Lake City urban legend of the'70s, '80s and '90s was that an ordinance prohibited any building taller than the 420-foot LDS Church Office Building within the city limits. The myth was shattered in 1998 with the opening of a 422-foot skyscraper at the corner of Main and 300 South. (The church edifice appears higher because it's on an incline). Originally built as headquarters for American Stores, later sold to the Wasatch Group, the Wells Fargo Center's large faux "windows" impart a welcoming vibe—compared with the stark, monolithic church structure, which has more stories: 28 compared with 24. The Wells Fargo high-rise was designed by HKS Architects of Dallas, famous for the cavernous AT&T Stadium, home of the Texas Rangers. It will soon be joined or exceeded in height by new downtown construction including the 28-story Salt Palace Convention Center Hotel; 24-story Liberty Sky residential tower at 151 S. State; and Tower 8, a 28-story high-rise office at 95 S. State. (LG) 299 S. Main, SLC

Best 'Wanna Talk Tall?'
Rio Tinto Kennecott's Smelter

You can spot it to the northwest, rising from the base of the Oquirrhs. At 1,215 feet, Kennecott Utah's Garfield Smelter smokestack is a mere 35 feet shorter than the Empire State Building. The tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi, it's also the fourth tallest smokestack on earth. After an 84-day continuous concrete pour, it was finished in 1974. Its walls are 12 feet thick at the base and 12 inches thick at the rim, and a Swedish-built gear elevator on the inside takes 20 minutes to travel to the top. Lest environmentalists despair, it's Utah's last operating smelter chimney. (LG) Along Interstate 80 west of Magna

Best Subsidized Senior Housing
Taylor Gardens

Salt Lake City's Housing Authority operates several low-income housing complexes. Taylor Gardens, for 55-plus seniors, is one of the best. The one- and two-bedroom units are small—650 to 821 square feet—but designed to utilize every square centimeter. You'll find ample storage, patios, top-of-the-line appliances and granite countertops. The complex includes a community kitchen/pantry and party area, library common areas, TV rooms and exercise spaces. The immaculate landscaping is on par with Temple Square. There are income restrictions but if you fit the criteria, this is the place. (LG) 1790 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-466-9012

Editor's note: An earlier version of the Stringham Schools story ("Best Trade School") indicated an incorrect number of hours to become certified as a real-estate sales agent. It has been corrected to 120 hours.


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Recreation | Readers' Picks

Best Local Recreational Sports Store
Recreation Outlet

Love the outdoors, but don't love having to save big bucks for expensive outdoor gear? Recreation Outlet has a huge selection of gear—at reasonable prices—for whatever adventure you're feeling up to. This local company has locations in Salt Lake, Ogden and American Fork. Plus, you also have to option to order online, and they'll ship it to you! (ML&CL) Multiple locations, 801-484-4800, recreationoutlet.com
2. Level 9
3. Sports Den

Best Bowling Alley
Bonwood Bowl

This iconic bowling alley is a local favorite. With nightly specials, lessons and leagues, Bonwood is right up Utah's alley. They serve food and beer with plenty of options for alternative bar games into the wee hours of the night. Bonwood's expansive facility boasts 42 lanes, capturing audiences who don't like to wait around all night for a game. (ML&CL) 2500 S. Main, SLC, 801-487-7758, bonwoodbowl.com
2. Pins and Ales
3. Olympus Hills

Best Snowboarding
Brighton Ski Resort

This all-terrain resort serves a wide range of snowboarders, from beginners taking lessons to advanced backcountry boarders. The mountain is generally divided into levels, meaning you can ride the same lift and switch up runs within your ability. The variety of wide and narrow routes makes exploring the mountain fun. Just don't get stuck on a cat track. (ML&CL) 8302 S. Brighton Loop Road, Brighton, 801-532-4731, brightonresort.com
2. Snowbird
3. Solitude

Best Bike Shop
Contender Bicycles

Looking for a new ride? Live in Utah or even out of town? Contender is the bike shop you want to go to whether you are a newbie or a weathered rider. Whatever your skill level, the exceptional staff can make recommendations, from any bike model to any part. They can ship to you free with a $50 purchase or more. (ML&CL) 989 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-364-0344, contenderbicycles.com
2. Bingham Cyclery
3. Saturday Cycles

Best State Park
Goblin Valley State Park

A mere four-hour drive lands you in the valley of stunted hoodoos, otherwise known as goblins. These red rocks have some of the most interesting rock formations you'll find in Utah. Everything from easy hikes to guided canyoneering is available for a $5 entrance fee and any required permits, depending on your final destination. (ML&CL) 18630 Goblin Valley Road, Green River, 435-275-4584, stateparks.utah.gov/parks/goblin-valley
2. Antelope Island
3. Snow Canyon

Best Skate Shop
Milosport

It's hard to dive into a new sport like skateboarding, but it's even harder to trust the gear. Milosport's friendly, knowledgeable staff has experience with everything boards, so you'll come out feeling confident in your purchase. Responsive and easy to get a hold of online, they'll bend over backward and do a 360 to get you the best service. (ML&CL) 3119 E. 3300 South, 801-487-8600, milosport.com
2. Raunch
3. Salty Peaks

Best Bike Path
Jordan River Parkway

Jordan River Parkway is a smoothly paved, two-lane bike and pedestrian trail extending from northern Utah Lake to North Salt Lake. It spans 45 miles with beautiful scenery along the Jordan River. Perfect for bikers with minimal obstacles, this well-maintained path is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dogs allowed on leash. (ML&CL) Jordan River Commission, 801-536-4158, jordanrivercommission.com
2. Snowbasin
3. Bonneville Shoreline

Best Hike Path
Lake Blanche Trailhead

Extensive and steep, this Big Cottonwood Canyon hike is an adventurer's dream: its ultimate reward is at the top. The narrow out-and-back trail features natural shade if you're an early bird. The sound of running water teases you as you hike the trail until reaching the vast, glassy lake at the top. Plan on a half day to finish this hike. (ML&CL) 4.3 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Mill B South Fork Picnic Area (just before the S curve), fs.usda.gov
2. Living Room
3. Dog Lake

Best Public Golf Course
Mountain Dell Golf Course

This well-maintained golf course offers gorgeous scenery without needing to spend a lot on the sport (or the view). It's a short 20-minute drive from Salt Lake City for some peaceful golfing. Since the course is large, you might want to rent a golf cart. Also, check it out during the winter months for snow activities with the family. (ML&CL) Parleys Canyon, Interstate 80, Exit 134, 801-582-3812, mountaindellgc.com
2. Bonneville
3. Bountiful Ridge

Best Ski Resort
Snowbird

This highly rated ski resort isn't for the weak-kneed and is highly preferred by more advanced skiers. Its outstanding powder days and access to Mineral Basin through an easy access tunnel make for amazing runs in challenging bowls and chutes, through tree glades and on groomed trails. Create your own route by combining tree terrain and cliff jumps down these vertical slopes. Night skiing and the Tram are also a bonus. (ML&CL) 9385 S. Snowbird Center Drive, Snowbird, 1-800-232-9542, snowbird.com
2. Brighton
3. Alta

Best Ski Shop
Sports Den

This shop might look small from the outside, but their ski selections are larger than the Cheesecake Factory menu. Sports Den offers exceptional quality on your tune ups and takes pride in their customer service. For beginner skiers, it's important to rent or buy from a shop that fits you with the proper gear. They're not just looking to sell you the most expensive products—just what's right for you. (ML&CL) 1350 Foothill Drive, SLC, 801-582-5611, sportsden.com
2. Milosport
3. Wasatch Touring


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Outdoors & Recreation | Staff Picks

Best Swimming Pool Alternative
Rockport Reservoir

Where do you go to cool off during one of the hottest Utah summers on record when many of the state's public swimming pools are closed due to COVID? Just 30 minutes from downtown, Rockport Reservoir offers sandy beaches and crisp mountain water perfect for a socially distanced soak. Park in any of the roadside lots on the west end of the reservoir for just $5—one cheap way to spend a sweltering weekend. (MW) 9040 N. State Highway 302, Peoa, 435-336-2241, stateparks.utah.gov

Best Scenic Hike for the Family
Stewart Falls Trail

Family and dog-friendly, this scenic trail is only 3.4 miles out and back. The views are grand: With Mount Timpanogos in the background, there's a gorgeous waterfall at the trail's end, the perfect spot to eat your well-deserved snacks. If you want to explore, you can take in the scenery from the base of the initial waterfall. (ML&CL) 40.4043, -111.605, utahvalley.com/listing/stewart-falls/708/

Best Real Estate Deal That Saved Hobbitville
Allen Park Opening to the Public

In a welcome move, Salt Lake City saved the city's most unique, wooded property from becoming another housing development. Then, adopting its legendary name, Mayor Erin Mendenhall opened Allen Park to the public for the first time in 50 years. George and Ruth Allen bought the seven-acre site along Emigration Creek east of Westminster College in 1931. The Allens' eclectic taste ran to exotic animals—including peacocks—fountains, log houses and mosaic art. Fifteen small duplexes were built in the 1940s. Renters included artists, professors, hippies, students and Howard Berkes, the NPR reporter who filed stories from his house there for decades. Public access ended in the 1960s, and the property decayed. As the forest encroached, the site's peculiarities were mythologized in whispered tales of Hobbitville. Tolkien aside, those who like Gilgal Sculpture Garden's oddities will be charmed by Allen Park. Open seven days a week until dusk. (JR) Parking on Downington Avenue and 1300 East

Best Campsite With Amenities
Currant Creek

This home away from home is remote and quiet, with everything you need for the ultimate glamping experience. A three-hour scenic mountain drive from Salt Lake City brings you to a campground nestled in Aspen trees and hugging the Currant Creek Reservoir. Complete RV hookups, a campfire ring, a picnic table and bathrooms with running water will put this on your list of annual sites for a getaway. (ML&CL) Wasatch Cache National Forest, Forest Road 145, Heber City, 385-273-1100, gocamputah.com

Best BLM Land Getaway
Gandy Warm Springs

This hidden gem rests on the Utah-Nevada border next to Crystal Ball Caves. To get there, head west on U.S. Highway 50/6 from Delta toward the Nevada border and Great Basin National Park. Then, turn right on Gandy Road, 2/3 of a mile before the border, and drive 28 miles north. The grueling dirt road deters many visitors, so you might have the place to yourself. High-profile vehicles are recommended but not required to access this watering hole consisting of caves, waterfalls, pools and clear streams with water temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees—ideal for a summer soak. (ML&CL) 39°27'35.75"N, 114° 2'13.62"W, geology.utah.gov

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Best Wakeless Reservoir to Bring Your SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard)
Causey Reservoir

Paddleboarders, here's your dream come true: a wakeless, glassy reservoir lined with trees that touch the sky. Beginners can seek peace and calmness if learning the ways of the SUP. Ogden locals love this hot spot for cliff jumping, kayaking and tube floating. This reservoir, with its long pathways, is ideal for the explorer at heart. (ML&CL) Route 39, Huntsville, 801-999-2103

Best Water Obstacle Course on a Tube
Weber River Tubing

The Weber River is a class II whitewater river not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for more than a lazy float and lots of excitement, then this two-hour float has got it all. This natural obstacle course includes turns, bridges, logs, rapids and last but not least, Rock Alley (it is what it sounds like). Required: a life jacket. Unofficially required: shoes with straps, high-quality tube and sunscreen. (ML&CL) Highway 84, Exit 112, Henefer

Best Historic Farm
Mabey's Pumpkin Patch

With over 45 pumpkin varieties of pumpkin growing annually on 16 acres in the heart of South Jordan at Mabey Farm, the perfect photo opportunity with the kids awaits. Hard stop. Did you know that there were at least 45 pumpkin varieties? Did you know there are still farms in Salt Lake Valley? Make sure you circle the calendar for the end of September and October in time for Halloween 2021 to support this quaint century-old farm and the annual traditions that will likely kick off for you and your family. The Mabey family is rock solid, and their land is a valley treasure. (MS) 10090 S. 1000 West, South Jordan, 801-254-1261, mabeyfarms.com


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