Our breakdown of the best shopping and services in Utah for 2015.
In a hardcore consumer society we tend to re-buy rather than repair. Spending a few hundred dollars on a pair of leather-soled oxfords might seem a bit excessive, but a nice pair of shoes can last as long as you take care of them with the help of a good cobbler. Steve’s Custom Shoe Services can re-sole, re-heel and refinish your fine fashion footwear investments. 1767 S. State St., SLC, 801-556-3452
Utah’s best sunglasses
Kameleonz are affordable sunglasses that can be customized Lego-like. Choose from 16 different frame and lens sets and 17 side arm sets to create your own look. The Sahara model with polarized lenses sells for $34.
Best car inspection
We all want to be safe and keep the air clean, but the yearly state-mandated rite is a pain. Peak Performance Automotive makes it less agonizing. They do it all, their work is guaranteed and their prices are fair and transparent. And they can answer that hard question for you: “Is this car worth extraordinary life-sustaining resuscitation?” Best, the state DMV office (380 W. 2880 South) is 50 yards away. 400 W. 2810 South, South Salt Lake, 801-466-8600
Best alternative to taking a cab
Specifically, we recommend riding with Uber driver/freelance videographer Fernando Lara, who drives a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant and passed Uber’s background check with flying colors. He has over 150 rides under his belt and he’s one of the top-rated (and nicest) drivers. “I don’t proactively seek to be overwhelmingly nice, I’m just regularly nice,” Lara says. “I just try to make friends with passengers and have a conversation.” Lara typically gives rides on weekend nights, which means he’s used to picking up from bars and clubs. “It’s better to have people use Uber than get a DUI or hit someone because they’re driving drunk,” Lara says. We concur.
Best Laundry Service
The next best thing to having Mom in the house, Washed picks up and returns your laundry and dry cleaning. Prices are by the pound.
Forever the best place to buy lovingly used fashion
Name Droppers. Duh. 3355 S. Highland Dr., SLC.
Best place to buy vinyl & a bat skeleton
Albatross Recordings & Ephemera is the kind of store that makes 9th & 9th SLC’s best shopping district: music and “ephemera” tied together at the whim of owner Timo Hatziathanasiou. Music ranges from vintage Zappa vinyl to cutting-edge drone from Not Not Fun Records. “Ephemera” includes cool jewelry, art and, yes, a bat skeleton by special order. 870 E. 900 South, SLC.
Best place for Banksy to buy hisself an AK-47
Ever since the enlightened owners of Utah’s iconic Gallenson’s Guns decided excellent street murals are the best defense against bad graffiti, the store and the alley beside it have become an eyeball-popping street art gallery. Looking is free, but support the art by at least buying a Gallenson’s T-shirt. 166 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-328-2016
Best surprise shoe source
Hip & Humble, the whimsical store that stocks the cutest possible version of just about everything, from kitchenware to partywear, has a similarly well-curated selection of shoes. Who knew? 1043 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-467-3130
Best place to buy a flag
In today’s hyper-polarized world, everyone wants to know where your allegiance lies. Let the world know by flying your flag. You’re bound to find the one you want to salute at Flags and Stuff in Provo. 276 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-356-2727
Best pro blow
Wash, massage, style and blow: That’s the simple idea behind Pro Do Blow Dry Bar. Join the club and receive discounted prices on regular visits, and have your hair looking pro all the time. 163 E. 13800 South, Draper, 801-590-7575
Best wax jobs
Besides having the cleverest logo and marketing campaign, LunchBOX Waxing—one of the newest waxing salons in the city—has an appealing concept: Fast. Like during-your-lunch-break fast.
Wicked Fast Wax. They come to you to tune and wax your skis while you wait. 801-613-7212, firstname.lastname@example.org
Encaustic Wax Artist Bridgette Meinhold. From her shipping container studio outside Park City, Meinhold evokes the beauty of the mountains using the ancient technique of wax encaustic.
Best place to pick up a pocket square
See that front pocket on your suit jacket? It’s not for pens, phones or pocket protectors. The gentlemen at Beckett & Robb know what it’s for. 150 S. Main St., SLC, 801-415-9434
Best boutique on a budget
Small, friendly and packed with cool clothes that fit you and your budget. That pretty much sums up Koo.De.Ker. 1037 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-359-4870
Mid-century modern chests. Mid ’70s amber light fixtures. Custom-designed handmade furniture. Vintage scarves. Funky jewelry. Tribal art. Hip fashion. You try summing up a store that sells all these things. Best just to check out Hobnob. 937 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-910-4157
Best way to wear absolutely nothing
SLC artist Josh Counsel started American Bodypaint League in 2012 with 12 members. Now it’s a national organization. The Salt Lake Chapter meets several times a year to prepare for body paint and cosplay events like Comic Con.
Best wedding registry if you’re into Carhartt and Dutch ovens
If you’re a city slicker, you probably don’t know Smith & Edwards, that hillbilly place north of Ogden with a tank parked outside. Well, it has a wedding registry. So, blessed couple, if you’re into huntin’, fishin’, ropin,’ ridin’, military surplus gas masks and portraits of John Wayne, this is the place to register. 3936 N. Highway 126, Ogden, 801-731-1120
Best Bee Buys
Wear a wood bee pendant from Albatross Recordings & Ephemera. Cuddle on a bee pillow by Ex Libris, Regency Royale, SLC. Buy your beehives, queens and those cool beekeeper hats from Jones Bee. Get your beeswax ’stache wax, lip balm and honey granola from Queen Farina.
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