Do you know that feeling? That feeling when you find the perfect gift for someone. Something you know they will love? That happened to me this week. I came across the cutest local artist @FifteenFibers who make art pieces out of different yarns and fibers. They are amazing, beautiful, and interesting. I couldn’t help but want to buy one for my sister. She would love it.
It is times like this that I want to shout from the rooftop all the fun places and yummy shops we have to explore here in Utah Valley. Places where extraordinary and meaningful gifts are found. Places built through hard work and dedication. What better time than now to share some of these favorites. A time when being thoughtful means more than it ever has before.
I love gathering with family, preparing yummy food, exchanging gifts, focusing more on gratitude, service, and kindness. I love the magic of Christmas and how it brings out the best in people. I want this time of year to be special despite the possibility it may look different than in years past.
Whether it be a beautiful table set up for Thanksgiving or having an adventure on New Years', there are local businesses we can look to help us create the experience we are hoping for. There are so many benefits to shopping locally. Here are 5 reasons I like to shop locally.
- Better customer service because small businesses care about the experience you have and strive to make sure it is a good experience.
- Money spent locally often stays in the local economy.
- A stronger community develops as we foster relationships with small businesses.
- Local shops are passionate about their goods and services and are more knowledgeable about the products they are selling. They know what the community wants and needs.
- Local businesses create a unique community personality which can result in an increase in tourism to the area.
In the spirit of helping make this season especially bright I hope you will join me and shop local for meaningful gifts and experiences here in Utah Valley. Some of our family’s favorite places to visit are listed below. I would love to know your favorite locally owned businesses and invite you to share them in the comments below.
I have learned over the years that experiences are what my family remembers the most.
- Namas Art Studio in Salem - Offers painting classes in a variety of mediums as well as ceramics classes in this quaint home studio.
- Taylor Ranch Riding Academy in Payson - Offers horse riding lessons, horse training and boarding. All ages, all abilities.
- The Wick Lab in Provo - Make your own candles and give them as gifts or take someone to make their own candles.
- The Quarry Climbing Gym in Orem - Offers classes and they have a monthly membership to be enjoyed all year long.
- Thanksgiving Point in Lehi - Annual family passes available.
- Sundance Mountain Ski Resort - Consider ski lessons or a season pass.
- Evermore in Pleasant Grove - Themed like a European village, guests interact with characters, go on quests, and more.
- Scera Theater for the Arts in Orem - Offering shows, lessons, and art classes.
- Dark Horse Leadership and Retreats in Mapleton - Offering canyoneering adventures, courses, classes, and more.
- Hale Center Theater in Orem - Purchase season tickets or single show tickets for a special evening out.
Local shops always seem so friendly and ready to help with any gift-giving decisions. They genuinely want us to be happy with our purchase.
- Funfinity in Springville - Toy and game store. They also carry books and supplies to make chocolates.
- Blickenstaff’s in The Riverwoods in Provo - Toy store with fun stocking stuffers and a variety of toys.
- Out N Back in Orem - An outdoor shop for the adventurer in your life.
- Harmony in Provo - A small craft/yarn shop located in a beautiful old home
- Goofy Guys Curiosity Shop in Payson - This shop has lots of old-time sodas, pranks, and gifts. They are open in the afternoons.
- Live by Nature in Mapleton - On-line women’s clothing boutique.
- Erik Dowdle Puzzles in Orem - Beautiful puzzles sure to please the whole family.
- Hideaway Used Books in Spanish Fork and American Fork - Used book store. Everyone can use a good read around the holidays.
- Gassers Mountain Arts in Spanish Fork - One of the things they love to do is create shadow boxes. This is a wonderful personalized gift for your loved ones to cherish.
- MountainWorks in Provo - Located next to the climbing gym, this store offers outdoor equipment and most importantly friendly staff that will take time to visit with you about adventures for your ability level.
Treats and Sweets
I have 3 boys and I can attest that they always appreciate a yummy treat.
- For the Sweet in Provo - She has the best Macaroons that come in a beautiful box for gifting. For cookie lovers, I recommend the monster cookies.
- Taste Artisan Chocolate in Provo - Artisan chocolate for the chocolate lover in your life.
- Oakford Gourment in Orem - Specializes in beautiful and delicious grazing tables, boxes, and platters for all your holiday and special event needs. Find her on Instagram @oakfordgourmet.
- Zapplz Candy Shop in American Fork - Handcrafted caramel apples and treats. The apple pie apple is to die for.
- Fillings and Emulsions in Provo - Cake rolls that come in flavors such as Tres Leches and Violet Lemon will knock the socks off your guests.
- Sweet Mariah’s in Eagle Mountain - This mother-daughter duo makes custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and brownies and can be found @sweet_mariahs_custom_cakes on Instagram.
- Cravings Alicia’s Cupcakes in Pleasant Grove - Amazing cupcakes and they have fantastic gluten-free options as well.
Art is something that lasts the ages and can be appreciated for years to come. It sparks memories of the giver and of seasons of life.
- FifteenFibers out of Orem - She specializes in Woven Wall Hangings and is online on Etsy. Check out her beautiful art at @fifteenfibers on Instagram.
- Kristin Van Akin Ransdell does cute metalwork and can be found on Instagram @kristinvanakinransdell
- Shalese Scott-Powell in Mapleton - She does beautiful pyrography, watercolor painting, paint pour art pieces, hand-painted pots, and scratchboard. Commissions welcome. Find her on Facebook
- Adonis Bronze in Alpine - Sculptures, and paintings are available for purchase.
- Rachel Jeanine in North Utah County - Rachel is a silversmith who creates beautiful outdoor-inspired jewelry. On Instagram @Rachjeanine
Gift cards make great stocking stuffers and are perfect for college kids living on their own.
- Tadka Cuisine of India in Payson - They have amazing food and offer catering and a food truck.
- La Casita in Springville - Mexican food and a long time Springville staple.
- Burger Supreme in Provo - Excellent burgers, fries and Utah’s famous fry sauce.
- Art City Coffee and Art City Cafe in Springville - Warming yourself in these cooler temps with hot chocolate, coffee and more. They also showcase pieces of art and other yummy menu items.
- Oteo in Lindon - “Serving traditional Latin American dishes infused with Chef Sam Oteo's unique flavors”
Also, make sure to get your free Explore Utah Valley Savings Passport and unlock discounts at restaurants, hotels and local activities that can only be found in Utah Valley.