West Side Wonders: A Few of Our Fav Shops on Downtown’s West Side

December 05, 2022 Written by Melissa Fields

Sure, much has been said and written about vibrant downtown destinations like Main Street, Edison alley, Regent Street, The Gateway, and City Creek. But if you’re looking for a little off-the-beaten-path, hyperlocal flavor, we recommend venturing into downtown’s personality-rich west side, where the following bars, restaurants and shops are waiting for discovery—and re-discovery.

Rad Hatter
If you’re as in love with the chapeau resurgence as thoroughly as we are, then you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store at Gigi Pip. Dozens beautiful hat styles—designed right here in SLC—occupy this local brand’s chic and minimalist downtown flagship store. On a recent visit, we tried them all – from ranchers, buckets and fedoras to beanies and baseball caps. All are impeccably and ethically made with high-quality materials. Best yet, you can make the hat you choose do double duty by adding a removable hat band from the store’s endless selection, ranging from leather (genuine and vegan), rope and ribbon to fabric and beaded bands. Gigi Pip stocks four sizes in each hat style they carry, and each hat features an adjustable interior band allowing for a fine-tuned fit. Gigi Pip hats are so chic and charming you’re sure to find yourself looking forward to bad hair days. 360 W. 300 South, street level Broadway Park Lofts, 801.203.0903

Between the Covers
Despite dire forecasts of an Amazon-induced demise of the small, independent bookstore, these little purveyors of happiness have thrived, mostly by doubling down on what they do well: supporting the communities they serve. That notion rings loud, proud, and true at Under the Umbrella, with the tagline “queer little bookstore,” which has provided safe refuge, validation and celebration of Salt Lake City’s queer adults and youth since its 2021 opening. The books stocked at Under the Umbrella cover most of what you’d find in a traditional bookstore—current and classic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, self-help, etc. But every book in UtheU is either queer in content or is written by queer authors—or often both. The same goes for the store’s craveable selection of candles, teas, stickers, jewelry, tote bags and clothing—all are made by queer-owned businesses or queer artists and makers. But what has galvanized UtheU as a social center of queer life in Salt Lake City is its robust event schedule. Whether you’re looking for a gay men’s book club or one for lesbians, a fat and queer yoga class, queer speed dating, a queer stitch club or the always-popular drag king story hour, you’ll find it there. 511 W. 200 South, 801.922.0923

Pedal Power
Though it’s not the oldest bike shop in Utah (that honor goes to Gutherie Bicycles), if you’ve lived in Utah for a bit and you ride a bike, then you’re probably familiar with 60-year-old Bingham Cyclery. In 2015, Utah local Angela Wright purchased all four of Bingham’s Utah locations—in Sandy, Sunset, Ogden and downtown Salt Lake City. And then in November 2002, Wright opened Bingham’s first e-bike exclusive store in Park City’s Quarry Village. Though the clientele who frequent the sleek downtown location—located just across the street from Pioneer Park—tend to be mountain bikers, urban commuters and e-bike converts, there you’ll find bikes of all ilks, including road bikes, trikes for both kids and adults and balance bikes for tots. Brands Bingham carries include Specialized, Riese & Müller, Norco, Gazelle, Tern, Aventon and Diamondback. But the approachable mechanics there will service or fix any brand bike brought to them. New to town? Bingham runs group road and mountain bike rides throughout
the spring, summer and fall. And as a woman-owned business, Bingham is a big proponent of getting women and girls out for a pedal but supporting organizations like Little Bellas, Wildflower Outdoor and WomenMTB. 336 W. Broadway, 888.611.2453

Personal Care with a Conscience
Walking into HEXEH Fragrance Studio’s simple and clean space at The Gateway feels liking entering a high-end spa. How wonderful the store smells is, of course, the first impression—naturally clean with notes of earth and citrus may best describe it. Once you take a closer look at the skincare products, linen sprays, candles, diffusers and incense there, HEXEH’s inviting scent makes, well, perfect sense. All the store’s skincare products are vitamin and botanical enriched, vegan, made free from animal testing and do not contain the icky chemicals found in most skincare products, including parabens, sulfates, phthalates or formaldehyde. The scented candles are made of 100 percent soy wax and clean-burning cotton wicks. Not surprising, HEXEH is also attentive to its environmental impact: all products are made in a facility that uses 100 percent renewable energy and packaging is minimal, reusable and/or recyclable. In fact, once you run out of HEXEH’s luxuriant cleansing oil or burn through one of
their fabulous candles, feel free to bring the container back to HEXEH for a refill. Make sure, however, to time your visit accordingly—HEXEH is open only on Saturdays. 95 S. Rio Grande St, The Gateway, 801.660.0905

Where Fabulous Meets Sustainability
If you haven’t visited downtown’s Pierpont Avenue lately, then you’re truly missing out. Several personality-rich, locally owned shops, businesses and nonprofits—including Tailor Cooperative, Atelier, Barbiere Barber Shop, Sweet Needles Tattoo and more—occupy the small commercial spaces within the tidy brick Artspace building there. A beautiful standout is Re-finery, a high-end consignment shop owned by Utah native Adrienne Jarrett. “The fashion industry is such a huge polluter—ranked second worldwide—and so when I opened this shop, I wanted to emphasize how fashion can be sustainable,” Jarrett says. As such, everything within Re-finery is gently used, upcycled or handmade. The vibe in Re-finery, however, feels more like a designer boutique than a used clothing store. Jarrett obviously takes great care in curating and merchandising Re-finery’s inventory, which includes brands like Marni, Frye, Hache, Jill Sander and Levi’s 501s. She travels internationally frequently, and always looks for items for Re-finery
while abroad—the shop currently has a selection of things she found on a recent trip to Portugal. Refinery also carries naturally dyed linens and handspun, plant-dyed yarns that Jarrett makes herself. “I chose to open Re-finery on Pierpont because the building has a long, rich history and I have a long rich history with it,” she quipped. “I worked in the very space my shop is in when I was in college—it was an architectural bookstore then.” 329 Pierpont Ave, 801.953.0393