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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Caty Gainer

My name is Caty and I’m a full-time photographer based in Salt Lake City. I grew up in Southwest Missouri, in a town of about 5,000 people. In my mid-twenties, I packed as much as I could fit inside my car and drove to SLC, where I graduated from the University of Utah in cognitive psychology and met my husband, Connor. After living in London and lots of travel, we now live in Salt Lake City with our two cats, Jenga and Raven. Read more>>

Alex Ferra

I was born in Iran but grew up in Germany till the age of 18. I moved to the US in 2000. I started working for an international entertainment tv network back in 2002. While working there I quickly became the head of the production department and that’s how I got introduced to a lot of Industry people. A few years after I started my first projects and started my own production company in 2006. I worked on music videos, commercials, documentaries, and various tv productions since. Read more>>

Alex & Courtney Barilec

In 2015 Alex was unexpectedly diagnosed with a nut allergy on a routine doctors’ visit. For 22 years of his life, he had never worried about this, but now his reality was different. What began as bad news, turned into a quest for solutions over the next 2 years. He tried many different approaches, and among them all the best solution was taking a hard look in the mirror at the way he was living. Read more>>

Shakira Liz Villanueva

Since little I was so interested in the beauty industry. Always playing with my cousin as stylist, using my sister’s old makeup and stuff like that. Growing up (in High School to be more specific) I spent a lot of hours, daily, watching makeup videos and practicing. After that, been an adult, having responsibilities, 3 jobs, moving to another state, started a relationship with my today husband, a single dad, I had started being a mom in every aspect to his 2 little boys (today my 2 lovely children) was something that kept me away from my passion for a lot of years. Read more>>

Chris Grimm

Black Friday of 2018. I bought some junk beard balm at Walgreens as I was out of town and left mine at home. It was so terrible that I determined right then that I would make my own. So that weekend I did, I brought it to work, showed a couple friends. They were interested in buying some if I made more. I made some more and brought it to work. Other than a couple friends nobody else seemed too interested. Read more>>

Matthew Haddix

Well starting off about 3 years ago, I always was looking for skincare and beauty products that men can use on a daily basis and was having alot of trouble finding them in stores. Especially lotion and creams. After searching and searching, I decided to research companies and pursue my own craft and start to make my own products that catered to men. In the beginning it was very difficult due to alot of men not wanted to interview or talk about their beauty regimine ok a daily basis but after some success I created products that men were asking for and that men were looking for. Read more>>

Melissa Ramirez

I started when I was 13. I saved all my babysitting money and got a cannon rebel from Sam’s club! I was so excited. I remember feeling so cool, the kit came with two lens and a case! I few years later I upgraded to a Nikon D5600 I think. And then again to a Nikon D90. I now have a Nikon 750. I’m pretty sure there was one in between but I can’t remember. I started taking pictures of anything or anyone and everyone. Read more>>

Joan DuKore

I am originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, where I dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. My dad taught me cool things with playing cards and the one card trick he knew. From there, magic became a hobby, but my true love was dance. Unfortunately, my ballet journey was not meant to be. A friend of mine told me that I was a good enough magician to be a professional and that I should change careers. Not only that, she got me my very first gig. From there the rest is history. Read more>>

QUINN SEDAM

Quinn is a local photographer and storm chaser who specializes in capturing quality fine art images of tropical storms and lightning. Quinn uses his extensive knowledge of meteorology and a self-taught style of low light photography, to produce stunning images of electrifying tropical storms. His current project, ‘Storms over Southwest Florida’ is produced over The Gulf of Mexico, bays, lakes, rivers, and the surrounding metro areas of, Pine Island, Cape Coral and Fort Myers. These stunning captures are the results from 10 years of chasing local storms. Read more>>

Aldrin Suson

The taste for fashion is something that I was born with. The love for fashion started at a very young age for me. I was very fascinated by beautiful cities and colorful clothes. I started reading Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines in my early childhood. My fashion sense really catapulted when the actress Terri Hatcher was featured in the front cover for Vanity Fair in October 2006. She looked so glamorous and chic even though she was wearing all white in the cover. Read more>>

Sara Rohrbach

Travel has always been a part of my life. As a child, my father’s academic career took our family around the world. In high school, as an exchange student, I was lucky enough to travel throughout Europe. Once in college at East Carolina University, I initially studied to be a nurse or a teacher. To pay my college expenses, I worked several jobs in hotels and restaurants. Very quickly, I realized my life would take a different direction; I soon changed my major to Hotel & Restaurant Administration. Read more>>

Christina Stewart

I never in a million years thought I would do something like this… When my daughter got engaged, I was in full-on planning mode! I am a list maker and planner at heart, so this was right up my alley. When I found out about wedding rental places, I was excited about this convenient and money saving option. I began reaching out to a couple of the local rental shops and really didn’t get much of a response back. Read more>>

Skyler Malmstrom

The story of mine is pretty cool I would say! For me, it started in 1992. That would make me only about 29 years old and still ready to take on the world! So…I write music for a passion, (SWayneM). I love making music, plain and simple. Haha.
I plan on making it one day, as in my music will support me and my son finically with it. Just watch.! As for the past few years of my life, which have been life changing. I now run my own Lawn Care / Landscaping Business. Read more>>

Shamus Flavin

I started working for my father at the age of fourteen, bar backing at the Hotel/Restaurant our family owned in South Florida called Bahia Cabana. My brother and myself were very fortunate to have that to fall back on since I dropped out of college and my brother did nothing with his degree, I dropped out my junior year since my drinking got out of hand, living in a college town like Tallahassee would do that to you. Read more>>

Alexis Pike

When I was 6 months old, I recovered from meningitis but, wasn’t able to speak very well vocally. My mom presented me with sidewalk chalk and crayons even a chalkboard when I was 1 and taught me how to draw and write. That’s when I got inspired by art. So beyond my years, I’ve always drawn in sketchbooks and painted. Also taken art classes in school to learn more skills. I, also self-taught myself many methods and art materials with art supplies. Read more>>

Juan Regalado

I was born in a small town called Arafo located in Tenerife (Spain). It was at school at the age of 12 that I discovered a passion for drawing. After a few hesitant years, I decided to study graphic design at the Fernando Esteves art school. There, in a more artistic environment, my passion for drawing evolved into a passion for painting. After finishing my studies I started working in a newspaper as a graphic designer, always having art as a hobby. Read more>>

Daniel Gomez

It all began with a move to Oregon. I’d lived in Kansas most of my life and was never really inspired by the landscape but when I moved to Oregon I realized just how much beauty it had to offer. I quickly took to hiking in my new home state and soon received a Nikon camera and lenses from my father-in-law that sent me down a wonderful rabbit hole. I enjoyed bringing the camera along while hiking which quickly morphed into planning the hikes around the pictures I was taking. Now, I shoot the night skies across Oregon, Washington, Utah, and California. Read more>>

Brett Davis

23 Years ago I was a student at Utah Valley State College. A brand new company called the Nutty Guys had set-up a booth in one of the halls at this school and they were selling dried fruits, nuts and seeds. I liked the product and the idea they had created, so I called the owner and asked him if I could sell his products in Salt Lake City. We would split the profit of all the sales that I made and I would be in charge of delivering the products to my customers. Read more>>

Rachael Galipo

My story. I am a jersey girl at heart though my path has taken me all along the west coast. I grew up playing a lot of sports such as ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and ballet. I expressed myself through the clothes I would wear and how I did my hair. Then on my 12th birthday, my grandma gave me my grandpa’s 35mm camera. To this day, I stand at 27 still with that camera in my hand and many more. I found a place in creating art for myself and for others to enjoy or not. Read more>>

Emily Torrence

My husband, Ian Torrence, and I have been life long runners, starting our personal running journeys in middle school and high school. Over the years, we can began to share our knowledge with other runners and got into coaching. In 2017 we started our coaching business, Sundog Running. We named our business after the atmospheric phenomenon, the sundog, which is when light is refracted around the sun, often in pairs. Our mission is to build a community and to offer personalized interactions as runners strive toward their goals, so the sundog to us represents this support and tight knit community. Read more>>

Drea Ducharme

I’m Drea- the main Batch behind Bad Batch Sisters. After having pretty bad PPD I got back into painting and art as a way to reconnect with myself. I’m not exactly sure how I got into Polymer Clay but I was hooked right away. I started Bad Batch Sisters with my two younger sisters as a Polymer Clay Earring business, but I soon discovered other mediums like Resin and Air-Dry Clay. I love that Bad Batch has given me the opportunity to make so many different items like, earrings, candles, suncatchers, clay trinket dishes, and resin dishes. Read more>>

Raiza Giorgi

I was born in Venezuela to my Venezuelan father and American mother. I moved to the States to the Santa Ynez Valley when I was 3 and lived there my entire life until last year, when my husband got an amazing job in Hailey, Idaho. While my family and I are new to the Wood River Valley as residents, my aunt, cousins and late grandmother have lived in Ketchum and Hailey since the 1970s. Some of my favorite memories are spending summers here and winters skiing with my aunt and cousins. Before we moved I started and operated an award-winning newspaper, the Santa Ynez Valley Star. I am a journalist and an entrepreneur. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Read more>>

Tamra Simons

’ve been married to my husband Darren for 30 Years after being set up by my cousin who lived across the street from him. After introducing us we spent the entire night talking and watching the sun come up the next morning. Darren and I just clicked and we married 3 months later. My soulmate. After being married for about a year or so we become foster parents and one of the children we had for a short time the parental rights of Tyler’s biological parents had been taken decision already had been made we adopted our son Tyler. The next best day of my life aside from the day Darren and I eloped. We then decided to move to my hometown of Fillmore. Read more>>

TONYA OLSEN

Some of my earliest memories are of decorating my bedroom when I was seven. My parents moved every three to four years when I was growing up, and my mom encouraged me to make all of the design choices for my room. I was allowed to pick the carpet, paint and furniture. I remember thinking at a young age that I wanted to be an interior designer some day and own my own business. Fast forward 25 years and I decided to go back to school to get my master’s degree in interior design. At the time, my kids were small and there were no local universities that offered interior design courses. Read more>>

Kiysa Gorley

I’ve always loved music since I was born. It was always therapy for me, like journaling i could write how i was feeling and get my story out there. Anyway, I never actually did what it took to pursue that dream until i had my son. I wanted to show not only him, but the people around me to never give up on your dreams and that you could do anything you set your mind to. So I started putting myself out there and meeting other artists that have helped me get to where i am today. Now i perform in Salt Lake and I started an artist development program with Bentley Records. Read more>>

Abudujannah Soud

Kafe Mamai is a fusion of African and Caribbean food based on my interpretation of what I have experienced throughout my love for food , work and evolving with time. I keep learning and growing as the idea is to bring an experience to my customers, a friend of mine and I started Love and Joy in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 2000’s and what we did was flee market on the weekends and gradually graduated to festivals and so forth. Fast forward we went different directions later as he started a restaurant and I opened an eco lodge with a restaurant back home i.e Lamu island ,kenya . Situation changed again and I came back to help run the restaurant in New Mexico. Read more>>

Chris Ward

I started getting into fitness back in 2010 after I graduated High School. I grew up playing soccer so I was always physically active but I went through a deep depression from my junior year of high school that went into post graduation and a lot of my depression was stemmed from lack of self worth based on my physical stature. As a man, I think many of us go through not feeling big or strong enough. So after I began lifting at 18, my goal was to be as strong as possible. I began getting into powerlifting and did very well at it then I had a friend introduce me to more of a bodybuilding type training program which led me to doing 2 Men’s Physique bodybuilding shows in 2016. Read more>>

Ashley Folco

My husband started Good Eye Kid as a product photography company, focused mainly on eCommerce and CPG brands while I was teaching Special Education and helping him on the side. We noticed many clients were bringing Good Eye Kid’s creative assets to their advertising agencies to be used as advertising content. These clients were paying their agencies a finder’s fee, in addition to paying Good Eye Kid for the creative assets. We also noticed that there was a major disconnect in communication between clients’ media buying teams, advertising strategists, and those creating the content (us!). Read more>>

Lisa Barker

I knew from my elementary school days that I loved art. I was blessed to have amazing parents that championed my talents, and many great art instructors that taught me so much through school and later at Utah State University. For me, the creation process brings immense value to my life. While it can be thought of as an escape (to create art), it also is a grounding platform that helps me realize my worth and my role in this life. I am a woman. I am an artist. I am a wife, and I am a mother to two beautiful teenagers, and trust me, these days, I do not take that role lightly. Read more>>

Christine Heninger

I have always been into Health and Wellness. When my girl dog, Sky started having seizures at 5 years old, it was devastating! The meds helped but the side effects were horrendous. I found a local holistic vet and started taking her there. Why wouldn’t I treat my dogs naturally, if I do it myself? It was during these visits that I realized, dogs cannot live on kibble alone and get the nutrients they need, to fight different diseases. We started treating her naturally for the most part, and saw a lot of improvement. A couple years down the road, my husband and I decided to start a holistic pet store. Read more>>

Janna Slye

My name is Janna Slye, and I am a wife, mother, special education director, assistant principal, school counseling intern, and most recently a small business owner. I am also fun-loving, goofy, and a little awkward, with plenty of stories I willingly share about my awkward self! I grew up in a large family, my twin sister and I were the youngest of seven. We were both involved in sports growing up and excelled in track and soccer. I remained active in intramural sports after high school, and in college met my husband Jeff, who played collegiate baseball and other sports. Read more>>

Fernando Gomez

The problem was: finding a place that would be accessible to a large and interested audience. It was felt that property close to Brigham Young University would be ideal, but none was available or was beyond our financial possibilities. After several years of patiently searching, in 2010, a friend called me indicating that a property located across from BYU was on sale. The building had been abandoned for several years. Due to water damage and the lack of maintenance and utilities had made the building useless. Water had destroyed the interior during the winters, the grounds were full of broken trees and weeds. Read more>>

Angie Long

I started LongShots as a way to help me pay for nursing school and as a creative distraction from all the stress because I loved photography. Now, I’m a full time travel nurse and spread my business a little more each place we go ☺️ Definitely not, between self teaching everything from camera settings to editing it’s been anything but smooth. Also trying to get your target audience/building a following. I’m a destination photographer. I absolutely adore small intimate elopements and weddings. Anything and everything couples! I am most proud of being a self taught photographer and growing each and everyday as a photographer. Read more>>

Jared Fisher

Started as a College marketing project in 1992. Grew from bike rentals to 4 bike shops, large touring company and a backcountry hut system in southern Utah yes and no. Had two major thefts in first 15 years – one from external and one internal in the company. The rest of our story can best be told in interview format. 30 year old touring company. Have 100 plus employees operating bike tours around the west usa. Love outdoor adventure and promoting sustainable practices. Read more>>

Garrett Glauser

I started this business after selling my dream car after restoring it, to pursue a bigger dream, my clothing business Attruce. I wanted to share love in anyway I could! Money… like any small business the lack of funds are always a struggle! Also unresponsive people getting back to you, taking you seriously. I am a student at Weber State University, born in Morgan Utah always visiting Ogden for everything made me fall in love with these mountains. I am going into Digital Media Advertising. I love creating graphics, social media posts, videos, photos, as well as painting, drawing, and other artistic mediums. Read more>>

Ron Moyer

Ron Moyer studied Art and Architecture in school. Working in a “mom and pop” hardware store at this time, I developed a hands on to making things. That developed into a l9ng career of finish carpentry. Years of experience in historical homes. Finally, breaking off into doing it all by myself. Approximately 20 years ago, I had a brain bleed and brain surgery…almost died…it was not my time to go yet. Five years ago, I got married. As I was making furniture in my shop, I wondered ,what gift should I give my new wife as a wedding present. …What can a carpenter do? I decided to make 100 wooden hearts to scatter around our wedding ceremony. Read more>>

Harrison Woodard

i got my first job at photo fly as a card runner for the editors and photographers. over the years i slowly gravitated to black and white photography and my love for dark gritty city shots bloomed. id say what got me to where i am is not letting someone tell me no. i had to break barriers trying to get my feet off the ground or even just the slightest recognition. i’m absolutely in love with what i do and my work and the people i get to meet along the way! Read more>>

Anthony Johnson

I purchased my first camera while in high school as a way to share hunting and hiking stories with family and friends. Not long after I started using the camera for camping and climbing trips while in college. Shooting rock climbing media is where I really started to hone my photography skills both in-camera and with editing post-production. At the time I was working in the outdoor industry as a sales rep and this gave me a little bit of a foot in with some outdoor industry brands and allowed me to begin transitioning from being a hobbyist to actually making some income for my photography work. Read more>>

Kayden, Paris and Sienna Yu

This incredible journey began with Kayden and Paris. We started modeling for amazing brands in Utah. Photographers and different brands will reach out to have my little ones modeling for them. My kids love modeling and we have so much fun doing shoots. Currently I have another baby girl so currently my oldest boy Kayden, my middle girl Paris and my baby girl Sienna model for all these fantastic brands. We are so grateful as well to have our dear followers on our Instagram account. We love doing what we do, modeling for amazing brands, representing them and doing collabs as well ! Read more>>

Maggie Erskine

I came to the USA in 2015, with my boys, and many dreams like any immigrant. I am an IT Technical Support Engineer, world traveler, an artist who has created and painted wall arts. I am fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. I started working with influencer content in the beginning of Covid time, saying good morning to all my family and friend on my IG stories. I love to connect with brands and share on IG. On my IG I develop content about shopping tips, travel, arts, pets, lifestyle, home decor, DIY, fashion, and beauty. Read more>>

Meitalia Kusumawati

So I born and raised in Cilacap, Indonesia. After high school I need to move from Cilacap to Jakarta which is Indonesia capital city and I move there for My University. In the last semester, I met a handsome man from United States we met at Social Media, and we start talking for about 3 month, and he decided to come to Indonesia and propose me also that is the first time he ever visit Indonesia. He met My Family, My Friends. He visit there for 2 weeks. After he back from Indonesia couple month later Covid came, so we can’t visit each other for 2 years we only do video call every single day. Read more>>

 

 

Jessica Page

I have been in the hair industry for 20 years. I started hair school in 2002 and have been in it ever since! I have worked in a few salons with the most amazing people. The opportunity presented itself to open my own salon in 2015 and I ran with it, Blondies Co. was born! It’s been a roller coaster of a ride and I’ve loved it. There was a fire in the building in 2019 and I had to shut down Blondies Co. for four months to rebuild the space. Read more>>

Christopher Lisle

My father had a darkroom in our house growing up, I had an idea of what I desired in composition when I first started traveling with a camera at maybe 15? Growing up skiing we were always trying to capture images of our tricks and travels. Definitely interesting growing up through the advent of the consumer digital camera and all the improvements that have been made over the years. As I traveled more and worked on my editing I was able to capture what my vision was for the particular image. I’ve always been attracted to the mundane.Read more>>

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