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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.

Carolina Calbimonte

My name is Carolina Calbimonte, I was born and raised in a beautiful city in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I came from a big loving family of ten. When I was 20 years old, I met my husband Carlos Calbimonte and dated him for two years before moving to Utah to marry him in December 2012. My first goal, like many immigrants, was to learn the language and the culture so that one day I may find a good job and start my new life in Utah. Read more>>

Chris Tovar

I have started and failed multiple businesses since I was 18 years old. I have also had various jobs before finally finding a business I love, and that has become successful and has tons of potential. ONYX RENTALS has been steadily growing and will dominate the Utah Market in Luxury and Exotic Rentals and it is the first and only exotic rental company in the state. One thing I learned is that you need to continue to fail, until you finally don’t. I started off with a single car just under 1 year ago. With a fleet of 9, valued at over $800k, it consists of a Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche, and others! Read more>>

Madison Brown

Back in 2020, I couldn’t find a job in the wake up the COVID-19 outbreak. I stumbled upon Upwork and got my first gig as a Virtual Assistant. Soon after, I continued to get clients to manage their social media accounts, and began creating content for them. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I LOVE creating beautiful content for business owners and brands, and I wanted to take it a step further. In 2021, I decided to start my product photography business and have loved every second of it.  Read more>>

Jim Seamons

Most of what I do got started with wanting to grow a Giant Pumpkin. I had a friend in the community that was growing and competing with other individuals at his work who helped get me get motivated to grow. I learned about the genetics that play a major role in growth of a pumpkin. You grow one plant per pumpkin, I have room to grow so I tried growing several. One of my first successful years I grew several giants ranging 400 pounds to 1,000 pounds. Read more>>

Emma Hoskins

In an odd way, Covid was a blessing for me. As a consultant I was traveling to client site Monday through Thursday and working from an office Friday’s. A huge chunk of my time was going to work and/or traveling to work and the grind was really beginning to wear on me. In summer 2020, I saw a group of people I knew from college rent an Airbnb for a month to work remote outside of Glacier National Park and I was so jealous. Read more>>

Celeste Huss

I got started in the real estate industry back in 2003 when I started as a mortgage loan officer at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in the Denver area. I worked with some great people and learned a lot about the mortgage industry and process. 
 My husband and I also were involved in fixing and flipping distressed properties as well when we lived in Denver. We loved working together and seeing a dilapidated home move through the improvement stages. Read more>>

Jody Moore

I graduated from Utah State University in Communications and worked in corporate for about 15 years doing all sorts of things. By the end of my career I worked as a leadership coach for the University of Phoenix and learned the power of coaching. I loved using it to coach leaders to be more effective in the workplace and so after learning corporate I went through the Life Coach School’s coach certification program in May 2018 and it was life changing for me personally because of the application I suddenly found to my personal life. Read more>>

Alia Dye

Hi! My name is Alia, aka The Pleasure Pollinator (@thepleasurepollinator on Instagram). I’m super passionate about embodied expression, sensuality, speaking and reaching for all our desires, and living a life FULL of pleasure. My journey of becoming The Pleasure Pollinator started as young as I can remember! I remember saying as a young girl, before I even knew what these words meant, that I wanted to become a “sex therapist.” In high school and college, I dove into the study of Psychology; first, to understand myself better and second, to understand others better. Read more>>

Andrew Ekmark

My personal story comes from a background and raising valuing faith, education, sports, and family. I played basketball in high school and went on to play Basketball and Lacrosse at Stanford University where I graduated in 3 years with my engineering degree. After working at the Boston Consulting Group, I wanted more from life and started a few customer-centric businesses. From attempting to tackle affordable housing to helping people save predominantly low- and middle-class Americans for retirement, my fiancée and I have had more fun than we have ever had. Read more>>

Dallin Spriggs

My Solar journey started in 2018 going door to door in southern California. Making so much sense in California I was excited to bring it back to Utah and help homeowners become more self-sufficient. I got a job as a solar installer in St. George and really enjoyed the install process and how the panels look on the roof. Eventually I was ready to do my own thing and start apprenticing to get my electrical license. After searching for an electrician, the planets aligned and everything fell perfectly in place. I met Travis Stull (our master electrician) at Chuckwalla rock climbing. From there Zion got licensed first part of 2020 as General contractors and master electrician. Read more>>

Jesus Pina

I started this journey back in 2015 after my wife had lost her job and I too lost my job shortly after. As you can imagine this situation wreak havoc in our financial lives because after bringing home 6 figures a year and living according to our income, in a matter of 4 months our six figures income became a 0 figure income. That’s when we realized that we lacked financial education and it was important for us to acquire it so that we would not be in this situation ever again. Read more>>

Brittney Keller

So I was in college and struggling honestly. I had completely lost interest in what I was going to school for in the first place. I decided to take a break and explore other options. I had always had fun experimenting with my own hair, doing different colors and styles etc. Plus, both of my grandmothers were hairstylists and all my life they’d talk about how wonderful their careers were and the relationships they had cultivated with their clients. Being a creative and someone who likes talking with people and hearing their stories this all appealed to me. So I enrolled in Paul Mitchell Salt Lake City and the rest is history. Read more>>

HVXLII

I’ve always been a performer at heart and when I was little I would put on “shows” for my family in their living rooms and would have my mom hang up our Christmas lights around the room so I felt like I was on a stage surrounded by fancy colored lights of a real stage…which is like…so cheesy looking back, but also like cute and fun. Eventually, when the glamor of that wore off I joined the Children’s Dance Theatre, now Tanner Dance, up at the University of Utah which gave me my first real experience as a performer on a big stage (hi Capitol Theater, I miss you I’m so sorry that other downtown theater did you like that, you deserve better babe). Read more>>

Kelsey Olsen

I battled with addiction for over 13 years, It all started in high school and college, the parties and wanting to just fit in and be “the life of the party”. I went through ups and downs with it all the way until it was too much anymore and then sought out professional help in the fall of 2018 (10/29/18; my sobriety date). I went through a rehab/detox hospital and then attended IOP extensively for 8 weeks thereafter. I am incredibly grateful for my recovery journey and sobriety otherwise I would not be where I am today and who I am today. Read more>>

Mackenzie Johnson

In May 2021 I decided to quit work as a CPA, work I had been doing for the past 8+ years. While accounting made ends meet and was good to me, it certainly wasn’t something I was passionate about. I intended to be a full-time mom after quitting, but once I quit work and had a little room to breathe my creative mind finally had a chance to turn on. A few months after quitting I felt like I had an aha moment while making almond butter in my kitchen. Read more>>

Krista Terranova

I learned to sew when I was a pre-teen, mainly learning to quilt with my grandma, and made a few clothing items here and there through my early highschool years. When I was a junior in highschool, I became more and more interested in fashion design, and was quickly drawn to the wedding industry. I had a couple friends who also showed interest in the industry and we would chat and fantasize about me being a world-wide designer, the next Vera Wang, and they would be the amazing wedding planners, photographers along side me. Read more>>

Marc Toso

I have always been interested in photographing things which cannot be seen. I think of a photo as an idea more than an image. In my “day job” I work as a microscopist, photographing structures hidden and too small for the human eye to see unaided. In my photography career I am interested in the hidden vastness of the universe. Around 2010 with the advent of affordable DSLRs I realized photographing the universe had become quite accessible. I began scouring Utah for dark sites, locations hidden from the blankets of electric light pollution with which we are covering the planet. Read more>>

Christopher Forbes

I am from Miami, FL. Raised in Liberty City which is a very poor and crime filled project home area of Miami. My Father is from the Bahamas. My Mother is from Miami. My Father was a Caribbean Chef who did construction on the side in order to pay the bills. He taught me everything I know now and since the age of 13. I remember scaling fish, cleaning them and grilling them over fire pits at a very early age. Read more>>

Bobbie Ikegami

This story is two-fold ( I volunteer for the Wild Heart Sanctuary in Park City and work for a non-profit that provides resources for traditional elders on the Navajo Reservation. I have always had a deep reverence for Indigenous people/horses and the teachings and wisdom they hold. The more I learned about the injustice and unspeakable treatment they both have endured for the last 200 years made me want to do something….anything to help heal the wounds caused by colonialism, ignorance and greed. Read more>>

Heather DeWitt

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to do hair. I love the creativity of it. I had always dreamed/thought about opening my own salon. When we started the build out of the salon I was eight months pregnant with twin boys. I was put on bedrest by my doctor since I stood all day they were worried that I would go into early labor. So with the help of my husband my father and my brother they watched over the transformation of an empty shell into a salon. Read more>>

Cathy King

My “Canines With a Cause” story began with years working in animal recue, time spent in animal shelters looking in the eyes of dogs I knew I couldn’t save. Working in animal rescue is eye opening, so many people abandoning their four-legged companions, even when they grow old and have spent their short lives giving unconditional love to their people partners. Stories from people who adopted these dogs and found out what they had to offer; a friend for a lonely child, home bound due to illness, comfort for a widow missing her husband, a reason to leave the house, get out and get back to life, and a partner for Veteran suffering from the horrors of war. Read more>>

Jocelyn Vallecalle

I started doing makeup 10 years ago at a local makeup counter. I have been doing makeup ever since & now I’m freelancing full time. It has absolutely not been a smooth road. Working retail for so long, you get treated like you’re less than everyone else. The hours are hard & inconsistent. But with the bad came the good. I got to do makeup on every skin tone imaginable. In a state that lacks diversity, that is very valuable experience. I also learned a lot about customer service that has served me well in my freelance business. Read more>>

Jenni Thompson

I am a mom of 3 kids and 7 dogs, I was looking for something more. I got certified in yoga, barre, Pilates and kettlebells. I first started connecting with my artistic ability again thru modeling, it became My creative outlet as well as a way to cope with and help heal body dysmorphia, that’s caused or contributed my anorexia. In modeling I found Friends with common interests and passion for creative outlets. Read more>>

Nicolle Pando

My story starts 6 years ago when I told my parents I want to be successful in a different country. They were scared to let me go so young but they support me on everything. I got here when I was 17 with a lot of goals in my mind but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy so I had to be positive every single day. Years pass through and life was getting better and better with some really hard trials that help me become the person that I’m right now. Read more>>

Michelle and Niko Griggs

Niko and I (Michelle) grew up a block away from each other in American Fork, Utah. Our families had a great relationship and became friends before we did. Niko’s Dad sold cars, and my parents bought several for my big family. My brother was friends with Niko’s sister, and I was best friends with Niko’s younger brother too. But one day, after years of kind of knowing each other, we connected at the local gym and started dating in 2015. Our families meshed fast, and I moved in shortly after. We got married in 2017 in the backyard of our first house together. Read more>>

Nadine Nicolayeff

OUR SHOP Serendipity Boutique Consignment Clothing offers a wide variety of clothing for all occasions in styles ranging from casual to formal and costume. We also feature vintage clothing and a great selection of 1980s and 1990s fashions! We offer clothing for men and women of all ages, in size from XS to 3X. Our staff loves to play dress up and can help you put together your look for a costume party or any other event! We are a great place to find fun and unique pieces that no one else will have. Read more>>

Marbella Flores

My journey started 4 years ago . I graduated from Taylor Andrews academy in 2019 . I was the only Hispanic girl in my class , it was really hard for me to choose this career because of the language barrier but I never gave up ,I study a lot and I always made sure to give my best . After I finish hair school I started doing hair from my house for a few months later I start working at a salon here in town and I stay there for 2 years. Now I started at a new place downtown Saint George. Read more>>

Leo Cuesta

From bio in our website: When Leo left Colombia in 2010 and moved back home to the Philippines to set up Uncharted there, he was confident that he would establish the best adventure travel company in the country. What he didn’t expect was the disappointment of numerous happy customers by the fact that his company only offered travel services in the Philippines – if only Uncharted could take them around other countries as well! So in 2015 Leo moved to the United States and set up Uncharted Earth to take people to the other little-known yet wondrous places on this planet. Read more>>

Emmaus Ferdinand

Emmaus Ferdinand is an entrepreneur with proven success who has become a mentor to thousands and he doesn’t take that responsibility lightly. His life’s mission is to inspire people through his leadership, his voice and his actions, all powered by his faith in God. Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in an underprivileged area, Emmaus understands what it is like to lack some of life’s basic necessities. His family is first generation American and Emmaus grew up watching his mom work extremely hard to maintain their humble living conditions. Read more>>

Cassie Kay Turgeon

I was always artistic and it was truly the only thing I ever enjoyed in high school. My creative journey started due to loss. I started painting when I lost my grandma and a little later I lost my first baby. Then a year later I was diagnosed with Cancer. I lost two more babies. Then I lost my grandpa, and cousin. Throughout the struggles my therapy was always my art. I find peace and harmony in creating. Finally in 2021 I was blessed with my rainbow baby and have continued to flourish and grow my career as an artist. Read more>>

Poison Grace

The path to get to where I am today has been extremely difficult. It was not always sunshine and rainbows. My journey to drag starts with almost dying. I grew up very religious as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ( or Mormon). After serving a full two year mission in Poland, I basically had to come out for a second time. I had come out before my mission, and afterwards had to tell my parents that I was now dating men. Read more>>

Kyler Orton

I’ve always been into photography. I feel like these days everyone is into photography. Everyone’s got a camera. But how many people have drones? It’s been an investment since day one. Whether it be for money or whether it be for fun, I always love taking the drones out and snapping some videos and pictures. Getting a view on a different perspective is always cool to see. I’ve worked with realtors, musicians, construction company’s, or even just your occasional rich guy with a Lamborghini all within the last year or so. I’m excited to see what else I can do with this business. Read more>>

Lauren Lyda

There has to be a better way. That is what owners Jake Merrill and Renn Lamm thought when they founded Infinity Pools back in 2014. Both owners had been in the pool industry for several years and were frustrated with the lack of schedule and attention to detail that they had experienced working with and for other pool companies. Jake and Renn started in a small office in Meridian, Idaho, and have quickly grown Infinity Pools to be a sought-after brand by discerning consumers, builders, and commercial contractors. Read more>>

Michelle Hauck

I have always loved to travel, I can’t wait to go on vacation. All of my co-workers,family, and friends are always asking me the best place to stay, or if I could find them a great deal on airfare so I thought hey why don’t I blog/post about my travels. So that started Travelingshells. I came up with the name as I love to travel, I love seashells, and some of my family members call me Shell. I started just a year or two before covid, and when covid hit the traveling stopped as we all know. Read more>>

Preston Brown

Always have been fascinated with cameras in general. I truly got my start from personal training. I was making my own content and created a new outlet of opportunity there. Once I made the decision to drop personal training to be more present for my children, the cameras kinda just took over. If anything is to smooth you haven’t pushed hard enough. The hardships are character builders and necessary to push through to your next level. Read more>>

Brian Kelm

I was born in solid, idyllic middle class St. Paul, MN, on the border of St. Paul/Mpls, off the Mississippi River. Despite the flatlands, ever since I can remember, I had a fascination with mountains. When it was time to do a book report I always gravitated toward Switzerland because of the Swiss Alps. I knew that after high school I needed to be in the mountains and Colorado was the logical choice. At a college fair in Minneapolis, I gathered Colorado college pamphlets and just as I was leaving, saw a booth for the University of Utah with posters of Alta and Snowbird in the background. It was far cheaper than Colorado and half the distance to killer skiing. The rest is history. Read more>>

Clotele

Of course! Hey, I’m Clotele. I’ll try to keep my story brief, but it’s a journey! My life was interrupted by two car accidents in 2013. Both left me with a ton of injuries and medical issues. I had to drop out of acting/modeling and school. The injuries and medications masked what was truly going on as well, and it took me years of misdiagnosis to find the cause of my problems. I got diagnosed with depression, then anxiety, insomnia, bipolar, and many other things: none of which gave a good reason for my constant migraines, memory lapses, bad executive functioning, mood swings, nausea, balance/dizziness issues, and total personality changes- all of which were getting worse. Read more>>

Janalee Sorenson

I was a manager at Jiffy lube and had that job since I was in high school. When the pandemic hit, I wanted to do something different; I was striving for more. I always loved coloring hair; I used to color my own when I was a teenager from lightening my hair, going dark, and even adding fun colors to it. I would also let my friends or friend’s mom cut my hair because I had bad past experiences with previous salons. I also enjoyed doing makeup since I was young as well I started doing my own makeup when I was about 12 years old. With makeup, I feel I progressed quickly with techniques like winged eyeliner and blending eyeshadow. Read more>>

Chandlar Glassett

I was always drawn towards design growing up. From decorating for the holidays with my mom to creating homes for my dolls, I loved being able to set a mood with my surroundings. I decided at a pretty young age that Interiors was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I took a few classes in high school and then went straight to the Art Institute after graduation. I spent 3 years completing my Bachelor’s degree there. The first year was tough. I didn’t know if I would be a “good enough” designer. Luckily, I pushed through and found my rhythm and finished with a strong portfolio. Read more>>

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