Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Orem Fitness Center

There are many fitness facilities to choose from in Utah County. Some of these gyms specialize in and emphasize CrossFit, MMA, body building, or martial arts. Today I'd like to feature one that is a pretty standard gym, but at the same time, it offers more activities than any other fitness facility I know of. I'm talking about the Orem City Fitness Center.

The Orem fitness center is a great deal for families for a couple reasons. One is the competitive price. An entire family can have an annual pass for around $320 per year. The other thing I really like about the recreation center is the variety. Their facility offers swimming, basketball, weight lifting, racquetball, a gun range, aerobics, indoor track, treadmills, exercise bikes, and they also offer a variety of classes like martial arts, dance, and even boy scout merit badges.

If you are a hard core fitness enthusiast, there are definitely nicer facilities and gyms that offer a more intense style of training and environment, especially if you are serious about weight training and conditioning. You won't find any professional bodybuilders training at the rec center, but the weight room is adequate for most people. Their basketball courts and swimming pool are the biggest draw for me and my family. The basketball at the rec is pretty good and I regularly play with guys who come from all over the county to play pick up games there.

I've seen other city fitness facilities and community centers that can't hold a candle to what Orem offers. I really like the fact that a family of all ages can all find different activities to do when they go to the rec center.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I think Costco is a pretty cool store. I think it makes sense to buy certain items in bulk and I can usually see the savings, but there are definitely times when I'd be fine with buying just a can of olives as opposed to a 55 gallon drum of them.

Why do so many people like Costco? The answer is easy, free samples! If you play your cards right, you can eat an entire meal by the time you leave the store. If you wear a reversible jacket then you are guaranteed to leave with a full stomach.

A few things I don't care for are how you have to show your membership card when you come in the store. I guess that makes some members feel more important like they are part of an exclusive club. I'm also not a fan of the security receipt check when you leave the building. I think the transaction should be over once you pay the cashier. Despite these minor pet peeves, I still think Costco is a cool store even though it is not the main grocery store we usually shop at.

The danger with Costco is that you may plan on going in for milk and chips, but you end up leaving with a 48" flat screen TV, pool table, and pre-lit Christmas tree because they were on sale. You never know what you might find when you go. There are few other stores where you can buy orange juice, play ground equipment, diamond rings, and a bouquet of flowers all at the same place.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jiffy Lube

Despite being a manly man, I'm not the kind of guy who changes his own oil. Instead I rely on Jiffy Lube to take care of that for me. I know they are a big chain so I can't vouch for all their locations, but I have always had good experiences at their Provo and Orem locations.

The only thing I dislike about going there is that I know there will come a point during the process when I am asked to come back to the computer and verify the services that will be done. This is also known as the "add on" sales attempt. I will be shown my old air filters and will be shown how frequently certain services are recommended. Most of the time I have to make some excuse about how I will take care of that next time and I usually end up feeling like a neglectful car owner or a penny pincher.

I don't usually mind their sales process and have grown to expect it, but yesterday when I was having my oil changed, an enthusiast employee was really excited about their oil upgrades. He told me about a new synthetic oil made by Penzoil that is the only oil that Ferrari recommends for it's cars. I can see how if I owned a Ferrari, this might be relevant, but I'm driving an 11 year old Ford Taurus and the oil upgrade would be an additional $80 and I am used to paying $35 for the entire service. Maybe I looked like Mr. money bags to him. I'll chose to take it as a compliment.

I don't fault Jiffy Lube for making recommendations and offering upgrades, but I sometimes tire of having to say no to all of their add offers each time I get my oil changed. Despite this, I still think they do a good job and will continue to go there for my oil changes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Customer Service

I recently had a couple experiences which reminded me how important customer service is. I don't want to bash any companies on account of the recent poor service their employees offered, so I have decided to keep the names of the businesses anonymous.

Several weeks ago I took my kids to get some ice cream desserts. We ordered 7 sundaes from a fast food value menu and waited over 15 minutes before they brought them out to us. This was a popular fast food chain, not a sit down restaurant. It was not busy at all and there were no customers in front of us either. The teenage workers couldn't have forgotten about us since we were sitting right in front of them waiting. Maybe they just couldn't remember how to pull the lever down on the ice cream machine.

This evening I stopped by a local haircut chain I have been to in the past. The last time I went, the gal who cut my hair did a great job and was very professional. This evening I went to the same place but there were different employees working. There were 4 other people waiting in the lobby. The hair stylists did not greet anyone when they came in or tell us how long the wait was going to be. A couple people who came in after me walked out after being ignored. After waiting quite a while, I got a "hurry up, it's almost time to close" trim that wasn't really cut as requested.

I know people have bad days, stuff happens, and there is a learning curve for new employees so I try not to have a knee jerk reaction or make a big deal when I encounter poor service unless I find it to be a consistent problem with a business.

One thing I really liked about Hollywood Video was how they would always greet customers when they came in the store no matter how busy they were. It's not that I'm a lonely guy and need attention, but being acknowledged when you enter a business assures you that they are competent enough to be aware of  their environment and what is going on around them.

I sometimes have night and day different experiences at the same businesses and it usually boils down to the customer service and attitude of the employees who are helping me. If you are an employee and think you have an insignificant job that doesn't impact people, think again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

David Tolk

David Tolk is a local musician who's music I have admired for years. He is a talented pianist who released his first CD back in 1994. Since that time he has released many other great albums.

I like instrumental and new age music and I really enjoy his uplifting arrangements. I find some "easy listening" artists to be too slow or boring, but this has never been the case with David's music. His music is uplifting, relaxing, and contemplative. I look forward to listening to his Christmas albums during the Holidays.

David regularly plays keyboard for Peter Breinholt at his concerts and puts on several or his own concerts throughout the year. He recently came out with a book of sheet music featuring some of his most popular arrangements. You can find his website at I have attached a sample YouTube clip one of his arrangements below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Runners Corner

Runners Corner is one of the premier stores for runners in Utah. They offer running shoes, trail shoes, all kinds of accessories, and classes. They are the best at what they do.

When I first started dabbling with 5K races about 12 years ago, I was still wearing my high top basketball shoes and didn't know much about running or appropriate apparel. There is obviously more to the sport than having the right shoes, but having the proper equipment makes a big difference in your performance. I've since run two marathons, but I'm still just a poser when it come to running, so I rely on experts to answer my questions.

The thing I like most about Runners Corner is that the owners, managers, and employees are experienced runners and are not only very knowledgeable, but are also passionate about teaching people. Their staff consists of serious runners who know what they are talking about. Hawk Harper is the owner and can boast running a double marathon in 6 hours and 8 minutes! I've been blown away at the customer service they offer and the time they take to help you get the pair of shoes that are right for you.

They recently moved to a new location at 835 South 700 E in Orem just east of Costco. When you drive by, you may see people trying out shoes running in front of the building or on their mini-track located inside the store.

If you are a serious runner, a beginner, or just want to get a new pair of comfortable shoes, then I recommend that you stop by Runners Corner and check them out. They are also a great resource for upcoming races in the area. You can find their website at

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Utah Valley Foot and Ankle

Several years ago I noticed that my feet would hurt whenever I'd play sports. After a while I decided to see a professional about them so I went to Utah Valley Foot and Ankle clinic and saw Dr.Clegg.

Dr. Jared Clegg, DPM is the founder of the Utah Valley Foot and Ankle clinic. He specializes in foot and ankle care and surgery. He also has advanced training for high risk diabetic and geriatric foot care. He is the president of the foot and ankle physicians of Utah Valley.

Dr. Clegg offers a variety of services including care for ingrown toenails, foot pain, bunion, calluses, plantar warts, sprains and fractures. He is also an experienced foot surgeon, although he prefers to use more conservative treatments as opposed to surgery whenever possible.

He has helped me on several occasions after having sprains and other injuries as a result of running a marathon. He also helped me get a pair of customized orthotics which made a big difference.

Your feet do a lot of work and if yours currently aren't doing well, you should get in touch with his office. Dr. Clegg has been practicing in Utah Valley for 12 years now and has offices in both Provo and Payson. You can see his website at Utah Valley Foot & Ankle.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I don't eat out very often, but my wife and I went out this evening. She has been on a mostly vegetarian diet for several months, so we decided to go somewhere that served something light. Neither of us had been to Zupas before so we gave it a shot since their sign said they serve salad, sandwiches, and soup. I was totally impressed.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen pictures of food in commercials or on a menu, but when the food is served in person, it looks nothing like it. This was NOT the case at Zupas. I was astonished at how fresh and perfect looking every piece of food was. We ordered specialty salads and they looked even better than the photo below which is from their online menu.

Not only did the food look amazing, but it was also very fresh and tasted great. I was full after eating but didn't feel stuffed or bloated like when I eat at some fast food places. I was kind of wishing I was still hungry after our meal because they also offer some amazing gourmet desserts. While we were dining in, I noticed that they also offer catering.

What really impressed me in addition to the quality of the food was the price. We ordered two big specialty salads and a sandwich, and they were served with sides of bread and chocolate dipped strawberries, all for $16. We've spent more than that in the past at other restaurants where the portions were not nearly as generous either.

I was pleasantly surprised with my first time visit to Zupas. The appearance, quality, and value of the food was great. It's always nice when a restaurant exceeds your expectations. I will definitely be back again to try out other items on their menu. If you are looking for a place that serves fresh delicious food, then I highly recommend them.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gimme Creative

When Facebook first came out, I thought it was just a way to keep track of friends, but with time, social media has also proven to be a powerful business tool. I'm sure you have seen many businesses prompting you to like them or referring you to their Facebook page. Having a decent Facebook page is usually not a problem for big companies with popular products like Pepsi Max, but it can be a challenge for smaller companies.

Many people with small businesses want to have a presence on Facebook, but are too embarrassed about their primitive page to invite friends to like their business. This is where Gimme Creative comes into play. They design custom logos and help you create a professional looking Facebook business page.

Gimme Creative was founded by Mark Long, Michael Janda, and Mike Burns. These three entrepreneurs recognized the trends in social media and created a company that helps people drive more traffic to their businesses. Their headquarters is located in American Fork, Utah.

Gimme Creative not only does graphic design, but they also offer education about social media technologies and what practices are most effective. They help you build a following and then offer information about how to cultivate beneficial client relationships once someone "likes" your business.

With over 500 million people on Facebook, it makes sense to get the free advertising for your business by having a business page. If you are in this category, then you should check out Gimme Creative and see how they can help you grow your business.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Master Wohlwend's Marital Arts

Back in the year 2000, one of my boys expressed interest in taking karate lessons. After looking around for martial arts studios, we enrolled him at Master Wohlend's Martial Arts in Orem. This studio specializes in Tai Kwon Do and Hapkido. Since that time, two of my boys have earned black belts, and I have two younger boys currently studying at this studio as well.

James Wohlwend originally started studying Kung Fu 30 years ago. Today he is a 7th degree black belt with the American Song Moo Kwan Association . His wife Teresa, who is also an experienced instructor at the studio, is a 5th degree black belt.

I appreciate the fact that his studio is not a belt mill. I've heard of some studios where kids claim to have earned a black belt in under a year. I like how Master Wohlwend emphasizes discipline, respect, and hard work. Not only do they teach self defense, but I've seen how their instruction can help kids improve their focus, self confidence, and physical conditioning.

They adapt instruction to their student's needs. Their students range from small children and kids with special needs to adults with prior martial arts experience. I've been impressed with Master Wohlwend's Martial Arts and highly recommend it.

If you are looking for a great place to learn a martial art, or if you just want to learn self defense, then go check out their studio.You can visit there website at

Monday, June 27, 2011


I decided to start Utah County Business Reviews because I have lived in the area for over 40 years and would like to bring attention to the businesses that impress me. I will be highlighting a variety of successful businesses owners and will feature a different business each week.