Our Community Part 4 | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

April 29, 2020 News » Cover Story

Our Community Part 4 

Local stories of adaptability and compassion to lift your cooped-up spirits.

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Todd and Kristin Gardiner - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Todd and Kristin Gardiner

It's been seven strange weeks since SXSW and the NBA knocked down the first dominoes in a long line of industry closures that exposed the seriousness of this global pandemic. Tom Hanks catching the 'Rona was a big deal, but he was way down under—it was Australia's problem, right? I firmly believe that Rudy Gobert helped wake us up by catching the virus when he did. The NBA was the clear catalyst in closing businesses early in the name of public health. Without brand names like Gobert and the NBA taking it seriously when they did—who knows how many more precious days would have been squandered. Since then, few industries have been spared the wrath of the virus. Except for the banks and major corporations—those two always win.

By now many of you have heard of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If not, here's the Spark Notes version: The CARES Act provided the extra $600 per week in federal aid to the good folks who suddenly became unemployed. The stimulus check that you may or may not have received yet came from the CARES Act as did the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses. There's where the banks and the monopoly men win.

For the past six issues City Weekly featured musicians, poets, artists, theaters, bars, restaurants, concert halls and others in our pages, online and on our social media channels. Many of these community members were forgotten by the CARES Act. We cannot forget about them. Our community culture is undoubtedly at risk. If you are able, please support these folks today and in the future. And as always.

—Pete Saltas

Todd and Kristin Gardiner
Taqueria 27

What's been yourbiggest challenge?
Trying to make decisions for our business with little to no information, or with the constantly changing information that contradicts what we were told the day before.

Will your business model change?
This has forced us to look at operations and adapt to what we feel will be the new normal.

What are your bestsellers?
Our Taco of the Day and the T27 margarita.

What are you looking forward to when social distancing ends?
Drinking a margarita without having to plot and plan three different survival plans, and eat tacos!

Are you offering any specials?
Taqueria 27 locations in Foothill, Holladay, downtown, Fashion Place and Lehi have re-opened for takeout, curbside and delivery. Check our website and social media posts for hours and days.

Order via Taqueria27.com, our app (search for Taqueria 27 on the app store), Facebook or call 385-259-0712. Delivery is available through the online app.

Stay tuned for inside dining. Until then, stay safe and eat tacos!

Five locations: Foothill, Holladay, downtown SLC, Fashion PLace and Lehi | taqueria27.com

Missing your bookstore? - Enjoy a private shopping experience at  Marissa’s Books in  the new ,  more spacious Millcreek location - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Missing your bookstore?Enjoy a private shopping experience at Marissa’s Books in the new , more spacious Millcreek location

Cindy Dumas
Marissa's Books

What's been your biggest challenge?
After six years of growing my bookstore business in Murray, we had to move because another business wanted our space. While preparing to move, we lost our holiday sales, and at the time, I was in the middle of launching our website (marissasbooks.com).

Previously, I bought a large warehouse in Salt Lake City to house my online product, and there was still much to do to organize the warehouse and make the site fun and unique. But then my attention and that of the entire staff had to be diverted to make this sudden move. We stopped what were doing on the website and spent the next four months renovating the old Firestone Tire Store in Millcreek for our new bookstore location and then making that move.

Our Jan. 25 grand opening was a hit, and business was booming. Old friends from the Murray community and new friends from Millcreek and Salt Lake showed up. They were telling friends and word was spreading that "you should go see and shop at Marissa's."

Exactly two months after the grand opening we had to close the doors for social distancing. The most difficult obstacle for us has been losing the stores' momentum and buzz right after our grand opening. Being closed for nearly four months for the move, then opening for two months and then closing again after gaining traction has taken a financial toll.

Will your business model change?
We will definitely continue to sell online, but we hope to reopen the bookstore and get back to business as usual. We were able to design the sections in this much-larger location, which gives us roomy aisles, six themed rooms and large sitting areas. We hope this will provide the privacy our customers need as we will all most likely practice social distancing even after the #stayhomestaysafe directive is lifted.

What are your bestsellers?
Bestsellers from our website are general fiction novels, arts, crafts and cooking, young-adult fiction box sets, kids activity books and tarot cards—who knew? Bestsellers from bookstore requests have been self-help, philosophy and children's books.

What are you looking forward to when social distancing ends?
Just getting back to business as usual. Getting reacquainted with the customers we know as well as the ones we had just met. You are our friends, and we miss you!

Anything you wish to share with the public?
The store: Currently, If you'd like to shop the bookstore, we are accepting appointments for your own private half-hour or one-hour shopping experience. The store is large enough to host six shoppers per hour, and the space is designed around the new, used and vintage book collections with large sitting areas to give a comfortable social distancing space. Plastic gloves, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes are available for customer use. The eclectic decor makes this a truly fun and unique shopping experience. You can call us to reserve a day and time. And on top of it all: A 15% discount will be given on your entire purchase.

The website: We've decided to keep our curbside pickup option. And since the Marissa's Online is still in its growing and changing phase, please watch as the site matures to match her sister, Marissa's Books & Gifts. Currently (just like the store), the site has fabulous deals. Our warehouse is very close, which means we can offer superfast shipping or, in some cases, same-day pickup at the store.

801.262.2873 | 3302 S. 900, Millcreek | marissasbooks.com

Alpha Coffee owners Carl & Lori Churchill - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Alpha Coffee owners Carl & Lori Churchill

Carl Churchill
Chief Coffee Officer
Alpha Coffee

What's been your biggest challenge?
We committed to not laying anyone off right at the start of this. Balancing our reduced revenues with keeping people on payroll has been a challenge, but we've been able to do it through a combination of customer loyalty and our team members being selfless to support each other.

Will your business model change?
It's our belief that adversity makes us stronger, and this has been the silver lining for us. We've grown closer as a team, and we'll continue to communicate to the team like we've done during this crisis and we'll probably do it via Zoom. We'll also continue to be conservative to be able to absorb financial setbacks. Finally, we anticipate online ordering and pickup options being a bigger part of our business going forward.

What are your bestsellers?
It's a tie between our Viking and Amazonian specialty drinks. The Viking is a savory breve latte with extra espresso, butter, organic honey and sea salt. The Amazonian is a vegan latte with oak milk, espresso, cinnamon and high-end almond simple syrup.

What are you looking forward to when social distancing ends?
From a business perspective, we can't wait to welcome our customers back and see Alpha full and buzzing with energy. On a personal level, [my wife] Lori and I can't wait to get outside mountain biking, rock climbing and SUPing with friends again. And we look forward to the day where we can shake hands and give hugs.

Anything you wish to share with the public?
Support local small businesses! You get better quality and keep the money circulating within our community to keep our local economy strong. We have always made it a part of our mission to carry items from local businesses and to source from local businesses wherever we can. So when you buy from us, not only are you helping a local, family-owned and veteran-owned business, you are also supporting our whole supply chain of other local businesses.

How are you passing the time?
Honestly, we've been working so hard to keep the doors open and our team paid that we do not have a lot of free time. We have been working out remotely via Zoom with our awesome local gym, 212 Fitness, and getting a lot of reading done in the evening. But this has been a busy time.

What are you working on now?
We are deep into a landscaping project to continue to xeriscape our yard and build a deck to watch the sunsets.

What's a takeaway from this?
Life is too short to drink bad coffee! Seriously, enjoy every day, choose to enjoy the little things, quality over quantity, and be a good human. Oh, and don't hoard toilet paper, you covidiots!

What day is it?
It's a beautiful spring day, and we are enjoying a great cup of coffee and some delicious breakfast burritos.

Your parting shot?
Let's keep perspective. We've been married for more than 30 years and been through multiple combat deployments as a family, so things could be worse.Someone could be shooting at you or someone you love right now.

Every order placed sends a cup of coffee to deployed troops. Thank you for your support of the Alpha Coffee mission!

7260 Racquet Club Drive | Cottonwood Heights | 385.449.0580 |alpha.coffee

Winslow Young, Young Automotive - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Winslow Young, Young Automotive

Winslow Young
Marketing Director
Young Automotive

What's been your biggest challenge?
The biggest obstacle has been shifting to at home service and delivery. We've been talking about offering vehicle service for a few years, but this has been a good catalyst to move forward with it. And we are seeing some great success.

Will your business model change?
We believe we will continue to see increased at home sales and service to serve our customers. We think it's a great convenience and has been an interesting shift for us.

What are your bestsellers?
That truly depends on the department and store. But definitely regular vehicle maintenance is a mainstay and always needed. On the vehicle side, over the past couple years, we've seen a strong shift away from customers purchasing sedans and moving into the crossover SUVs. They have become incredibly popular in our market.

What are you looking forward to when social distancing ends?
Going into this crisis we were fortunate to be in a very good position financially and even postioned in our market. So we feel confident that we will be coming out of this stronger than we were before. We look forward to serving our customers and community, and to continue growing our business and adding more stores to the Young Automotive family.

Are you offering any specials?
At this time, we're increasing our efforts with Young Caring for Our Young Foundation and raising food for local food banks in need. Last week's Pantry Parades raised more than 22,000 pounds of food. And we're very proud of that. We also are working to collect personal protective equipment (PPE) for our medical heroes to keep them safe. We're collecting those at each of our locations and working with IHC's supplies director to deliver where it's needed.

How are you passing the time?
I've been trying to do at home workouts with my partner, lots of dog walks and some video games. My partner and I have also been delivering treats and gifts on front porches of loved ones, grandmas and friends.

What are you working on now?
I'm working to stay somewhat in shape while in quarantine, lol!

What's a takeaway from this?
Not to take our friends and family interactions for granted.

What day is it?

Your parting shot?
I think the best way to get through this yourself is to reach out and find ways to help others.

Oz Marketing

Jeff Miller, Mark Miller Subaru - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Jeff Miller, Mark Miller Subaru

Jeff Miller
Owner/General Manager
Mark Miller Subaru

What's been your biggest challenge?
Trying to access all the cleaning supplies required to keep our employees and customers safe. We've kept all our employees on staff, so we have plenty of people around to clean and disinfect.

Will your business model change?
Fortunately, we were relatively prepared for this as we were already set up for online retailing of vehicles. We've been picking up and dropping off vehicles for over a year. I believe more people will continue to use our pickup/drop-off service and online shopping after this pandemic is over.

What are your bestsellers?
Outbacks and Crosstreks

What are you looking forward to when social distancing ends?
Having more traffic. The fun part of this business is the people we get to meet, and right now, there are a lot fewer around.

Are you offering any specials?
We are offering free pickup and drop off for any customers within 25 miles of our stores for any service need. This includes all makes and models that we can service in our shops.

How are you passing the time?
We have been playing with the kids and watching a lot of Netflix. About halfway through Ozark right now.

What are you working on now?
Training plans and processes so that we are ready when the economy comes back with a boom.

What's a takeaway from this?
Be prepared. You can't fully plan for things like this but make sure you are always exploring new ways to make your company more nimble if it does happen.

What day is it?
Wednesday. I'm at work every day so that is an easy one.

Your parting shot?
The SBA program has and will help a lot of companies, but the government needs to make it more accessible to the smaller small businesses. I applaud them for adding more money but the communication between the SBA, the banks and the businesses has been awful.


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