I have some important news to share.
A very famous chain coffee shop is opening in Ogden soon. It’s in a prime location near a major intersection. And it may take business away from a shop that’s dear to my heart. So I’m on a soapbox. Please, bear with me for a few minutes and keep reading. It will pay off, I swear.
Since I started writing for Indie Ogden, I’ve been involved in a few conversations about supporting local businesses, and why it’s important. Certain themes seem to come up time and again:
- It’s becoming a nouveau trend (Read; all the so-called hipsters are doing it.)
- It’s greener than shopping chains
- Money spent at local businesses stays in the local economy
All the above is truth. There is a growing awareness about supporting local merchants. The green, the community-minded, the purists are becoming trendsetters for greater society. And the financial side to supporting local is a no-brainer, but if you need proof, there are all kinds of stats and studies to back it up. The Buy Local First Utah site references a study that shows for every dollar spent in a locally owned business, three times more of that dollar stays in our economy than would be the case with a national retailer. Excellent reasons to buy local. But I must confess…
I don’t support local businesses because I want to be cool. I don’t do it because it’s environmentally friendly. I don’t even shop and eat local because the money I spend stays in the economy. Sure, those are all greater benefits I’m happy to contribute to. But my reasons for shopping local are a little more selfish. I just really, really love local products. And coming in at a close second is the way I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be the moment I step through a local shop’s door.
Case in point: Salt Rock Coffee on 12th Street.
A coffee-lover needs only to stroll in and take one sip before the passion in Salt Rock’s products is obvious. Owners Kyle and Holly Hill spent vacation time in Italy learning barista skills, and it paid off. Their Lavazza coffee is hands down the best in town, and if you know me at all, you know I do not say that lightly.
Plus- when I’m at Salt Rock, enjoying a warm (seriously life-changing) Chai and typing away at my keyboard, I love that every single person that comes through the door is greeted as if he were family. Holly and Kyle are always willing to lend an open ear or even give out hugs. It isn’t just a business. It is home.
In hopes of getting locals into their shop before a major chain opens just around the corner, Kyle and Holly are pulling out all the stops. With the help of a contractor friend and a couple generous volunteers, Salt Rock Coffee has renovated their dining area and doubled the space.
“If we can get more locals to come in and give us a try before that other place opens, we know we can win them over with our coffee,” Holly said.
Salt Rock will also be offering new specials, punch cards for free items, and special offers for patrons who sign up for email. And, I probably should remind you that Salt Rock and Genesis Project host a hilarious comedy improv show every Friday night for just five bucks.
Do yourself a favor. Before you head over to the chain, give the locals a try.
No, they don’t have a drive-thru and you won’t be able to impress your friends by ordering in Italian. (Well, unless you really want to.) But you’ll get genuinely friendly service and exceptional coffee, and a general feeling of community that helps give O-town a good name.
*Check out Indie Ogden’s guide to local coffee here- http://indieogdenutah.com/2012/06/indie-ogdens-guide-to-coffee/
Interview with Holly Hill, Salt Rock Coffee Owner/Operator
What made you decide to renovate?
When we moved into this space, this was always our plan. The fact that a major chain coffee shop is moving in up the street just expedited that a little.
What specific renovations have been done?
We knocked out a wall and basically doubled our space. We rewired all the electrical at the front of the dining area and added LED lights, which we can leave on at night to draw business. We also added some more leather couches for seating, and new carpet.
What do you have planned to bring people in?
Adding daily specials, more punch cards for free drinks and paninis. We started an email list which will give customers more specials every week. Plus our ongoing comedy show every Friday at 10pm. It’s only $5!
What do you want people to know about Salt Rock?
First of all – don’t be afraid because we’re inside a church. We aren’t going to preach to you.
We are a local business trying to support local jobs and make a great product. We want walk through life with you-if you want! We just want to build relationships and serve great coffee.
Why should locals and visitors alike choose Salt Rock over coffee chains?
It comes down to better coffee, fresher products. And we try to keep prices competitive. Our profit margin isn’t even close tot he major coffee chains, because we can’t order in mass quantities, but we still try to make it affordable.
And better than any chain.