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Draper Journal

Local businesses get by with a little help from customers and Draper City

Jun 15, 2020 10:52AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

In an effort to help local businesses survive, Draper City has acted as a conduit for information and assistance from federal and state levels, they’ve offered marketing using the city’s social media outlets, and they’ve eased temporary signage fees and restrictions.

When the pandemic hit, the city reached out to more than 1,000 local businesses with a survey. “We asked them what their needs and concerns were and what resources they needed. A lot of it was quick access to capital, or loans and grants. But one thing we could help with was increased marketing, so we started highlighting businesses on the Draper City Facebook page and also on the city’s Twitter and Instagram accounts,” said Russ Fox, assistant city manager. 

The city also chose to waive temporary signage fees for all businesses who apply between March 20 through Sept. 19. And a new ordinance was enacted that allows businesses to obtain a temporary permit to post signs indicating that they’re open or offering services like drive-thru or curbside pickup.

“There are limitations on how long they can have those banner signs, but we suspended that time frame so there’s no time limit on them until Sept. 19,” Fox said.

Melany Moras of family-owned AMYS Martial Arts has been in Draper since 2012. She was appreciative of the survey and the city’s promotion of her business. “It was reassuring to know that the city cared and was looking for ways to help us,” Moras said. Her martial arts school switched to teaching all classes virtually on March 18. “Most of our students are kids so it was very important to give them some sense of normalcy, by continuing to teach them, to keep them physically active and healthy.” AMYS has slowly begun to reopen, starting with private instruction and then moving into teaching small group classes.

Leo Janotti is general manager for NY Pizza Patrol, a family-owned business with a menu of traditional pizzas and pastas as well as Brazilian specialties, reflecting his family’s heritage. “We worked really hard on our deliveries and take-out, curbside orders. That kept us alive during the month and a half that we had dine-in closed,” he said. They did have to let a few employees go, and they still have far fewer numbers of dine-in customers now that those restrictions have been lifted, but they survived. “We feel for those who had to close their doors. At least we didn’t have to do that completely and we feel blessed,” Janotti said.

Dennis Garrett and Craton Edwards are co-owners/co-founders of The Clever Bean. Their business was open nearly two years when they temporarily closed in March. “We will time our reopening with what we feel is the best for the safety of our community. More clarity will come with time. We’re being patient,” Garrett said. 

Each business owner/operator spoke of positive experiences during the pandemic. “Our students’ families have been very supportive, and we value how we have all come together at this time,” Moras said. 

“We had the support from our Draper and Sandy communities as well as from the Brazilian community. It’s what kept us going. We’re very thankful for that,” Janotti said. 

Garrett said The Clever Bean has also received a lot of support from their community and customers. “We are making the most of this opportunity and have zero complaints. You must continually innovate, especially now. With everything going on, it’s easy to sink into inaction and fear. Don’t,” he said.