The city helping businesses leads to people helping peopleJan 26, 2021 11:26AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton
L-R Lauren, Jana and Frank Lavery at their store, CBD American Shaman, one of many local businesses that participated in Draper Deals. The Laverys used their own gift cards from the city to help a man in need. (Photo courtesy Frank and Jana Lavery)
By Mimi Darley Dutton|[email protected]
The first round of Draper Deals served as a boost to the local economy and led to at least one act of kindness. Because it was a success, Draper Deals round two is happening now.
Frank and Jana Lavery own CBD American Shaman in Draper Crossing. They opened in December 2019 and their daughters, Lauren and Evee, help run the store. “What a joy that is for us,” Frank said of working with their girls.
Starting a business is often tough, and the pandemic didn’t help matters. “We’ve been hit hard. Owning a business, you have ebb and flow and everything in between,” Frank said.
The Laverys chose to be a participating business in the first round of the city’s Draper Deals, a program that mailed three $10 gift cards to each home in Draper to be used at any of approximately 70 participating business during the month of November. The businesses collected gift cards redeemed by patrons of their stores, turned them in to Draper City with receipts, and were reimbursed with Federal CARES Act funding given to the city by Salt Lake County. Mayor Troy Walker deemed it a “win-win” for residents and local businesses.
“As a business owner and a Draper resident, it was such a helpful thing, encouraging being a participant in both of those ways. We have found there are many residents wanting to support local businesses. So that, hand in hand with the ‘deals,’ was more incentive for them to do that in our community,” Jana said.
Jana estimates the program brought 15-20 new customers into their store. “For many of them, it was their first visit. Many people wonder about CBD, so in their curiosity, they thought they could get a deal and try it. It was a great introduction for a lot of people to CBD,” Frank said.
It’s what the Laverys did with their own $30 in gift cards that stands out. Jana explained that it was the last day to use the gift cards they’d received as Draper residents, and she was headed out to do just that. But a young man named Michael came into their store asking if he could so some small jobs because he needed to eat. “He was from Louisiana, traveling to California on the bus for a job, but his belongings were stolen (suitcase, laptop, wallet). He was very polite,” Frank said.
Jana recalls that it was really cold that night. “We found out he’d stayed at the bus terminal in Salt Lake City trying for three days to get his belongings back, to no avail, and to figure out how to get money to continue on his trip or head back home. He found out about a temp job in Lehi…so he walked all the way from the terminal in Salt Lake,” she said. He’d made it to the cul-de-sac at the end of Minuteman Drive in Draper, but he had to turn around for directions to Lehi and that’s how he ended up in the Draper Crossing shopping center. “We decided to give him our gift cards. He went to Smith’s next door and got bags of groceries. He was so grateful,” Jana said.
It didn’t end there. “When Michael went to Smith’s, Jana and I talked and decided we’d give him $200 for a bus ticket to Louisiana. After we closed the store, I drove him to the bus station and dropped him off. I don’t have any contact information, so from that point, he’s in God’s hands and we wish him well. It really was an honor for us to be able to help someone who was so appreciative and so in need. What a sweet soul,” Frank said. “I think God intended for us to meet and we’re grateful to be part of his life,” Jana added.
Frank and Jana want the focus of being a small business and part of a community to be people helping people. “We want to do that through our business, help people for better health,” Frank said.
Jana explained how important small businesses are to both the economy and the community. “It’s up to each community to help keep businesses alive. Big businesses are taking over, and if we just turn to them, it will change the tide of our way of life. Our goal with the store is to have a place for people to find connection with their physical and mental health, their soul, their whole being. We would like to educate people. It’s all connected to the health of our soul and our mind,” she said. “It all ties together,” Frank added.
Draper residents received the second round of Draper Deals in their mailboxes mid-January. This round’s gift cards are red. More than 100 businesses are participating in the program this time and the deadline to use them is Feb. 7.