Skylar Yenchik


The rise of Utah’s standout e-commerce company during the pandemic


In the past year of hardships caused by the spread of COVID-19, e-commerce has boomed as people have forgone in-person shopping in favor of the online shopping platform. Because of this marked increase, I thought it would be interesting to explore how e-commerce has changed, not only during the pandemic, but in the past several years. 

In an effort to keep my story local and relevant to Utahns and University of Utah students alike, I researched local e-commerce companies that have innovated and expanded within Utah. While there are companies such as eBay Inc. that have offices in Utah, I wanted a company that had started, and been built here. Route App. Inc was founded and established in Lehi, Utah, by Evan Walker and Mike Moreno in 2018. 

The Route App has expanded and changed since its opening, causing it to be number 35 in the Apple iTunes store. Route has gained millions of users by streamlining the process of tracking packages, and creating the unique Discover page within the app to allow users to connect directly with brands. 

I believe this unique evolution of the online shopping and shipping platform to be extremely relevant to this day and age, especially this generation of college students. I decided to direct my story toward Route, e-commerce, and how this company has benefited the local economy and created opportunities for students at local universities such as the University of Utah. 

A valuable asset to my story was Nick Lloyd, an alumnus of the University of Utah and a software engineering manager at Route. He was able to connect his experience at the U to his current position at Route. Because of his position at the company, he was able to teach me how Route has innovated and changed the online platform, specifically the mobile app. 

I also interviewed Stephanie Black, head of talent and culture at Route who was uniquely qualified to expand on what Route aims to accomplish, in addition to the work culture and environment at Route. 

It was challenging to be able to coordinate schedules with Black and Lloyd because they both manage large teams at Route, and their time is in very high demand. Because of the rapid expansion of Route, there are also certain topics that are not available to be released to the public, which meant I also had to be careful of which questions to broach in both interviews. 

I was surprised with the writing process and ending result of my story, because I had initially started with the idea to write singularly on how local e-commerce had changed in 2020. After interviewing my sources, I realized that in addition to the change of the online shopping platform, I also realized I wanted to look into the strides in innovation, the benefit of e-commerce on the local economy, and the benefits to my fellow university students.


I am currently a full-time university student, and hope to graduate in May of 2022. I am first and foremost a writer, with aspirations to work in the publishing industry. I love writing fiction and short stories as often as possible. I also enjoy reading, cooking, and pop culture centered around cinema. I hope to continue to create after leaving university, and discover new outlets of creativity and art.