Urban Flea Market creates community for locals

Story and photos by KATEY KOLESKY

The crisp autumn air fills the wind as the end of summer approaches. Shoppers stroll down the brick paving in downtown Salt Lake City in hopes of finding something special. Music and chatter swells as shoppers dig around local booths looking for their own piece of treasure. 

The Urban Flea Market is home to a variety of local vendors, who are able to come together, grow their business and create a sense of community for local businesses and shoppers. The Urban Flea Market’s Instagram describes the event as “the biggest SLC flea market! Eclectic vintage, yard sale style, and crafted items — clothing, records, furniture, art, and more.”

An article published in SLUG Magazine says that Kate Wheaton and Michael Sanders founded the market in 2011 after they were influenced by New York and L.A. style of inner-city parking lot markets.

After realizing that Utah was missing its own flea market, Wheaton and Sanders decided to bring this market style to Salt Lake City. 

Over the last 11 years this event has grown into a downtown Salt Lake City staple for locals and visitors. 

According to the Urban Flea Market’s website, this is a year-round market that is thrown every second Sunday of each month located at The Gateway, in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. 

The Gateway’s website states that the market features 80-plus vendors selling the best vintage clothing, antique decor, original artworks, handcrafted jewelry, collectables and much more.

This market also includes a special guest DJ playing music with local food trucks feeding patrons as they shop. 

The market runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has a $2 entrance fee for adults, with free admission for children under the ages of 12.

A variety of unique vendors are involved with the Urban Flea Market such as Wild Future, a booth that grabs people’s attention with its unique handcrafted colorful jewelry and accessories. 

These beaded bracelets and necklaces by Tiffany Hwang are handmade with freshwater pearls, natural crystals, millefiori glass beads and 18k gold-plated clasps. Also featured are hand-crocheted earrings that resemble fruits and flowers with hypoallergenic gold-plated earring bodies. 

Tiffany Hwang, the owner of Wild Future, said when she started her business in 2020 she sought out many markets around Utah before attending the Urban Flea Market as a customer first. 

After visiting the Urban Flea Market, Hwang said she loved the community, and knew it was the perfect place to grow her business. 

“Best market of all,” Hwang said.

The location, variety of vendors and customers makes it a great space for Hwang to attract shoppers as she is in the process of building her online store. 

Due to its popularity, Wild Future has seen its sales increase thanks to the Urban Flea Market helping to grow its fanbase. 

On the flip side, Brittney Lee, who co-founded Earth and Ether with Haley Millet, had never attended the Urban Flea Market until her first time as a vendor.

Haley Millet, left, and Brittney Lee of Earth and Ether. They are pictured standing behind UniTea’s sun and moon herbal tea blends Ghouls, Moonlight and Divinitea, all sustainably sourced and infused with healing frequencies. 

Earth and Ether, an energy work healing service, has been a vendor at the Urban Flea Market since summer 2020. The business is centered around stones and energy-infused liquid that Lee described as “all about the soul, spirit, mind, [and] body.”

UniTea is a branch of Earth and Ether founded by Millet. The tea is brewed from mountain rose herbs that are sustainably harvested into sun and moon tea blends infused with healing frequencies. 

The Earth and Ether website states, “Earth and Ether was created for a soul experience. We have combined and made available multiple avenues in how you choose your path to unlocking your higher self and inner wisdom. From reiki infused crystals, private healing sessions, skin treatments, and community healings, you can embark on your path to inner healing and embrace your ascension.”

Stones and crystals such as amethyst and red quartz for sale at the Earth and Ether booth with information cards stating the healing properties of each item.

Lee and Millet participate in local markets throughout the greater Salt Lake City area, but this is the one they attend most frequently. 

“One of the best markets for sure,” Lee said, standing behind the booth filled with stones, crystals and homemade herbal teas. 

When asked to describe the community at the Urban Flea Market, Lee said, “It’s amazing!

Lee said older patrons tend to shop first. She called them “a little more reserved,” but added that “they know what they want.” Later, younger shoppers “dig through vintage stuff.”

Millet added, “Also the conscious community comes in strong. A lot of people want to support people who are doing it (creating products) sustainably.”

Lee said in a subsequent text interview, “The Urban Flea Market is always beneficial to meet and talk with wonderful souls.”

Chelsey Cummings, owner of Vintage by Chelsey, had attended the Urban Flea Market for years before becoming a vendor. 

“I attended the flea, shopped the flea, and then I was like ‘I think I need to do it,’ so that’s how I started this,” Cummings said.

Vintage by Chelsey or VBC for short, is a mix of eclectic, modern vintage clothing pieces and accessories sourced by its owner. The Vintage by Chelsey website describes her business as “curated vintage clothing for modern trends & timeless style.” 

After becoming obsessed with the hunt for vintage clothing, Cummings began selling her collection at local markets and pop-ups. 

You can find VBC at other local stores such as The Hive Market, Salt and Honey and the Outlets Park City. 

Her vintage shop began to thrive when she started selling her treasured finds at the Urban Flea Market in October 2020.  

The Vintage by Chelsey booth features Chelsey Cummings’ curated vintage finds ranging from luggage to leather booths and coats. Most items date between the 1960s to 1990s. 

“The Urban Flea has allowed my business to grow within the local community. I was primarily selling on Etsy and now I have shifted to local stores and customers. The flea has also given me so many lifelong friends and connections,” Cummings said in a follow-up text interview.  

The Urban Flea Market has created a space and community for local vendors to connect and grow with their shoppers. 

Want to attend the Urban Flea Market, but missed the summer market? No worries — you can find Vintage by Chelsey, Earth and Ether, and Wild Future and many other local vendors at the indoor winter Urban Flea Market starting Dec. 12, 2021.

Three local women entrepreneurs share their success stories

Online sales boosted their profits and sustained their brick and mortars

Story and photos by RAEGAN ZITTING

Throughout the devastating and isolating year, the pandemic has suppressed companies worldwide. Numerous articles have discussed the tragedies and downfalls of multimillion-dollar corporations. However, these three local companies proved otherwise.

Prominent consumers wandering around downtown Salt Lake City relish incredible women and their successful business stories throughout the pandemic. They represent the triumphs rather than the trials of the unknown era.

Abbey Muse, owner of Animalia in downtown Salt Lake City, shared how her positive outlook and creativity ultimately fueled her small shop and promoted greater success than she could’ve imagined.

Abbey Muse, owner of Animalia and sustainability enthusiast. She graduated with a degree in communication from the University of Utah in 2017.

Muse created Animalia, located at 280 E. 900 South, in 2018 with sustainability and connections in mind.

After the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, Muse was forced to let her employees go and worked alone supporting her shop for six months. She turned her brick-and-mortar store into an online-only presence.

Implementing social media practices was a crucial asset in the marketing of the newly online shop. Promoting self-deliveries, pick-ups, and bidets for the customers who were condemned to their houses as well.

Self-deliveries done throughout the months of March through April 2020 sustained the business and kept it going. Allowing personal connection through an online presence restored loyal customers’ faith and boosted sales when buying non-essential goods was not a high priority.

Muse said bidets were a popular item on Animalia’s online presence.

Due to the shortage of toilet paper, not only loyal customers but also people seeking an alternative to their habitual cotton square leapt to Muse’s site.

With habits changing throughout the population, sustainability became a very popularized new way of living.

The mission statement of Abbey Muse’s small business in Salt Lake City features hand-painted local artistry.
 

Getting back to nature and healing our planet was a big growth factor for Animalia. Muse said that throughout the pandemic her community grew largely in part due to fear but also due to loyal patrons.

Speaking of our local communities The Lady Bag had much success creating an online presence along with Animalia.

Anna Madsen, co-owner of The Lady Bag, said, “Small business had to work even smarter and harder to survive.”

Text messaging campaigns and email chains promoted used goods to women in need of an escape, Madsen said in a phone interview. Finance plans and purchasing of individual luxury items allowed relief for the community along with impactful business growth.

Informational facts to support Animalia and its drive for sustainability, including the process of recycling glass bottles and pictures from the National Geographic.
 

In a time where human connection was sought after, The Lady Bag created live video streams and personal meetings to provide the utmost support for its loyal customers.

The customer base grew significantly throughout the pandemic after the interactive and personal relation allowing for even more growth today, Madsen said.

With more than 100 new customers and a booming social media platform, The Lady Bag has never been more successful.

Production costs and manufacturing issues created hardships. However, rather than focusing on those unpredictable moments, these businesses are proving that challenges can lead to the utmost success.

“My dad always taught me that if you follow your passion the money will follow,” Madsen said when asked about the personal stressors the pandemic had on herself.

Jennifer Johnson, founder of Pro Do Blow-dry bar, had to shift her customer service practices completely to accommodate her business’s new virtual presence.

Creating environment through hands-free communication consisted of drones delivering gift cards to loyal customers. The cameras recorded joyful reactions, which were uploaded to social media and uplifted others by promoting the company’s efforts.

Pro Do Blow dry bar pairs the desires of entrepreneurship with the passion of making women in the community feel beautiful in their own skin.

For Johnson, customer service has always been the top priority for her clients. “It’s not about money or hair, it’s about creating an experience for the customer.”

During the pandemic customer service has grown far more than Johnson could have imagined. Employees stuck by her side and implemented the new practices to create an even better environment.

The efforts of Johnson’s employees and marketing paid off. Customers of Pro Do Blow-dry bar requested a continuance of their monthly memberships just to support the business through its hard time, even though they couldn’t reap the benefits of the program.

Community becomes the entire business model in a time of uncertainty such as the pandemic companies went through last year.

Even in such an unknown time we still manage to pull through, Muse said. There’s a 1% chance that we will ever know what happens or comes our way, she said, but we still have optimism and make it work no matter what.

With busier days, mass markets, and elevated numbers these three shops are now more than ever thanking the pandemic for a new perspective and booming business.

Young Utah artists turn to their craft to find relief from the mental health crisis

Story by CHRISTIAN LOFTUS

The state faces mounting rates of mental illness following the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The CDC reported a jump of 15-19% to 31% in Utah adults reporting anxiety and depression from 2019. A 2021 study performed by the Huntsman Mental Health Institute Occupational Trauma Clinic showed more than half of respondents were at risk of developing depression, PTSD, substance abuse and insomnia.

People under 24 are even more severely affected. Dr. Kristin Francis of the University of Utah said in an interview with ABC4 Utah, “Young people are reporting twice as high of rates in substance abuse disorders and recent suicidal thoughts when compared to adults. We also know from the CDC that emergency room visits for mental health concerns for young people has increased almost 50%.”

To combat the growing feelings of uncertainty, many young Utahns are turning to the arts. Three Salt Lake City-based artists under 30 have used their craft to work through social issues and share their experiences.

Brooklynn Meldrum uses paints to tell stories she couldn’t otherwise say. Although she painted regularly when she was younger, she took a long hiatus until the pressures of quarantine brought her back to it. “I started painting again as a way to express my depression non-verbally,” she said. “I just needed to get it out.”

Artist Brooklynn Meldrum paints symbolic representations of the fight against mental illness, like this piece titled “Depression.” Photo by Chris Loftus.

Her abstract paintings are drawn in bold strokes with bright colors, and each one can be read like an allegory. About a work titled “Depression,” she said, “The bright colors are my true self, and the black over it is the depression I was feeling at the time. See how they spear out? It’s a sunset. Or a sunrise. I’m not sure.”

Kaysville-based artist Madison Stenquist uses Japanese crochet techniques to create tiny figures she shares as gifts. Photo courtesy of Madison Stenquist.

Madison Stenquist makes figures out of yarn to strengthen her relationships. She specializes in “amigurumi,” a style of crochet from Japan that creates miniature creatures. “It’s usually pretty random what I make,” she said in a phone interview. “But usually it’s for other people in my life so I look for favorite animals, characters, etc. Or anything that is cute.”

Stenquist first learned crochet from her grandmother, and uses it to maintain her mental wellness. “Crocheting for me is really helpful to calm my mind down from anxiety,” she said. A crucial part of that calm comes from gifting her art when it’s finished. “It’s always fun seeing people’s reactions to the things I make for them.” Her work can be found on her Etsy page under the name YarnQueenByMadie.

Amelia Epperson started making stickers out of economic necessity. “It was quarantine, and I was broke,” she said in a text interview. “Who wasn’t broke?” She used her experience with vinyl to start selling funny designs online. But her growing interest in the Black Lives Matter movement soon led her into creating protest wear. Her digital shop, Millie Vinylli Custom Tees and Vinyl Creations, churned out designs with intentionally provocative imagery with the intention of attacking racist ideology.

Local artist Amelia Epperson engages her community by creating politically charged protest wear. Photo courtesy of Amelia Epperson.

Epperson considers her work as an activist key to maintaining her mental health in the current political climate. “The only way I can be healthy,” she said, “is if I know that I’m not making things worse for other people. So, I attack the problem where I live.” She encourages others to consider promoting equality through her art. “The goal is to help people. I have to believe that if we get enough people talking, we can change some minds.”

Dreamscapes is the first sustainable art exhibition in Salt Lake City

Story and images by LORNA GAGE

The “Moonman” by Jake Butjier guards the entrance of the exhibit and hints at a larger story created by RJ Walker and Fish Burton.

Immersive art has been sweeping the nation, as illustrated by the 2021 award-winning spaces Area 15 in Las Vegas and Prismajic in Denver. Within Salt Lake City, Dreamscapes serves as no better example.

Under the Utah Arts Alliance (UAA), Dreamscapes is Utah’s first permanent environmentally sustainable art exhibition.

After moving locations and rebuilding, Dreamscapes reopened its doors on Feb. 6, 2021, at the Gateway, 111 S. Rio Grande St. It is an immersive art attraction that utilizes a blend of physical and digital art, creating a unique experience for the observer as they wander through the labyrinth.

Suzanne Raia, the manager of Dreamscapes, described the exhibition as an opportunity for artists who were used to working in two-dimensional mediums to pull their work off the canvas. She said the goal was to create something that people could walk through, experience, and transport themselves in.

Greg Smith kisses the fish in the “Sunken Temple of Atlantis” by Ashley Brown (lead artist), Chelsea Harbert, Darren Gonzol, Tara Mlyenek, and Natalie Bird.

As visitors weave through the network of curiosities, mushrooms and reimagined woodland creatures, they are transported to the ultimate dreamland.

“I am of the mentality that everyone is an artist,” Raia said. “We all have opportunities to create new experiences, from the clothes we put on our back, to the words that come out of our mouth.”

Raia was connected to Dreamscapes through UAA. She said UAA is a nonprofit arts organization that has been around for 15 years. Its mission is to foster the arts in all forms to create an aware, empowered and connected community.

Dreamscapes was initially supposed to be a three-month pop-up in 2017. Raia jokingly said that it was constructed out of cardboard, hopes and dreams. But she said the installation was such a great model and attracted so many people to the Gateway, that Dreamscapes was able to establish a permanent presence and rebuild in 2021.  

Raia said while developing the concept of Dreamscapes, UAA reached out to its network. One of its biggest donors is the Salt Palace Convention Center. Its green initiative coordinator, Nick Zaccheo, saw the considerable waste generated by numerous temporary arts installations. Raia explained that Zaccheo collaborated with the UAA to create a green art exhibit.

Raia said this exhibition has met its sustainability goals by creating a niche way in which it creates art; it accepts as many donations and usable materials as possible.

Not only that, but Raia said the space is able to utilize projection mapping and digital art to make physical pieces come alive. This is a process in which multiple projectors reflect on a surface to enhance an art experience using light and movement over previously static objects.

Lorna Gage investigates a flower to see “Fairy Houses” by Derek Green.

As Ashley Brown, an assistant manager and creative lead at Dreamscapes, watched patrons filter in and out of the exhibit, she said, “I hope they see the way we take everyday items and turn them into something new. It doesn’t cost a million dollars to make cool art.”

Since 2017, Dreamscapes has been dedicated to diverting material away from the landfill for the purpose of creating new installations. In that time, it has helped the Salt Palace Convention Center divert over 50,000 pounds of event materials from going to a landfill.

It has also been able to reduce its carbon footprint by almost 180,000 pounds of carbon dioxide — which is equivalent to 200,000 car miles coming off Salt Lake City roads.

“We’re trying to save the world through art,” Brown said. “That’s really important to us. Hopefully they get that feeling when they’re leaving.”

While being the first environmentally sustainable art exhibition in Utah, Dreamscapes is constantly changing and creating new, interactive experiences for the observer. Bo Dean, a builder at Dreamscapes and member of UAA, said, “We have an ongoing joke that the space is never really finished.”

Dean added that in the process of reusing and upcycling materials, it’s important to free up areas in the exhibit for new artists.

A couch waits for guests in the “Flower Room,” decorated by Katia Racine (lead artist), Andrea Racine, Cami Chatterton, and Kezia Nakagawa.

This wouldn’t be possible without volunteers.

Kaycee Lane is the volunteer coordinator at Dreamscapes. Anyone can get involved through the Dreamscapes website.

Raia said many of the artists started out as volunteers and have created a collaborative atmosphere that inspires creativity.

Furthermore, volunteering leads to other opportunities, connections, and experiences. Raia said Dreamscapes volunteers get the unique opportunity to see and practice the ins and outs of production. This includes stage managing, working with performers, stocking greenrooms, painting, and working with an extensive range of materials. 

Volunteers were especially important in November, when people helped pack Dreamscapes to rebuild in a new location in 2022.

Dreamscapes began the process of packing on Nov. 14. Dreamscapes will be moving to an undecided location in 2022 and still needs help unpacking, reimagining and rebuilding the installation after the new year.

Brown, the assistant manager, said the future of Dreamscapes is to reconstruct the installation in a space that allows it to incorporate more immersive elements, to create a bigger network of artists and to work in tandem with the community. Brown invites the public to discover the secrets of the labyrinth as either a patron or as a volunteer. She said, “It’s a running joke that at the center of the dream universe is a candy covered core.”

How will you die? Preparing for the end of life with a death doula

Story and photos by ALFONSO BELLOSO

A view of the Salt Lake Valley from the historic Salt Lake City Cemetery.

The only certainty in life is death. Before a person’s essence returns to the source, some may choose to leave their final moments in the care of a death doula.

“A death doula is similar to a midwife,” said Katrina Klinge, a volunteer at Hudson Valley Hospital in New York, and a certified death doula. “The birth midwife and the birth doula get everything set up, help prepare, and can be there to bring life into the world. Well, a death doula is doing the same thing on the other end.”

Klinge works with those nearing the end of their life. She said she starts with an open dialogue between her clients discussing particulars such as: What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to be remembered for? When it comes to dying, what do you want it to look like? Do you want to be outside? Do you want to be alone? Windows opened or closed? “It sounds like little things,” Klinge said in a phone interview. “But if you’re lying in a bed and you’re dying, and you can have whatever you want, then you should be able to have it.”

Working with families of the dying has made Klinge passionate about promoting a society in which we can be open to discussing death and dying with one another. She hosts a Death Café through Zoom which differs from a grief support group because it is primarily a space for people all around the world to meet and talk about death in a safe space. “If we have a healthier relationship with our impending death, then we can probably have a better relationship with our life,” Klinge said.

The transition from life to death is an inevitability everyone will eventually have to confront. “It is one of the toughest, if not the toughest thing people will face,” Klinge said. With the support of a certified death doula, these challenges do not have to be faced alone.

To be present and hold the space with someone who is passing on can be a difficult yet fulfilling experience. The path of becoming a doula for the dying is no different.

Jude Higgins’ journey to becoming a death doula began as she was pursuing a doctorate in education at the University of Utah.

Jude Higgins, a death doula and founder of HELD, discusses her meaningful work at a local coffee shop.

Higgins, a first-generation college student, at the time taught anthropology as a tenured professor for 12 years at Salt Lake Community College. During her time as a professor, her father became ill and went to live with Higgins. She cared for her father for three years. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Higgins said at a local coffee shop. “Afterwards, it was such a transformational experience.”

After witnessing how helpful the people were who came to assist her father, Higgins volunteered at a hospice thereafter. Once her work began, the hospice volunteer coordinator suggested Higgins take a class in death doula work.

Higgins then began training under the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. She completed a Spiritual Care Residency at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Vallejo and Vacaville, California.

She hadn’t imagined that her life would lead in this direction. “My first career was in dance,” she said. “A very dear mentor of mine reached out to me. I started with her when I was 17. I ended up dancing in her company and teaching at her studio. She called me and said, ‘I want you to be my death doula.’”

She had just completed the training and her only prior experience was with her own father. “So, I worked with her. I worked with her every day for six months,” Higgins said as tears began to collect in her eyes. “She taught me. She was amazing.”

Higgins would go on to work with more families and become the founder of HELD, a death doula training program located in Salt Lake City. In addition to teaching, she also works in hospice, is a spiritual care provider at Primary Children’s Hospital, and continues to assist families through the end-of-life process.

She worked with Sarah J. Jackson when Jackson’s mother received an unexpected terminal diagnosis. “Choosing to be so present and practicing ritual to help my mom transition peacefully helped me to really understand the profound magic of the work death doulas do,” said Jackson, who is a presidential associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I knew death was not something to fear but experiencing it in the context of hospice in particular and with the loving support of Jude and others who offer end of life care drove this home,” Jackson said in an email interview. “Death certainly is not something to fear, even when it is surrounded by terrible feelings of loss and grief, it is a part of our humanity, and it makes us more human to bear witness to it.”

The Salt Lake City Cemetery, the largest municipally-owned cemetery in the country.

Higgins, along with many others around the world, is making a profound impact on how people experience the end of their life by making the end of life a meaningful and transformative experience. “It’s grieving, and it’s difficult. It’s hard,” Higgins said. “Birth is hard. I think it’s a cycle. We need death doulas, like we need birth doulas.”

All that begins will inevitably end. Planning for death does not need to be a formidable task. This universal truth can be confronted in spaces of comfort.

“People can run away from it as much as they want. But she’ll get ya!” Higgins said with a laugh. “She’ll get all of us in the end.”

The diversity and importance of Black-owned businesses in Salt Lake City

Story by KAYLA LIEN

It is 5:45 a.m. and Timothy Horton Jr. has just started his day. He wakes up his daughters, 2 and 4, and gets them ready for school. After dropping the 4-year-old off, he then heads back home, toddler in tow, and starts to create.

A Chicago native and University of Utah alumnus, this father of two is the CEO and founder of Koda’Fe, a luxury streetwear brand based in Salt Lake City. 

An assortment of new products from Koda’Fe. Photo courtesy of Timothy Horton Jr.

Horton came up with the name Koda’Fe back in 2009, but didn’t really start putting his ideas down on paper until 2016, when he legalized it as a limited liability company (LLC). Koda’Fe is actually an acronym for “Keeping Our Dreams Alive For Eternity,” and with “fe” being the Latin word for “faith.”  Horton notes that “a lot of positive energy went into creating this name.”

This idea of positivity and growth is the base of Koda’Fe. It’s all about “bringing everyone together,” Horton said over Zoom. “Koda’Fe is a brand for every culture. …  Koda’Fe will be focused on uniting everybody and ending racism in general. … I say it every time, Koda’Fe is bigger than a fashion brand and I stand on that.” 

Koda’Fe boasts a substantial Instagram following, with big names such as Rayjon Tucker of the Philadelphia 76ers and Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks being seen wearing the brand’s clothing. 

However, the support hasn’t always been there.  

Growing up, Horton said his mom “didn’t really understand.” Having been in and out of fashion since he was eighteen, Horton always knew what he wanted. His mom, however, was strict about having a stable job that paid well. He has since earned a degree in economics. While certainly useful in the long run, Horton repeatedly pushes the concept of listening to “nobody but yourself.”

Koda’Fe is part of a growing number of Black-owned businesses in Salt Lake City. Minorities make up 22.3% of Utah’s population, yet a little under 7% of Utah startups are minority-owned. While that statistic looks bleak, as of 2013, three areas in Utah (Ogden-Clearfield, Salt Lake City, and Provo-Orem) experienced a growth of at least 40% in minority-owned businesses.

Mikell (far right) and Stephanie Brown (left) and their kids wearing T-shirts from Edify Collective. Mikell is the vice chairman and events committee lead for the Utah Black Chamber. Photo courtesy of Tabarri Hamilton.

Across the city, Tariq Staton puts in a nine-hour work day before going into his garage to get started on orders. Staton, the founder and co-owner of Utah-based clothing brand Edify Collective, juggles a full-time job to support his family on top of running a company that isn’t yet profitable. 

“We haven’t taken any money out of the company. Everything that we make is either donated or put back into marketing or apparel or new designs and things like that,” Staton said in a Zoom interview. “Our goal is to just put out good product and put money back into the community and things we believe in.” 

Edify Collective donates 15% of its profits back to the community through providing youth therapy sessions and supporting nonviolent movements fighting social inequality. Incorporating this message of positivity and unity was something the brand had wanted to do from the beginning. 

Within the first trial week, the company raised $1,000 for the NAACP. Six months after that, Edify Collective donated over $2,000 to the Utah Black Chamber.  

Moving his toddler out of view of the screen, Staton said, “When I was a minority youth, it was hard for me to express anything I was going through at that time to either my family or my friends. … Just speaking for the Black community, I know that it’s taken as a sign of weakness if you talk about … struggling with depression or talking about suicide and things like that … they’re shown as weak. So a lot of people don’t talk about it, but we want to bring that forward and say that it is OK.”

Edify Collective got its start in June 2020 after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were thrust into the limelight, having been killed by police. Staton’s wife wanted to do a photoshoot wearing shirts that were meaningful, with graphics depicting themes of unity and togetherness. After that initial photoshoot, Staton said, “We got a lot of people asking, you know, like where do we get the shirts and where can they get them.”  So, the Statons turned it into a business. Since then, Edify Collective has put out numerous T-shirts and hoodies, as well as beanies, the latter with a little help from a company called Embrogo.

The Embrogo trailer camper at Ironsmith Coffee in Encinitas, California. Quinell Dixon (left) hands an item to a customer. Photo courtesy of Jenna McKay.

It’s a snowy evening in Salt Lake City and Quinnel Dixon has logged onto Zoom from his phone. “Can you hear me? My son busted my phone,” he says. Dixon sports a dark blue cap with the words “EMBROGO BRAND” stitched in bold lettering.

Quinell and Adrienne Dixon are the owners of Embrogo, a business founded in 2017 that curates  “personal embroidery on the go.” Embrogo boasts small batches of personalized baseball caps, beanies, tees, patches, and even shoe tongues. It was an idea for a “side hustle,” Quinell said, not intending to be much of anything. However, the Dixons realized there was a market for this type of embroidery, whether it be for a small business or an individual wanting items for themselves. 

Adrienne is the one sitting behind the embroidery machine, while Quinell is out in the community promoting the business. Their company saw a really positive impact once the Black Lives Matter movement took the spotlight, both in sales and customer support.

“People wanted to speak about what was going on, right, and they put it on their apparel,” Quinell says. “Another thing that happened, too, is people started to realize that, hey, we may not be able to do things right now when it comes to police brutality, when it comes to unfairness and injustice. But what we can do is support the people who are still around, who are people of color.”

The community has really embraced Embrogo, says Quinell, who adds, “We’re also glad that people are starting to really realize that small Black businesses is very far and few in between.”

Buying from small businesses has become a trend since the pandemic hit, one with gratifying results for many company owners.

Within the United States, there has been a tangible shift toward supporting local businesses, especially those owned by people of color and women. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports in 2020, the number of small businesses in the U.S. reached 31.7 million, which is 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. However minority-owned businesses make up only 18% of that, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  

Supporting small businesses is essential, Quinell says. “You put the money back into your own economy and your ecosystem thrives. Not necessarily with revenue, but thrive in areas of being able to take care of their families. … Small business is bigger than just another ticket or another dollar or another revenue. [The owners] support their families on it.”

How COVID-19 has impacted Utah’s live music industry

Story by SKY NELSON

You’re in a crowded room, bopping your head to the beat of the music as you weave your way through other dancing, sweaty bodies. Maybe you have a drink in your hand, and you are on your way to your friend’s table. Everyone around you is laughing and talking over the music, but all you care about is one of your favorite songs blasting through the speakers, being played live right in front of you.

You’re at a concert and you feel amazing as the energy around you surges through your veins. You feel the drums in your feet and the bass in your chest. You finally see your group of friends and make your way over to them, smiling as you exclaim, “What a fun night!”

George Kelly, founder of Keys on Main, during a live performance. Photo by Rita Mangum.

Except, you probably haven’t been to a concert in months. You are more likely to be in your pajamas right now, reading this from the comfort of your couch.

Since March 2020, the live music industry in Utah, as well as across the globe, has been struggling. Unlike other industries that keep the economy going, the live music industry’s hardships are unique because the product it’s selling isn’t a tangible thing, but rather an experience.

“Live performance puts an emphasis on people coming together and enjoying something that is spontaneous and is an experience and an event,” said Jordan Saucier, a Utah musician. He was speaking by Skype while he was driving to Elko, Nevada, with a colleague to do a paying gig.

Saucier is the definition of a working musician, meaning all of his income comes from performing live with his array of different bands he participates in, working in studio recording sessions, and teaching private guitar lessons.

Despite having a bachelor’s degree in commercial music from Snow College and a master’s in music technology from Southern Utah University, Saucier said his income took a hit “big time” when everything shut down March 14, 2020.

In 2019, Saucier was playing three to seven gigs a week, every week, totaling 135 performances. One of his groups — No Limits, a party band — traveled all around the country for paying gigs. He said the money he made from those live performances accounted for about two-thirds of his income that year.

Now, Saucier only performs locally once or twice a week, which is much better than how he was doing last spring. Because of the pandemic, all his gigs scheduled throughout 2020 got cancelled, and he didn’t get booked anywhere for over 10 weeks. Teaching guitar lessons brought in some money for him, but a lot of his students quit lessons during the first stages of the lockdown.

In one month, he lost an estimated $5,000 and calculated a loss of about $30,000 for the remainder of 2020. Saucier said he realized he needed to “diversify” his income in order to stay on his feet as a working musician. He was able to start his own business called Casino Entertainment Group in which he produces, manages, and books bands for casinos.

Keys on Main, a dueling piano bar franchise founded by local musician George Kelly, has seen hardships as well. Kelly’s two locations in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, have been completely shut down for a year. The Keys on Main in California was forced out of business in the spring of 2020.

Thanks to government assistance and the fact that Utah has been “looser” regarding COVID-19, as Kelly said, Keys on Main in Salt Lake City, 242 S. Main St., was able to re-open in May 2020. Due to the new capacity restrictions, sales went down about 30 percent, and the company had to hire more staff because it had lost 23 employees while Keys on Main was closed.

The Salt Lake City Keys on Main has reopened to patrons for live performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Photo by Rita Mangum.

The local dueling piano bar managed to stay afloat throughout the summer and into fall, but on Nov. 9, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a mandate banning alcohol sales after 10 p.m. Keys on Main was able to get through those four weeks of the alcohol ban, but sales were down 50 percent, Kelly said.

This decline in sales isn’t just tough for the business, but for its musicians as well. One of Kelly’s friends, David Holloway, is in a popular Mardi Gras jazz band that played for high-paying, huge events before the pandemic. For Mardi Gras this year, the band performed in Salt Lake City’s Keys on Main for free because the musicians were itching to perform on stage and had no other gigs lined up, Kelly explained.

Of course, it’s not all about money. It’s about the music!

Excellence in The Community is a nonprofit organization that has been showcasing Utah musicians since 2005. “We’re trying to help Utah musicians, and we believe that by helping Utah musicians have better performance opportunities and more performance opportunities, and by having these concerts be offered to the public at no charge, we’re helping Utah communities,” said Jeff Whiteley, founder of Excellence in The Community and a musician himself. “The potential contribution of these fabulous musicians of all genres has generally been overlooked, so that’s where we come in.”

On a recent Friday night, Whiteley was at the Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main St., Salt Lake City, setting up for a livestream concert featuring the Xiné String Quartet. The performers and volunteering staff had their temperatures taken when they entered the building and then they filled out forms about COVID-19 symptoms. It showed the organization’s dedication to safety and health as it worked to put on a quality livestream performance.

A behind-the-scenes photo of Excellence in The Community producing a livestream featuring the Xiné String Quartet. Photo by Sky Nelson.

According to Whiteley, the organization has produced over 910 shows in total since it was founded in 2005. The Gallivan Center is the headquarters of Excellence in The Community and has hosted most of its concerts since 2006.

Before COVID-19, the nonprofit put on big band dance events every Tuesday night, where everyone could go to have a music and dance-filled night with their loved ones. Better yet, the local musicians got more exposure, a top-tier stage to perform on, and a regular paid gig to look forward to.

Excellence in The Community’s big band dance event. Photo by Lex Anderson, official photographer for Excellence in The Community.

Since March 2020, Excellence in The Community has had to adjust in order to continue helping local musicians. That support is needed even more now than it was before. Instead of cancelling concerts, Whiteley said the organization has doubled its shows and has put all efforts into producing livestream concerts.

The nonprofit produces a livestream concert every Wednesday and Saturday night, showcasing some of Utah’s best musicians in a variety of genres. Despite a huge loss of funding in spring 2020, the livestreams have proved to be a success. Since that March, the organization has reached over 7 million views in total, according to the website.

“Music is a spiritual experience. Music is a recharging experience,” Whiteley said. That’s why the volunteering staff with Excellence in The Community do what they do. Livestreams are a great way to keep local musicians in business during this pandemic, but they are not equal to live performances.

As musician Jordan Saucier said about live performances, “The musicians are reacting to each other, reacting to the audience, and the energy exchange between all these people is a unique thing at each event.”

COVID-19 boosted the earnings of a South Korean beauty company, while others faced bankruptcies

Story by YEH-RHYM CHEON

Masks have become essential to survive in this dark world.

It is now impossible to see the bright smiles of children or eat delicious food in crowded restaurants. We cannot even breathe in the fresh air of the coming warm spring at will.

After COVID-19 hit South Korea in 2020, life before the pandemic no longer exists.

Over the past year, the pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives. In particular, the high bankruptcy rate of small- and medium-sized enterprises harmed the economy in South Korea.

According to Gyeonggido Business & Science Accelerator, the business situation of companies in South Korea deteriorated in 2020. Particularly, hard-hit were small businesses, companies with less than $1billion in sales, and companies with fewer than 10 employees.    

Countless small- and medium- sized enterprises are suffering from extended social social distancing and lockdown due to the COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Francesco Ridolfi.

For small- and medium-sized enterprises that provide face-to-face service, the mandated social distancing and long-term shutdown systems make it difficult to operate and maintain the business.

Eun Kyoung Kwak, CEO of Norang EAT Academy (노랑EAT학원), has been running an education business located in Siheung, South Korea, for 14 years.

It was her pleasure to run supplementary classes such as art, mathematics, English, and Korean for elementary school students. However, her happiness will no longer exist.

“Because of the COVID-19, numbers of students have left our academy,” Kwak said in Korean over the phone.

To prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the South Korean government continues to extend the social distancing period, including the ban on gatherings of five or more people.

In order to retain students, Kwak has been offering online classes. Nevertheless, it was difficult to guarantee a high quality of teaching due to various limitations such as a lack of internet knowledge and difficulty controlling students online.

Kwak confronted financial difficulties as the number of students declined. There was no other option besides reducing the number of employees.

“I am now exhausted facing these situations caused by the pandemic. I should have dismissed them to maintain my business,” Kwak said. “I just feel sorry for the fired employees.”

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the unemployment rate in South Korea has surged as many small- and medium-sized enterprises have been going through hardship with the business operation.

Yuna Lee was one of the victims who lost her job due to the COVID-19.

Since 2019, Lee had worked part-time for six months at a mathematics academy located in Seohyeon, South Korea.

At the academy, she could take the first step towards her dream of becoming a teacher.

“Even though it was a part-time job, I worked hard because I love both children and teaching. Also, it was a great opportunity to build my career,” Lee said in Korean in a phone interview.

While she was working hard and doing well as the instructor, the COVID-19 hit South Korea, and the tragedy began.

Like other companies, her academy also suffered financial problems from the COVID-19, and Lee eventually got fired.

“After being fired, I had to find a new job to make a living,” Lee said. “But, the reality did not allow me to do it.”

She said that other companies are not hiring new employees but rather reducing the number of employees.

Lee could take this situation as she knew how COVID-19 affected society, but now she has to handle her financial challenges.

While many people are facing economic difficulties, there is a company that has benefited from the COVID-19.

OTK Corp. is one of the small beauty companies located in Asan, South Korea. Han-Jong Kim, CEO of OTK Corp., started his business in 2010 by selling facial sheet masks.

The facial sheet mask is a beauty product made of non-woven fabric containing essence, moisturizing the facial skin.

When COVID-19 just hit South Korea, there was a limit on the number of masks purchased due to a lack of mask supply.

While everyone lined up to buy the masks, Kim turned this situation into an opportunity.

Kim produced masks out of his company’s sheet mask material. Thanks to the COVID-19, he was able to increase sales. Photo illustration by Pauline Yeh-Hyun Cheon.

“I could manufacture tons of masks with a non-woven fabric, which is a material of our sheet mask,” Kim said in Korean in a phone interview.

As a result, his product diversification strategy, applying the mask supply shortage situation, played a crucial role in increasing sales and income by 70%.

However, Kim was also worried about the situation after the end of COVID-19. He foresees sales and income to decline as the supply of masks increases over time.

Kim said that new problems arise with new social situations all the time. He added, “It is one of my challenges to resolve as a leader in an organization.”

Although Kim could generate more sales from the pandemic, he hopes for an end to COVID-19.

As an entrepreneur, Kim knows how difficult this situation can be for other companies.

He also knows that not only many companies but employees and consumers are struggling with COVID-19.

He believes that the economy of South Korea will recover when the pandemic is over. Hence, everyone will be able to live a better life than we are now.

“Even if it is impossible to take off the mask right now,” Kim said, “we will be able to breathe in the hot summer air that is coming up.”

Beehive Sport and Social Club coming up on 10-year anniversary

Story by DYLAN VALERIO

One night after a long day behind his desk working for the big tobacco company Marlboro, Dave Marquardt realized he wasn’t happy with the career path he had taken. He sat and thought about how his life was going.

He realized one of the only things that brought him joy was playing kickball with his friends after work at River City Sport and Social Club. It was a place where he could have fun, let loose, and relieve himself of stress. 

However, the people running the club weren’t friendly to their participants. Then the life-changing idea popped into Marquardt’s head: He recalled thinking he could do the same thing as these guys, but significantly better. The idea of Beehive Sport and Social Club was then born. 

Marquardt soon quit his job and moved back to Salt Lake City from Richmond, Virginia. He then called his old friend James Accettura to invite him into his idea. Accettura quickly agreed without hesitation. Marquardt credits him with helping the most along the way. 

Now, Beehive is approaching its 10-year anniversary as the only adult sports club in the Salt Lake City area where adults can have fun while also staying active.

Beehive’s website currently lists 11 different leagues. They consist of multiple sports ranging from cornhole and pickleball to the more traditional kickball and softball. All the leagues are co-ed. Players pay a fee to participate in each league with the price varying for different sports.

Beehive, founded in 2011, hasn’t always been what it is today. When the club first started, it didn’t offer 11 sports, but just one. It has taken dedicated hard work to build Beehive to its current position. Most of this didn’t happen in the beginning or all at once, but instead throughout the years.

Accettura said starting Beehive wasn’t difficult, but still required them to do new things such as building schedules, writing rules, and finding equipment. The pair had never done any of this before and it pulled them out of their comfort zone.

“Thankfully, me and Dave’s skills are complementary so we would both work on everything together and strengthen each other,” Accettura said in an email interview.

Marquardt and Accettura agreed they didn’t want to make the club about the sports, but instead about the people playing them. Marquardt said they wanted to serve not just ex-jocks looking to relive their glory days, but also people who just wanted to have fun too.

“The point has to be to introduce people to a fun environment where they can meet people and enjoy the games,” Accettura said. “Building personal relationships is the most important thing for us.”

Beehive is a place where people, especially those new to Salt Lake City, can find a social life and meet new friends. Marquardt said in a phone interview that in their 10 years, Beehive has been responsible for “65 marriages, 24 babies, and about 1,000 one-night stands.”

According to Ryan Chisolm, a current participant in one of Beehive’s leagues, this is exactly what Beehive has done. Chisolm, also known by his stage name Bangarang when he performs as a DJ, has been a participant in the club for about seven years.

“You meet some really cool people. Everyone here is dope,” Chisolm said in an email interview. He added that Beehive creates a fun and safe environment. “You can be yourself and no one cares.”

Chisolm is one of about 10,000 people who participate in Beehive each year, Marquardt said. In order to create a positive environment for so many people, the club has 80 part-time employees who have an extremely large role. These employees include referees and social-media specialists who “define the league,” Marquardt said. 

Marquardt, Accettura, and all of Beehive have continued to try to make the community and their participants the main focus of the club. This has been more difficult this year compared to any other due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. 

Beehive is sport-dependent and participants are always in close contact. This means coronavirus had a better chance to affect Beehive compared to other organizations. According to Marquardt, 70-80% of sport and social clubs across America have been forced to go out of business because of coronavirus.

The beginning of the pandemic was the most uncertain time for Beehive. According to Marquardt and Accettura, they had to shut down from March 12 to July 6, cancel one of their biggest events of the year, and push all their leagues to the next season.

During the shutdown, Beehive still continued to try to bring their participants together. “We organized movie nights, weekly Zoom Trivia, and Zoom Bingo,” Accettura said. Beehive is also planning a bingo night for the University of Utah.

Now, leagues are reopen, and Beehive is doing everything it can to make sure everyone is safe. For example, Beehive doesn’t play any sports indoors, it requires masks for all participants, has people use sanitizer, and cleans all equipment regularly. “The main thing we have done is try to create space within the games,” Accettura said.

Looking back on their 10 years, Marquardt and Accettura are proud of what they have been able to create and that it’s lasted so long. No matter what they have faced, they have tried to put their participants first in order to create a community where people are able to have fun and be themselves. 

Even as Marquardt looks back on the past success of the Beehive Sport and Social Club, he looks forward to its future. “When I die,” he said, “I want this to keep going without me.”

Branches to bottles — A guide to Utah’s first hard cider distillery

Story by HANNAH CARLSON

First came the breweries to Utah, then the distilleries and wineries; the brewpubs soon followed. In 2014 Utah’s latest taste sensation arrived in Salt Lake City: Mountain West Hard Cider.

Owners Jeff and Jennifer Carlton share a drink in the distillery’s tasting room. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

East Coast natives Jennifer and Jeff Carlton began their careers in the hospitality industry. The couple then switched gears to the financial services industry, all before deciding to create something they could call their own.

During a work-related trip to Ireland in 2011, the Carltons found themselves in a small pub in the harbor city of Galway. That’s where Jennifer first fell in love with hard cider.

In addition to bottles and cans, Mountain West offers a growler option for guests to take their ciders to-go. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

“I just loved it,” she recalled. “I thought, wow, I found a product that is comparable in alcohol percentage and price to beer. I can finally drink it toe to toe with my husband instead of me having a glass of wine and falling off the chair.”

After returning home, Carlton tried as much hard cider as possible while her husband researched the ins and outs of the hard cider industry. He ultimately discovered the market’s double-digit growth year after year. 

“My husband read this article and he approached me and he said, ‘We’ve always wanted to get into business on our own and we’ve always talked about owning a restaurant, bar, or some type of hospitality and what do you think of hard cider?’” Carlton said. “I actually thought it was a great idea because there were no other dedicated hard cider distilleries here in Utah. There still isn’t.” 

So, the Carltons got to work.

Jeff Carlton enrolled in a cider-making course and the couple attended CiderCon, a cider convention whose mission is to provide information, services, and resources to its members. There, the Carltons were able to speak to some of the industry’s leading experts and gather the knowledge they needed to get a foot in the industry’s door.

A Belgian glass, a favorite way to sip cider for many people. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

One thing the Carltons didn’t find at CiderCon, however, was a cider maker to join their team. Luckily, they found Joel Goodwillie in the nick of time.

When approached by the Carltons, Goodwillie — then living in Washington — looked at the opportunity as nothing more than a free weekend trip to Salt Lake City. 

“Through my consulting business, I had met with dozens of couples who were bored with their lives and always thought it would be fun to open a winery,” Goodwillie said in an email interview. “It was usually people who just wanted to impress their friends by having a wine or cider with their name on the label.” 

While in Salt Lake City for the weekend, Goodwillie fell in love with the city. However, after meeting with Jeff and Jennifer, he also fell in love with their knowledge of the industry and their clear vision of a successful hard cider business. “I could tell that they were committed to producing a quality product and building a presence within the Utah business community,” Goodwillie said.

So, he loaded his truck, a few pieces of winemaking equipment and made his way to Salt Lake City to start his new chapter with the Carltons.

Upon arrival in Salt Lake City, Goodwillie had come to the Carltons with an impressive resume and over 30 years of experience in winemaking. 

“When you think of cider making, it is winemaking,” Jennifer Carlton said. “Just instead of grapes, it’s apples.”

The distillery’s fermentation tanks, where all the cider magic happens. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

Next up, the team needed a location and found theirs in central Salt Lake City at 425 N. 400 West. The couple’s urban warehouse serves as their cidery, office, and tasting room for visitors. 

“So, we secured our cider maker, we found the location — now we needed apples,” Carlton said.

While Utah isn’t usually considered an apple-growing region, the new team eventually found a small orchard in Santaquin, roughly an hour south of Salt Lake City. 

“They were a perfect partner for us,” Carlton said. “They had the resources and manpower to be able to pick the apples, but more importantly the commercial equipment to be able to juice the apples into apple juice for us.” 

Mountain West Hard Cider was finally born.

Plenty to go around

Today, Mountain West Hard Cider offers four regularly stocked products including Ruby, 7-Mile, Cottonwood, and Desolation. All of Mountain West’s ciders are named to honor various canyons throughout Utah. Every three to four weeks the cidery also features what it calls its “little orchard series” cider, which is available on tap to customers who visit the warehouse. 

The “little orchard series” on tap. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

The series is a chance for Goodwillie to experiment with flavors and try new recipes — 100 gallons at a time. Although, once the 100-gallon batch is gone, it’s gone for good.

“During my first visit, I sampled all the different products available and fell in love with Sweet Alice, one of their smaller batches available a few weeks ago,” said James Stephenson, a new Mountain West customer. “I’ve gone back multiple times since to refill my growler. I look forward to trying their new small batches in the future as well.”

However, Mountain West’s most popular cider, Ruby, is always available and ready to be poured. It is described on Mountain West’s website as “a crisp 6.8% alcohol by volume hard apple cider for year-round enjoyment and everyday get-togethers.”

When asked what his favorite cider is, Goodwillie compared it to a parent being asked which one of their children is their favorite.

“I’m proud of all of the Mountain West Ciders but what’s really great is that we’re having new children every month now with our small orchard series of small batches,” he said. “Unlike children though, if we don’t particularly care for one of these small-batch ciders we just get rid of it and produce something else.”

Jennifer Carlton identified the two leading determining factors of each product’s final and unique flavoring. First, Mountain West doesn’t receive a specific blend of apples in the apple juice that it receives from its distributors. 

A fridge full of Ruby, waiting to be taken home and enjoyed. Photo by Hannah Carlson.

“We don’t have that luxury of choosing a specific blend of apples like some of the bigger names, but I also like that because it does make us craft,” Carlton explained. “The flavor might vary slightly every time. It all depends on the blend of apples in that specific batch of apple juice we receive.”

The second thing that makes Mountain West stand out is the cidery’s partnership with a local flavor lab. The team discusses its desired flavor outcome with a lab technician, who then recommends a specific strain of yeast for Goodwillie to use when fermenting the ciders.

“Take Cottonwood, for example,” Carlton said. “We reached out to the lab and we said, ‘We’re adding Centennial hops, which tend to be very floral. What would you recommend as a yeast strain that we can use to really highlight the juniper flavors or that little bit of citrusy that pulls forward?’” 

Once the team decides on the right strain of yeast, it will continue to use that same strain in every batch throughout the product’s lifespan.

Anytime, anywhere, anybody kind of drink

Since Mountain West opened its doors in 2014, the team’s hard ciders have continued to grow in popularity around the state. However, the Carltons and their team still make an everyday effort to educate and inspire every consumer who wants to learn more about hard cider.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions when it comes to hard cider,” Jennifer Carlton said. “Men often think it’s a woman’s drink, or everybody thought it was going to be super sweet. So, we intentionally made our ciders dry, like what I originally had in Ireland.”

Carlton also wants to clear up the common misconception that hard ciders can only be enjoyed in the fall and winter months. 

“Historically, the ciders are fermenting during the winter months, they don’t actually come to drinkable conditions until the spring or summer,” Carlton said. 

Eric Montgomery, part of Mountain West’s “cider slingin’” crew, as he says. Photo courtesy of Fathom Croteau.

As much as Mountain West seeks to inspire and educate the community, it has also created a space where it can be inspired and learn from others. Mountain West service employee Eric Montgomery’s favorite part of working at Mountain West is the exposure to others who are passionate and dedicated to their own crafts and talents.

“Whether it’s those of use behind the bar who are responsible for service, or the professionals we contract with for entertainment,” he said in an email interview. “Everyone in our little community has so much talent to bring to the table and I feel like I have the space to learn and grow in my own strengths.”

Mountain West offers free tours of its cidery and $6 cider tastings. Tours can be scheduled in person or over the phone.

How three Salt Lake City women are fighting modern day gender inequalities with their social media platform, Fluence

Story by KATYA BENEDICT

A Salt Lake City-based company is combating gender inequalities with empowering social media posts. Nicole Wawro, Alba Fonseca, and Sinclaire Pierce are the three women behind the social media platform known as Fluence

In a technologically driven world, Fluence is discovering innovative approaches for practical solutions geared toward women.

The idea of women being at a disadvantage in society is a concept that many consider to be antiquated. But for Wawro, Fonseca, and Pierce, this was one of their founding principles — to educate and advocate for women who always felt as though they were falling behind, but couldn’t figure out why. So, after sitting down together and coming to the same realization, they decided to start a company designed specifically for women. 

Nicole Wawro sits in the Fluence podcast studio. Photo courtesy of Fluence.

The three shared similar experiences of gender-based workplace discrimination. This was a huge factor in what drove them into their research. “They fired all the women in my firm who were eligible to take maternity leave because they didn’t want to pay it out,” Wawro said in a FaceTime interview. This was what ignited her desire to stand up for women in the workplace. 

Fonseca shared instances in which she would bring up good ideas that were instantly dismissed. In later meetings a man would bring up the same idea and it would be labeled as “genius” and “perfect.” 

Pierce had always struggled with being interrupted, and it wasn’t until their research was conducted that she realized maybe there was a gender piece to it. “I always thought people interrupted because they were mean, not because the person talking was a woman,” Pierce said in a FaceTime interview. 

These new realizations led to a shared understanding — that until they made people recognize there is a problem, they couldn’t begin to solve it.

The company experienced immediate growth, quickly gaining the attention of thousands of people. “Part of it was timing, and part of it was strategic,” Pierce said. “We saw an opportunity with TikTok and we jumped on it.” They attribute a large majority of the growth to the fact that the stories they were sharing resonated with so many women, and TikTok was becoming an incredibly popular app for young women.

Fluence’s TikTok account has more than 308,000 followers.

The inequalities women face tend to remain swept under the rug, and for Fluence this seemed controversial. The entire purpose of the brand is to achieve more influence and affluence for women, which is why these inequalities are publicly recognized. “We believe that when women have more influence the world becomes a better place,” Wawro said.

Upon obtaining more recognition, Fluence received an overwhelming amount of responses from women who didn’t even understand that these were real issues. And since they didn’t understand they were real issues, they didn’t understand there were real solutions. 

Emma Watson, the actor and feminist advocate, said in her 2014 speech to the United Nations that what many young women fail to realize is that they are living in a society that for hundreds of years has been working against them.

This ideology has become a huge focal point for Fluence. “A lot of people don’t even know where to find information. Being a platform that challenges a perspective to see things differently is something so powerful,” Fonseca said.

The company produces content across Instagram, TikTok, and even music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. A recent video addressed a hand signal used to signify domestic violence in the home.

A main goal of the company is to create refreshing and accessible content that can reach a diverse group of people. Its success is based upon how many people Fluence is able to reach in terms of followers and views.

“Our audience is global — the U.S., Canada, Germany, the UK, Australia,” Pierce said when asked about its demographic. It strives to appeal and market itself toward young women. “If you can catch a 13-year-old before she experiences these horrible things … before she decides, ‘I’m not going into STEM’ — that’s so powerful,” Pierce said.

Fluence targets high school women, educating them on topics such as building confidence and fighting the stigma. From lower left: Katya Benedict, Isela Ayala, Jackie Helbert, and Karen Bruce.

Ultimately, the goal for this company is to change the world, and these three founders believe it has the power to do so. When women are lifted, when women become more active in their homes, communities, and businesses, the result is better for everyone, Pierce said. 

Alba Fonseca wears the Women’s Empowerment Pullover, which features the names Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Serena Williams, and Aretha Franklin. Photo courtesy of Fluence.

Fluence understands that to reach a global market, it has to keep in mind how differently women live in different parts of the globe. But the first step begins with education in order to help women feel more independent, valuable, and capable, no matter their situation.

“I want to empower women to do something about these issues. I want to enable them with very specific tools and resources and practical solutions to then make changes,” Pierce said. Fluence is a community, and the more people it is able to reach, the stronger this community can become. 

Alba Fonseca, left, and Sinclaire Pierce working behind the scenes for a TikTok video. Photo courtesy of Nicole Wawro.

The company does not define itself as the stereotypical feminists people most often picture. The image the owners want to portray does not include feelings of anger or distaste, but rather optimism. The brand intends to be fun, sarcastic, and lighthearted but based on high quality information.

“This company helps people feel validated and understood,” Fonseca said. Fluence centers around being a positive light for women everywhere, no matter what inequalities they might have experienced. So whether it be an informative Instagram story based on well-detailed research, or a goofy TikTok video mocking sexism in the workplace, Fluence is changing the lives of women everywhere.

Grief work: the process of loss against a backdrop of chaos

Story and gallery by ALEXIS PERNO

When you walk into the small front lobby of the Serenicare Funeral Home, the first thing you notice is the pleasant yellow walls. 

The second would be the dark wooden desks opposite each other. 

The third is a small, yet striking detail; next to the ubiquitous tissue box is a new fixture — a bottle of hand sanitizer. 

Francis Mortensen, funeral director of seven years, sports a surgical mask as he stands alone in the Serenicare Funeral Home’s small viewing room.

Francis Mortensen, Serenicare’s funeral director of seven years, is wearing a blue surgical mask as he speaks to a client on the phone, mid-interview. I pause the recording as he talks. When he finishes, I smile, thinking back to his earlier comments about the upcoming weekend.

“You weren’t kidding when you said a funeral director’s job never ends.”

Mortensen laughs in agreement, and we speak for 20 more minutes. 

The pandemic hasn’t changed Serenicare’s process all that much: when a death occurs, the home, located at 2281 S. West Temple, is notified by a hospice nurse or social worker. Then, the home contacts the family to learn their desires and arrange pickup of their loved one. A time to meet with the family is set, and plans for a service are put into motion. 

However, this face-to-face collection of information between Mortensen and a grieving family has been replaced with online forms, emails and phone calls. Precautions are taken that weren’t before. Instead of simply straightening up the meeting table for his next client, Mortensen spends time sanitizing before returning the ever-present tissue box and hand sanitizer to their respective places. 

“We do have to have different precautions,” he said. “When we are going to a facility, I used to never ask, ‘Do they have an infectious disease?’”

Early in the pandemic, Mortensen and his team would suit up in complete protection gear to even step foot into a room with a deceased person, regardless of if the person had died from COVID-19. Now, greater precautions are only taken if the deceased was positive at the time of death. 

“That comes down to not only a time thing and a stress thing but also a financial thing because of purchasing all that protective equipment,” he said. “It’s just going to be thrown away.”

Although the death rate in Utah has remained low compared to hard-hit places —  773 deaths as of Nov. 20 compared to New York City’s 19,517 — changes still have made themselves known.

With the sudden lack of in-person, open-casket viewings, embalming is not taking place. To comply with social distancing guidelines and church closures, funeral services have been replaced by graveside services at the cemetery. More families have begun to choose cremation, causing changes in the revenue stream. 

But for Serenicare, Zoom funerals have worked well. During one service with over 100 attendees, Mortensen was completely alone in Serenicare  — save for the casket. 

“All of the speakers did their talk from a different location, so [Zoom] worked very well in that aspect. It was different not having anybody here,” Mortensen said. 

Preschool teacher Shanna Beesley lost her mother, JoAnn Peirce, on June 15, 2020. While her mother’s death was unrelated to COVID-19, the family decided to limit the number of people who could attend the service to just Beesley’s siblings, their children and Peirce’s siblings.

As Beesley and her family met at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah, over 100 people attended virtually through a Zoom organized by the family.

“I think it’s been harder for sure to grieve but you know what, at least we have our family,” she said in a Zoom interview. “That’s No. 1. We had our family there, and so that was helpful.”

Despite some technical difficulties, Beesley said attendees were thankful to be present, albeit virtually. 

In Peirce’s obituary, it’s written that “family was her most priceless treasure.” When things become overwhelming for her daughter, family ensures perseverance as well. 

“I hold on to all the great things that [my mother] did for me and the impact she made here,” Beesley said. “The memories and love of family, supportive family, that’s what I hold on to.” 

These infographics were originally created Nov. 15. In the five days between creation and publication, case counts increased by 2,625.

The stark necessity of social distancing has made mourning into a greater challenge, according to Francis Mortensen. For some, it isn’t enough to be notified of a death. Seeing a loved one for the last time at a viewing can be a vital step for someone to work through their grieving process.  

“Death is the definite factor in all of our lives, and understanding that, some people try to deny it to the greatest extent,” Mortensen said. “Those tend to be those that have the greatest difficulty feeling [grief] in different aspects.”

Jessica Koth, the director of public relations for the National Funeral Directors Association, agrees that grief is a powerful force. 

“We often think that we can move on from a death and find closure, implying there is some endpoint where grief ends,” Koth said in an email interview. “However, as anyone who has lost someone they are close to, you never quite get over their death and your life is changed because they are no longer there.” 

While the Wisconsin-headquartered NFDA has worked with the federal government to plan for mass-fatality circumstances for over a decade, the pandemic has been the biggest challenge to date. Calls increased as the organization worked with federal agencies to provide personal protection equipment and information to funeral homes across the nation. 

Koth said she couldn’t imagine what the experience had been like, especially considering that the majority of funeral homes in the United States are small and family-operated. 

“Day in and day out, funeral directors everywhere continued to serve families with the same level of care and compassion they always exhibit; they never missed a step,” she said. “I have never been prouder to work at NFDA than I have these last few months.”

Funeral and memorial gatherings are often crucial parts of both the mourning and healing process. Grief becomes even more complicated now as individuals also experience non-death losses. 

Within Serenicare Funeral Home, a bottle of Germ-X hand
sanitizer sits next to a tissue box in an effort to slow the spread of
the coronavirus.

“Some may be concrete and easy to identify, such as financial or employment insecurity and lack of social interaction,” Koth said. “Other losses might be harder to recognize, like no longer having the comfort of our normal routines or freedom of movement in public spaces.”

As grief evolves with the times, one constant remains: the image of the hand sanitizer next to the tissue box. But no matter the environment, the process toward healing can — must — begin somewhere.

Utah business, Burgess Orchards, remains family-owned and -operated since its inception

Story by DEVIN RICHARD DAYLEY   

On a sunny, fall day the fallen leaves can be heard crunching underneath your boots. It is the busy time of year again, when peaches slowly go out of season and apples begin to ripen. As you look out across the land, you see nothing but shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown as the leaves shrivel and the trees prepare for winter.

For Clark Burgess — an orchardist, or grower as he calls it — this is a sight he looks forward to each year. As he takes in a breath, he thinks, “I was born to do this.”

Burgess Orchards, a family-owned business since 1914. All photos courtesy of Clark Burgess.

Being the only son in a family who owns and operates a thriving orchard in the Alpine, Utah, area, Burgess has made it his calling to take over the family business located 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. However, he enjoys and finds satisfaction in the work.

Burgess comes from a long line of farmers who previously established Burgess Orchards as a staple of Utah. Clark, the son of Van, who was the son of Edward, who was the son of George, is the fourth generation to grow fruit in the 100-year history.

Burgess was born in 1958, and for him, there was little question in his mind that he would learn what he could and take over the family business one day. “Nothing occurred to me as something else I would do with my life,” Burgess said in a Zoom interview. “Growing up as the only boy of five kids, I knew the future of our orchard depended on me.”

“I quite enjoyed farm life,” Burgess said. ”There was no reason for me to not want to stay on the orchard.”

He studied and went through high school in the area of Utah where he currently resides. He attended American Fork High School in American Fork, a suburb of Alpine. After high school, knowing that his future was at the orchard, he decided to forego his academic future in lieu of gaining the skills required to run a successful orchard.

“I knew that I would end up back here,” Burgess said referring to not attending college. “So I didn’t see any benefit to leaving.”

Apples have been grown since the orchard’s inception.

Clark’s wife, Dolores, is an integral part of the team that produces and harvests the fruit each year. It was her urging that led Burgess Orchards to grow peaches as well as apples. 

“I love peaches and have always loved peaches,” she said in a Zoom interview. “I was sure they would make a delightful addition to our crop.” Clark and Dolores knew each other for years leading up to their marriage, having grown up not 20 miles apart.

Peaches, in addition to apples, are grown on the orchard.

In the 108-year history of the orchard, 12 varieties of apples and eight varieties of peaches have been and are currently cultivated on 16 acres of land.

“Everyone knew about Burgess Orchards,” Dolores said. “We all knew that he (Clark) would take over one day, so it came as no surprise to me that we ended up living in the same house he grew up in.”

Clark and Dolores have four children together. 

“We don’t know, for sure, who will take over the family business in the future,” Dolores said. “We believe it’ll be our second — Matthew — but to be honest, we don’t really care. We know it’ll be in good hands no matter what.”

As the second of four children, Matthew (Matt) is on the path to take over as head grower for the business.

“I just grew up assuming that I would be in charge of continuing the tradition of running the business,” Matt said in a Zoom interview. He attended Utah Valley University (known as Utah Valley State College then), earning a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering.

Apples can be purchased during the winter months.

He describes the farm on which the fruit is grown as “self-contained,” so he hopes that he can keep working with computers while running the family business.

But Clark does not think his son will be able to hold another job.

“He will need to quit his other job to put his full attention toward the orchard,” Clark said. 

Matt said there was never any discussion on whether he would take over the family orchard. “I had been conditioned to know that it was just expected from me since I am the oldest male.”

He added, “The knowledge that the future of this beloved orchard will be in my hands one day is a heavy burden. It is a burden I feel like I can carry.”

The Red Door: Salt Lake City’s sleekest bar

Story and photos by MORGAN PARENT

Glasses clink together and again as they’re set on glass table tops throughout the room. The music is at the perfect volume for listening without having to shout to hold a conversation. You feel relaxed here.

This is the Red Door that faithful patrons have come to know and love.

IMG_6927Opened in October 2002, “the Red Door became the second non-smoking club in Salt Lake at a time when bars were private clubs which allowed smoking,” said Louise Hannig, the owner. “My vision was a comfortable warehouse vibe with a unique martini menu and liquor selection.”

Hannig’s vision continues to live on after 17 years. The Salt Lake City bar, located at 57 W. 200 South, specializes in craft martinis, cocktails, and ambiance. The red painted brick with subtle artwork, exposed lighting, and odd monkey in the corner give the spot an eccentric feeling, unlike any other in the city.

IMG_6926Getting the joint going was no small task. In the beginning, Hannig spent hours at the bar for eight months straight, working out the quirks and making sure it could run smoothly. Although preparing to open was occasionally challenging, the hard work and personality that went into the creation is evident.

The lighting was custom-made, the tables were handmade by a local artist, and Hannig and her friends painted the brick walls.

Down to the bartender name tags, the Red Door is a full experience. Though some say the styling of the name tags was a bold choice, “it actually happened as a happy accident,” Hannig said. “We had just opened the bar, but I hadn’t planned any name tags yet. A friend who was helping me said she had her actual missionary name tag with her, so she wore it the night we opened. We took the idea from there and I used a favorite line from my favorite show as a kid, “MASH,” and tweaked the wording.”

IMG_6929
The name tags read “Sister” or “Brother” then the name of the bartender, followed by “Church of the Emotionally Tired and Morally Bankrupt.” This play on the influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues in the design of the A-Frame sidewalk board in front of the bar.

IMG_6919Martyn Duniho, a University of Utah graduate student, is a Red Door regular. He’s been patronizing the establishment for a few years and considers the Vesper Martini his go-to mix. “This is by far my favorite place to get a drink,” Duniho said. “The staff are excellent at what they do, and the crowd is rarely too rowdy. Weekend nights can get a little crazy, but weekday nights are just perfect.”IMG_6920

Lynnae Larsen-Jones, manager of the establishment, said those who know Red Door believe in its great drinks and mature atmosphere. Alternately, those who aren’t familiar with the bar tend to think it may be too fancy for them, there is a dress code, or it’s only for old people.

About this reputation, Duniho said he “fully agrees. The atmosphere can’t be beat, but before visiting the first time I assumed it would be a snooty kind of place.” Now he can’t imagine going anywhere else.

The people who frequent the Red Door are certainly a spread of personalities. Larsen-Jones said the people have been the most interesting part of working at the bar over the last 16 years. “Especially the couples who come in for a few drinks then start fighting with each other and want the bartender to weigh in on the argument, tell them which one is right, or play therapist. But that kind of situation isn’t super common,” she said.

“Most of the guests coming in are generally pretty alright — just weird in their own ways,” said Larsen-Jones. No matter the attitude of the customer, Larsen-Jones’ philosophy of bartending is to “be nice no matter what and don’t ruin your own night. Also, don’t worry about tips. You don’t know what’s going on for other people.”

As diverse as the individuals drinking here are, the types of cocktails are equally varied. Hannig has seen bar trends change time and again over her nearly 30 years of bartending.

IMG_6930Vodka martinis and drinks such as the Cosmopolitan and sour apple martini were very popular when the Red Door opened. Bourbon and other classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned were in vogue next, around five to seven years ago.

Gin has been the preferred drink base recently, although it was rarely ordered in a martini or craft cocktail 15 years ago. Tequila and mezcal, liquors which are typically shot, seem to be next up in the ever-evolving cocktail mix craze.

Witness to these changing trends, Larsen-Jones has adapted to each new style. No single drink tops her list of favorite drinks to make. Rather, making something up on the spot provides her the opportunity to have fun and use her knowledge of how flavors mix to create something in line with the customer’s desires.

“I don’t know how she does it, but every drink Lynnae makes is amazing,” Duniho said. “I can ask her to include a couple specific ingredients then she does her thing and hands me something delicious.”

At the end of the day, owning the bar throughout the years has been worth the effort to Hannig: “Pouring what you love to do in every drink makes a bar successful.”

 

The startup of Simply Açaí at the University of Utah

Story and gallery by GRIFFIN BONJEAN

University of Utah student Seth Neelman, 23, has opened his first location for his company Simply Açaí in the Lassonde Studios building on campus. 

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he spent two years on a religious mission in Brasilia, Brazil, to help the community. 

While in Brazil, he met the friends who introduced him to açaí berries. “It was like the most amazing thing ever,” Neelman said, “and from then on out I was eating açaí like two to three times a week.” 

IMG_0828-compressed

Freshly made Simply Açaí Power Bowl.

After finding his love for açaí, he later joined a summer 2019 internship with Makai Fruits. It is a company that ships hand-picked açaí berries from the Amazon Forest to customers in the US. Through the internship, Neelman got to travel to Belem, Brazil, to check the açaí harvest and factory.

Neelman also met and helped support locals in Brazil by purchasing bracelets made from the açaí berry shells. He handed them out for free after opening in Lassonde on Aug. 19, 2019. 

Neelman believes that this internship taught him information that was used to help the start of Simply Açaí. He also credits Lassonde for giving him his entrepreneurial spirit because he lived there as a freshman student. 

Being a student at the U helped him gain the ability to connect with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and its food partner Chartwells Catering. Neelman wanted to stay on campus with Simply Açaí and felt that the food trailer in the Lassonde lobby would be a good place to start. 

In order to open, he had to hire employees. Neelman said, “First I started with a manager because I wanted someone that was familiar with the restaurant industry.” He wanted someone who would lead by example and enforce the rules involving cleanliness and health codes. Neelman interviewed the job candidates. He said many of the employees whom he found were references from other employees. Not only did he want to find good employees, but he wanted to create an experience where his employees could have fun and enjoy the work.

Employee Reid Lanigan feels that Neelman has succeeded in doing so. “I’ve loved it so far,” Lanigan said. “I have class after it on some days and class before it on some days so it works out well with my schedule.” 

Lanigan only works an average of three shifts a week with each of his shifts only lasting about three hours. He works Monday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday lunch shifts. His duties are to follow the health codes as he makes food that customers order from the menu and to serve it to them. He said the company encourages employees to “try to get the food out as fast as possible and try to make sure that the food is correct.”

The menu displayed on the red and white Lassonde trailer gives students a variety of different açaí bowl options. Each item on the menu contains the pureed frozen açaí palm fruit berries. Customers are also able to choose additional toppings like dark chocolate chips, goji berries, almond butter, Nutella, and many more. 

FullSizeRender-compressed 2

Employee Reid Lanigan adding the final ingredient into a customer’s açaí bowl.

An avocado toast menu is now a new addition to the menu items that are offered to add to the different flavors. Avocado toast is an example of how businesses have to make adjustments to change. Employee Grayson Goodyear has had to deal with business changes for the company. He said, “We’ve actually started to run out a lot mid week and I’ve had to do two grocery store runs for Seth [Neelman].” The employees of Simply Açaí are adjusting as the business makes its way through its early stages.

These changes contribute to the success of the startup of Simply Açaí, and the employees face these changes to help with company success. Goodyear believes that the bosses did well with hiring their employees. He thinks this is important. “Seth has done a really good job hiring just like friendly people and people that seem inviting to the customers, and I think that creates a lot of attention,” he said. 

Goodyear believes that this attention to the relationships that are built between the friendly employees and customers contribute greatly to the success of the business. 

When it comes to the success of the business, customers returning is one of the ways to measure Simply Açaí’s success. “It started off a little slow, but after the first couple of weeks it picked up,” employee Reid Lanigan said about his first few shifts after opening. “The longer it’s been open, the more word has definitely spread.” He believes that the company continues to grow as it gets further and further away from its opening day.

As a student entrepreneur, Neelman feels that he is able to gain knowledge in the classroom that he can apply to his business. In a follow-up FaceTime interview he said, “It is kind of cool now that I’m in a lot of my management and leadership classes, like that make sense or that would work in my situation.” Neelman has started his journey toward success as a college student entrepreneur.

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Park City locals discuss Epic and Icon Passes’ impact on the community

Story and photographs by ASHLEIGH THOMAS

Vail’s Epic Pass and Altera’s Icon Pass have changed and shaped the landscape of the modern-day ski culture and business. Park City, Utah, is growing and changing at a rapid rate due to the passes. They invite skiers and snowboarders all over the world to buy a single ski pass that allows them to ski at multiple ski resorts.

Utah locals must prepare and consider the new changes to the Utah ski industry as the upcoming season approaches.

Park City is home to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Mountain Resort, two culturally rich and unique ski areas that many people call home. These passes are altering the “Park City ski culture” as we know it, in part because the ski industry has been globalized on a huge scale. These passes give access to resorts all over the world including in Australia, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. But at this scale what are the lasting effects on small ski towns like Park City and the Park City way of life? Are these passes changing the industry for the better or for worse?

Many locals have described their feelings about the Icon and Epic Passes’ impact on Park City as a mix of good and bad.

Kathy Burke, the buyer for Cole Sport, described her feelings in an email interview about whether the Icon and Epic pass are beneficial to Park City or not. “I have mixed feelings about this. Being in retail, I am in favor of controlled growth and commerce. The town has grown and has more job opportunities for jobs.” However, she added, “the impact on traffic and the carbon footprint is having an impact on this town.”

Another Park City local, Renee Godin, PSIA ski instructor and level 300 ski coach USSA, discussed her experience with the growth. Godin said in an email interview that she has noticed the town has become busier. She also has experienced the impact of increased tourism with crowded restaurants, scarce parking spots, and slower commutes. “These are problems that locals find to be annoying, but more tourists for the local business is what it’s all about, it is what a small town thrives on. Tourist dollars, and that’s what people sometimes forget.”

Park City is known all over the world for being a unique ski town with something for everyone to enjoy and experience. Park City’s charm and ski culture is what made many Park City locals want to lay down roots and live there. “What brought me to Park City was the idea of being able to jump on a bus and ski 3 different ski areas, in one town making a European experience in the middle of the USA!” Godin said.

Park City’s Historic Main Street is one of the main attractions of Park City. Burke said Main Street is changing quickly due to the fact national corporate retail chains are seeing incentives to open their shops where locally-owned business have existed for years.

“My favorite characteristic is the community spirit of Park City and its heritage to its mining history,” Burke said, “specifically characterized through the historic commitment to preserving Main Street and Old Town. I think the Epic and Icon transition is bringing a commercial element to Main Street with its national chain stores. The growth in mono brand stores and national chains diminished the charm and uniqueness of specialty retail and character and integrity of Main Street.”

The economic development and change in the community’s character aren’t the only things that are evolving from the Icon and Epic Passes. The “on the hill” experience is also changing, said Chuck English, a former mountain manager at Deer Valley. He added that a couple of years ago locals could ski on wide open runs on the weekdays and sometimes even on the weekends. But that is no longer a reality. The number of visitors on the hill has greatly increased, creating longer lines, crowded runs, and busy lodges.

“The Icon has definitely changed DV (Deer Valley). Their stated intention of limiting skiers to the maintain quality experiences has gone by the wayside. They are not able to limit Icon pass holders even though they encourage them to make reservations,” English said in an email interview.

The Icon and Epic Passes may be attractive to some and less attractive to others. When asked about the expense of skiing and the experience as a whole, English added, “To a person who is already a skier the passes make it more affordable. Season pass prices were getting very expensive and I feel like some people might have started to drop out based on cost.” He thinks that there is less of an incentive and focus for new skiers to participate or buy a season pass. “This is a serious problem for the industry,” he said. This is an aspect that will change ski culture in the long term and is something to consider for new skiers and snowboarders.

With all things considered the Epic and Icon pass are creating an evolved modern ski and snowboard experience. They are a force to be reckoned with and will have a lasting impact on the industry and ski culture in Park City.

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Utah musicians discuss struggles for work and appreciation from residents

Story and illustrations by NATALIE ZULLO

Upon graduating from college, professional musicians look toward their careers with hope. But outside of the campus, they worry about their careers due to the lack of professional opportunities available.

Hallie Mosteller, a violin teacher in the Sandy, Utah, area and member of the Orchestra at Temple Square said, “I maybe thought I would have a little more option. But I have found that I’ve had a lot of opportunities that I never thought I would have, like the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Joanne Andrus, owner of Andrus Music, agrees that there are a lot of opportunities in Utah for music. She said, “I think the thing that’s great about living in Utah is that that there are a lot of avenues, a lot of venues, that you can use to make money.”

But opportunities to share music on the professional level do not come to everyone. “I think if you have a talent level, there is a lot of work out there,” Andrus added. “But you have to be the best of the best to have those kinds of opportunities.”

Those musicians who are not “the best of the best” worry about their financial future.

In a previous interview, Kasia Sokol-Borup, assistant violin professor and director of the String Preparatory Division of the University of Utah’s School of Music, said, “When people think that what we do is just this constant inspired magical moment, they feel that we should feel lucky when we’re asked to do that in front of other people.”

Mosteller, violinist in the Orchestra at Temple Square, said she gets asked to do a lot of performances for free. “Especially in Utah, you get asked to do a lot of church things like performing in church. It definitely takes a lot of work to be able to make a living performing. It’s tough. I’m a little worried about it.”

To help make ends meet, many musicians have turned to teaching children and owning their own studios. But they fear that their rates are an issue for parents.

“I do feel like music is highly valued and the arts are very import to our culture,” Andrus said. “But I do feel like people don’t like to spend a ton of money.” Andrus charges $25 per private lesson but has had experiences with parents who refuse to pay her rates.

Mosteller, who is both performing and teaching, said she worries about her future as a teacher. “I feel like you hit a brick wall teaching. I probably would need to get another job.”

Sarah Affleck, Utah mother of six, feels differently about the rates musicians offer. She said in reference to hiring private music instructors for her children, “Price was never an issue for us because we were happy to invest in that for our children. I would pay their prices because I know how genius they are.” No matter how high the price of the musician, Affleck said she feels that music is a long-term investment for her children. It is a skill that can be taken with them throughout their lives no matter their age.

Affleck’s children have been privately taught piano, guitar, voice, cello and composition from instructors around the Salt Lake Valley. When asked if Affleck hired an instructor based on a music degree and skill, she replied, “Their background in music education was less important to me. What was important to me with the instructor was how well they interacted with children. That was probably the number one over degrees or skill.”

Mosteller has felt in her performing career that her degree is not as important to employers as her skill and experience. She said, “I feel like experience is definitely more valued, like with the Orchestra at Temple Square.”

Musicians tend to take up other musical careers to help with finances giving private lessons, including teaching the arts in school orchestras, choirs and bands. But musicians are seeing the loss of music in the education system.

Sokol-Borup said, “I think the fact that people ask for so much music and [desire] it shows that music actually is a basic human need, which when you look at the way our education works, it’s as if it wasn’t.”

In reference to the current school system, Andrus said, “It’s not just STEM it should be STEAM. It shouldn’t just be science, technology, engineering and math. We need to throw the arts in there. Because that’s what makes our children people. That is what humanizes all of us is the arts.”

Leslie Henire, concert mistress of Sinfonia Salt Lake, also has noticed the lack of arts in the lives of children. “It’s necessary for us as humans to have beauty and art and culture in our lives. I just don’t see any other way. It’s a necessity and it’s becoming less and less,” she said.

Affleck feels strongly about music in the lives of children. She wants her own kids to be involved in music “for their own self-expression and creativity. Music is a powerful brain tool.” She added, “It can be used for education. It stimulates the brain.”

For many Utah musicians and parents, music is crucial in school curriculums and individual lives. Andrus said it is also a crucial part of humanity.

“That creative part of life gives a huge reason to get out of bed every day and if we lose that, we lose part of our culture, part of our humanity and we lose all the benefits that come to our brains by creating and being more than just robots,” Andrus said. “We have things that we can accomplish that are so much bigger if we include the arts in our curriculum for our kids and in our lives as adults.”

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Salt Lake City’s juicing scene is on the rise

Story and gallery by LAUREN HINKLEY

Nutritious eateries and shops seem to be on every corner in Salt Lake City, an indication that the community is becoming more health-conscious by the minute.

One of the most powerful trends of this healthy-dining movement is cold-pressed juice bars.

This form of juicing involves a hydraulic press that extracts juices from fruits and vegetables. Consumers often choose these products based on their desired mental or physical health benefits. These benefits can be determined by the ingredients included in each individual batch.

In Salt Lake City, juiceries including Vive Juicery, Just Organic Juice, and Seasons Juice Bar and Cafe are among some of the companies that are leading Utah toward better health with their nutrient-dense cold-pressed beverages.

Upon entering Vive Juicery, located at 1597 S. 1100 East, customers are greeted and welcomed into a cozy, chic atmosphere. With couch seating, ambient music, and a fun and friendly counter staff, this store is an inviting space for anyone and everyone looking to explore and be educated on the health benefits of cold-pressed juice. This is the exact vibe Brittany Shimmin, founder and CEO, had in mind when she created Vive Juicery in 2013.

“We’ve really tailored the experience to be inclusive of everyone,” Shimmin says.

Shimmin appreciates the wide variety of clientele she sees engaging with and supporting Vive’s brand and product. Even those who are just entering the world of nutrition and healthy living can find Vive to be the perfect place to start.

Sitting conveniently between two major college campuses of Salt Lake City, the juicery has become a hot spot for students of The University of Utah and Westminster College.

Many students are now turning to cold-pressed juices during the stresses of midterms and finals week. “Hearing what drinking juice has done for them opposed to a Red Bull has been really cool,” says Shimmin, reflecting on this new trend.

At the forefront of the local juice scene, Vive contributes even more to the community than just its state-of-the-art products. By sourcing its produce from local farms and gardens whenever possible, Vive is making a positive impact on the economy and sustainability of Utah.

Shimmin and the Vive team are passionate about forming relationships with the farmers who grow their ingredients. “When you can talk to the person that grew your food, you in turn will end up appreciating it more,” she says.

Just a few blocks away at 2030 S. 900 East sits another local juice bar, Just Organic Juice, the creation of cancer survivor, Lisa Graham.

When Graham was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27, she opted out of chemotherapy and turned to nutrition to help nurture her back to health. After implementing juice into her diet, she recalls immediately seeing the benefits. She has been cancer free ever since.

Graham stated that the impacts cold-pressed juice had on her own health inspired her to start Just Organic Juice where she could show the rest of the community just how beneficial juicing can be.

“We see a lot of customers with cancer and other diseases,” Graham says. She also mentions that she has noticed a growing awareness in the importance of nutrition across the medical field.

Graham says she believes this new importance doctors are placing on nutrition has contributed to the growing popularity in her business. “More doctors are advising patients to change their diets,” she says.

With juiceries popping up all across Salt Lake City, Just Organic Juice continues to stand out from the rest by serving products that contain only 100 percent organic ingredients.

The most popular juice on the menu at Just Organic Juice is the “Giving Green.” “I could go on and on,” Graham admits as she raves about the product’s health benefits. “You couldn’t even eat that many vitamins and nutrients in a day.”

Another up-and-coming juice spot is Seasons Juice Bar. Seasons is located in Midvale at 7630 Union Park Ave. and is proudly owned and run by juice enthusiast Bobby Movarid.

When Movarid moved from Santa Monica, California, to Salt Lake City, he was driven to show Utah what cutting-edge high-quality health food and beverage really is.

Movarid says he saw what was missing around town and knew he would be the one to introduce truly good cold-pressed juices and acai to the community. That’s when he started Seasons Juice Bar and Cafe.

Movarid has used his entrepreneurial mind to curate a delicious and nutritious menu of cold-pressed juices. He says he is eager to encourage new customers to sample them.

The “Black Lemonade” remains one of the most popular juices at Seasons. This pitch-black beverage is a little intimidating at first glance but has a pleasant flavor of lemon and agave. The key ingredient is activated charcoal, a detoxifying ingredient, which is explained in the company’s juice guides and pamphlets.

Movarid has put care and attention into every aspect of the Seasons experience, from the biodegradable utensils to the complimentary water. “Our water is alkalized and purified using reverse osmosis,” he explains.

Seasons in the product of Movarid’s extensive hard work. “You gotta hustle!” he exclaims.

While the juicing scene is already flourishing, there’s no doubt it’s still growing every day. Brittany Shimmin, Lisa Graham, and Bobby Movarid are among some of the pioneers of a movement toward a healthier Utah. Through their craft, they are inspiring the community of Salt Lake City to prioritize wellness, one juice at a time.

Tayler Lacey talks new EP and journey to being a musician

Story and gallery by JENNA S. O’DELL

Tayler Lacey performed at The Underground at 833 Main St. in Salt Lake City on a cold March night. It is an industrial-looking building down a narrow alley. The door is marked only by band stickers. Inside, the walls are plastered with stickers and graffiti. There are small rooms that line a long dark hallway that can can be rented out to bands for practicing and performances.

It was $5 to get in this atypical venue. The room is lit with fluorescent bulbs. You can hear the sounds of musicians practicing in other rooms and the performance was unplugged.

Tayler Lacey, 22, is a Utah native who currently resides in South Jordan. At 13 he started guitar lessons. Lacey plays several instruments and admits his selection of genre influenced his choice in the ones he wanted to play.

He describes his genre as folk but credits many artists including Jack Johnson for influencing his love for acoustic music. Shakey Graves inspired him to be a “one-man band.” He enjoys the simplicity and storytelling of Bob Dylan’s lyrics and said “lyrically, Paul Simon is a genius.” 

Lacey describes writing a song as a mindset, not a mood. “I have to be by myself because it’s hard to get other people on the same wavelength.” 

Performing is Lacey’s favorite part about being a musician. His hope is to make an impact on those he’s performing for, and that they can connect with his music. With all the live performing he does, the performance anxiety he initially felt transitioned to anticipation and excitement.

“I would tell my younger self to not get discouraged and to stop comparing yourself to others,” he said. “Do it because you love it not because you want to get famous.”

During his March performance, there was a lot of interaction with the crowd which consisted of friends and local music enthusiasts. One admitted this was her first time going to the Underground and jokingly said, “I’m going to get murdered going to this place.” Lacey’s set consisted of some songs from his previous albums and from his new EP. His song “Ghosts” was a crowd favorite, everyone was singing along.

He said that this EP is different than everything else that he has out. “I think it was a very transitional time in my life. I started doing solo music again after breaking up with my guitar player. I was also moving from place to place and going through transition in relationships. I chose the name “Street Corners” because of the love of busking and hearing street performers play but also because through every change I feel Salt Lake is my home and the street corners never change.”

Tayler Lacey’s new EP “Street Corners” is available to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Bandcamp. If you would like to see Lacey perform, he will be touring the Pacific Northwest Summer 2019.

Utahns finding success for personal brands and business is largely thanks to their social media presence

Story and gallery by ISABELLE CURRAN

Utah and social media. How are these two big entities related?

For the past four years, social media has become less of a memory sharing platform, and more of a business. Almost anywhere you look, there are people trying to make a brand off of themselves or otherwise enhance their growing businesses.

This phenomenon is especially apparent in Utah. Many Utahns have strong social media followings in the hundreds of thousands.

While social media might be newer and has helped more people gain success and more exposure, many top social media people in Utah started with their own blogs. Themes of such profiles and blogs range from health and wellness to fashion, art, and lifestyle.

Social media platforms are the new hub of bloggers, specifically Instagram. Instagram first came on the market in October 2010, its original purpose being a streamlined photo sharing and editing site.

Nowadays, Instagram is a balance of real-life content and advertisements, which has proved to be the secret to success. Mixing the right amount of business and personal attributes bode well with internet communities.  

One San Diego State University student, Karis Bailey, 19, who is very outwardly vocal about the Utah social media scene, says, “Many accounts I follow of Utahns are inspiring and they make me want to go and experience what they are experiencing.”

Bailey has been active on social media, specifically Instagram, for close to seven years. Around two years ago she noticed that some of the people she follows, whom she didn’t know personally, were mostly from Utah.

“These people make their followers feel almost like family members,” Bailey says. “They are all very humble and grounded individuals.”

Bailey explains that she feels as though most of the Utah-based people that she follows create authentic content that engages followers into their lives.

Some of the Instagram accounts she shared are Cara Loren (@caraloren), The Bucket List Family (@thebucketlistfamily), and The Devines (@haileydevine, @bradleydevine, @somewheredevine).

For businesses, is it wise to utilize Instagram? Even newer than the concept of social media personalities is that of making your social media profile into a business. Now, posting and reviewing products on a profile can turn a profit.

The balance of original and personal content with ads and promotions is a tricky one.

“It is all right when they genuinely like the product they are advertising but I think there is a limit to what and how much you advertise something,” Bailey says. “Pushing things on to followers is unethical but I see nothing wrong with suggesting.”

Social media in Utah serves as a large community for people to connect and share ideas with each other. A popular social media Utahn who can attest to this is Renata Stone.

Although she is a newer Utah resident, her Instagram and company success is constantly influenced and inspired by her surroundings. With over 21,000 followers, her Instagram (@renatastone) is the connection between her business, her personal images, and her followers.

After Stone and her husband bought a house together, she started making macramé pieces to decorate their house.

To transform her creative hobby into a business, Stone utilizes her website and Instagram to share her inspiration, existing creations, and allow for commission requests.

In an email interview, Stone says, “Being authentic and real is the only thing that matters.”

Providing an accurate visual representation of one’s life is an essential way to gain favor with followers and promoting loyalty.

Stone says she does not consider herself a typical Utah social media personality, but recognizes that her Instagram very much follows a theme, something very common in not only successful Instagram pages in general, but Utahn Instagram pages especially.

“I think my Instagram account is as much about me as a human (or at least what I choose to expose to the outside world) as it is about my work. I think as an artist the personal and professional go hand-in-hand —it’s almost like you are your brand,” Stone writes.

Social media platforms are not only central to personal profiles but also to enhance businesses, as Stone noted. Normal Ice Cream is a food truck that is standing its ground among retail storefronts at Trolley Square, using Instagram to do so.

The Normal Ice Cream website and Instagram profile (@normal.club) give a comprehensive overview of the products as well as the story behind it all.

Owner Alexa Norlin, who has been a pastry chef for eight years, decided the ice cream business was more her speed after working in popular Salt Lake restaurants such as The Rose Establishment, Current Fish & Oyster, Fresco Italian Cafe, Cafe Trio Downtown, Cafe Trio Cottonwood, and Faustina and Niche.

She opened the Normal Ice Cream truck and became operational in June 2017. Later the truck took up residence in Trolley Square starting in January 2018 and has been there ever since.  

Norlin praises Instagram saying, “I truly think that I would be out of business without Instagram.”

The Normal Ice Cream truck is an example of good social media marketing. The Normal team utilizes its profile to promote the business by posting photos of products, updating hours, sharing, and serving as a place to allow customers to connect with the business.

Norlin says that, “Instagram has allowed a really natural way to engage with customers on a seemingly one-to-one basis.”

She has noticed the social media Utah phenomenon, but her social media involvement is mostly consumed by being a business profile only, not a personal journal. Still, Norlin credits her business’ success largely thanks to a clear and consistent social media presence.

Utah will continue to be the house a substantial amount of popular social media figures. For those who have a business and those who wish to share their lives online, Instagram seems to be the desired platform.

Looking into the future, there is no limit to how influential social media platforms can be to people’s personal brands and the business they create.


The most sustainable and ethical diet for people and the planet

Story and photo gallery by CAMILLE AGLAURE

With so much talk concerning diet in the media, many people find it difficult to know what to eat. What foods are ethically sourced and grown? What foods truly promote human health? What foods support the health of the planet? These are all questions that are fogging up the minds of so many people.  

One thing that Thunder Jalili, Ph.D., and a professor of nutrition and integrative physiology, and Anne Pesek Taylor, registered dietitian, at the University of Utah can both agree on is that, generally speaking, a healthier plate is one with more plants and less overly processed foods and added sugar. 

Pesek Taylor said in an email interview that balanced nutrition needs to account for individual food preferences, lifestyle factors, and include a variety of food groups so it can be maintained long-term. Pesek Taylor referred to the University of Utah’s Healthy Eating Plate, an adaptation of the government’s MyPlate created in 2011, as a useful guide to good health.

What does this mean for meat and dairy, though?

Studies like the popular health book “The China Study” and documentaries like “What the Health” and “Cowspiracy”detail the harmful effects to humans and the environment that come with the consumption of animal-based foods. Jalili said he believes that the absolute exclusion of animal-based foods is not necessarily vital. However, regarding meat, “a little still means a little,” he said. 

Jalili said the maximum recommended intake of red meat is 100 grams per day while the maximum for processed meat is 50 grams. “Once a day is still a lot,” he said, and as far as human health is concerned, many studies indicate that there is, in fact, a decrease in mortality rate among those who maintain a vegan and vegetarian diet. When considering environmental health, there is slightly more to be taken into account when writing out your grocery list.

As more media attention surrounds the question of climate change versus animal agriculture, many organizations and communities are reevaluating the importance of animal-based foods, particularly meat, in a standard, western diet. 

“Raising cows is an environmental disaster,” Jalili said. With animal agriculture accounting for 91 percent of rainforest deforestation, according to The World Bank, and more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, according to the United Nations, Jalili said he believes that it is time for groups of people, like nutritionists, to not focus on health alone, but the bigger picture. “It’s just responsible,” he said. 

So, is a universal vegan diet the solution?

In the opinion of Christy Clay, Ph.D., an associate professor at Westminster College who teaches courses on subjects including biology, ecology, and environmental studies, “a homogenous, universal diet is exactly what has caused so many problems in our current food system.”

Clay said she believes that the current food system has created a monster of unequal distribution of foods, the elimination of native crops and variation, and potentially the loss of culture and professions. 

“We’re not understanding the limitations and values of local resources,” Clay said, as she explained the harms in seeking mainstream foods that do not naturally occur locally. Clay used the example of quinoa, a grain that grows in the Andes that is now exported to Western countries more than it is provided for locals who have depended on the grain in their diets for centuries. To be truly sustainable and ethical, Clay maintained that “diets should be bio-regional.”

For Clay, the ethical question of which foods to eat is not as simple as drastically lowering our consumption of meat. Rather, “there’s a whole dismantling of a current food system that needs to happen,” Clay said as she painted a picture of just how disrupted our way of eating has become. 

So, where do we begin?

Clay suggested that the first action to take is having the conversation about “how broken our food system is.” This consists of poor income for those in the agriculture industry, the cost and precarious nature of leasing land to farmers, a decline in community gardens, and loss of interest in crops that have fallen out of the mainstream.

“What does it look like to say we actually value this profession?” wondered Clay as she additionally suggested encouraging communities to be a space for local gardening. Already, there are a number of organizations working to do just that, including Green Urban Lunch Box, which goes from school to school, educating children on the value of local gardening while furthermore educating local farmers. 

Making a difference in your community requires collective action to encourage local agriculture and farming. Clay suggested gardening out of your own backyard. If you live in an apartment complex, ask your landlord or property owner about creating a roof garden. Clay also suggested engaging with other community gardens and protecting land to be used for local farming. Getting back in touch with a farm-to-table way of eating is imperative for a sustainable diet. Rekindling a healthy and community-based relationship with food is the best way for individuals to eat ethically, healthily, and in an environmentally friendly way. 

Comics create common ground in Salt Lake City

Story and photo gallery by GREG HOUSE

It’s Wednesday and for those in the know, that means new editions of their favorite comic books are hitting the shelves at Black Cat Comics, located at 2261 Highland Drive in Salt Lake City.

The walls of Black Cat Comics are brightly colored, seeming to come from the comics that line its shelves. Customers walk in and out throughout the day and Greg Gage — the man behind the operation — greets many of them by name, often with a prearranged stack of new arrivals set aside for the customer to purchase.

Gage grew up reading comic books, but gradually stopped as he got older.

“I kind of got back into them on a whim,” he said. “I picked up a couple of books I used to read and was like ‘God, this is cool,’ and after that, it was over.”

Gage reintroduced himself to comics as a young adult and he saw that the stories being told were not just the shallow, fun superhero romps he remembers from his childhood.

“There’s some real, honest-to-God literature in here,” he said. “It’s not just people jumping around like idiots punching people. There’s more to this than I thought.”

When he decided to open his own comic book store in 2004, he knew that creating a welcoming environment for his customers and hiring employees who understood that were both key ingredients for this business, which celebrated 15 years in business in May 2019.

With such a wide selection to choose from, there are many reasons why fans like Kyle Jackson keep reading comic books.

“I like reading a lot of different titles that show characters who are something to aspire to,” he said. “Not that I think I can learn to have superpowers, but the people underneath the masks are what is great to me.”

Taylor Hoffman used to shop at a different comic book store. But, after feeling like her reading choices were being judged by some of the employees, she started shopping at Black Cat Comics. She said she found the sense of community she was looking for.

“I immediately felt so much better, like I had a place to go,” she said. “After I graduated college, I kept coming by until Greg hired me and started paying me to stick around and talk about comics.”

As an employee at Black Cat Comics for more than five years, Hoffman tries to make sure that even younger readers feel like equal members of the community.

“I just love picking out things for little kids,” she said. “Especially younger girls because I wish I had that when I was a kid.”

Over the years, Hoffman has seen some of the store’s regular customers come in with their newborn babies and as those babies grow up she starts to recommend comics for them as well as their parents.

The all-ages section of Black Cat Comics is home to books featuring characters from Saturday morning cartoons as well as child-friendly versions of heroes who might otherwise be considered too violent.

“This is my baby,” she said, motioning to the all-ages section of the store. “I try to read all of these so I know how to talk to the kids who come in.”

It isn’t hard to see why a child would enjoy a weekly trip to the comic book store and Hoffman thinks comics can be an educational tool for them as well.

“Comics are such a great medium for younger kids to get into the habit of reading because there’s the picture books without as many words and then they graduate into [books with] more speech bubbles,” she said.

However, comic books are not just a children’s medium any more. A wide variety of heroes means there is a character for everyone, especially with the bigger publishers like Marvel Comics, who are pushing for more diversity in their mainstream lineup of characters.

Whether it is a young woman of color taking over the mantel of Ironman, now Ironheart, or a revelation that the X-Men team member known as Iceman has come out of the closet as a gay man, diversity plays an increasingly important role in today’s comic book landscape.

Sina Grace, who wrote the now concluded Iceman series for Marvel said on a public Instagram story post about writing inclusive stories, “To my knowledge, no publisher puts something out simply cuz it’s LGBTQ friendly,” he wrote. “Even Iceman, the reasoning was: there’s a story to be told about a man dealing with a secret he’s kept for 10+ years, not THAT he’s gay.”

When Gage first opened his store, he wanted to create a place where everyone can feel welcomed, regardless of their identity or background.

“Inclusivity makes more people feel more welcome in this space,” Gage said, “and that’s what I want, both from a business standpoint and a community standpoint.”

Instagram taking the advertising world by storm

Story and gallery by RILEY SPEAR

Instagram is the largest social media and advertising platform in the world and it continues to grow its users daily by the thousands. Organizations and businesses have taken advantage of the Instagram platform to advertise their products, target their audiences and create awareness for their cause, all for free.

Salt Lake City is a hub for startup companies that don’t have the funds in their marketing departments to pay for advertisements.

Individuals from three local companies, The Hut Group, Beauty Industry, and STEM, have worked closely with Instagram, and have accepted the large role it plays in their marketing techniques.

Beauty Industry specializes in hair, lashes and fashion. Paige Johnson is a member of the social media team who works with Instagram to promote a product.

She uses Instagram analytics to track following, and gauge when good times are to post in order receive the most engagement.

“Marketing is always changing, and shifting. With present digital age, social media is most of what marketing entails,” Johnson said.

Beauty Industry mainly targets young women because they are the majority of the company’s customers, which is ideal for Instagram because according to OMNICORE 59 percent of its users are individuals in the age groups of 19-29.

Johnson said Beauty Industry’s main objective through the Instagram account is to make customers feel as if they are a part of their community. Beauty Industry sticks to its content and theme to best emphasize its products in the market.

“Working in this industry I have become aware of others’ marketing techniques, whether it be competitors or my own time on Instagram. I often find myself taking bits of other techniques, and forming it to ours,” Johnson said.

Beauty Industry has tried to focus on what the big marketing brands are doing, and then tailor it to the company’s own theme. The social media world is extremely competitive, and it’s crucial to notice the likes, comments and following ratio in order to receive the most positive feedback and response.

Beauty Industry is a company that is familiar with the positive impacts Instagram can make. There are very few restrictions, no wrong outlook and is more about finding a strategy that works well with your company.

“Customer service is a big thing specifically on Instagram, because a lot of people currently if they have a complaint or question, it is a lot easier to do this through messages. We try to really be interactive with our following, and our customers who reach out to us on these platforms,” Johnson said.

Instagram is Beauty Industry’s main tool to advertise because it has the highest success rate in selling their products.

Instagram has the ability to capture so many eyes, and create global awareness. STEM, a program that targets schools in the Salt Lake City district, does just this.

Molly Vroom helps run, and plan their social media campaigns in order to educate, and promote STEM research.

“There isn’t much competition in this field of work. It’s more about receiving attention that could possibly lead to funding,” Vroom said.

In order to achieve this STEM uses demonstration videos giving a more hands on approach to the followers. “Instagram gives the ability to educate, and give knowledge, and that is another one of our main goals,” Vroom said.

STEM uses several social media platforms, but targets millennials through Instagram because they are the individuals who use it the most.

The world is constantly changing and growing, adapting to new trends of life. In order to be impactful on Instagram it’s crucial to put out content that ignites your target audience.

The Hut Group, a global company centered around health, beauty and fitness, sometimes can spend up to a month planning a post. This organization opened a small office in Salt Lake City and will grow in the years come.

Jasmyne Reynolds, a manager for their acquisition companies’ social accounts, works daily with Instagram.

Her days are spent brainstorming concepts, working with photographers and videographers in their creative studio, and collaborating with the content director and Search Engine Optimization managers.

Every one of The Hut Group’s Instagram posts is extremely evaluated, and calculated before posting. “Working with Instagram helps us achieve our goal of reaching consumers and getting them to click over to our online platform and ultimately drive purchases,” Reynolds said.

As the social media account manager, Reynolds also spends hours working with other brands doing Q and A’s, giveaways and questionnaires in order to bring in more followers, and gain positive feedback.

Reynolds believes Instagram is a platform that has allowed businesses to create a personal connection with consumers.

“It’s important now more than ever to showcase products as a part of a consumer’s life,” Reynolds said.

Instagram marketing is used in an assortment of aspects, whether it is to bring awareness of a cause, or to advertise and sell products. It has drastically changed the game from billboards and TV commercials to a free platform being used by billions. Instagram is the new outlet for inspiration.

Come support esports at the University of Utah

Story and gallery by HOLLIS LEJA

Esports and video games in general are starting to become a bigger part of our culture. In a 2018 report by the Entertainment Software Association, 60 percent of Americans play video games daily, and in 2017 Americans spent over $29 billion on video games. The report also said “56% of the most frequent gamers play multiplayer games.”

The University of Utah is one of the first universities in the nation to have a college esports team. This is something to be excited about because it is likely you may be a video game fan too. Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) is the name of the department leading this change and it has created the first varsity esports team in the U’s conference.

The university’s EAE program is one of the top programs in the world for video game development. It is rated no. 3 in the nation for its undergraduate and graduate programs and has published over 100 student-made video games. The U’s esports team was the first varsity esports team in the U.S. and currently offers this unique experience across four different game titles: “Rocket League,” “Hearthstone,” “Overwatch,” and “League of Legends.”

“League of Legends” is one of the most watched third-person Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games in the world. Two teams of five players battle champions with various roles and abilities to be the first to destroy the other team’s nexus — a structure that is well-defended in the middle of each team’s base.

“League of Legends” was the first game to become part of this program back in 2017 and it boasts one of the largest followings in the esports industry. According to Riot Games, the creator of “League of Legends,” over 80 million people tuned in to watch the World Championship in 2017 and Riot expects that number to only continue growing. The 2018 World Championship concluded at the end of October and was hosted by South Korea. North America, represented by the U.S. team Cloud 9, took fourth. This is the first time an American team has placed in the top-4 since 2012 during the first Worlds Championship.

Riot sees the potential in esports just like the University of Utah does. Riot said it has over 500 university League of Legends Clubs on campuses across the U.S. For the 2019 college season Riot will be offering scholarships to both players and staff of the teams that compete. The 2019 collegiate season will start Jan. 15, just in time for spring semester.

In spring 2018, the University of Utah League of Legends Team was in the top spot for the collegiate tournaments played. AJ Dimmic, the esports director at the U, said the team was able to get over 300,000 views on Twitch last season and created over 350 hours of content. Dimmic is working hard to help the team and program continue to grow while creating a place where fans of gaming can come watch and support some of the university’s best players.

Kenny Green works as game studio relations for the University’s EAE program and volunteers his time as the head coach for the League of Legends Team on campus. He is also a student pursuing his master’s degree in game production. He’s been playing “League of Legends” since it came out on beta for PC in 2009.

Green said he tries to instill a “culture of being a family” with his players. The team works on building trust with one another and practices up to 20 hours a week, helping each other improve at the game as they prepare for the 2019 season.

The U currently has 11 students on scholarship for the League of Legends team, each pursuing different degrees varying from organic chemistry to pre-med. Green said his players are just like any other student-athlete on campus and are held to the same standards. Students in the program must be enrolled as full-time students, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and progress through 20 percent of their degree with each season.

Like most of the players and coaches in the program at the U, Green is very passionate about his role with the team and video games in general. He said some of the biggest challenges they face right now are space and budget. The program is on campus in building 72 located at 332 S. 1400 East, Suite 240, formerly used by the College of Law. Green said he is working on making a bigger area for teams to practice and so people can come watch the team play local games in the old mock courtroom in building 73 located at the same address.

The U and EAE are invested in esports on campus and in improving the program. The student-athletes and staff have worked hard to represent the best the U has to offer. Dimmic, Green and the team said the best way students can support the team and program is to come watch the games on campus and subscribe to the university esports Twitch channel. With student support the U can continue to be a leader in innovation and invest in programs like the ones in EAE.

Natural remedies to reduce stress and anxiety

Story and images by  CLAIRE HILLARD

Take a long run or sit still with a glass of tea and feel the weight of stress drift away.

In the United States, a majority of people with anxiety either neglect their troubles or use pharmaceuticals to dull their anxious feelings. People do not have to suffer through anxiety nor do they have to use medications with negative side effects.

For some, natural remedies may be the answer.

Dr. Uli Knorr is a naturopathic doctor who practices in Salt Lake City. He received an education from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Oregon.

Knorr said something that many people with anxiety may like to hear — that anxiety has little to do with an individual’s personality. Most commonly, stress is caused by some hormonal imbalance in the body.

rowing small

Knorr recommended physical activity as well as spending time outdoors to help reduce stress.

To some extent, humans need stress. However, too much stress can be detrimental. If the body is experiencing constant stress, it continues to act in a fight-or-flight state. “People who are very stressed are surviving, but they’re also perceiving life as life during war time,” Knorr said. This is not a healthy state to remain in long-term.

The method of stress relief that Knorr recommends above others is exercise. The many health benefits of exercise are well documented. Additionally, while exercise releases stress, it is also a type of stress itself. Knorr says that because exercise is a type of stress, it can help the body adapt to other types of stress in the future.

Mia Gallardo has found a passion in aerial — a type of acrobatics done while hanging from fabric. For her, this combination of physical demand and artistic expression is a major relief for stress.

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A personal health routine including various vitamins and ashwagandha.

Gallardo is an avid believer in natural medicines. Throughout her personal journey, she has used a number of natural techniques to reduce her stress. Many of her favorite stress-relieving techniques perfectly exemplify the practices that the two professionals recommend.

Knorr’s advice to anyone who struggles with stress is to not ignore their feelings of anxiousness, to participate in some form of exercise, consider taking a complete B vitamin and vitamin C, and consider herbs that may help. And if none of those things help, book an appointment with a health-care professional.

Tea edit small

Upon sitting for the interview, Josh Williams poured each of us a cup of warm tea.

Over a piping cup of local, Native American tea, Josh Williams shared some of his thoughts on stress and ways to address it. Williams is a clinical herbalist who received his education from East West — an herbal medicine program in Sarasota, Florida. He currently owns an herbal shop in Salt Lake City called Greenthread Herbs.

Williams believes that the key to reducing stress lies somewhere in self-care. Whatever that means to each individual, self-care is a good way to approach good health.

For Gallardo, self-care is a big part of her stress-relieving practices. To reduce stress she is known to meditate, bake, spend time with loved ones, or read “Harry Potter” books. Taking time just to do something that makes a person happy can be incredibly therapeutic.

For Williams, he sees taking herbal medicines as a form of self-care. For example, he shared his love for tea. “Tea taught me how to slow down,” he said. Simply being able to sit in peace can do wonders for a person’s mental state.

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Acts of self care can be as simple as taking time to sip a cup of coffee and read a good book.

While herbal medicine is less commonly used in the United States, the practices are used worldwide and throughout history. There are many herbs that for centuries have been used to help people manage stress.

Interestingly enough, Knorr, Williams, and Gallardo all mentioned “ashwagandha” in their interviews. Knorr suggested it, Gallardo takes it every night, and Williams said it is his “spirit plant.” Ashwagandha is a plant that is known for its many medicinal benefits — especially for soothing anxiety.

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A wall inside Greenthread Herbs displaying just a few of the available herbs.

Plants like ashwagandha will not take the pain away. Instead, they aid the body in overcoming the stress it is under. While many people want a quick fix to their anxiety, using natural products may be beneficial in the long run by helping someone improve their ability to handle stress.

Using herbs helps the body get better at responding to stress, as opposed to simply ignoring or medicating for it. When referring to common pharmaceuticals for anxiety, Williams said, “Instead of learning how to deal with these stresses and learn from them, we numb out.”

In the same way that lifting weights helps people gain muscle mass, individuals can train their body to overcome stress. By experiencing stress in a calm manner, the body begins to adjust and approach it differently. Over time, individuals can feel calmer in the face of stress and train the body to respond accordingly.

This means overcoming anxiety as opposed to relying on numbing medication.

Many people struggle with high levels of stress every day and use different methods of dealing — or not dealing — with it. Wanting to make a change and knowing your options are two steps in the right direction.

Whether it be exercising, drinking tea, or adding a touch of herbal medicine to your daily routine, there are ways to reduce stress. Finding what works best for you is part of the journey.

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A sign in Greenthread Herbs offering customers the opportunity to create custom tea blends.