Local Business Cross E Ranch Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Story and images by EMMA CHAVEZ

Cross E Ranch is a small local cattle ranch in the Salt Lake City neighborhood of Rose Park. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

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The Great Red Barn was built in 1880.

David Hinckley purchased the land from the Jeremy family, of Jeremy Ranch Park City, in 1968. David kept the business in the family, as his son, Dalon, and daughter, Heather, are the current co-owners.  

Cross E Ranch has a long history. Dalon, 29, began working with his dad when he was just 8 years old. He explained that originally the ranch was in the business of sheep, but his father quickly turned over to cattle. “We don’t do sheep anymore because, well, we’re just not that crazy. Sheep take a lot more work and are kind of a delicate animal,” Dalon says. Instead the ranch now raises black Angus beef. That’s just fine by Dalon, though. The cows are his favorite part of the job.  

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The ranch now raises black Angus beef.

“The cows keep us grounded in what we do each day,” Dalon says. The most interesting part of the ranch’s history, in fact, is its cattle brand. It is the cross E, and the namesake of the ranch. It is the oldest cattle brand still in use west of the Mississippi. It is a bit of a mystery. “We know it was used by a commander in Brigham Young’s Mormon Battalion, most likely Ethan Jeremy, but we aren’t sure,” Dalon says.

But the Jeremy family would not sell the ranch to David Hinckley unless he promised to keep using the brand, and David’s family have felt very honored and proud to be owners of such a historic brand ever since.

There a plenty of photo ops all over the ranch.

Running a cattle ranch is difficult work, but the hardest part isn’t the manual labor like you would think. Dalon likens being a rancher to that of a gambler, playing the highest of stakes. The nature of the business is luck. “There’s a lot of hope involved,” Dalon says. “You can gamble up to $300,000 on a crop of produce, and then you’re weather dependent.” Or in the case of a festival, “you’re hoping that in six weeks you can recuperate your investment and then make enough to make it worth it.” 

In the last 50 years, though, the stakes have increased tenfold. The entire business has changed. Dalon explained that he is now competing on a global agricultural market. His operation is now expected to be equally as efficient as a ranch that is working for a mass retailer, and shipping globally. It puts a strain on his resources.

Even more concerning has been the encroachment of development. Hundreds of acres of Dalon’s land have been bought out by the state government due to water accessibility, or shut down due to new EPA regulations. The changes began to greatly affect the business. “About seven years ago, we started losing hand over fist money, nearly $400,000,” Dalon says. “We had to completely reinvent the diversification of where our money was coming from.”

A display outside the Cross E Ranch pumpkin patch.

These changes forced the family to get creative with their revenue streams, which is how the Cross E Ranch festivals began. The ranch puts on three major festivals a year, the Summer Fun Free Days, the Baby Animal Festival and the Fall Festival. It also offers a multitude of private events, such as weddings, summer camps and corporate events.

Despite the stress the festivals cause him, Dalon says the creative aspect they bring to the job is the real fun part of the business. His goal is to constantly come up with new ways to make the farm better and more entertaining for the guests. Dalon just wants people to connect with agriculture, so he spends his time thinking of new ways to make the farm experience more accessible.

The Fall Festival, specifically, has been a major success since it started in 2014. Mother-daughter working duo Teresa and Kristal Hyde consider it their favorite festival. Kristal, who is the ranch’s event coordinator, described the Fall Festival as “fun, family, and good times.” Teresa, who helps run the ticket booth, nodded in agreement and added, “I’ve gone for the past three years before either of us worked here. They make their own doughnuts and it’s my favorite.”

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“There’s something for everyone.”

Of all the activities available, both Kristal and Teresa recommend the hay ride as a must-go-on when the festival next comes around, while Dalon insists everyone try the food. “There’s a doughnut shop, caramel apples, kettle corn, and a concessions shop where you can try a Cross E hamburger,” Dalon says. “There’s something for everyone.” This 2018 Fall Festival included a 14-acre corn maze, a 12-acre pumpkin patch, hay rides, slides, animals, and plenty of food. Check the Cross E Ranch website for more details on its variety of year-round festivals and activities.

Dalon is very excited with the direction the ranch is heading currently, but admits that it is expensive to change. He and his sister Heather haven’t taken a paycheck in two years. “Herding people and cows are really similar,” he said with a laugh, “but they do require different fencing. We haven’t made any money on the festivals yet because we keep reinvesting in them.” It’s quite a strenuous transition period.

An old tractor turned display on the edge of the ranch.

In the future, Dalon hopes the ranch will stay in the family. Heather has four daughters that she would like to see be involved. The siblings would both like to continue toward the direction of mixed use, with plenty of entertainment, but also maintaining the interactivity and ambience of the ranch.

Bags to Beds program makes a lasting impact upon the homeless community in Salt Lake City

Story, photos, and video by SPENCER K. GREGORY

A local student has created a service project that has impacted the homeless community in Salt Lake City.

Kaitlin Mclean, creator and director of the Bags to Beds program.

Kaitlin McLean, a fifth-year student at the University of Utah, has created a system in which the participant recycles plastic bags, creates plastic yarn, and produces mats that she said can then be used to “help our homeless neighbors.” This service project has been referred to as Bags to Beds.

“Bags to Beds is a community service project that’s looking to reduce waste for our community by breaking down plastic bags that can’t be recycled,” McLean said.

She organized this student-directed service project through the Bennion Center. The Bennion Center is a nonprofit organization on the U’s campus that serves the local community.

Since then, McLean is now the director of the program and has made a tremendous impact upon sustainability within the Salt Lake Valley.

She said that it averages about 40-50 hours of service per mat.

Students can get involved with however much time they want to spend.

One U student, Megan Peterson, said, “The project itself was really easy, and not hard to understand.”

Peterson is currently a third-year student who is studying communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. She specifically loves to help out the Bennion Center Scholars program.

Peterson mentions how she was first introduced to Bags to Beds at a Scholars social where they just ate pizza. In the meeting they casually discussed goal setting with students pursuing their work for their personal engagement within the community.

Afterward, the Scholars were unified in their efforts to cut plastic bags into objects that would later be used into “plarn.”

U students hard at work with “plarn.”

“Plarn” is the term that Bags to Beds has adopted to describe the unique process of creating the service phenomenon.

Bryan Luu offers insight as to the process and functionality of plarn making. He said, “Plarn is a form of plastic yarn. It’s what wove together these giant mats. All of it’s made from plastic bags that have just been cut into strips and tied together to resemble the yarn.”

Once the mats are made from the plarn, they are immediately distributed to a local resource center or to Project Homeless Connect.

Homeless Connect is a one-day event that helps provide services and outlets for those who are homeless. People can learn how to get involved in this project by visiting the website.

The program has a tremendous connection to the Project Homeless Connect happening in downtown Salt Lake City. “We’ll have all the mats we’ve finished throughout the year for those that are anticipating they’ll be outside this year,” McLean said.

McLean said they expect to help more than 600 individuals during 2018.
“It also gives us an opportunity to work with other people who work with this population, and also get to know the people we are serving,” she said.

This program has made a great impact upon a tremendous social issue.
Peterson said, “Even though homelessness itself is such a huge issue, they’re just trying to help a little bit by taking waste that can’t even be recycled, and then re-using them for something useful.”

Peterson added, “It also helped me focus in on an issue that I’m not thinking about all the time.”

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Bryan Luu shares his experience with Bags to Beds.

Luu, a fifth-year student at the U studying civil engineering and urban ecology, said, “My time with Bags to Beds really has shaped a lot of my community involvement because I feel as if I can continue making a difference. Just having that knowledge, is just really important. Then I can be able to still give back to my community.”

Students or other patrons can visit Bags to Beds to get actively involved. Visitors can then fill out a volunteer interest form.

Bags to Beds has trained organizations and individuals to work independently on the service project at the Bennion Center or even at home.

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Bags to Beds was founded by University of Utah student Kaitlin McLean.

So if you’re a community member, student, or local citizen in the community there are many ways for you to get engaged in this great organization. According to McLean, Bags to Beds can even personally deliver plarn right at your door.

Peterson said it’s an “easy way to get involved.”

Paige Remington, another student at the U, said, “Although I am not directly helping people who are experiencing homelessness, I am using my hands and my time to create something that will hopefully alleviate a small amount of suffering.”

Debbie Hair, the administrative assistant for the Bennion Center.

Debbie Hair is the administrative assistant for the Bennion Center. She has helped the founder of Bags to Beds from the beginning. She said, “This project went off miraculously with a lot of attention.”

Hair added, “There’s a couple of different reaches this program has, one is environment. We’re not just reaching out to the homeless to give them comfort, but we’re also repurposing those bags.”

According to Bags to Beds, the program has collected over 12,000 plastic bags for active sustainable use in the community.

Bags to Beds has a plan to prepare a model that is sustainable moving forward. McLean said, “The project will continue to flourish no matter how many students there are.”

Students through the Bennion Center and community members in the Salt Lake Valley have been the main community engagement resource, providing service hours for the program. However, the organization plans to spread to other cities.

Since the early years of the program, it has now officially become an incorporated business outside of the Bennion Center.

McLean said, “Bags to Beds is now in the process of becoming a tax-deductible nonprofit organization.” Bags to Beds has made a tremendous impact upon the homeless society in the Salt Lake Valley and will continue to change countless future lives.

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Tinker’s Cat Café, a coffee bar with a twist

Story and gallery by JOLIE BELL

Coffee. Conversation. Cats. What do they have in common? They are integral to a new local small business.

Tinker’s Cat Café is the first of its kind in Salt Lake City. A novelty in the United States, cat cafés are popular in other parts of the world, particularly Asia. In fact, the very first cat café opened in Taipei, Taiwan, and soon turned into a sensation in Japan. Cat cafés are a twist on a traditional coffee shop. In addition to coffee, tea and goodies, people also pay to socialize with felines.

Lisa Boone is the owner of Tinker’s Cat Café, located at 302 E. 900 South. Boone saw her first cat café while watching late night television. The idea intrigued her and soon she developed plans to open an establishment of her own. She decided to name her café after her childhood pet, Tinker, who lived to be 22.

“It was all from Tinker, he shaped how I thought about cats,” Boone said. Along with petting cute kitties, the café serves a variety of specialty drinks including coffee, hot chocolate, Italian soda, and tea. It also sells pastries from other local businesses.

The cats themselves come from Salt Lake County Animal Services and are spayed/neutered and vaccinated. One aspect that is unique about Tinker’s is many of the cats may be adopted. In fact, more than 80 adoptions have occurred since it first opened the doors in 2017.

The adoption process is simple. If someone decides to adopt, an employee meets with them and discusses their history with cats. If it is the person’s first time ever owning a cat or if they have other animals in their home, the employees explain what the future pet owner needs and how to care for the cat. There is a $40 adoption fee per cat.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. Boone understands not everyone has the funds or a suitable home for pets. The café fills the need for those who love animals and she feels the café is a positive experience for both the people and felines.

“It’s a win-win,” Boone said. “Especially for the timid cats because they can socialize and get used to an environment.” The cat room, adjacent to the café, is open and without cages. This allows patrons to show them affection while they are living at Tinker’s, which can help the cats come out of their shell.

Not every cat is up for adoption. For some, Tinker’s becomes home. One cat has been at Tinker’s since it opened. He stays to help the new cats acclimate to the surroundings by sitting with the newly acquired timid cats.

“We are not sure what cat magic he has,” Boone said with a laugh.

Throughout the year, Tinker’s acquired several regular customers. Sarah Murtagh is one. Murtagh said she loves the calm environment and has made friends with other kindred spirits.

“When I was going through a rough time in my life, the café was where I found therapy,” Murtagh said. She bought an unlimited pass for the cat room to visit her furry friends as often as she could. Eventually her living situation changed and allowed her to own a pet. Once Obsidian (Obi for short) crawled into her lap at the café, she knew they were a perfect match.

Not everyone is looking to adopt. Some are interested in something new and fun to do. Ally Jelitto, a University of Utah student, visited the shop on a whim after noticing the café driving through town.

“I felt fancy drinking a latte while petting a cat in my lap,” she said in a phone interview. “I’d go back more, but if I do I might go home with five cats,” she said, chuckling.

Recently Boone began organizing special events at Tinker’s such as Cat & Paint, Yoga, and Crochet with Cats. Boone has more event ideas on the horizon, such as trivia or game nights.

The paint and crochet classes offer a coffee, hot chocolate or tea and an hour in the cat room with an instructor. The yoga class is an hour and allows an extra half hour to play with the felines. The curious cats will sit on the yoga mats, play with people’s hair and bat around the balls of yarn.

Reservation spots fill up quickly to spend time with the cats. Or, customers may walk in (if there’s room). The cost is $8 an hour and $4 a half hour in the cat room. Tinker’s offers an unlimited monthly pass for $50 or an unlimited annual pass for $600. The café also provides a children’s hour for kids 8 and under from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. It is $6 each for children and parents.

The café hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tinker’s is closed on Mondays. The cat room opens at 11 a.m. and closes the same time as the café does.

Boone is looking forward to another year of business and to continuing to foster a community location where people can connect. Success has its price, however. As the felines leave for their forever homes, it can be difficult for Boone and her employees who become attached to them.

“It’s bittersweet,” Boone said. “However, I’m happy they are going to good homes.”

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Healthcare: what’s in the price when you’re seen by a provider?

Story and images by BRADEN ROLLINS

Whether you go to the doctor to ensure your health shouldn’t be a decision you have to make. Unfortunately, rising healthcare costs are forcing individuals to choose between other expenses and healthcare.

Many face the daunting prospect of healthcare cost. But what contributes to the cost and why are some at a disadvantage as compared to others?

Stories of healthcare costs frequent the news and media attribute one of the causes of high costs to doctors offices themselves.

Trying to decipher why healthcare costs are so high can be difficult. However, speaking with employees at a local doctor’s office and their experience with rising cost may shed light on the subject for some.

Jordan Meadows, a small family practice located in West Jordan, provides services such as physicals, blood draws, weight checks, vaccinations and other basic medical services.

Debra Bowen, the general manager of the clinic, discussed factors that contribute to the price of healthcare in the office such as payroll, collections, supplies, utilities, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Keeping quality employees is difficult in today’s economy due to the unemployment rate being so low. And with major corporations offering higher pay for similar jobs, Bowen said it is difficult for smaller clinics to compete for labor.

Bowen said more than half of the expenses to the clinic is for payroll and if they were to significantly raise wages the patient prices would increase significantly as a result. So keeping the balance between quality employees and wages is a constant problem.

Another problem faced by the clinic is outstanding balances on patients’ accounts, which are usually sent to collections. Some patients receive treatment but delay paying for it at the time of service for various reasons. Many of these unpaid accounts can come from patients who have been treated and have since felt better and no longer feel payment is necessary, Bowen said.

Medical supplies are a major cost to the clinic. Bowen said most of the cost comes from sterile equipment for examination, followed by supplies and tests to diagnose different ailments. The most expensive of the supplies are vaccinations. The use of supplies is carefully monitored so only things that are needed are ordered to reduce waste and overstock of unneeded supplies.

While rising costs are affecting most Americans, Bowen acknowledged low-income individuals and families without insurance are particularly impacted. Jordan Meadows offers cash patients a reduced price for their care while barely breaking even on the cost to the clinic.

These individuals are faced with the decision to pay a high insurance deductible or pay out of pocket. Some coverage is minimal due to the plan selected by the patient.

Bowen said these policies, known as catastrophic insurance, have high deductibles such as $5,000, which most patients would not meet in their plan year, so they choose to pay out of pocket. 

This makes treating these patients difficult, especially those who have chronic care needs such as diabetes. Some patients will come in for their initial visit, but don’t return for follow-up appointments due to the price, which can sometimes cost over $100.

Though prices can still be considered high for cash-only patients, Bowen said they are negligibly higher than the prices set by government Medicare programs. Legally the clinic cannot charge lower prices than Medicare without it being considered fraud.

John Neilsen, a family nurse practitioner, said he and the clinic assist patients by reducing prices whenever possible for cash patients, and suggesting alternatives treatments and helping them find discounts on medications.

Neilsen said it is difficult at times when the patient cannot afford their care, but it’s even more difficult when the patient has the ability to pay but chooses not to afford their healthcare due to extravagances in their lives.

A main focus of the clinic is putting people first and doing what it can to help individuals struggling to pay for services by working with each one on a individual basis.

Mariana Alvarado, the receptionist who was assisting patients, said she has dealt with many patients who can’t afford the healthcare.

Many of the patients who have no insurance or poor insurance are notified before they are seen by the provider of the price of the visit. She says it’s difficult when patients are agitated by prices. But she said she does her best to calm them and explain why services are priced as they are.

Alvarado agreed with one of her co-workers. “Being a smaller clinic we develop relationships with our patients,” she said, “and do what we can to help each patient with staying healthy while helping them afford treatment.”

Jordan Meadows provides healthcare at prices that are manageable for the majority of its patients who have good insurance. But the clinic is willing to work with those who are in positions of financial stress or have poor insurance.

While basic healthcare could be considered relatively expensive as compared to other necessities, the breakdown of expenses to your doctor’s office, especially those of smaller practices, add up to and contribute to the final price of the service provided.

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A local business woman’s ability to lead

Story and Gallery by KOWHAI ANDERSON

Professional ambition is expected of males, while only optional for females. For one Utah businesswoman, she has chosen to use her professional success to make an impact on her employees, community, friends and family.

Stacy Kelly is the owner of Construction Material Recycling, a Utah based company founded in 2004. Her company specializes in construction and excavation. Its services include rotomilling, heavy hauling and crushing.

At Canyons Resort, Construction Material Recycling is building two new ski runs, bridge embankments and roads for new houses. They handle construction on Interstate 80 through Parley’s Canyon. They recently finished road work at Bear Lake, and construction in American Fork.

Kelly is in charge of 25 employees, all male. She said every worker is OK with working for her. In fact, some are honored. Kelly said, “Each employee looks out for me and makes sure I am taken care of. This is due to the type of employer I am. I believe you need to be kind.”

“I think this is something women understand better than men,” Kelly stated. “There needs to be a little bit of compassion.”

Kelly shows this in the way she treats her employees. For example, she gives each of her employees heartfelt birthday cards, filled with loving words and numerous gift certificates. She believes if compassion exists, any leader can have a more dynamic team.

“It’s the little things you think about doing for someone, whether that be work, school, family, friends, whatever,” Kelly said, “it’s those little things that put the icing on the cake to seal the relationship.”

Originally, Kelly didn’t see herself building a career in the construction industry. However, those closest to her felt she would thrive. So, she obtained her contractor’s license, which can only be rewarded after passing a difficult exam.

“I cried all morning the day of the test,” Kelly stated. “I didn’t want to do this … I went to the testing center, and saw a lot of females there as well. I assumed they were all there for the same exam, feeling relief. Turns out, the majority of the women were going in for a cosmetology exam.”

Kelly passed the test with an 81 percent. For Kelly, this was the beginning of her journey in the industry of construction. She realized it would not be an easy road.

“It’s been an adventure,” Kelly said. “I enjoy doing what I’m doing, but it takes a lot of strength. People don’t believe you are doing it because you are a lady, and my main competition was the worst. Still can be today. He would say to me, when we would see each other at conferences or in the business field, ‘Um, why aren’t you doing scrapbooking like my wife? That’s where you should be!’”

While building the company, it was difficult for Kelly to balance being a business owner and a mother. She still finds it difficult, and says it has been her biggest challenge.

Kelly is a mother to nine children; four with her current husband and five adopted.  

“In the beginning, it was easier,” Kelly said on being a mother. “At the time I had my ex-husband who was part of it. So, we are working together. Now my current husband is not part of the business. He works out of town, which has made balancing everything for me a lot harder.”

For Kelly, her kids have always been part of the business. She includes them in everything she does and has given them the opportunity to work for her once they reach the legal age of 18.

In 2008, Kelly moved to Coalville, Utah. Her company was based in Salt Lake, but moved north to the small town in 2014. It’s been easier for Kelly to have the business close to home. It allows her to be near family. Her kids are able to visit the office, which to them, feels like a second home.

The best part of being a business owner is the freedom to support her children in their activities.

She also loves the ability she has to serve those around her due to self-reliance. Kelly said she enjoys the process of creating, helping and supporting her community.

In Coalville, there is a 4-H program, which helps children develop life skills. Kelly has had the opportunity to fund this. If the children are putting forth effort to work hard, she will support them.

Kelly credits her success to a few key individuals. Ed Hansen, a man who is like a father to her, has helped her find direction. Cody Thorn, her partner in the business, has been there every step of the way. Dave Nicholson, a friend from her Entrepreneur Organization forum (a global business network which engages leading entrepreneurs to learn new skills), has helped her realize she can move forward even when things get difficult. He has been a big influence on Kelly.

“Stacy is incredibly hardworking. She loves her family and the people she works with,” Nicholson said.

Kelly stated, “Dave is the one who saw the light in me and said ‘you can do this.’”

Philip Anderson, a member of her EO forum, describes Stacy as “a woman with a heart of gold. She will do anything for anyone.”

The biggest lesson Kelly has learned in business is to never take anyone for granted.

“It doesn’t matter who they are in your company, your family, or your friendship circle, everybody has a purpose,” Kelly said. “We are all on a compass. We can go a million different ways, but as long as we stay focused and centered, then anything is possible.”

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A rotomill machine chewing up an old road, thus allowing the material to be recycled for new pavement. Photo courtesy of Stacy Kelly.

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A visual of the moral compass Kelly and her employees follow. Photo by Kowhai Anderson.

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A rotomill machine paving a road in Provo, Utah. Photo courtesy of Stacy Kelly, owner of Construction Material Recycling.

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An excavation machine being used to create a pathway to a home in Park City, Utah. Photo courtesy of Stacy Kelly.

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This chart shows the percentage of privately held firms by females and males. Infographic created by Kowhai Anderson, using data from the National Association of Women Business Owners.

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A 2018 statistic from pewresearch.org showing the percentage of labor force among the U.S. population. Infographic created by Kowhai Anderson.

 

 

Goalkeeping done right, from TIP Goalkeeping

Story and gallery by JOSH LUDLOW

The first Saturday of October at 8 a.m. was cold. According to the car’s outdoor temperature gauge it was in the high 40s. Freedom Hills Park in Centerville, Utah, sits just under the east mountain side. With rain falling the night before, the grass was spongy and wet. Feet were soaked within a few steps on the soggy surface. At this time, and place, goalkeepers from across the Salt Lake Valley gathered to hone their skills.

Brian Simmons, the head of TIP (technique, insight, power) Goalkeeping, is the man running the training program. As the young high school goalkeepers arrive, subtle moans are heard about the hour of day, temperatures, and lack of sleep. Simmons quickly gets them into action to start the morning training session with a few warm-up routines.

Soon enough the goalkeepers are diving on the ground, in the air, and even forward attacking the ball. Simmons directs the efforts of these young players in a positive direction. He provides needed correction but also positive reinforcement when a player correctly executes a save.

The session runs about an hour with much of the allotted time at an intensive work rate. At the end, footprints and cut marks are visible from where the goalkeepers worked as the grass is torn to shreds. Final comments are made by Simmons and then everyone departs till next week’s session.

Simmons discussed TIP and what the inspiration was behind the idea by saying that, “There was a lot of demand for goalkeeper training where I am based in Davis County, Utah. I was asked over and over about what training I could offer, so after holding training sessions sporadically I decided to formalize TIP so that I could be a consistent resource for the goalkeeping community as well as the average coach.”

TIP Goalkeeping provides young goalkeepers the opportunity to train at a higher level than a typical club team practice would provide. The high intensity, demand for excellence, and positive feedback make these trainings invaluable for the goalkeepers.

“TIP was officially founded in 2017, though TIP trainers have been active for about a decade,” Simmons said.

Another TIP trainer, Cole Palmer, also said, “I am not sure of the exact time I started with TIP but I believe the first camp that Brian and I did was in the summer of 2017.”

As a relatively new company in a heavily concentrated soccer playing community, TIP found its niche. The opportunity to work with parents and athletes away from the club teams has given the young goalkeepers formalized training. Whereas at the club levels, goalkeepers are treated as just another field player.

Craig Waldron, a parent of one of the athletes, described the training TIP provides. “I think TIP is different from other trainings because of how personal they make it for each keeper. They also have a very good trainer to athlete ratio so there is a lot of personal help with each of the athletes. And trainers that truly want to make better goalkeepers.”

The success of TIP, when broken down, is about the values it represents. Simmons said, “Our aim is to help keepers learn and develop the skills necessary to become great goalkeepers and people…. So many goalkeeping principles can be applied to life, and at the end of the day, we care very much that our athletes develop as people in all facets of life.” TIP goes further than teaching athletes how to properly be a goalkeeper. It instills values that these young players will one day look back on and realize they were already developing by attending these training sessions.

Ideally, the training sessions are there to assist in bringing a sense of accomplishment and improvement. Specific instruction is delivered from Simmons and Palmer on how to execute a desired movement, perform the technique correctly, and how to improve what the athlete already knows.

Palmer said, “I think the biggest difference that I have seen is getting kids genuinely excited about training. I have never seen kids show up to training and say they also have a game or even two after but at TIP I see that all the time. It seems like they show up excited and ready to go.”

TIP is also giving back to the community. Once a year, TIP hosts a training session for free to anyone. All that is asked from those who attend is a donation, which will be given to someone or a place in need. This past summer of 2018 TIP was able to raise “$330 to support Eumer, a boy living in Ethiopia,” Simmons said. The next year TIP is hoping to raise even more money to benefit someone or something.

TIP brings goalkeeping to a completely different level. With multiple trainers, athletes, and philosophies involved, these young players are receiving the skills necessary to enhance their playing abilities and life. Simmons said it best: “I want TIP to be THE authority on goalkeeping in the state of Utah.”

 

Young entrepreneur brings delicious activity to downtown Logan

Story and images by MEGAN GILSON

After days of searching for a new job, unable to meet the required qualifications, a frustrated college student decided he would create his own.

The 22-year-old Utah State University student, Austin Jensen, is the founder and owner of Logan Food Tour, a culinary walking tour in the heart of downtown Logan.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a food tour, Jensen described it as “the best way to experience the city and its local restaurants. We dive into the food scene, visiting restaurants and trying their best menu items. As we walk around, we share the history of the downtown area, creating a unique, and delicious experience.”

Logan Food Tour features four of Logan’s best local restaurants — Pollo Azteca, Stacked Pancakes, The Factory Pizzeria, and The Crepery. Ranging from authentic Mexican cuisine to traditional Sicilian-style pizza, each restaurant serves quality, made-from-scratch dishes.

Many ask Jensen if his idea was inspired by his passion. He always replies, “I wouldn’t say that I’m passionate about food, or about historical tours, but I am passionate about fulfilling the needs of the people around me. In the end, I think that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about.”

In the spring of 2018, Jensen noticed a vast amount of students with a shortage of fun things to do on the weekends. “Logan is a small town, and frankly, there is a lack of local events and cool activities,” he said. “I wanted to build something that would solve the age old question ‘what should we do tonight?’”

A few months later, Jensen was caught up in the frustration of trying to find a job that would give him some relevant job experience for his future career. “I found that every job that sounded remotely interesting and helpful for my future required experience and a degree. So finally, I realized that if no one was willing to give me the experience I need, then I’m just going to gain it myself.”  A few weeks later, Logan Food Tour was born.

The road to building any business isn’t easy, and Logan Food Tour was no exception. Jensen put in countless hours building the website, studying up on historical facts, and finding great restaurants to work with.

After all the logistics were in place, Jensen spent weeks advertising the tours. He handed out fliers and cards on campus and started advertising on social media. After a few weeks, he finally saw his hard work pay off when he booked his first tour.

“On the first tour, I was a ball of nerves,” Jensen recalled. “I was worried about guiding the tour, remembering all of the facts and stories, making sure the participants got enough food and keeping people entertained. It turned out I was nervous for no reason. I felt totally in my element, telling stories and cracking cheesy jokes, and the restaurants absolutely delivered with huge samples of delicious food.”

Jensen felt great after his first tour and couldn’t wait for the next ones. He loved helping his guests create new memories, while introducing them to great, local food.

“One of the most rewarding parts is helping local business gain more traction, and attract new customers,” Jensen said. “We have deals with each of the restaurants, they prepare a sample plate of food for our participants, and through our own advertising efforts, we promote their restaurant. It’s mutually beneficial and allows each of us to succeed.”

Alicia Lopez, owner of Pollo Azteca, said, “When the food tour group comes in, people on the street notice my restaurant. They look in my windows and wonder what is going on and why there are so many people. This encourages them to come in and try the food.”

It is seeing the positive impact that Logan Food Tour has on restaurants like Pollo Azteca, the first stop on the food tour, that motivates Jensen to continue working hard and building his business.

Food tour participant Kyle Horton said, “It’s like the ultimate date night! It takes dinner and a movie to a whole new level. We learned cool stories and facts about the place we live, tried new delicious restaurants we had never been to, and left absolutely stuffed.”

When asked about his long-term plans for Logan Food Tour, Jensen said, “I don’t expect to stay in Logan running the tours for the rest of my life, though it would be the funnest career ever. Ideally, in a few years, I will pass down the business to another USU student. At the end of the day, I want to be able to provide someone with valuable experience and give them the chance that no one gave me.”

Jensen has learned more about business in the past three months than he has learned his entire college career. Jensen said the experience has been “eye-opening and invaluable.”

He offers this advice to other students: “Don’t wait until things seem easy, because I don’t think they ever will be. Gaining the experience you need is about doing challenging things now.”

NO BLACK OUTLINE LOGAN

Photo courtesy of Austin Jensen

 

City hopes Murray Theater, historic hostess to the stars, can return to glory

Story and photos by VICTORIA TINGEY 

She’s hosted Judy Garland and Adele. Wrestlers and ballerinas. But after being down on her luck and threadbare, the time has come for the storied Murray Theater to be great again. The plans to restore the historic building have the city reaching for the future.

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Murray City Theater-Neon Sign

Murray City purchased the 79-year-old structure with the purpose of rehabilitating it into a cultural arts facility, and bringing the building — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 — back to life.

Built during the Great Depression, the theater, which is located on 4961 South State St., opened in October 1938 and soon hosted live bands and film productions. The first film was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” with Tyrone Power and Ethel Merman. Show prices were 20 cents for matinees. 

“The facility captures the vision of a broad array of cultural facilities which are distributed throughout Utah,” Kim Sorensen, the Murray City Parks and Recreations director, wrote in an email.

The building’s unique design catches people’s eyes as they enter the city. This structure stands apart because of its age, architecture and charm.  

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View inside of Murray Theater from the balcony

“The façade is an excellent example of Art Moderne complete with rounded corners, horizontal windows and a vertical marquee that serves as a landmark along heavily traveled state street,” Sorensen said.

When asked how this structure will enhance the community, Sorensen addressed that because this facility would provide year-round indoor space, and programming options will expand significantly. It will provide a venue for both small professional and amateur ensembles made up of members from local orchestras and band organizations.

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Layout of Murray Theater hung up in the Foyer

As the city looks at the plans to refurbish this structure, they are trying to look what will help create a long lasting concept that will draw people as it once did. 

Jeff Martin, city facilities manager, said, “The City has asked for an assessment about the theater that includes: asking the community how to best utilize the space and what costs and upgrades will be needed to meet the community’s needs.”

The building was bought by the City in 2016. Their plans were to be able to repurpose this building so that they could positively enhance the downtown area of Murray.

“It’s not everywhere that a historic theater is owned and operated by a city, and one where they are actively looking to renovate and provide a fresh venue to their citizens,” Martin stated.

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Detailed architecture in the front entrance of the Theater

The architecture helps to emphasize the old rustic feel when walking into the building. This building has played a big role in the history of Murray and they believe that it can still add value to maintaining cultural entertainment  and historic identities within the community.

Community members and visitors see the special features that add character to the city.  

“When working, the neon sign on the front of the building puts out bright vibrant colors that light up the surrounding block. It really attracts your attention as you’re passing by,” Martin said.

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Old piano located on Murray Theaters center stage

There are other unique features about the building that Martin indicated including that there is an air handler that provides cooling and heating for the main theater room. The original fan is up to 6 feet in diameter and approximately 6 feet long. They included that the original motor still drives the belts that turn a large pulley to operate the fan that still works to this day.

They believe companies that create neon signage is a dying industry. It is harder to find people who can make repairs to the glass work involved and components to keep it operating. The color and light output that comes from these types of signs is really unparalleled. The city officials believe that these building gives a sense of how far the City has come.

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View of the Theater from the stage

“As I have worked with these buildings, some visitors came to watch movies at the theater when they were kids. While others attended events and concerts. Those memories tie into future generations and connections to build upon. It adds another aspect of how Murray is unique to its surrounding entities,” Martin said.

The reinvestment in the building is going to add to improvement of properties that run through State Street, an important corridor for the Wasatch front because of it’s big transportation roadway. Any enhancements that will be made will better the community at large. There have even been long term plans by state representatives to try to create more reinvestment in properties on state street because of it.

“This project will help revitalize our downtown area which is in dire need. It will be a catalyst to get things going, drum up the old history of Murray!” said Susan Nixon, the Associate Planner of Murray.

The city administrators are confident that the enhancement of the Murray theater will be an important catalyst for redevelopment of the downtown of Murray. It will add value to the social and cultural elements of the community. This project will bring the past into the future and make the area of Murray vibrant again.

 

Young Entrepreneur Will Stop at Nothing to Quench his Thirst for Success

Story by ISABELLA GENTILE

Ethan Cisneros should have been out of breath.

Like all 20 year olds faced with another day of multitasking, the University of Utah student was rushing through the motions of class and work. But unlike most on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Cisneros found himself in between classes hustling to Fox 13 News Station’s studio. The baby-faced junior was there to film a segment for the station’s afternoon feature, The Place, which showcases small local businesses.

Cisneros had a new haircut and was dressed to impress with a striped polo. It was clear this young entrepreneur meant business. Stepping out of his truck packed with catering menus, bins of Torani syrups, soda and fliers, he was fully equipped to pitch the impact his soda shop, Thirst, is making on Salt Lake City.

He finds his comfort in operating a shop that runs on the concept of making a “happy impact.”

Cisneros is a contributor in a wave that seems to be spreading throughout the Salt Lake City area. Young entrepreneurs, both enrolled in school and not, are leveraging social media and a vision to launch businesses. And making money doing it.

The traditional education system is designed to bolster the workforce, but Generation Z, which has an age range from six to 23, has rearranged the progress from school to work. In Salt Lake City, there seems to be a ripple of eagerness within this age group – a crescendo of young individuals moving toward a less traditional path.

From lemonade stands to soda shop

Cisneros began his entrepreneurial climb at 7, when he would ride his bike to the store, purchase lemonade, and sell it at a stand in his neighborhood. He recalls standing on the street and dancing around with a sign to attract customers.

He learned to ride his bike at 2, because, “When you’re a businessman, you need to be able to get around,” he said. At 10, he and his neighborhood friend wanted to make some money, so they started a lawn mowing business. “Zack and Ethan’s Lawn Mowing” grew over the span of six years, but by then, Cisneros was ready to move on.

During the 2014 Christmas season, he thought he’d try his luck hanging Christmas lights —  and he ended up with another business. But as the snow melted and summer came around, he noticed a hype around shaved ice shacks. His curiosity sparked, and Cisneros scoped out prospects – and potential competition. He sat at a local shaved ice shack and observed the operation, watching the lines and counting customers.

Shortly after, “Olympus Ice” was born. Lively music drew in high school students to the shack throughout the summer. They gathered under string lights at picnic tables, playing board games and “Twister” as they enjoyed their frozen delicacies. Come winter, Cisneros started his light-hanging business back up. He continued this seasonal cycle throughout his high school career. Little did he know, however, bigger opportunities were headed his way.

When Cisneros turned 18, his business partner reached back out to him. She said she had noticed the long lines at soda shops such as Swig and Sodalicious.

“Girls were driving all the way out to Provo for this stuff,” he said.

His ambition kicked in, and he began visiting all of the soda shops he could find in Utah, and soon learned there wasn’t one in Salt Lake. That’s when the idea for “Thirst” was born.

Thirst is located at 38 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City.

Cisneros developed plans, secured a location and assured his business partner it was a good investment.

“If you invest in this, I won’t let you down,” he told her. “Either this is going to succeed or I’m going to die.”

Cisneros had a clear idea of what he was getting into.

“I told myself, ‘This is not a lemonade stand anymore, this is a big deal,” he recalled.

Making a ‘happy impact’

A few blocks east of the Salt Lake Bees Stadium, Thirst’s bright orange roof cannot be missed. A long line of idling cars waits to reach the drive-through window, where customers order drinks such as the “Dr. McCreamy” and “Frat Star,” or sweet treats such as their signature “Scotcharoo.”

Inside the shop, Cisneros mixes drinks and serves smiles from the 8:30 a.m. open to 9:30 p.m. close, leaving only to make it to class on time. Thirst has been in business for nearly three years, and Cisneros spares no effort to keep its three locations running. Work is all he knows, and he expressed that it’s what makes him comfortable.

“I want to build massive success and prosperity, and I like to match my work ethic to my words,” he explained.

Cisneros mixes Thirst’s signature drinks for his customers. He enjoys being involved in the day to day operations of his shop.

It was this eagerness and determination that brought Cisneros to the lobby of Fox 13 News, anxiously prepping his equipment for showcase.

 

“I wonder if Big Buddha remembers me,” Cisneros said, in reference to Thirst’s Fox feature with Big Buddha from last year. “He likes my photos sometimes.”

Cisneros takes a story for Thirst's Instagram account. He actively keeps his followers engaged in what he's doing.

Cisneros takes a story for Thirst’s Instagram account. He actively keeps his followers engaged in what he’s doing.

He pulled out his phone and began taking a video for Thirst’s Instagram story. These Instagram updates are constant throughout Cisneros’ day to day – he prides himself on keeping his followers engaged and informed of what he is doing. An advocate of social media marketing, Cisneros is convinced that for his target demographic, nothing else works. He interacts regularly with his 3,000-plus followers, delivering to them a bona fide customer experience inside – and outside – his shop.

One evening, Cisneros recognized the driver of a car involved in a nearby accident as one of his loyal customers, and went out of his way to hand deliver her favorite drink to her at the scene of the accident. It’s this extra effort that helps build Thirst’s reputation for stellar customer service.

As each car pulls up to the drive-thru window, Cisneros greets it with a smile. He models his friendly interactions with his customers after his company’s mission statement: “Make a happy impact, one experience at a time.” With Cisneros’ level of enthusiasm and animation, it’s no wonder customers are driving away with a grin on their face. This contentment permeates the kitchen as well.

One of Cisneros’ employees, Conner Nelson, shared why he enjoys working at Thirst.

“It’s a pretty fun work environment, everyone just kind of laughs and has a good time,” he said, adding that he admires Cisneros’ work ethic. “I don’t really know how he does it to be honest.”

But Cisneros’ busy schedule doesn’t stop him from maintaining a healthy and happy workplace. Even as the boss, he remains friends with his employees, promoting teamwork through staff parties, movie nights and retreats. He even plans to take his team on a weekend trip to St. George.

Learning the ‘sexy skills’

Cisneros is thriving in the era for entrepreneurs when essentially anyone can buy something and resell it online. Through the indisputable power and reach of social media, as well as the drive and ardor that’s surging among the younger generations, the possibilities are endless. Young high school graduates no longer need to follow the long-established path laid out by their predecessors.

Cisneros has plenty of advice to give when it comes to entrepreneurship, and he emphasizes the importance of being willing to put in the work.

“It comes down to sacrificing the things that you may want in the moment, like a party or anything, for what you want in the long term,” he said. “I know what I want in the long term, which is massive.”

In Cisneros’ case, this desire for success has driven him from the moment he set up his first lemonade stand. He is working to develop a set of “sexy skills,” as he calls them.

“I’m getting my hands dirty doing it. I’m the one mopping the floors,” he said. “I’m gonna learn the sexy skills by not doing the sexy things, and then I’m gonna transfer those skills to a sexy business.”

Cisneros knows that he doesn’t want to run a soda shop forever, but he’s not ready to move on until Thirst is an undeniable success. However, he believes he will never be fully satisfied and hopes that Thirst will continue to prosper beyond him. When asked what sets him apart from the rest, his answer was simple:

“I’ll outwork everyone.”