Shopping local year-round not only supports small businesses, but benefits communities by keeping more money in the local economy, creating jobs and giving cities a unique sense of identity.
As we decide where to spend our dollars, here are some local spots to consider:
Students on their way to class at South City Campus may have visited Bjorn’s Brew or used the drive-thru at their State Street location. The gourmet coffee shop not only serves delicious coffees, teas, and sweets, but they have a slogan they live by: “Drink coffee. Save Animals.”
“For every punch card redeemed, we donate $1 to a local animal charity. In 2019, we donated just shy of $15,000; we are expecting to surpass that in 2020,” stated Dani Southworth, who manages the State Street location.
Bjorn’s Brew donates to charities such as Nuzzles, Best Friends, Therapy Animals of Utah, and Salt Lake County Animal Services. And make sure to bring your furry friend with you to the drive thru; Bjorn’s provides free Milk-Bones and “pup cups” for pets.
While their dining room is only open for takeout for the time being, there are still plenty of options to grab something for yourself or a gift for someone on your list. Gift cards and reusable straws make nice stocking stuffers. Other items available include Hydro Flasks, hoodies and T-shirts.
According to Southworth, there are a lot of ways to support the businesses in our community, such as, “writing positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals are great! Liking us on social media and sharing posts. Supporting local is vital to the long-term growth we want to see in our local economy.”
Bjorn’s Brew has three locations: Foothill, State Street and Highland Dr.
“Bjorn’s Brew is such a fun place to work. We care about our baristas and each other,” Southworth said. “We make and maintain life-long relationships with our staff and our customers.”
Dani’s go-to drink: Bjorn’s cold brew. “It’s the perfect amount of caffeine to get me through the day.”
ENSO Piercing + Adornment
ENSO Piercing and Adornment has been offering body piercing, jewelry and custom made jewelry in Salt Lake City for five years. They also boast being a member of the Association of Professional Piercers which is an international health and safety organization.
Body piercer Kenzi Merrit said ENSO has not had to change up their business model too much since the pandemic hit, as they have always had extremely high cleanliness and sterility standards, and piercings are by appointment only.
“We also can’t offer services under the mask. It really sucks for us because we LOVE doing nostril and lip piercings, so that’s been a loss in business in one way,” Merrit said. “A lot of people are understanding of the fact that our main priority has always been safety down to the tiniest detail.”
Originally from Southern California, Merrit said the small business support in Salt Lake City has been impressive.
“Everywhere you look, there’s a staple mom-and-pop shop that people rant and rave about. It’s beautiful,” Merrit said. “These are important because that’s the ‘American dream’ — to be whatever you want.”
Merrit described the ENSO owners as passionate about providing safe body piercing to their community.
“And that’s what we strive for every single day. We’re a small mom-and-pop shop and without peoples’ support, we couldn’t do what we do and love every day,” Merrit said.
Merrit is grateful to work for a company that creates a family-like environment and actively invests in their employees and cares so much about their customers.
There are a few ways to support ENSO, according to Merrit.
“Don’t need a new piercing but want some jewelry? Come in. Piercings aren’t for you, but you know someone who loves them? Get them a gift card. Those don’t apply to you? Simply give us a like and follow! Social media runs business everywhere but are major for small businesses. It really helps a lot to interact with our posts,” Merrit said.
A fun piercing to try: Triple Helix. Kenzi posted that she “was obsessed” when the above photo was taken.
Tea Zaanti is Salt Lake City’s only tea and wine house. Scott and Becky Lyttle purchased the business four years ago with hopes of creating a sense of community.
The root of this small business is high-quality loose-leaf tea, which can be purchased in bulk or by the cup. When Tea Zaanti moved to Sugar House, they added wine to their offerings, hoping to fill a niche.
According to Scott Lyttle, the aim was to create “a relaxing atmosphere to connect with friends and family without having the pressure of ordering a full meal … or hanging out in a bar. A place where you could come to enjoy a drink — whatever that means to you.”
As with most businesses, Tea Zaanti has had to adjust during the pandemic. The café eliminated indoor seating and created a gallery space for local artists to sell their pieces during the holidays. The outdoor seating is spaced, and heaters and seat cushions were added.
“Our indoor shopping space is still open, and our drinks are always available for takeout, as well [as] to order online,” Scott Lyttle said. “During COVID, we’ve encouraged our customer base to order online by offering free shipping on orders $35 or more or choosing free in-store pickup.”
Scott Lyttle said supporting local is as simple as altering your spending habits a little and being conscious of where your dollars are going.
“This can be anything from your shifting regular purchases, such as loose tea, locally roasted coffee, [or] meats and cheeses, to the gift purchases for Christmas, birthdays and graduations,” he said. “Or just simply treat yourself … walk into a local shop and chat with the owner or employees and find out what they are excited about in the shop.”