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RIVERTON — One Utah city kicked off a “business blitz” to help boost the economy and bring customers back to local businesses.
“The contribution of business and business owners cannot be overlooked. It cannot be overstated,” said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. “It’s a time when they really need to capture revenue now.”
With the state transitioning to a moderate risk phase Friday, the wheels were beginning to turn for more businesses across the state. But it’s still slow going. So much so that Riverton has resorted to a drive-thru business blitz at a city park.
“It’s been a pretty overwhelming response so far,” Staggs said after the first of hundreds of cars passed through the park. He said a local business donated signs for the effort that businesses could use to advertise discounts free of charge. The city will also be raffling off thousands of dollars in gift cards.
“I think it’s great,” said Kira Jones, one of many slowly driving through the park with her phone out to take pictures of discounts and deals. “They already struggle to survive in today’s economy so this just hits them even harder.”
Among the many advertisements at the park is a deal from family-owned Wicked Peel Pizza Kitchen, which has been in business since January 2018.
A slow moving drive thru is happening in @RivertonUtahGov over the next week...all in an effort to speed things up at businesses. Take a pic of offers on the signs and redeem them at local restaurants and shops. Story on @KSL5TV at 10 #businesspic.twitter.com/X0gnDd0jQc— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) May 2, 2020
“Last two months have been crazy,” said owner Mary Lee Wallwork. “It’s a roller coaster ride.”
Like so many other restaurants and shops, they’ve had to adapt by replacing plates with takeout and delivery boxes.
For the first time in more than six weeks, the state allowed restaurants that follow requirements to open their dining areas to customers beginning Friday. For now, Wallwork said they’re opting to stick with only takeout and delivery.
“A lot of our customers, that’s what they wanted us to do,” Wallwork said. “Let’s get back to normal but it’s going to take some time and we just all have to work together to do it.”
That’s why she’s grateful to have the city helping to drive people back to businesses as they reopen. It’s an effort the mayor said helps everyone involved, including the city, whose budget includes millions of dollars in sales tax revenue.
“We’re confident,” Staggs said. “We’re hopeful things will improve not just for individuals’ health but for their economic health as well. And I think that they’re not mutually exclusive.”