times for Tremonton businesses
By Dave Archer
December 10, 2008 | TREMONTON -- For years, Peggy Schultz
considered herself a lucky person. She had something
that so few have, yet so many desire. Every morning,
she would wake up and head to a job she loved, one she
looked forward doing every day.
As the owner of Quilter's Harvest, Schultz had the opportunity
not only to sell fabric and patterns to prospective
quilters, she also traded ideas with fellow quilters,
talked shop with those who visited her store and found
joy in helping those new to quilting get started with
But all of that is gone now.
Schultz was forced to close her doors for good last
month, and it has proved to be one of the hardest things
she's ever had to do.
"It broke my heart," she said. "That
shop was the love of my life. It was real hard to close
Lately, downtown Tremonton is a little less populated
than it has been in years past. Businesses like Quilter's
Harvest and Little Gold Treasures have left the area
or are in the process of shutting down for good, while
others like Murdock Chevrolet and Five Star Trailers
are seeing record low profits this year.
According to Sheena Hansen, Bear River Valley Chamber
of Commerce president and general manager at Five Star
Trailers, a number of factors are involved when local
businesses like these close. First and foremost, it's
often because there just isn't a large enough demand
for a product.
"It's too bad, because (the owners) have a good
idea, but it's not going to fly," she said. "The
need and demand for those types of things have changed."
Hansen acknowledged that local stores receive some support
from area residents, but there is oftentimes more people
who choose to leave town to shop. Larger cities like
Logan, Ogden or Salt Lake City can offer consumers more
choice and more savings, which ultimately hurts the
hometown businesses that support local events, fundraisers
"Many have become programmed to leave town,"
Hansen said. "When you can leave town and get everything
done it one trip, it makes it (easy) for some."
She also said a struggling national economy hasn't done
anything to help matters, as more and more people are
spending their money on things that they need and not
the extras that they want.
"The things we have in Tremonton, and in a time
like this right now, it is very difficult to support,"
she said. "It's not things that people have to
That was exactly what happened with Schultz's business,
as she cited a lack of sales as the reason for having
to close her doors for good. Over the last few months
that her business was open, she said she saw more and
more people who were looking to save money and get their
shopping done in one trip.
"There's more traffic on Main Street than there
was six months ago, but they're not doing their shopping
in Tremonton," Schultz said.
Yet this was a problem Schultz didn't think she'd have.
When competing businesses like Buttons and Bolts and
Cabin Fever Quilts were around, Schultz said her business
remained steady, as she believes the competition and
choices available to consumers kept people in town.
However, when those two businesses announced they were
closing their doors and held clearance sales, Schultz
saw her business drop. She assumed that it would work
out, thinking her customers would return once those
businesses were gone. The opposite happened, however.
"It never really recovered to where it was while
(those other shops) were open," she said.
It finally got to the point that Schultz had to make
the painful decision of whether or not to keep running
the business that she loved at a loss. Unfortunately,
that was something she just wasn't able to do.
"I couldn't afford to go bankrupt with it,"
The pain isn't only being felt by small, locally owned
shops, however. Hansen said a number of restaurants
are reporting lower figures, and local car dealerships
are seeing some of their worst sales numbers in recent
memory. In fact, Hansen said she's seen a drastic decline
at her own company, Five Star Trailers.
"I'm exactly half of where I was a year ago,"
she said. "It is very widespread."
Even with these factors, however, businesses coming
and going is nothing new to the area. Tremonton City
Manager Rich Woodworth said that he's seen plenty of
businesses close their doors in the past, many within
a few months of each other.
"It seems like there's a cycle where two or three
happen at once whenever it happens," Woodworth
So what can local business owners do? For one, Hansen
said she recommends choosing a product that will appeal
to a wide number of people instead of offering a specialized
product for a select few. She also said people need
to go back to old habits of going the extra mile to
make their business succeed, much like they did when
they first opened their doors.
"You really pull your bootstraps up and come out
and try harder," she said. "Do what you did
when you first opened, when you had that drive and desire
So while life continues for Schultz, it is definitely
different than what she's used to. She no longer wakes
up each morning excited to open her shop, no longer
has countless opportunities to talk with others about
quilting. She continues to pursue the hobby that has
brought her so much joy, but as far as being able to
help others find that through her products, that's something
she knows will never come back.
"I couldn't ever go through another 'going out
of business' again," she said.