As a kid, I loved to walk downtown to Lehi Main Street and stop into the stores between Main and Center Street and 200 West. First, there was Western Auto. The store had wood floors that creaked when you stepped, and it just had a certain aroma. Maybe it was rubber, dust, and leather. I don’t know, but there was no place like it.
Then there was Price Brother’s market. I loved to go to “Prices” (as my mom called it) in the summer and bask in the air-conditioned comfort. The array of fresh fruit and vegetables was always so colorful and beautiful. Rex Price always greeted with a smile and carried a feather duster in his back pocket. I would watch him arrange the shelves with care, pulling the canned goods gently to the edge.
That little store had everything, including a wonderful meat department, where you could order just the right amount of freshly ground beef or just-cut pork chops. I also loved the cereal aisle. We didn’t get treated to sugar cereal very often, but I would dream of my own box of Corn Pops or Sugar Smacks.
Then there was the Lehi Free Press office where my mom worked. After school, I would go there and do my homework while Betty typed up a story or chatted with the locals. If I got hungry, I could go next door to Porter’s Place and order some fries or soup. I could walk down the street to “Rexall’s” and spend a dime or quarter on penny candy. A little further, I could drop into the Lehi Bakery for a donut or my favorite, a raisin-filled cookie. Yes, life was good as a kid growing up in Lehi in the 70s.
These local merchants are mostly gone. The Ekins family still owns Rexall’s, now Pioneer Party, and Julie Nielsen still runs The Bridal Center, but Porter’s Place is no more, along with most of the others.
It takes a certain amount of grit to run a small local business, especially in 2020. The last several months have been a challenge. But your hardy Lehi shop owners are your friends and neighbors. Their businesses are not owned by a private equity firm out of New York or traded on a stock exchange. Your purchase makes a lot of difference to them, and they are counting on you to help them stay in business. They are part of what makes our community different. They add color and flavor (literally) to Lehi. Let’s support them instead of ordering from Amazon or the big box stores this year. You may have to get in your car to buy the items, but that trip will do you good as you peel yourself off the couch and away from the computer or phone. You might find a friend to share a quick word. Or find just the right gift. You can share a kind thought or a smile. You know, we can tell you’re smiling, even from behind a mask. And just for a moment, the world will be a little brighter, and the pandemic a little less severe. All because you shopped in Lehi.