Salt Lake City, UT: Rainy Weather Hurting Many Local Businesses (Food Trucks)

Food trucks line up near the Gallivan Center in spite of the rain on Thursday, May 19, 2011.

By Amanda Verzello |

Food trucks line up near the Gallivan Center in spite of the rain on Thursday, May 19, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — The sustained rainy weather is putting a damper on many of Salt Lake’s local businesses.

Nicolas Cardenas, a downtown taco cart operator, said sales at his cart have been half their normal level over the past rain-filled week. But his cart at 400 W. South Temple has stayed open for the loyal customers, many of whom come from nearby businesses — rain or shine.

“Snow, sleet, hail, I’ll be here,” said Tyler Maynes, a self-professed taco cart devotee who was picking up food Thursday for him and his wife. “I love these tacos.”

Four mobile food trucks were assembled in Gallivan Plaza despite the steady drizzle. Chow Truck owner SuAn Chow said her business has fluctuated during the past week.

“We’re definitely affected by the weather, but we have a very loyal following,” she said. The asian-inspired food truck’s changing locations are listed on its website.

The rain has really slowed business down at The Gateway mall Wells Fargo branch, said personal banker Tyler Higginson.

“The rain definitely does make for less work, less profitability,” he said.

Higginson said a typical teller at his branch runs about 60 to 70 transactions per day. “Yesterday each of them averaged 10 to 15.”

The number of tellers the bank assigns to each store is based on transactions, Higginson said. But since the bank looks at staffing on a yearly basis, the week-long rain is unlikely to have an effect on employee schedules.

The Gateway parking lots have been emptier this week than usual, according to J.J. Chinnock, an employee at Sur la Table. She said the shopping center employees have been snagging the “primo” parking spots.

“On rainy days you can definitely see a huge difference,” she said.

The patrons who were braving the weather at the outdoor mall Thursday were walking quickly and carrying umbrellas, but artist True Durham was unfazed by the rain. She was leisurely walking to Barnes & Noble wearing gym clothes and no head protection.

Durham said she’s used to the rain and snow, and besides, it’s only temporary. “We’re not stuck (with rain) forever,” she said.

Local clothing stores — many of which are stocking spring and summer styles — are experiencing a dip in traffic, leaving some store employees with little to do.

“There is only so much you can clean,” said Lola Bella Boutique employee Maida Kljajic.

The owner of 9th and 9th women’s clothing store Koo De Ker said she thinks the rain affects business because her customers are denied instant gratification from their shopping trip.

“They want to be able to buy something and wear it that weekend,” Kyong An said.

But at least one kind of business appreciates the rainy weather — movie theaters.

Broadway Theater manager Andy Wijaya said he’s seen “no decrease at all” in ticket sales over the past week.

“The rainy weather helps us, because people cannot do anything outside.”