Moab Gear Trader is a family-owned business right off the corner of Main Street in Moab Utah. Marshall Dvorscak has been running this community-oriented gear store since 2014, supplying the small town and its many visitors with outdoor gear, as well as essentials in a small town with limited retail shopping options.

For part of the year, Moab is a quiet little town with endless recreation opportunities and two National Parks within spitting distance. Locals have the opportunity to explore this wonderful landscape and take advantage of the supplies Moab Gear Trader offers them. In the Spring and Fall, however, Moab becomes a booming tourist destination. Folks from all around the world travel to Moab for its world-class climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting, highlining, skydiving, jeeping, and more. 

With the onset of COVID-19, local businesses were challenged in finding a balance between staying afloat  and protecting the lives of themselves and their employees. 

In the last 12 months, Moab Gear Trader has gone above and beyond to keep their 20+ staff employed, while also taking extra precautions to keep their employees and customers safe. 

Marshall wanted to make sure the members of his community were employed through this difficult time, but also took the health crisis very seriously. To do this, he implemented a very strict sanitization policy in his store. Masks were and still are mandatory for all employees and customers. Workstation were moved to keep staff distanced, and even break room timing was regulated to prevent the possibility of transmitted ANY disease.  Marshall also practiced creating a culture of safety within his employees, “Everyone knows you can’t be going to social gatherings anywhere in right now. If you come into work and you tell people you went to a backyard BBQ and didn’t utilize distancing and masks, there are social consequences.”  Proof of the effectiveness of these changes is obvious.  Not a single cold, cough, flu, or any other winter “crud” made it’s way through their workforce this winter, unlike previous years.

To implement the Shop In Utah Grant, and instead of having a large sale, which might have encouraged crowds, Marshall instead began offering strategic discounts. “I want to support locals in these trying times and encourage them to continue to come in, and also I want my employees to feel safe at their place of work. Offering discounts on items I know that perform better with locals is one way to achieve both.” 

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(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

And it worked, Marshall–and Moab Gear Trader–has remained open throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, but he has been hiring and employing folks in need of work the entire time. 

Moving forward, Marshall hopes that one day Moab Gear Trader will be able to be a sponsor for live music events again. Before the pandemic, Moab Gear Trader invested heavily in supporting the local live music scene. It feels like that might be far away, but as we enter a new world and restrictions begin to loosen, he hopes he can support the community here in more ways than just through discounts.