Ogden couple launch crepe enterprise, hope for good issues regardless of pandemic jitters | Enterprise
OGDEN – The COVID-19 pandemic has proven deadly for some businesses and is unable to cope with the decline in traffic caused by the spread of the virus.
It has led many others to cut back on their operations and tighten their belts to cope with the effects of the pandemic – a drop in sales due to policies designed to keep the virus in check and also curtail public activities.
For Kaleb Kidman and Jenny Guzman, however, the pandemic is the backdrop for their introduction to the business world. They signed the lease for the new La Crepe OG crepe shop in downtown Ogden just before the pandemic broke out in serious form almost a year ago in March last year. They couldn’t get out of business after the virus wreaked havoc and tried.
“We’ve seen other companies in trouble for 20 years,” Kidman said, recalling the turmoil when he, his fiancée Guzman, and Guzman’s family ran the company on Pebble Ave. Founded in 2411.
But they have made progress, and while things have been rocky at times, they make it and remain hopeful despite not having much choice. “It’s like a roller coaster. You have your ups and downs, ”said Kidman, a business student at Weber State University, like Guzman.
Guzman, 21, said the key to success at this stage seems to be persistence. Kidman, 20, spoke more practically – success means finding a niche in the market and getting people through the doors. “Find your market, find a way to keep them busy,” he said.
O Cre operators Kaleb Kidman (left) and Jenny Guzman (La Crepe OG) pose in front of the locale in downtown Ogden on Monday, February 15, 2021.
In any case, they will receive a crash course in corporate management. Ben Lomond High School graduates started the company in part to settle their college bills and put what they learn at Weber State into practice, even when tackling a full-time course load. And the turn of events shows that the pandemic doesn’t just have to be about crouching, taking your time, and waiting for a sunnier day.
“It was really rough in the beginning,” said Kidman.
But thanks to their social media marketing efforts and their unique offerings – the crepe market in the Ogden area is pretty wide open – they are slowly gaining momentum. Their unique “freak shakes” – anti-gravity concoctions made from ice cream, donuts, churros, and other sugary ingredients – also attract customers, some from Park City and Salt Lake City.
“The only way to get noticed is when you have something crazy,” Kidman said.
One of the “freak shakes” offered at La Crepe OG in Ogden.
Although many companies have suffered from the ongoing pandemic, Guzman and Kidman are not trying to forge a new fate alone as the economy remains uncertain for many.
Ron Yeates, operator of No Frills Diner at 449 W. 12th St., plans to move to new dig sites on historic 25th Street this spring, to the ground floor space of the building on the southwest corner of 25th Street and Lincoln Avenue. The stove on the 25th fills the space on the second floor.
“The business wasn’t bad. We’re actually fine, ”he said.
The acquisition of the property on 12th Street where the restaurant is now by a nearby medical manufacturing company to make way for that company’s expansion forced Yeates’ hand. No Frills plans to close at its current location on Feb.26 and move to 25th Street sometime in the spring pending the approval process with the city. “I’m very excited, but also nervous. It’s a great location, ”said Yeates.
While no one is saying anything publicly, the space on the southwest corner of 25th Street and Grant Avenue that used to be a Mexican restaurant has changed over the past few weeks, seemingly in anticipation of something.
CULINARY CREATIVITY, JOURNEYThe offers offered at La Crepe OG are the sweet and savory crepes. Guzman’s father, Gerardo Guzman, who ran a crepe restaurant and cafe in Mexico before he was transplanted to Ogden, helped with the recipes and also helped keep the locale running. There are crepes with mangoes, bananas and berries, and others made with ham, hot peppers, chicken and eggs.
A crazy crepe at La Crepe OG in downtown Ogden on Monday 15th February 2021.
“We took the family tradition and modernized it,” said Kidman.
Guzman and Kidman also offer “bubble” waffles, paninis and a variety of drinks. However, the many freak shakes are perhaps the most distinctive offering from La Crepe OG. The maple and bacon shake offers donuts, French toast and bacon. The red velvet shake consists of sugar cookies and red velvet cake.
This type of culinary creativity, combined with its drive, as Guzman and Kidman hope, will produce results. “We work really hard, and I don’t think there’s a single place in Utah that wobbles like that,” Kidman said.