when folks convened at a tacitly agreed upon store, not so
much to purchase its wares, but mostly to converse and catch
up on local gossip. When you walked in, you were greeted
with a personal “hello, how’s Marge” or “Hey,
how’s the Chevy running now?” Even if you were
born post ‘50’s, your mind can conjure up this
image of idyllic neighborliness because that type of general
store atmosphere has been immortalized by the media in shows
like Andy Griffith’s where the barbershop served as
Dave Sakrison, mayor of Moab and owner of Dave‘s Corner
Market, grew up in Seattle with just such a store in his neighborhood.
This was his inspiration when establishing his own version
here back in 1984.
The Uranium boom had gone bust, but young Dave’s heart
was bursting. He had met Melody, the woman who has become his
wife and partner in the store, and he wanted to stay in Moab.
When he started to envision new enterprises, he quickly settled
upon opening his own neighborhood store.
Located on the corner of Millcreek Drive and 4th East, the
mini-mart is essentially located in the center of Moab. Figuratively,
it is located in the heart of the town, keeping track of the
community’s pulse as local news drifts in and out.
The store’s history evokes small town life as it used
to house Doc Mayberry, the town’s doctor. Under Dave’s
ownership, the place has become a landmark. I rarely give directions
to my home on the east side of town without saying, “Know
where Dave’s is?” Invariably, all Moabites do.
On a cursory glance, the store resembles a typical minimart.
The merchandise includes the regular sundry items that customers
may have a quick need of: diapers, soda, Gatorade, ice cream
bars, newspapers, laundry detergent, toothpaste and so on.
Convenience to the customer is definitely the drive behind
quick-stop items, however, belie the slow rhythm of many
of the patrons, especially of the extensive coffee bar. Dave’s
offers over 70 varieties of coffee from a long list that
includes African, South American, organic, flavored and decaffeinated.
A regular table and chairs invites loitering on one end of
the store while two tall coffee-bar tables and chairs line
the window on the other side, inviting customers to people-watch.
One group who doesn’t pass up the invitation is a group
of regulars whom Amanda Domenick, the store clerk and Dave’s
cousin, affectionately dubs the “Ol’ Timers.”
They’re men who’ve known Dave and each other for
many years and convene every day, rain or shine, at two o’clock
in the afternoon at the Corner Market to drink coffee and catch
Outside, there are two stone and wood benches supporting a
variety of shell ashtrays. I have rarely passed these benches
in the morning and not seen them well occupied. Here local
residents exchange the real news, the stuff none of the newspapers
sold next to the benches can really capture.
That Dave was drawn into local politics twenty one years ago,
serving on various boards including the city council, is not
surprising when the Corner Market gives him such intimate access
to the local residents’ thoughts and plans. When Dave
ran his mayoral campaign, he ubiquitously placed life-sized
cardboard reproductions of himself smiling and drinking a cup
of coffee around town. The Dave reproductions (one of which
still resides at the Market, greeting customers) seemed like
an appropriate representation of the man, since Dave is easy
to find and easy to talk to. He stays connected with the people
of Moab. He attributes this connection to Dave’s Corner
Market by explaining that “the store gives me a good
grounding to the community.”
On the rainy morning I stopped in to take Dave’s photo,
a typical gathering of folks was convened at the store picking
up a hot drink before work. Some were sitting on the benches
outside despite the inclement weather. Inside, Dave was busy
making drinks. As one regular came in, Dave simply reached
into the fridge behind the coffee counter and pulled out Chai
and held it up. The man smiled and nodded and they resumed
talking about a topic obviously started on the previous encounter.
You know you’ve walked into the local general store when
the conversation between owner and customer centers on each
other’s lives, not the merchandise. That’s what
Dave’s is like.
Dave’s Corner Market is located
on 4th East and MillCreek Drive and can be reached at 259-6999.