Gunshots Ring Out

21 January 2021 Published in Haas Style Blog

It’s Christmas week, just one month ago.  The city is bustling with activity (as much as it can be in the pandemic)  as people prepare for the holiday.  Around midnight on December 22nd, in our small Ballpark Community, shots ring out, and the ending is not a good one.

It was scary to wake up the next morning and see on the news that there were shots fired in Salt Lake City, and then have the camera pan along the street where it occurred, and see your business signage in the background.  The feature in the newspaper had the glowing green light of RoHa Brewing Project sign in the background as well.

My heart sunk into my stomach - what had happened? Where did this occur? Are my people OK? Is my business OK? 

Not a lot of information was known that morning, all they knew is there was some arguing, and some shooting, and some people were taken to the hospital and others were found dead.  

When our employees arrived to open up shop, a gaping hole was discovered in our package store window, clearly a stray bullet. Fortunately, we were closed when all of this happened, our employees were home safely before anything escalated in our neighborhood - but this was a close call, and an eye opening event for the Ballpark Community.

We are in the business of selling beer, sure, but one aspect of building a brewery is the strong sense of community.  When we established ourselves here 4 or 5 years ago and started construction, we saw a lot of activity; prostitution, drug use, drug deals, and general anti-community type events. 

We were surrounded by other excited business owners who welcomed us to the community - and were thrilled that we would be there to help them build a strong community where people and businesses could thrive together.  The excitement was real.

As we established ourselves, the community felt safer, and really started to improve.  New apartments/condominiums were constructed across the street, other businesses popped up.  When COVID hit hard last spring, we started to see a decline, and hopefully we have reached the bottom of the curve, and we have raised enough red-flags within Salt Lake City to get the attention that we deserve.

Our Ballpark Community Council pulled together under the leadership of Amy Hawkins, scheduled a Zoom meeting with local Police Chief, Mike Brown, County Sheriff, Rosie Rivera along with other prominent leadership in our community.  

The meeting went late in to the night, and the sense of urgency was apparent, the Ballpark Community wanted to band together with the support the of the Police Department and Salt Lake City Mayor, to enact change, positive change.

Immediately the community banded together to support one another, we held an outdoor meeting at RoHa Brewing to discuss the issues as well, and discuss Neighborhood Watch best practices.  This was the rally that was needed (we hope) for positive change.

As I got more involved, I tried to reinforce my perspective, that a Brewery will often serve as the hub of activity for a neighborhood.  In almost every city you visit, you see this happening.  A run-down industrial zone, suddenly gains a brewery, and small merchants come back, a walking community is built, and becomes vibrant again.

At RoHa, we work hard to greet our customers with a smile (behind that mask), and treat those that come in as family, and as part of this community.  It is you, our dedicated customers that make us who we are, and who are also playing an integral part in building this community.

So have a pint, grab some beer to-go, and help us continue to be the hub that re-builds this Ballpark Community.