Some Thoughts from SLC
After my meeting today, I drove down to Orem to visit the very first Emergency Essentials store. (I've bought many things from them in the past and highly recommend them to you.) I didn't buy anything of note, although I came close to buying two GoalZero Nomad 7.5 solar panels. They were closeouts and were on sale for 33% off. I did some quick reviews on line, however, and based on the fact these were closeout models with a history of not having the right connection wires for various applications, I decided to skip the purchase.
I enjoy visiting their stores, in large part because I like talking to their employees and fellow shoppers. One lady was in there buying survival supplies for her son's upcoming two year mission for the LDS church. Another set of ladies were there to pick up a storeable food order they'd placed on line.
I asked the staff about their customer base; specifically, what sort of folks are coming in on a regular basis to buy supplies from them? The staff tells me their most loyal customers are Mormons who are there to buy storeable foods to meet the church's instruction to have a year's worth of food on hand for their family.
Walking back to my car after I was done shopping, I saw a rather interesting store: the Missionary Mall. This store caters to young men (they have a separate store for the ladies) who are about to head off for their two year mission trip for the LDS church. It's a good concept: market clothing and supplies aimed at young men who will be spending much of their time walking door to door, who have little interest in doing complex laundry tasks, and who need clothing and gear that can stand up to that kind of lifestyle for a two year period. A number of parents with their sons in their late teens and early twenties were shopping there today, getting suited up and geared up for their mission trips. Through osmosis, I learned these kids will first report to what the locals call the MTC - the Missionary Training Center in Provo - for a twelve week training program prior to deployment. In addition to learning the necessary doctrinal and communication skills, those being sent to countries where English is not spoken receive intensive training in that language while at the MTC.
I have no desire to join the LDS church, but I must admit I have a tremendous amount of respect for these young people who commit two years of their lives - putting family, dating, college and work on hold during that time - to support their church's work abroad. Earlier this year, I read The Mormon Way of Doing Business to get a better feel for working with politicians and business leaders in Utah. And one of the keys the business leaders interviewed in the book identified as crucial to their development and success was their mission trip as a young man. It forced them to mature, to become organized, and to focus on the task at hand.
Those of us who are non-Mormons can learn a lot from their work ethic, their commitment to their families and faith, and of course their strong belief in self-reliance and preparedness.