Perk up, caffeine lovers – Perks! hasn’t vanished, just moved

ST. GEORGE – If you’re one of the thousands of Southern Utahns who can’t get by without that daily caffeine fix, you may be wondering where your Perks! has gone.

Friday, the Perks! Espresso & Smoothies building formerly located in the Harmons parking lot, 1189 E. 700 South in St. George, was uprooted and moved.

The Perks! Espresso & Smoothies building formerly located in the Harmons parking lot is loaded up to be moved to a storage facility, St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Brandon Beneventi, St. George News
The Perks! Espresso & Smoothies building formerly located in the Harmons parking lot is loaded up to be moved to a storage facility, St. George, Utah, Nov. 21, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Brandon Beneventi, St. George News

“It is going to go into storage,” Perks! owner and founder Lori Hanna said.

The reason for the de-perking of this Perks! location is Harmons recently opened its own café inside the 700 South store and elected to terminate a longstanding agreement that has allowed Perks! to operate in the grocery store’s parking lot.

“It’s a business move for them,” Hanna said.

“It wasn’t personal and we certainly understand that,” she added. “We’re sad for our customers because it was a convenient location, but it seems so far that most of them are following us.”

Since the closure of the Harmons location, Hanna said, there has been an uptick in business at the other St. George Perks! locations on St. George Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.

The Harmons Perks! location, which opened in May 2003, was the very first for this homegrown Southern Utah chain. Watching that first location close has been both nostalgic and sad, Hanna said.

“There’s so many memories,” she said. “My kids grew up in that shop.”

The new Perks! Espresso & Smoothie Telegraph Street location, Washington, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Lori Hannah, St. George News
The new Perks! Espresso & Smoothie Telegraph Street location, Washington, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Lori Hanna, St. George News

After the Harmons Perks! location opened, other locations followed as the business gained notoriety among community members seeking a caffeine jolt, a smoothie cool-down or other Perks! indulgences. Many employees have also grown up with the Perks! family over the years.

“Watching a second generation of Perksters coming up has been fun,” Hanna said.

Hanna and the other members of the Perks! crew are taking this change on the chin. Hanna said she’s negotiating to possibly move the newly stored building up to Cedar City and thereby expand Perks! to Iron County.

“So hopefully it will work out, but in the meantime, the poor little dear is going to take a rest,” Hanna said.

Also resulting from the closure, a new Perks! location opened on Telegraph Street in Washington City last week, across from Wal-Mart and near Sonic Drive-In.

“(The closure) was the impetus,” Hanna said. “We had no intention of opening one in Washington until we found out we had to leave Harmons.”

The new Washington location has broken the mold of the typical Perks! business model, she said. There is no drive-thru window at the Washington Perks!; instead, there is indoor seating and an outdoor patio, soon to feature a fire pit. Perks! customers can either call ahead to place their orders for pickup or sit down and enjoy their Perks! favorites onsite.

“We’ve been warmly received,” Hanna said, “so it’s been encouraging.”

The new Perks! Espresso & Smoothie Telegraph Street location, Washington, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Lori Hannah, St. George News
The new Perks! Espresso & Smoothie Telegraph Street location, Washington, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Lori Hanna, St. George News

Thanks to the debut of the Washington location, no employees had to be let go as a result of the Harmons location closure.

“We’ve been able to keep everybody through the transition,” Hanna said.

The hours at the St. George Boulevard Perks! location have been expanded in light of the closure, in an effort to better serve customers who formerly utilized the later hours at the now-closed Harmons shop. Hanna said the hours at the new Washington location will also likely be expanded as the Washington client base grows.

“It’s been satisfying knowing that we’ve been part of the community for so long, and we’re showing no signs of stopping,” Hanna said.

Perks! Espresso & Smoothies locations and hours

  • St. George Boulevard: 615 E. St. George Blvd., St. George, in the Rite Aid parking lot | Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunset Boulevard: 1515 W. Sunset Blvd., St. George | Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Washington City: 520 W. Telegraph St., Washington, near Sonic Drive-In | Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Hurricane: 1065 W. State St., Hurricane, in the Stout Home Furnishings parking lot | Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

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