Yarrish lives just down the road, but isn't FLDS and runs the risk of being rejected by the community. Still, he told me, he thinks the store will work out.
Bruce Wisan — who was appointed by a judge to manage the land in the area — agrees. In court documents, Wisan and his team argue that Yarrish's investment will bring in new commerce and be a positive addition to the community.
Which makes sense; since I've been covering this beat I've only seen a handful of other shops in Short Creek. The addition of a single store would therefore be a major injection of economic activity.
But not everyone thinks that's exactly what will happen.
Timpson argued Friday that when Yarrish buys the property the handful of other stores on the same block will leave. Those shops include a take-out pizza restaurant and a health food store, among other things.
Incidentally, last year I bought a giant bottle of fantastic Mexican Vanilla at one of these stores for only $8. Judging from the appearance of the employees, the stores are clearly run by members of a polygamous community. However, no one — Timpson, Yarrish or anyone else — seems to know for certain if the owners are actually FLDS.
In any case, Timpson said that having these stores close their doors would be a net loss to the community, even if a hardware store opens up.
For Yarrish's part, he went door to door asking the businesses to stick around and offering to work with them as their new landlord. Unfortunately, his efforts were rebuffed and they all plan to leave when he buys the land.
So it seems pretty clear what is going to happen; the only question is if that will result in a net economic gain or loss for the community.
One other relevant thing stood out from Friday's hearing: Judge Denise Lindberg is apparently unaware of these other businesses' existence. When Timpson mentioned them, Lindberg countered that they weren't actually operational. Her impression seemed to be that the buildings were entirely vacant. Timpson then replied that, no, actually, they aren't.
Based on everything I've seen and heard, Timpson is correct; there are several operational businesses in the block that's slated for sale.
— Jim Dalrymple II