CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Karaoke Business Closes Its Salt Lake Location

Sep 3, 2020, 10:42 PM | Updated: 11:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A karaoke business has sung its final number at its Salt Lake City location, adding to a growing number of businesses that have shut their doors in the state’s capital city.

“We don’t have these buffers where we can just hope five months from now things change,” said Timothy Holley, owner of Heart and Seoul Karaoke. “We just can’t do that. We can’t take that risk.”

Holley’s journey began when he visited a karaoke place while living in Hawaii. He wasn’t one to get in front of strangers to sing, but he enjoyed the relatively private experience of singing only in front of people you know.

“I saw how awesome of an experience it was,” he said. And three years ago, he started Heart and Seoul Karaoke in Provo.

“Business was doing great. We were very profitable and things were running very smoothly,” he said.

And so they expanded, opening a location near the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City last year. Soon, it was making more money than the Provo location, and Holley and his partners were feeling good.

“We talked about even franchising. We had all these big ideas,” he said. “And then COVID came along.”

The unknown virus, carrying guidelines and restrictions, quickly put a stop to their plans. Holley was forced to close both locations in March. After a month and a half of bills and no revenue, he reopened in May. But Salt Lake City wasn’t the same.

“It’s almost turned into a ghost town,” he said. “There weren’t people coming out to eat. There weren’t people going to the conventions. They weren’t staying at the hotels. There weren’t people shopping at City Creek.”

And Heart and Seoul Karaoke in Salt Lake City fell silent.

“Everything stopped,” he said. “Once the machine stopped, we couldn’t get running again.”

And on Monday, the last day of August, it became official.

“It was really sad. We took down the sign on Saturday. And I kind of said my goodbyes on Monday and I walked out and that’s it,” he said. “I mean it’s something we put a ton of work into.”

The show goes on at Heart and Seoul Karaoke in Provo. Still, with a new mask mandate in effect in the city and the unknown surrounding semesters at nearby Brigham Young and Utah Valley universities, the future remains uncertain.

“When you’re running a small business, you need to have some degree of certainty and some degree of trust and some kind of foresight for what the future holds,” he said.

Holley acknowledged the grants and programs that have offered small businesses financial relief over the last several months. But he said that can only take a business so far in this climate.

“We don’t need money. We need customers,” he said. “Because you can keep throwing money at businesses but if customers aren’t coming, you can’t run a business.”

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Karaoke Business Closes Its Salt Lake Location