Soapcreek Company relocating within Ephraim City boundaries
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—Soapcreek Company, which had been operating out of an industrial building on the west side of Ephraim, has relocated within Ephraim in hopes of expanding operations in the near future.
The company makes lip balms, soap bath bombs, lotions and body care projects and sells its products to national retailers such as Walmart.
Soapcreek has been operating for a little more than a year in the Ephraim Industrial Park in a building originally built by Auto Meter, an auto parts manufacturer that closed up shop in the early 2000s. However, their lease was scheduled to run out this summer.
Soapcreek’s new building is located at 65 E. 400 South in a C-2 (commercial) zone. Bryan Kimball, director of economic development, told the city council that city staff had received no complaints about the move. Use of a building on 400 South was approved by the planning and zoning commission.
Before the council would approve a conditional use permit, however, several members voiced concerns over industrial wastes. As Councilman John Scott said, “What’s being dumped down the drain?”
Kimball told the council that in the past year, a complaint had been filed against Soapcreek. The state inspected their facility, found no violations and approved the company for continued operation. Other than that, Kimball said he had seen no evidence of dumping.
Fire Chief Kerry Steck mentioned the complaint may have originated from the company’s former landlord, with whom the owners had a contentious relationship.
Steck said he was not as concerned with any possible dumping as much as he wanted to know what chemicals were being stored at the facility.
Mayor Richard Squire, noting the company uses “all-natural ingredients,” spoke on behalf of Soapcreek, saying, “From what I’ve seen, this is the same thing that my wife has made in our home. There’s no waste from the process.”
Kimball replied to the concern voiced by the council and Steck by saying the permit would specify that a fire inspection would have to take place, and a list of all materials stored at the facility would have to be given to the fire chief.
Fred and Roxy Johnson, co-owners of Soapcreek Company, told the council their immediate plans were to move into the new facility “as soon as possible,” since they had a number of orders for products pending.
Eventually, they said, they want to build their own building in the industrial park. They would then be able to move processes that are now being subcontracted in-house, and hire more employees to handle packaging and loading.
The council approved the conditional use permit, with the conditions from the planning and zoning and the council.