Caputo’s Market & Deli | Neighborhood Spotlight | Pioneer Park Coalition

We love our neighborhood. The Pioneer Park area hasn’t always had the best reputation. We have had some rough years. But we fight through them. We are where we are in huge part due to our good neighbors and businesses who decided that the west side of Salt Lake City would be their home and they planted roots. None as much as Caputo’s Market and Deli located directly north of Pioneer Park.

Caputo's Market and Deli

Caputo’s Market & Deli

When Tony Caputo opened his market and deli in 1997, he says he never considered any other area. The Pioneer Park neighborhood was the perfect location. According to a June Deseret News article,

“We never thought of going anywhere else,” says Tony. “We liked downtown; we liked this part of downtown. You go to big cities, go to the Italian section, they’re always in crummy neighborhoods.”

Caputo’s has been a neighborhood staple ever since, staying solid as new businesses and housing projects grew around him. Three years ago, Tony retired, leaving the business to his son Matt and daughter-in-law Yelena. Matt and Yelena have continued the love and care for the Pioneer Park neighborhood, being active members and supporters of the Pioneer Park Coalition as we work toward our goal of making the Pioneer Park neighborhood inviting for all 24/7.Tony Caputo and family

PC: Deseret News

Caputo’s Offerings

Caputo’s Market and Deli offers a delicious smorgasbord of gourmet food. They offer only the best in cheese, chocolates, and deli meats. From the amazing sandwiches to mouth-watering Cheese Cave, everything is top shelf. But the atmosphere is far from pretentious. Whether you walk in in paint-covered jeans and an old ratty hoodie to a business suit, you fit right in. The market is loud, festive, and is a gathering place for friends, colleagues, and family. Even though he retired, Tony can often be found behind the counter or sitting at a table chatting with customers.

Caputo's Market and Deli cheese cave

Caputo’s also offers many classes for the community. Everything from cheese tasting to chocolate making. Check out a list of their upcoming classes here.

We are so fortunate to have Caputo’s Market and Deli in our neighborhood as a steady cornerstone. It’s so much more than a deli…it shows us every day what our goals for Salt Lake’s west side are and why we are working for our goals. We want to give a huge shoutout to Caputo’s also for their continued activity and support of the Pioneer Park Coaltion.

Gateway Bridal & Prom | Pioneer Park | Neighborhood Spotlight

We are fortunate to have some amazing neighbors here in the Pioneer Park neighborhood. Both residents and businesses alike make our vision for our area come alive. Today we would like to focus on Gateway Bridal & Prom, home of the LatterDayBride collection, located at 360 West Broadway, Suite #101, on the north side of Pioneer Park. Gateway Bridal is owned and operated by our own Pioneer Park Coalition board member, Nicole Thomas.

Nicole Thomas, owner of Gateway Bridal in the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City

Nicole started Gateway Bridal more than 16 years ago. The original storefront was located at the south end of the Gateway Mall, almost directly across from the current Road Home homeless shelter. The years leading up to the move to the current location were difficult…it was hard for Nicole and her staff to see the area deteriorating as the Rio Grande neighborhood became more a drug haven than a place for customers to come buy wedding dresses. They had seen sex acts performed outside their office window, had addicts use their bathroom to shoot up, showed up to work to find someone had defecated in front of the door, and on a few occasions, people were even found dead in their parking lot, either from violence or drug overdoses. Pre Operation Rio Grande, Nicole felt she had no choice but to move her store, for the safety of herself, her customers, and her staff. You can read more from Nicole in her op-ed here.

Gateway Bridal located in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City

Nicole has been a longtime member and now a board member of the Pioneer Park Coalition. She knew when she moved she didn’t want to give up on our neighborhood, which is why she chose to move Gateway Bridal just down the street to it’s current location across from Pioneer Park. While many retailers moved out of the area completely, opting for the shiny new City Creek Center, Nicole knew Gateway’s home was on Salt Lake’s west side. While the problems that plagued the store back in the old location aren’t completely gone, they are few and far between, thanks in large part to the efforts of Operation Rio Grande.  

Now, for the fun part. Gateway Bridal and Prom is Utah’s premier bridal and prom destination. Their customer service is unparalleled and the selection is huge.

The gorgeous new showroom is like something straight out of a fairytale, and is every bride-to-be or high school girl’s dream come true.

From the individual bridal consultation areas with 360 degree views to the fun shared prom area where you can oooh and aaaah with your girlfriends, Gateway’s showroom is candy for the eyes.

Gateway Bridal is also home to the LatterDayBride collection, boasting the largest selection of modest wedding and prom dresses in the world! They also carry the largest selection of plus size wedding dress samples in the state, because they know not every bride is a Barbie doll and want every bride to be able to try on their dream dress before they buy. So from strapless to modest, size 0-32, you can bet you can find a bridal gown or prom dress for every taste AND every budget, with many wedding dresses coming in under $600!

We are so pleased to have Gateway Bridal & Prom in our neighborhood, as well as the leadership and service Nicole provides to our area and to the Pioneer Park Coalition as a volunteer.

Gateway Bridal

We hope you will come visit Gateway Bridal for your wedding and prom dress needs and check out their beautiful new show room and wide selection!

PC: AK Studio & Design

Operation Rio Grande Update | November 2 | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

The Pioneer Park Coalition received the following email today from Utah Dept. of Workforce Services. To receive your own Operation Rio Grande updates, click the link at the bottom of the email.

Operation Rio Grande Update | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

Two significant events have occurred since the last update. First, the Medicaid waiver was approved for the state of Utah. Second, the safe space began requiring the coordinated service card for access into the area. Both of these developments are significant components of phases one and two of the operation. A lot of work from several partners made each of these achievements take place.

For more details, view the updates below:

Medicaid Waiver

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its approval of Utah’s Medicaid waiver. This announcement is critical to phase two of Operation Rio Grande in order for more treatment centers to begin offering services for Medicaid members. For more information, click here. For the Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions document, click here.

Medicaid Waivers for Utah

Media Coverage:

The Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

Fox 13



Safe Space Courtyard

On Friday, Oct. 27, the Safe Space Courtyard began requiring the coordinated services card for access into the area. With fencing up, card stations ready to go, tent and tables installed, and staffing ready, the space began operations. So far, 1,475 coordinated services cards have been distributed with 192 of them being reissued cards.

Department of Workforce Services has coordinated closely with The Road Home and Catholic Community Services on card access points. With the opening of the Safe Space Courtyard, Workforce Services’ staff have made the point to listen to individuals receiving cards, find out concerns and make accommodations when appropriate.

ID Card checkpoint at Safe Space on Rio Grande Rio Grand Safe Space Rio Grand Safe Space in Salt Lake
Media coverage:


Law Enforcement
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS) continues to do outreach to people who live in the Rio Grande area and to neighboring communities. Three meetings have been conducted to answer questions, discuss any concerns and collect input. These meetings are going a long way with better relationships between law enforcement those utilizing services in the area. For a complete DPS update, click here.
  • Make sure to watch the DPS video about safer access to services. Click below:

Additional Updates

  • The next assessment day at the Salt Lake County Jail is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9 for the purpose of identifying candidates for drug court. So far, more than 80 assessments have been completed with over 400 individuals screened. The retention rate for individuals who have successfully gone before the drug court is at 80 percent.
  • Cleanup efforts of encampments along the Jordan River Parkway and other known locations has resulted in more than 200 tons of garbage being removed. This week is the final week of clean up before the winter season. However, the team is currently working on a winter action plan.
  • Salt Lake County Health Department would like to thank all the volunteers and specifically the Utah Department of Corrections and the Utah Department of Transportation. Both played a vital role in the cleanup process.
  • Jordan River Parkway Cleanup

Click here to subscribe to our email list.

Copyright © 2017 Utah Department of Workforce Services, All rights reserved.
The purpose of the email newsletter is to help you stay informed
on activities related to Operation Rio Grande.

Our mailing address is:

Utah Department of Workforce Services

Operation Rio Grande is Working | Op-Ed by PPC member Nicole Thomas

Operation Rio Grande is WORKING! That is the bottom line of the op-ed written by Pioneer Park Coalition member Nicole Thomas and published in the Deseret News October 5th, 2017.

Nicole Thomas, owner of Gateway Bridal in the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City

Nicole is the owner and founder of Gateway Bridal & Prom and LatterDayBride & Prom. Her story in the Rio Grande area began almost two decades ago.

Gateway Bridal located in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City

Operation Rio Grande is WORKING!

Her op-ed begins,

“For over 18 years I have lived or worked in the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande neighborhood. In 2008 I moved my store at the time, LatterDayBride & Prom, to the south end of The Gateway, directly across from the homeless shelter.

While there I interacted frequently with those experiencing homelessness. There were regulars in the area I came to know well. Four years ago, however, I started to notice a significant change in the demographic of the neighborhood. There was an influx of criminals and those looking only for drugs.

I became more and more frustrated with the lawlessness that overwhelmed the neighborhood. If you did not see it firsthand, you will have a hard time believing how bad things became.

Unfortunately, too many of our community leaders came to accept the status quo or chose not to see it. They had given up on providing residents and businesses here with the same level of basic safety every neighborhood in Utah should have.

During this time my lease with The Gateway expired. While I didn’t want to move, I could not stay; the anarchy was simply too much. So last September I moved to a spot immediately north of Pioneer Park. It was not far from where I had been because I wanted to be part of the solution in helping this area thrive.”

Read the rest of Nicole’s fabulous op-ed on how those living and working in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park communities have seen the positive change Operation Rio Grande has brought to the area in the Deseret News HERE.

To find out more about the mission of the Pioneer Park Coalition and how you can be a part of the solution, click HERE.

How Can I Help the Homeless? | Pioneer Park Coalition | SLC Utah

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from members of the community is “How can I help the homeless? I know we aren’t supposed to give money to panhandlers, so what are some alternatives?”
Today we are going to spotlight a few organizations we feel do a great job reaching and helping those in the most need who find themselves experiencing homelessness.

How Can I Help the Homeless?

The Other Side Academy

One amazing organization helping those who have hit rock bottom is The Other Side Academy. Their website states,

“The Other Side Academy is a school where our students learn vocational, pro-social, and life skills so they can succeed on “the other side”.  It is a school where our students can learn marketing skills, business skills, and gain experience in various trades.

It is a school where our students learn how to make and keep promises and how to live life with integrity, accountability, and with love.  Our students will have the opportunity to working in our various vocational training schools, such as The Other Side Moversand Promise Land Food.

Our school is for men and women who have hit rock bottom, usually from a lifetime of addiction and criminal behavior, who now want to learn a better way to live. The Other Side Academy is available for these men and women pre- and post- sentencing and those within the jails and prisons within the state of Utah as well as those convicts, substance abusers, homeless and others who walk in off the street.”

The Other Side Academy to help the homeless in SLC Utah

So how can you help? The Other Side Academy offers many ways to help, from monetary and in-kind donations to volunteer opportunities. Another great way? Hire them! The Other Side Movers and the new Promised Land Food Truck are operated by Academy students and give them real world business experience as well as self-sufficiency. See all current opportunities here.

Families FirstFamilies First is an organization helping homeless families in Salt Lake City

Another great program here in Utah that helps many families who are trying to get back on their feet after experiencing homelessness is Families First. The program description from their website says,

“Families First is Utah’s premier intensive in-home intervention designed to teach parents skills to change the unwanted behaviors of their children, and to improve family functioning. Many of the referral’s we receive are from healthy families who are simply looking for better more effective ways to discipline their children and/or control behaviors.

The children in the families we serve often have a variety of behavioral and/or emotional problems. Some have been diagnosed with mental illnesses, some are struggling with school behaviors, some are simply ungovernable, and others are reacting poorly to dysfunctional environments.

Many families live at or below poverty level and are struggling to find jobs, housing, clothing, and food for their children, while others are successful in these endeavors. All of these families have the common desire to change behaviors, learn new ways of interacting, and to create more peace and harmony in their homes.”

There are many ways to help at Families First, and the parent organization Utah Youth Village. To see all opportunities, check out their site here.

Odyssey HouseOdyssey House is a non-profit helping addicts and homeless in SLC

As we well know, homelessness often goes hand in hand with addiction. Odyssey House provides drug treatment programs for those from all walks of life. Their treatment programs are consistently ranked as some of the highest in the nation and they are constantly working at expanding to be able to treat more individuals. They are all about people, not profit, and donations are greatly appreciated. To read more about the programs, donate, or see other ways to help, visit the site here.

First Step HouseFirst Step House answers the question "How can I help the homeless in SLC?"

Another great organization providing assistance to those experiencing homelessness, drug addiction, and other hardships is the First Step House. Their mission statement on their website reads,

“First Step House is a leading organization in the field of addiction recovery. We help people who are struggling with substance use and behavioral health disorders. We offer a range of services including residential treatment, outpatient treatment, long-term recovery management, transitional housing, case management, and evidence-based therapies. Our goal is to create an environment that fosters, supports, and enables long-term recovery.”

Want to help? First Step House provides many opportunities including monetary and in-kind donations and assistance with community fundraisers and events. To find out more check out ways to help here.

These are just a few of the many organizations that provide services to the homeless population of Salt Lake City. If you find yourself wondering “How can I help the homeless,” we hope you will consider donating or volunteering with one of these organizations. Knowing your money and time will be helping the individual as well as the community as a whole and seeing the change in action can be such a rewarding experience.

PPC August Membership Meeting with Mayor Ben McAdams

At the August PPC Membership meeting Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams presented a newly proposed action plan to reduce homelessness. PPC Technology Director, Sean Halls, also presents to the coalition regarding innovations in technology which could be applied to social services in America. To learn more about the Salt Lake County Process visit their site here.

Pioneer Park Choose Your Own Adventure

Wow! Quite a collection of stories in June from the press about The Pioneer Park & Downtown District. Do you guess that it is good or bad news?

Here’s a game to play called “Take Your Pick”.

It’s sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure for The Rio Grande District. It’s easy to play, just close your eyes and blindly click a link below and see where it takes you:

Tactical toilets produced locally could solve Salt Lake City’s potty problem
By CHRISTOPHER SMART | | The Salt Lake Tribune
Tuesday, Jun 8, 2016

Man arrested for assault of Salt Lake City police officer

Police investigate possible connection between Salt Lake City stabbings

Salt Lake City Council Earmarks Over Half A Million Dollars For Downtown Homeless Problem
Funds will pay for more police, new transportable toilets
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

SLC Council approves new money for portable potties, targeting homeless issues
Tuesday, JUNE 7th, 2016

Salt Lake City seeks public’s help in selecting new homeless shelter sites
By Katie McKellar | KSL News
Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2016

SLC Council looks to address human waste issue around Pioneer Park
Monday, June 6, 2016

Cop Attacked, Bitten by Homeless Man
Randal Carlisle – ABC4 Utah
Sunday, June 5, 2016

Man Found Stabbed in Front of Closed Business
Randal Carlisle – ABC 4 Utah
Sunday, June 5, 2016

How leaders in rural Utah counties are trying to end the cycles of poverty
By Marjorie Cortez – Deseret News
Saturday, June 4, 2016

Some Salt Lake City Council members seeking potties on wheels downtown
By CHRISTOPHER SMART | The Salt Lake Tribune
Friday, Jun 3, 2016

Business owners near Pioneer Park say one area can’t carry full load of SLC’s homeless
POSTED 7:04 PM, JUNE 2, 2016, BY ZACH WHITNEY – FOX 13 News

Rio Grande stakeholders demand immediate action on crime, homelessness
By Katie McKellar – Deseret News
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Editorial: More homeless left behind by Utah’s economic boom
The Salt Lake Tribune
Saturday, May 14,2016

Homelessness rose 7% in Utah last year, even as economy grew
By LEE DAVIDSON | The Salt Lake Tribune
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Audit: State doing poor job tracking job training and education cases
By ROBERT GEHRKE | The Salt Lake Tribune
Wednesday, May 11 2016

Jay Evensen: Utah’s homeless problem still rages
By Jay Evensen – Deseret News
Thursday, April 28 2016 12:15 a.m. MDT

My view: Amidst Rio Grande shooting investigation, police should be commended
By Sean Halls – For the Deseret News
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jay Evensen: Police shooting shows how Rio Grande Street is out of control
By Jay Evensen – Deseret News
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Poll: Utahns Want to Move Homeless Shelters Away from Downtown Salt Lake City
By Bob Bernick for Utah Policy
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Utah says it won ‘war on homelessness’, but shelters tell a different story
Maria L La Ganga – The Guardian
Wednesday 27 April 2016 10.25 EDT

Homeless Shelter Systems and What They Don’t Tell You
Carey Fuller, Homeless mother – Huffington Post
October 27, 2011

PPC Mayoral Candidate Interview


October 2nd, 2015


Pioneer Park Coalition Mayoral Candidate Interview

Salt Lake City &mdash The October Pioneer Park Coalition meeting will feature a ’ 1 on 1 ’ conversation with both Salt Lake City Mayoral Candidates, District 4 Council Candidates and the Coalition body.

Mayoral Candidates Ralph Becker and Jackie Biskupski, as well as District 4 City Council Candidates Derek Kitchen and Nate Salazar, are scheduled to take time independently of each other in front of the Coalition.

When: Wednesday, October 7th at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Senate Committee Room 210, Senate Building, Utah State Capitol

Coalition members and media are invited to attend.

We believe the leadership and vision of the Salt Lake City Mayor is absolutely critical in solving the complex issues confronting the Pioneer Park neighborhood including: increasing public safety, reducing crime, and decreasing street-level homelessness.

The Pioneer Park Coalition is a consortium of public, private, faith-based and non-profit sector stakeholders who want to improve the quality of life in the Pioneer Park Neighborhood by developing sustainable solutions.

Follow us on Twitter (@PPC_SLC) and ’’ us on Facebook for more updates on this event.

Headlines for October PPC Meeting

Business owners, community members ‘interview’ mayoral hopefuls on conditions in Pioneer Park area
By Marjorie Cortez – Deseret News
October 7th, 2015


PPC Salt Lake Mayoral Debate 2015


June 22, 2015

Contact: Jonathan Harman, Pioneer Park Coalition director

Cell phone: 801-631-1625


Pioneer Park Coalition to host Salt Lake City mayoral debate


SALT LAKE CITY – Candidates for the 2015 Salt Lake City mayoral race have agreed to participate in a debate sponsored by the Pioneer Park Coalition on Wednesday, July 1st at 4:00 p.m. at KSL 5 TV Studios, located at 5 Triad Center (55 North 3rd West Salt Lake City, UT 84180-1109).

Doug Wright will moderate the debate among candidates Ralph Becker, Jackie Biskupski, George Chapman, Luke Garrott, and Dave Robinson.

Coalition members and media are invited to attend. You can request tickets by contacting Jonathan Harmon at the phone number or email listed above. The doors will open at 3:15 p.m. and close at 3:45 p.m.

For those who cannot attend, the debate will also broadcast live on KSL 5 TV and KSL Newsradio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM.

We believe the leadership of the Salt Lake City mayor is absolutely critical in solving the complex issues confronting the Pioneer Park neighborhood including: increasing public safety, reducing crime, and decreasing street-level homelessness.

The Pioneer Park Coalition is a consortium of public, private, faith-based and non-profit sector stakeholders who want to improve the quality of life in the Pioneer Park neighborhood by developing sustainable solutions.

Follow us on Twitter PPC_SLC and LIKE us on Facebook for more updates on this event.

Townhall Meeting with Dr Robert Marbut

Robert Marbut, a subject matter expert in homeless services, has helped dozens of communities across the US. First as a volunteer, then later as a San Antonio City Councilperson/Mayor-Pro-Tem and a homeless service agency President/CEO, Dr. Robert Marbut has worked on homeless issues for more than three decades.

We feel that an outside voice, someone separated from the politics of Salt Lake, could lend invaluable insight into the issues we face downtown. As the PPC gathered data, studied, and reviewed strategies to help homelessness and crime, we took time to find a subject matter expert. Dr. Marbut offered to visit Salt Lake and speak to the Coalition on his own time and money; his visit purely informational.

Please take time to watch the recording of the town hall meeting. A follow up meeting will be held on Friday, June 5th, 3:00PM at Spy Hop Productions- 511 W 200 S, SLC. The follow up meeting will also be recorded and posted online. For more information on Dr. Marbut click here.

Editorial: Homeless services need serious reform
By Salt Lake Tribune
Saturday, May 16th, 2015

How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless
By Arthur Delaney
Monday, May 9th, 2015 – Huffington Post

Cities are Hiring this Controversial Homelessness Consultant
By Alex Stevens
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 –