The city of Helper has a new family in town that is taking Main Street by storm – well, maybe not storm. More like, by love. Yeah, love.
Gregg, Becky, Nathan and Kenny Driggs are four members of the Driggs family who moved to Helper in 2020, and now own four successful businesses in newly renovated historic buildings on Main Street: Driggs Mortgage, Aunt Nell’s, Games on Main and West Coast Show Support.
During the summer of 2020 when Gregg and Becky Driggs, who lived in Spanish Fork at the time, were traveling around nearby areas visiting RV parks. According to Gregg, his wife suggested that they stay at a new park in Helper that is about an hour south. This stay, Gregg said, turned into the couple not only staying a while longer at the park, but indefinitely.
“During our visit, we were just walking up and down Main Street, and Becky fell in love with Helper and she said, ‘We’re going to move here,’” Gregg recalled. “(Becky) said that God told her to move here, and I’m not going to argue with her, and I won’t argue with (God) either. So I told her that if she wanted to move to Helper, we’d move to Helper.”
Gregg said that soon after the move, he noticed that Becky had a renewed energy that fueled her drive to not only build a home for her family, but to become part of the community.
“Becky started to get to know people in the community including Gary DeVincent who owns a lot of the older buildings and has done a lot of renovations in town,” Gregg said. “She started talking to Gary and told him all of her ideas. Gary talked to me and said that he wanted to do a financial institution in the bank, and asked if I’d be willing to relocate my mortgage company there, and I said I would.
“What we thought initially was probably going to be a six month project turned out to be almost two years, but Gary did a beautiful job with the building. When you walk in my office, you walk into the lobby of the bank and the ceiling is still original. All the trim work that had been buried for over 50 years has been renovated and restored. It’s beautiful. The way we have it set up, you can walk in here off the street, sit down and just look around and see things on the wall that tell the story of Helper and the history of the building. My assistant’s office is in one of the two vaults, and the original vault from 1914 we use as our conference room.”
In the building next to the bank, Becky Driggs opened up a soda and gift shop named for her Aunt Nell, and soon two of the Driggs’ sons joined them in Helper. Nate runs Games on Main inside of Aunt Nell’s, and Kenny operates the Rio Theatre as part of his business’ contract with the city.
“Kenny is our son and worked for Disney for several years, and now owns West Coast Show Support and they contracted with the city to run the Rio Theatre that produces local performances,” Gregg explained.
“They put a new sound system in at the theater, and he called in some of his friends he knows from Disney, and they spent a week in the theater fixing it up. They sat in every seat in the theater until they had the sound system perfect. The theater only sits 250 people, but we have these amazing shows in Helper that you would expect to see at the Capitol Theatre. … It’s just the funniest thing. We live in a town of 2,500 people where the majority are blue collar workers, and then they have this symphony orchestra for Christmas, and they get all dressed up and it’s packed, and they love it!”
‘There’s no place like Helper’
Gregg, who grew up in neighboring Emery County in the town of Orangeville, said that moving to the small town of Helper was like stepping back in time, and that there is something magical about being there.
“It’s just an incredible art town,” Gregg said. “You can walk up and down the street here and I believe there are like 15 art galleries. It’s just amazing. I don’t even know how to describe it. I tell people that I work with across the country what it’s like living here, and they just don’t think that it sounds real.”
Gregg spoke about all of the festivals that run throughout the year, and the community gatherings and the efforts locals like DeVincent are making to keep the original historic small town feel intact.
“My mortgage company is what was the original helper state bank building that was built in 1914, and the owner of the building is Gary DeVincent,” Gregg said. “We partnered with him and he did all the renovations. We actually got visited by Governor Cox earlier this year. He wanted to come down and see what we had done because he said that he was just super excited to see somebody renovate and restore rather than tear it down and build something new.”
Gregg said that when they bought their home, they wanted to do something to pay homage to the community.
“When we bought our home, it faces Highway 6, and it’s in a place where people coming into town can see it,” Gregg explained. “We had one of the local artists by the name of Kate Kilpatrick paint a mural on the side of our house that has a coal miner, an electrician and a railroad worker. It’s just kind of a tribute to the community. My dad worked for the power company and he’s actually the electrician in the mural.
“Soon after we moved in, we were told that the house was built in the 1950’s for the president of the Helper State Bank. It’s kind of an odd twist.”
Giving credit where it’s due
As Gregg spoke about his family’s new life in Helper, he continued to speak highly of his wife for encouraging them to take a leap of faith.
“Becky is the reason we’re here, and you know, everybody here loves her,” Gregg said. “She’s just a very colorful, energetic, happy person that people just want to be around. I know there are three gas stations in nearby Price that she bakes cookies for. It will be interesting to see over the years how things develop for her. For some reason she has more energy now than she ever did. She saw a vision and it was something that she wanted to do and she pursued it. To see it in real life, it’s actually turned out better than we could have imagined.”