Amy Leininger brings clothing and culture to Salt Lake City
by Lexie Banks (’12, MACL ’15)
It is hard to find something Amy Leininger (’11) does not do: she is on the board of the Junior League, a board member of the Vest
Pocket Coalition, and a serial entrepreneur—all while raising a family.
As a board member on the Junior League, Amy has championed fund- raising strategies to support its work in the community. The Junior League has helped kick-start Wheeler Farms, the Ronald McDonald House, The Sharing Place, and many women’s empowerment groups in Salt Lake City. The League’s current project is titled “Women Helping Women,” a closet where women who are referred by the Department of Workforce Services can get nine outfits along with makeup and hair services.
After owning Q Clothing for years, Amy and her husband, Rheda (ALN ’03), recently opened The Ruin—a new bar in Sugar House. Along with several partners in charge of marketing and branding, their vision was to create a comfortable space for people to have an after-work drink.
“We didn’t feel there was a place for people who were maybe not interested in watching TV or playing shuffleboard to go,” Amy says. “It’s a place for people to enjoy themselves and each other, make new friends, meet up with old friends, and feel comfortable. We wanted it to feel like being in someone’s living room.”
The process of setting up the bar was certainly not smooth. Navigating
Utah’s notoriously treacherous liquor-license laws nearly stopped the operation entirely due to some unforeseen restrictions by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC).
“There are some really funky rules with the DABC,” Amy says. “We had to be operating within 30 days with one 30-day extension. We had 60 days to open, and we couldn’t get the permits we needed to finish construction.”
The main lesson she took away from Westminster: it’s all about relation- ships. “You need to network, and you need to be a truly good person in the community. That’s how you get to know people,” Amy says. Her connections in the community ultimately allowed them to get the bar opened under less-than-ideal circumstances. “The reason why we were able to leverage those relationships is because we have proven ourselves to be authentic, true, and worthy of that kind of relationship,” she says.
In all her entrepreneurial pursuits, Amy has found it is important to do her due diligence. “Ensuring the location and place makes sense for the business; understanding and utilizing resources existing in the community, identifying mentors, and defining its purpose are all necessary in creating a thriving business,” she says.
“In order to think like an entrepreneur, you need thick skin and a really good workout regimen,” Amy says.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.