“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” We couldn't agree more with this moving quote by Lovelle Drachman. Wanderlust, the itch to travel, the absolute need for excursions, is a human trait felt so deep that it is no wonder that the travel industry is booming both internationally as well in your own backyard. Ever heard of a staycation? Our December Business of the Month is a client whose amazing property is nestled on the west side of Zion, close enough to Salt Lake but far enough away it feels like a true getaway. With spectacular views of the classic mesas and green river valleys of Southern Utah, Zions Tiny Oasis includes a beautiful blend of comfortable tiny homes with a rugged outdoor experience for a once in a lifetime stay. Keep reading to find out more about owners Liliana Corona and Sam Moyle and why they started Zions Tiny Oasis.
UMLF: Tell us about yourselves and your background:
Liliana: My name is Liliana Corona, and I’m originally from Mexico. I was the odd child growing up, being different really set me apart. It wasn’t intentional, but my ideas often seems a little crazy to most. Joining the boys varsity wrestling team foreshadowed my passion for tackling big challenges. At an early age, I learned to defy stereotypes and beat the odds when facing problems.
Sam grew up on a ranch near Zion National Park. He managed and worked on his parents property most of his life. He loved the outdoors and learned to repair just about anything that needed fixing. Sam always dreamed of being his own boss and having a successful business. Determined to make his dream a reality, he obtained a bachelor's degree in business. We met six years ago and hit our four year anniversary this October.
What inspired you to open Zions Tiny Oasis?
Liliana: A few years ago while I was working on my masters degree in Film, I attempted to do a film shoot near Zion National Park. Sam and I were dating at the time and I thought it convenient since he was familiar with all the beautiful cinematic landscapes in the area. I had not anticipated how difficult it would be to find housing for twenty + crew members near the park. Everything within a 30 mile radius was booked solid! What I thought was a dinky little desert town, turned out to have a huge lodging deficit for visitors alike. I wondered if this was common and Sam said “It happens every year” And so, a light bulb went off. We saw a need, and began to plan what turned into a four year journey. Zions Tiny Oasis finally opened its doors; we are the only luxury tiny house retreat minutes from Zion National Park!
UMLF: Your tiny houses are all so different. What inspired the design of each one?
Liliana: My art and film background is to blame. I love being on set...I want everyone to experience what it’s like to be in one. When you step into a tiny home it’s much the same...thrilling, exciting and magical - like a movie set! Also, art is meant to evoke emotion and our tiny homes are meant to do just that. When inside, these homes help transport our guests to times during childhood. A time of nostalgia; when innocence, joy and the spirit of exploration thrived! Also, the views, the stars, and the silence here bring a sense of peace and clarity that are hard to find. We built this place with that goal in mind - to facilitate a space for individuals to embrace the inner child, live in the present and enjoy a day of play outside. We hope that those who visit will embrace their inner child; shifting our perspectives to a remembrance of things that matter most. ZTO is a place that gives its visitors a taste of movie magic to take and share with others wherever life takes them.
UMLF: Your tiny homes are definitely decked out, tell us about some of your favorite features?
Liliana: Our 1st tiny home “Guardian Angel” has very tall windows; it gives the feel of being in a larger unit. The large windows help to really enjoying the majestic 360 views from outside! This unit also comes with a dishwasher and full kitchen appliances.
“Noah’s Ark” the unit my husband and I built designed, is reminiscent of a train you might see in a classic western movie, or from a front view, it looks like Captain Hooks pirate ship. It has a trap window above the bed for star gazing during bed time, and a beautiful bay window to lounge in that can also be used as a karaoke stage. The unit also has a back office space and a jetted tub. Our third unit - “Mother Eve” looks like something you’d see in an epic fairytale story book. The color and craftsmanship of the house is truly enchanting! Though it’s our smallest unit, it’s gorgeous inside. It has perfect ambient lighting, soft shaggy rugs, champaign gold appliances and marble countertops. Plus, it’s so cozy; it’s the perfect fancy for a romantic tiny getaway! Our fourth unit is quite a rare find, it’s the only unit with multiple gadgets and an Edison style finish. “Salomons Chamber” is a tiny house the boys will love. It has two retractable garage doors, a rooftop with 15 sky windows for full stargazing, a built in foosball machine that folds away and much more! All our tiny homes are unique...you’ll want to try them all!
Tell us about the surrounding area, what can people do when they come visit?
Liliana: Zions Tiny Oasis is just minutes from a variety of rad things to do. We have a bmx track less than a mile away, atv trails, horseback riding, water tubing, helicopter rides and even a ghost town to visit. We also border the west side of Zion (the free side) which - in my opinion, is better. It’s secluded and equally as beautiful, this part of Zion has free hikes, trails and petroglyph caves to visit. Our property also has a creek running through it. Our guest can roam free on our 75 acres.
UMLF: Every business has its highs and lows. Tell us about a challenge you faced as a small business owner and how you overcame it?
Liliana: A huge challenge for us was learning to say No. Communicating effectively and sticking to our guns has been a learning curve. We learned that - wanting to be “nice” or, to not “hurt people's feelings” especially with potential partners is not effective. When things were unclear or started heading in a direction we didn’t want, we had to be professional but firm with what we wanted. Even if what we had to say would “hurt feelings”, speaking honestly and openly has payed off so far. Reviewing roles in the business, saying no, having honest communication and sometimes even cutting ties with individuals has been uncomfortable, but extremely necessary to keep the business running smoothly.
UMLF: How do you believe the Utah Microloan Fund has helped you and your business?
Liliana: UMLF has helped us tremendously. We had a goal of having four units by the end of the year. This was key so that we could afford to hire out permanent help. The UMLF helped us met our goal and we can now comfortably afford to hire permanent help, as Sam and I both were in desperate need of assistance. We are so grateful because having the fourth tiny house puts us on the map as a resort, and it opens up many more opportunities! Now we will be able to focus on expanding the business and our dream of phase two rather than wearing all the hats. We are infinitely grateful to UMLF; we could not have met our goal without their help. It’s programs such as these that help individuals in the community make their dream a possibility! Thank you for believing in us.
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