The town of Mammoth got its name from a nearby copper mine considered mammoth in size, according to town leaders. With operations that mine and another neighboring mine both things of the past, Mammoth needs new businesses to trigger another boom.
“We beg, borrow and steal what we can. The Air Force base donates different vehicles to keep us going. I’ve never begged so much in my life,” said Don Jones, city manager and former mayor of Mammoth.
Jones said the town’s population is gradually shrinking, causing tax revenues to drop. However, he sees potential in its location along State Route 77, which connects Tucson to Roosevelt Lake and other recreational areas in eastern Arizona. The challenge is getting the steady stream of travelers to stop and spend their money in town.
One strategy involves enticing people to open new businesses. Opportunity came knocking for Luis Carlos Lopez about six years ago. He was working at a butcher shop in Tucson when town council members approached him about opening a meat market in Mammoth. After some negotiating, Lopez opened Rancheros Carniceria in 2014. He wants to expand in a different building, but is struggling to hire enough staff.
“Here there’s a smaller population. So, we do have a hard time with that,” Lopez said. “I think every business has its challenges, and that may be my challenge to overcome.”
“It’s a prime area. The town will help any way they can to get businesses in here,” Jones said.