Corner Stones Why I Love Supporting Downtown
Taking Stock STORY BY SCOTT ANDERSON | ZIONS BANK PRESIDENT AND CEO
he downtown Salt Lake City that my grandchildren will be inheriting is quite different than the urban center I was accustomed to visiting while growing up in Holladay. As the state’s diverse economy has propelled it over the past few decades, it has evolved into a vibrant urban hub in the Intermountain West.
Besides the thrilling new addition City Creek Center has brought to the Salt Lake skyline, perhaps the most visual transformation begins with light rail. It’s amazing to consider how vastly improved mass transit in the form of UTA bus and TRAX service has helped transform the routes in and out of the city. But it’s not just good for commuters; it has helped improve access to Salt Lake City’s cultural offerings. I’ve seen light rail cars carry Jazz fans sporting jerseys sitting next to those on their way to a Ballet West performance—all on the same busy night in our city. In my role at Zions Bank, I have the unique opportunity to travel the state of Utah frequently, and I learn about regional trends as well as pressing issues that are faced by Main Street businesses across the Beehive State. I enjoy the chance to hear local merchants’ feedback and their suggestions for improving the economy. What I often take away from these conversations is: it starts with me. Not only can I help through my leadership at Zions Bank—Utah’s No. 1 small business lender for the past 20 consecutive years—but I can also contribute as a consumer. Shoppers and diners have a lot of options in deciding which stores and restaurants to visit. But choosing to buy local helps bring value to our neighborhoods. That’s why I love taking out-of-state guests to Valter’s Osteria, where they can experience Valter Nassi’s top-notch Italian fare. And when I want to buy a special gift for someone, I prefer to shop at the iconic O.C. Tanner or Williams Fine Art. Every few weeks or so, my stomach cravings take me to Hires for a Big H burger and root beer in a frosty mug. Studies have shown that even modest changes in our spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact. Small and locally-owned businesses boost the local tax base, helping to improve our quality of life, our schools
Salt Lake Downtown
and our parks. Often, local small business owners are invested in the community long term. What steps can we all take to support local businesses, especially those downtown? Here are just a few ideas: 1. Eat at a local restaurant—opt for a new ethnic restaurant, a classic restaurant owned by a local family or an innovative independent eatery. 2. Buy your next book from an local bookseller such as Ken Sanders Rare Books or Eborn Books. 3. Get involved with community policy-making and politics to help preserve local businesses. 4. Purchase fresh produce and baked goods at the Downtown Farmers Market when it opens mid-June and runs through October at Pioneer Park. The unique character of downtown Salt Lake City depends upon consumers making good choices with their walllet.