Local businesses crucial to SLC

By By Whitney Fitts

By Whitney Fitts

The blue vintage bike with the cracked leather seat came from someone in the community, as did most of the things found in Misc. Clothing Boutique in downtown Salt Lake City. Owner Missy Baber smiles as she talks about her shop and the things she brings into it.

“We have a lot of regulars so it’s easy for me to pick something up with someone in mind,” Baber said. “I like waiting for them to just pick it up and say “Oh my God!…(buying that) I had you in mind.’ ”

Photos on display at Saans Photography feature local bookstore owner Ken Sanders and a man named Eli who plays his cello outside of the Broadway Centre Cinemas. It’s not uncommon for Bryan Tom Thompson, the photographer and owner of Saans, to bring people in off the street for a photo shoot.

Both Misc. Clothing Boutique and Saans are found in downtown Salt Lake City and nowhere else. They are just two of many local businesses that make Salt Lake City distinguishable from any other city.

Local businesses have struggled in a marketplace dominated by big-box chain stores where mass production and corporate advertisement often lure consumers, but local businesses are worth supporting to keep around.

The friendly personal connection is not the only thing these businesses bring to Salt Lake City. Because they themselves are part of the community, local businesses are more willing to involve themselves in pro-community activities. For college students looking for internship opportunities, someone to support a project or a mentor to help advise along the way, this is important.

Being owned by individual people rather than corporations, local businesses have a better appreciation of the value of personality.

“We’re the only part of the business sector that brings distinction to any community,” Thompson said. “(Local businesses) are the flavor and fabric of any community.”

And it’s true, local businesses make a community interesting. Honestly now, who wants to go to school in a boring city? Not only is that no fun for U students, but it doesn’t help attract new students. When local businesses lose, Salt Lake City loses, and when Salt Lake City loses, the U and its students lose. A movement called the 3/50 Project helps remind consumers of how losing local businesses also hurts a community financially.

Fliers hanging in local store windows report that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in the community, compared to only $43 that stay local when spent in a national chain. Spend that money online, and none of it comes back to Salt Lake City.
Baber’s shop is just off of 300 South, an area known for its unique Salt Lake City feel. She’s happy with what her shop and others bring to downtown. They give it flare, she says.

If Salt Lake City loses its local businesses, it loses everything.

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Whitney Fitts