- Category: Blog
- Published: Monday, 28 April 2014 15:03
- Written by Larry Lewis
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Utah’s Own Reaches Impressive Heights In First Economic Summit
By: Larry Lewis - UDAF
You have to wonder how the marketing folks at Utah’s Own can match the lofty performance of their just concluded economic summit held in Brigham City. An overflow crowd of small business owners and local business leaders invaded a popular Main Street staple, Afton's Floral, owned by Kyle Kanno.
The purpose of the summit was to offer owners of fledgling local food-oriented companies the opportunity to network with more experienced and successful businesses, along with county and state economic development providers. Judging by the large turnout, Box Elder County has a great potential for expanding the number of Utah’s Own members. It also appears the county also has a well-connected and business friendly economic development engine headed by Wendy English of the Box Elder County Small Business Development Center.
Business advice, and even capital, was offered by the Sandy, Utah office of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Business Program, the Box Elder County Small Business Development Center, Utah's Own, and several established and successful Utah's Own companies.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's Commissioner, LuAnn Adams, told the crowd of about 80 people they have a number of resources, both private and public, available to help them. Commissioner Adams recognized that there are many small businesses around the state that are looking to develop and market a local food product, but just need a helping hand to get them started. These regional summits, she said, are just the hand they need.
Kevin Jones, a veteran of Utah's Own and founder of Snap Daddy's barbecue sauce, said he owed it all to Utah's Own. Snap Daddy’s is available in a number of Utah grocery stores such as Macey's, Harmon's and Dan's. He said Utah's Own provided education and networking that led to his own commercial kitchen.
The Brigham City summit also attracted large grocery store chain buyers who are looking for locally made products to meet consumer demand. At least one UO company made a hit with one of these buyers, and has a follow up appointment.
Rich VanDyke, the owner of Brigham City's Idle Isle's Candies is a Utah's Own member and was on hand to offer advice. He said the idea of Idle Isle selling candies beyond the Box Elder County market seemed nearly impossible a while back, but that's when Utah's Own stepped in. VanDyke said, "It's opened doors that I don't know could be opened so easily without being a member."
Utah’s Own Director, Jed Christenson, says that buying local benefits locals. "When you shop Utah, and buy Utah, you end up building Utah," he added. "For every $1 spent on local products the effect is like adding $4 to $6 to our Utah economy while reducing our carbon footprint." UO is developing a culture among consumers to look for and buy local products.
The overflow crowd at Afton's Floral appears to be a sign that folks in rural Utah have a desire to develop their own local food products, and they are looking for expert help in getting started in the right direction.
Agriculture Commissioner Adams is meeting with a statewide organizing group of Small Business Development Centers in early May to develop a schedule of future Utah's Own summits. They should have a schedule of these summits shortly after that.
posted: April 28, 2014