Kimball Junction Business Association elects new president | ParkRecord.com

Kimball Junction Business Association elects new president

Jennifer Clarke says growing membership will be top goal

Jennifer Clarke, who has worked at the Utah Olympic Park for nearly nine years, was recently elected as the president of the Kimball Junction Business Association. She says the primary focus of her tenure will be to increase membership, which would create a lot of opportunities for the organization and its businesses.

For nearly a decade, Jennifer Clarke has been heavily involved in the local business scene from her perch as public programs senior manager at the Utah Olympic Park.

But now she is taking on a new role as the face of the Kimball Junction Business Association, an organization that promotes the interests of businesses in the area. After spending several terms as vice president of the group, Clarke was recently elected as its president. She replaces Leah Kolb, who led the organization for a number of years.

In an interview, Clarke said she has identified a number of priorities for her one-year term. Chief among them will be furthering an effort in which the association has been engaged for years: increasing membership. The organization currently has about 40 members, but having a higher percentage of owners in the area's growing business scene join up would give the group with a united voice to tackle issues and provide a larger base for networking.

To that end, the association recently unveiled a package of discounts to member businesses and other incentives to encourage other owners to sign up.

"For me, it's the networking and communication," Clarke said. "It's a fantastic channel to be able to communicate and really know our neighbors and support the businesses and promote them. Being involved with the Olympic park for so many years, I realize the importance of that."

One benefit to increased membership is more businesses would be in the loop about big events and be able to benefit from them. Clarke cited the a recent skiing championship event held at Utah Olympic Park as an example. The event brought in more than 1,000 visitors and several hundred athletes to Kimball Junction, and businesses that were prepared were able to capitalize on the crowds.

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"That's a good example of how the other local businesses can benefit from that," she said. "If they know those types of things are going on, we can work together to make it beneficial for everybody. That's the key thing for me."

That type of teamwork would become particularly useful — or even necessary — if Salt Lake City ever hosts another Olympics. The business association was borne out of preparations for the 2002 Games, Clarke said, and she aims to make sure the organization is ready for next time.

"For me, it's not a matter of if we're ever going to get the Games back again, it's a matter of when," she said. "When that happens, the businesses are going to have to get together, and we are going to have to coordinate and collaborate on all of these issues."

Having more members would also allow the association to better address shared problems such as parking and traffic, as well as the staffing shortage that has plagued many businesses in the Park City area. She said tackling issues together has become more important in recent years as Kimball Junction has grown and become an important hub in Summit County.

"It has become more relevant to Park City as a whole," she said. "It's the gateway. And you see more and more visitors in this area. Tanger (Outlets) was always a big draw, but now the other little shopping areas are becoming a bigger and bigger draw."

Another area of focus for Clarke is exploring the possibility of creating a business improvement district within Kimball Junction, an area in which all businesses pay dues for a necessary service. For instance, she said members of the Historic Park City Alliance, which advocates for businesses in the Main Street area, pay for trash collection. A similar service that businesses in Kimball Junction need has not been identified but Clarke is optimistic.

"If we could identify an anchor element, we could get all of the businesses on board, which I think would be hugely beneficial," she said. "I would love to see that for the Kimball Junction area because I think that a thriving, common association would be great."

For more information about the Kimball Junction Business Association, visit kimballjunction.org.