Utah woman-owned businesses on the rise
"I started my business career in Utah over 20 years ago," said Marion Boland, Right at Home partner. "What always amazed me the most over the years is the amount of woman business groups here in Utah, women supporting women."
Boland and her partners, Cindy Matsumoto and Eileen Mullane, have been in business together for over 10 years in Park City and, according to Boland, they have seen businesses come and go.
"Our business and personal relationships have remained strong over the years and I am proud they haven’t dissolved like many tend to do," Boland said. "I think this has a lot to say about how businesswomen in Utah operate. We stick together."
Women must be doing something right in Utah. According to the analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah currently has an estimated 72,800 women-owned firms, employing 58,300 and they are expected to contribute roughly $13 billion in sales to the state’s economy this year.
Over $1 trillion in revenue is generated by U.S. businesses owned by woman each year nationwide, according to those Census statistics.
Around the country, woman-owned businesses have increased on average 59 percent since 1997, while their male colleagues only grew by 25 percent less than half the rate of woman-owned firms. However, Utah women have surpassed that amount with 73 percent, earning seventh on the national ranking.
Melissa Crotty opened up Root’d, a designer boutique filled with home accessories, on Main Street in October of 2011. Crotty, originally from Ohio, sold her retail store in Cincinnati and moved to Park City.
Since opening up shop, Crotty explains business is great, but she wasn’t sure if being a woman had anything to do with it.
"Women have migrated to Main Street and have done really well," Crotty said. "It’s hard to say if being a woman has anything to do with it. It’s just really exciting to be a part of."
When Crotty says business has been great, the young businesswoman is being modest to say the least. Within the month, the current location is expanding across the street to a location that is three times the size of the original.
"Business has grown over the past couple of years and the opportunity to expand presented itself so we had to hop on it," Crotty said. "We are starting to carry more items in the store. Next month, customers will be able to get anything they need to furnish their homes."
According to Calli Sorensen, Spa Director at Align Spa, located at 1792 Bonanza Drive, the business will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next November.
Owner, Harriet McEntire, who started Align in a one-room massage office at the Canyons in 2002, is currently in Costa Rica finalizing plans to expand the company in a new joint venture called Gateway Exploration a yoga, spa treatment and outdoor retreat planned to open in August.
"I have been working at the spa since 2006 and have seen a lot of exciting changes," Sorensen said. "Business has been great obviously with the new expansions and I really don’t have an explanation except for the great services we provide."
The "older, seasoned businesswomen of Park City," as Boland describes the trio of business partners, think they know the secret to Utah’s women’s success.
"Park City is a special place for businesses, not just woman owned," Boland said. "As a community, people realize we need to keep Park City a vibrant place, and we need the support of each other to make sure this happens."
Thursday night, the Park City Community Foundation launched its newest project, The Women’s Giving Fund.
According to Eileen Mullane, who is a member of the coalition, the group is trying to gather 1,000 Summit County women to donate $1,000 each to create a $1 million endowment. Interest earnings from the principal amount will provide annual funding in perpetuity for Summit County’s woman and children.
"As a group we will vote on where we will distribute the money," Mullane said. "We recognize that the community played a big part in us being successful. So as we have matured, it is our turn to give back. Business is great in Park City. It just shows that all of the community backing has transferred over. Woman helping woman has just shined more."
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