Lewis Stages moves to Park City
June 26, 2012
In a 4 to 1 vote, Park City Council members approved giving a $20,000 grant to All Resorts Group to help the company move its Lewis Stages operations to Park City. The company, which owns several local transportation companies, purchased Lewis Stages, now its largest operation, in 2005. Since then, offices have been split between Park City and Salt Lake City, where Lewis Stages was previously headquartered.
"Communication was not as good as it could have been," said Geary Furim, the vice president of sales and marketing for All Resort Group, "which was one reason to move everyone together Day to day, we couldn’t communicate with one office or the other and keeping up with that was complicated."
The biggest obstacle to moving the offices sooner was finding the right space, a building that could fit the administrative side of the company. But when All Resort Group leaders found a building for lease, a space previously occupied by the U.S. Ski Team on Kearns Boulevard, company leaders moved fast to negotiate a lease.
The move officially began two weeks ago, and now All Resort Group employees the dispatchers and the sales teams, the department chairs and the human resource office are housed under one roof, bringing 20 to 25 new employees to the Park City area.
All Resort Group was the only applicant for the $20,000 grant, which was created more than five years ago by the City Council as a way to fund economic development.
"The reason we applied for grant was because we felt like we fit all the criteria," Furim said. "Moving costs were exorbitant. We bought a lot of new office equipment too, including all new servers for each of our websites.
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"We thought (the grant) would be a nice offset of those costs if it was available."
Any application is reviewed by the Economic Development Program Committee, which determines whether or not the application meets six criteria ranging from the taxable revenue the business pulls in to how long the business can show it intends to stay in Park City. Past recipients of the grant have included the Mega Genius Store in Old Town.
"It’s pretty typical for cities to be involved in economic development," said Bret Howser, of the Park City Municipal’s budgeting department. "There are only so many tools available to cities, and one of those tools commonly used is grants Through the criteria, there’s a certain type of business we’re looking for, but any business can apply any time."
Despite a positive recommendation from the committee, the city council hesitated in awarding the grant based on the outlined criteria. Council members debated whether All Resort Group, which was already partially based in Park City, could be eligible, or whether the company was capable of boosting overnight stays.
Gary Nielsen of All Resort Group told council members last Thursday that basing more employees, including the sales and marketing team, would impact employee efforts to sell the Park City area to incoming tourists.
"I think this grant supports an awful lot of what we want to see happening in this town," said city council member Liza Simpson. "The transportation partnership, in an effort to become less and less dependent on single-occupant automobiles is crucial this company has helped us get where we are in the sense of not having as many cars on the road."
Fellow council member Alex Butwinski disagreed, citing the generated tax revenue as a major criterion the grant application did not meet. City council members ultimately agreed to approve the grant if Nielsen and Furim, the two All Resort Group employees at Thursday’s city council mmeting, agreed to make a good faith effort to use Park City services in the move.
"Getting this grant will be a small percentage of what we paid to move," Furim said, "but certainly helps."
"Lewis Stages is going to be 100 years old in 2014, and we’re celebrating a century of service. We’ll be looking forward to another 100 years in Park City."