Park City declares Independents Week for local businesses |

Park City declares Independents Week for local businesses

Entrepreneurial spirit noted as leaders describe economic benefits

by Jay Hamburger

The large crowds on Main Street on Sunday had the choice of shopping in numerous locally owned businesses. Park City officials aligned the community with Independents Week, a statewide movement meant to promote businesses that are locally owned.

It was Independence Day on Tuesday, but it is Independents Week in Park City until Friday.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council have aligned the community with a statewide movement meant to promote businesses that are locally owned. A group known as Local First Utah organized Independents Week, which started on Saturday.

The City Council at a recent meeting passed a one-page resolution backing the Local First Utah effort. The vote was 4-0 with City Councilor Tim Henney absent. The elected officials did not spend extensive time discussing the resolution prior to the vote.

The resolution says the week "provides a time to celebrate the independence of the members of the community of Park City and the entrepreneurial spirit represented by our core of local independent businesses."

"Park City's local independent businesses help preserve the uniqueness of the community and give us a sense of place," the resolution also says.

It says the independent businesses of Park City give back through products, services and time and that the "health of Park City's economy depends on our support of businesses owned by our friends and neighbors."

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The elected officials said in the resolution they "salute our community members and locally owned independent businesses who are integral to the unique flavor of Park City and honor their efforts to make Park City the place we want to live and work."

Local First Utah, meanwhile, has published a list of what it sees as benefits of shopping at locally owned businesses. The organization says doing so creates local employment opportunities, keeps money and sales taxes in the local economy and helps the environment by reducing fuel use and the amount of packaging a business needs.

The Park City resolution did not appear to receive widespread interest, but it addresses a topic that is notable nonetheless. City Hall and many Park City residents have long seen themselves as supporting locally owned businesses across the city.

In recent years, though, there has been concern about the arrival of regional or national chains as well as corporate-branded stores that are seen as acting as product showcases. The concern has been especially pronounced along Main Street, where several national brands have opened stores in the past few years. Many locally owned businesses worry the arrival of the chains has led to higher lease rates, making it more difficult to secure space on the popular shopping, dining and entertainment strip.