Parkite made differences during career
When Mike Sloan moved to Park City in 1976, the town had a population of about 1,500, there were only two ski resorts and the Sundance Film Festival was still just an idea floating in Robert Redford’s head.
Now, 30 years later, the population has grown by 500 percent, Park City is home to three world-renown ski resorts and the January film festival brings in thousands.
And Sloan has been there to watch it happen.
He said the additions of a third ski resort, especially one of Deer Valley’s stature, as well as the Sundance Film Festival, helped the Park City population boom to become what it is today.
"I think that Sundance is obviously a huge, huge influx of money in that January market timeframe," he said. "And Deer Valley brought a lot of money and advertising, as well as a lot of elite skiers, to the area. They really did a great job marketing a product that would be appealing to the more affluent skier."
Sloan said that Park City’s greatest asset, however, does not lie in its resorts or its festivals, but rather in the people that make Park City a city.
"It’s been a tremendous opportunity to become a part of a community that’s small in size," said Sloan, who last week moved to Idaho to take a job in the panhandle. "I really enjoyed that about Park City. It was the kind of situation that my girls, who both graduated from Park City High, and we knew all the kids and parents in the school. But what I miss the most is the people not necessarily the city. There are a lot of great people here."
During his three-decade stay, Sloan not only saw the growth, but also was able to participate in it as a real estate agent. He originally moved to Park City at the suggestion of his brother, Gordon, who guided Sloan into the business.
Sloan started with Western Woodlands, and then started two companies with Gordon called Prospector Development Company and Group One. He then moved to Coldwell Banker, followed by Ziegler/Sletten, Mansell and Associates and, finally, Commerce CRG.
"The town was about 1,500 people when I moved here," Sloan said. "From a real estate standpoint, it was pretty disorganized. I still remember my first sale I ever made it was unit 13 B2 at the old Park West Condos."
Seeing Park City become a full-functioning, self-sustaining town, Sloan said, was one of his favorite parts about his time here.
"From a commercial standpoint, I’ve seen the population go to about 25,000, if you include the Snyderville Basin, and that wasn’t here when I moved here," he said. "If you wanted a pair of men’s socks, you had to go to Salt Lake. Each time we would add another business that took away the need to go to Salt Lake, it made it easier for other businesses to come in. Now you don’t have to go down there unless you want to go to Costco."
In his last nine years in Park City real estate, Sloan focused primarily on commercial properties, helping to develop what is now called the Prospector area when he was with Prospector Development Company. Despite his focus on commercial properties, he said if the population doesn’t grow, then new businesses can’t come.
"As things grow, things seem to blossom geometrically," he said. "Every time you put in another home you create another job, you create another chance for a business to come in and be successful. Park City is no longer just a suburb of Salt Lake, but Park City now has suburbs of its own."
"People used to live here and commute to Salt Lake to run companies, but now they’ve brought their businesses here their employees commute," he said.
One of the big steps in getting Park City to that point, Sloan said, was the formation of the Park City Board of Realtors in 1981. He said it allowed Realtors in Park City to pull away from the Salt Lake City Board.
"It primarily allowed us to focus on our own market," he said. "It gave us some strength and some identity as far as the whole state was concerned. A lot of the people who were in real estate at the time weren’t licensed Realtors and this brought us all under that umbrella. There’s a lot of strength to be found by being a part of a national organization."
Sloan served as the second president of the Park City Board and as a director for eight years. He also served as treasurer.
"The real estate business has been extremely good to me, and that’s not merely from a financial standpoint," he said. "But my philosophy is that you need to give back and being a Realtor has allowed me to do that."
One of the ways Sloan said he was able to give back to the community was by serving as a lobbyist during state legislative sessions.
"Right now, the Utah Association of Realtors is probably the second largest lobbying group in the state of Utah," he said. "We would meet every week while they were in session and talk about any bill that might affect real estate in Utah."
Sloan said some of their greatest victories in lobbying came from working with tax issues that affect Realtors and anyone buying or selling property.
There has been a great flow to his life, Sloan said. Before coming to Park City, he worked for a paper company in Portland, Ore., for five years, and now, after 30 years as a Parkite, Sloan will start a new chapter as the economic developer for Boundary County in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Despite the move, he said, and the change in title, he will carry Park City with him for the rest of his life.
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