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Jennifer Wesselhoff: All in this together

Jennifer Wesselhoff
Park City Pulse

When you think of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, do you see a favorite family-owned restaurant with deep roots in Park City? Or a boutique hotel you like to recommend? Maybe you think of your go-to retail store where you get great advice along with your outdoor adventure gear or unique gifts. How about a home-based service business, such as graphic design?

Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
Park Record file photo

You will find all of these among our more than 950 members — a cross-section of Parkites who love living here, just as you do. They love it so much they’ve staked everything — their savings, independence and livelihood — on making their Park City dream come true.

If you think of Chamber/Bureau partners as these small businesses with deep Park City roots, you’re right. We recently surveyed members, and 70 percent of the respondents say they have been in Park City for more than 10 years. Forty-three percent employ nine or fewer people, and well over half, 57 percent, employ 20 or fewer. Seventy percent say a top reason they belong to the Chamber/Bureau is the chance to connect to the community and each other.



As the Chamber/Bureau, we work hard to advocate for these neighbors who make our economy hum, but it’s really about all of us. After all, it takes two to tango. Our businesses offer places to shop, dine, gear up for recreation and enjoy the outdoors. And us, well, we love doing all of it as part of the PC lifestyle.

What’s on our partners’ minds? Business owners say operating sustainably is their top issue. They want a Park City tourism economy that protects our environment as well as our community character. They specifically mention recycling as a way they can contribute. Climate change is also big — right behind concerns about business regulations.



The biggest challenge they see in the next 12-18 months is staffing, a growing national issue. It’s frustrating to be on the rebound from COVID but struggling to hire enough workers to stay open. The lack of housing that workers can afford in the community is a worry, and COVID concerns also linger.

It probably won’t surprise you that 66 percent say their business is directly related to tourism. We are a visitor-based economy, and we share challenges with other outdoor-focused destinations. Specifically, 2021’s incredible travel resurgence that shows people are favoring the outdoors over urban areas clearly has implications for Park City.

Dealing with these and other issues related to sustainability is why you will see us engage in public discussion in the coming months about the Chamber/Bureau’s role in the community. Our board recently reviewed our goals for coffee and lunch gatherings that will be open to the public. We want to share ideas to engage visitors with community values, such as “Tourism Give Back Days” where employees volunteer to give their time to the community where they work. We’ll also highlight how our partners make a difference in Park City with a “Virtual Members Showcase” and other programs to help our partners communicate.

One phrase frequently heard in 2020 was, “We are all in this together.” As we recover from COVID, we believe we are still “all in this together,” shaping a future that preserves, protects and respects our people, economy, lifestyle and environment.

Together, we can address Park City’s desire for a balanced economy and lifestyle that respects our values, sense of community and environment.

Jennifer Wesselhoff is president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. She served for 13 years as president/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, where she led development of Arizona’s first sustainable tourism plan. She is a certified destination management executive and a sustainability consultant, and loves skiing and hiking with new friends.


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