Salt Lake City Map Highlights Local Businesses

Date: 2 Mar 2002 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

A new Salt Lake City map offers residents and visitors a colorful and handy reference for finding more than 100 unique, locally owned businesses.

The full color, fold-up map was created by the Salt Lake Vest Pocket Business Coalition, an alliance of 200 independent businesses. One side shows the city’s streets, with illustrations of major landmarks and buildings housing local businesses. The other side includes a directory of the businesses with map grid points, neighborhood descriptions, information on charities supported by Vest Pocket members, and highlights of various awards member businesses have received.

Vest Pocket printed 50,000 copies of the maps and has distributed them at local stores, hotels, and the Convention and Visitor Bureau.

The coalition was launched three years ago to protect Salt Lake’s unique character by ensuring that its locally owned businesses continued to be a thriving part of the community. The group now has nearly 200 members.

Vest Pocket has long dreamed of creating a map, but lacked the resources. Then, late last fall, a chance comment by one member was overheard by Scott Anderson, president of the local Zion’s Bank, who offered to fund the map.

In a one-month marathon, the volunteer-run coalition managed to pull the map together just in time for the Olympics. The maps will be distributed year-round and new editions will be issued annually.

Vest Pocket has undergone significant growth and organizational development in the last year. It is now in the process of hiring a part-time executive director.

Over the next year, Vest Pocket hopes to continue building public awareness and to increase its membership by adding new benefits, such as health insurance, group purchasing, and a frequent buyer or smart card program. Another new initiative is a mentor program that will link established businesses with new entrepreneurs.

“We also have to become more effective at how we work with City Hall,” notes Elizabeth Guss, president of the coalition’s board. Since its inception, Vest Pocket has aimed to provide a voice for independent businesses in government decision-making. “Too often, when cities think about growth and tax revenue, they focus on attracting large chains. We need a different approach.”

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.