Alan Anderson, president of ChamberWest, keeps his giant scissors handy, along with about 13 golden shovels. As West Valley City continues to grow, he never knows when he’ll get a call for the next ribbon cutting or groundbreaking.
Lately, his scissors have been cutting through five or six ribbons per month—nearly double the number from past years. And his shovels have gone through more dirt than he can remember in his 12 years at the local chamber of commerce.
Last year 96 businesses joined the chamber—the most he has ever seen.
Members are in Taylorsville and Kearns, with a few in other parts of Salt Lake County, but half are in West Valley City.
The ribbon cuttings, which spiked in January 2011 and haven’t subsided, include both improvements on existing businesses and first-time openings.
Like the city, Anderson says ChamberWest has its own agenda to grow business in West Valley City, and he promotes it at every public event he attends.
“Our chamber is pitching four things,” Anderson says. “Consumers need to spend a little bit more, businesses need to invest a little bit more, banks need to lend a little bit more and government needs to regulate a little bit less.”
He’d like to see more investment in hiring and offering new services. And while he says the city streamlining approvals of business plans is a step in the right direction, less regulation will allow the banks to lend more.
Members pay dues to receive benefits—like discounts on shipping or advertising on KSOP FM, a locally-owned country station in West Valley—but they also support local businesses in another way. “In 2010, we said ‘let’s see how much business we can do just with businesses in Utah,’” he says. “So every check we pay, from our office rent to our email newsletter program, is to a local company.” Ironically, the only check they send out of state, is for ChamberWest’s own chamber membership.