In Austin, Texas there is a team of urban thinkers called Civic Economics. Their self-determined raison d'être is to gather all the significant geographic, economic, and sociological data for a city and boil it down to manageable and meaningful figures. Once these figures are available, they are used by cities to develop effective strategies for sustainable growth. They are the best at what they do, and the studies they have done over the last ten years have gone far beyond the borders of Texas.
Civic Economics has worked with several cities in the United States and Canada examining the economic effects of shopping with local businesses. In a study done with the aid of American Express OPEN, Civic Economics found some good news for residential neighborhoods intersperesed with small and local businesses. According to the study, if you live within range of local business areas known as “indie hotspots,” your home values are going up. Factually, over the last fourteen years, home values near indie hotspots out-performed their counterparts city and county-wide by 50 percent!
Given this information, take a look at some of Salt Lake's unique neighborhoods, like the Avenues, Sugarhouse, 15th & 15th, 9th & 9th and the Granary District, just to name a few. All have walkable access to locally owned businesses. The Avenues is home to cherished coffee shops, candy stores and up-and-coming bistros. Coffee Garden outlasted Starbuck's in the 9th & 9th neighborhood. 15th & 15th has a solid block of some of the finest books, food and art the city has to offer. The Granary District boasts a substantial enclave of local business owners and workers with more to come. Salt Lake City has come a long way in the time I have been here, and with statistical analysis like that done by Civic Economics and your awareness as a consumer, it will only get better.