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Local First Utah Blog

"So you're from Buy Local Utah's Own First, right?"

Though no one has ever implicitly asked us that question, we at Local First Utah are frequently asked about the difference between our organization, and that of our friends at Utah's Own. 

Ultimately, we see it like this: Utah's Own, as part of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food supports producers, and those who grow/make/create a physical product. Local First Utah, as a non-profit organization supports all independent, locally owned Utah's businesses. So here's the good news for all the makers and business owners out there. Both of our organizations have fabulous resources available to help you succeed.

We're delighted that Utah's Own has joined the Local First Leaders Circle, and we spent some time with their new director, Robin Cahoon, to learn more about the work of Utah's Own, and ways that Utah's independent businesses and farmers can reap the benefits of both programs. 

Q: What is the story behind Utah's Own?

A: Utah’s Own is a state program within the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) that was launched in 2002 to increase consumer awareness of the diverse products grown and produced in Utah.  In 2015 a new team was brought on board and tasked by the Governor’s Office of Budget and Management to develop a framework that will help the program realize efficiencies and increase effectiveness.  Part of that effort is to clarify the goal and purpose of the program.   Since Utah’s Own is a program within UDAF, the decision was made to refocus the definition of a member company to farms and business in Utah that grow, raise, or manufacture food and beverage products for human consumption.  Companies that make value added skin care products that incorporate agricultural ingredients produced in Utah also qualify.  For example, goat milk soaps, beeswax lip balm, and herb-infused oils.   A directory of the current Utah’s Own member companies is available at 

Q: How does your business contribute to the vitality of our community?

A: The goal of the Utah’s Own program is to strengthen Utah’s economy by increasing awareness of the Utah’s OwnTM brand and supporting companies to produce safe, high quality products.  To that end, we’ve developed a comprehensive, mixed-media marketing plan geared towards raising awareness among Utah shoppers about what the Utah's Own brand is and where to find local products. It includes advertisements on billboards, public transit, local online, movie theaters, and social media.  Current Utah’s Own member companies are authorized to use the Utah’s Own™ logo provided they adhere to certain trademark usage guidelines. 

Q: What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned, independent businesses?

 A: Asking us to select a favorite local company is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child – they all have their qualities.  Overall, we strive to provide the fair and equitable value in the program for all of the Utah’s Own member companies. 

Q: Why do you support the Local First movement?

A: It makes sense for Utah’s Own to partner with Local First Utah because our bottom line objectives are one in the same.  Buy local products.  Together, as we help shoppers discover local food and encourage them to spend more of their hard-earned dollars with local businesses, we are helping keep more money in the Utah’s economy and, consequently, improves the quality of life for everyone in the state through job growth and increased tax revenue that is used to fund things like education, transportation, and conservation of natural resources.    

Join us in this powerful movement. Engage with Local First Utah by actively branding your business as locally owned. Create anEnhanced Listing, making use of the tools and resources Local First Utah provides. Or, help lead the movement by joining the Local First Leaders Circle. Each step we take, together, helps us create livable, thriving places to call home. If you're interested in joining the Local First Leaders Circle, please contact Kristen Lavelett at 

Published in Local First Utah Blog

A vibrant local economy is about more than retailers and restaurants. It's also about the service-based businesses that keep our economy running at full speed. We're happy to welcome Richards Brandt Miller Nelson, with their legal expertise and longstanding enagement in our local community, to the Local First Leaders Circle. We spoke with Barry Scholl, to learn more about Richards Brandt Miller Nelson, and why they support the Local First Movement. 

Q: What is the story behind Richards Brandt Miller Nelson?

A: Richards Brandt Miller Nelson has been a premier Salt Lake City law firm for more than 30 years.  Each of its practice areas is highly regarded, and our attorneys are recognized both locally and nationally for their commitment to the representation of our clients’ interests. 

Q: How does your firm contribute to the vitality of our community?

A: The firm offers services in areas ranging from business and corporate governance to intellectual property to construction law to immigration law to non-profit law to labor and employment law, healthcare law and litigation. In all of its practice areas, Richards Brandt prides itself on providing excellent service to clients, regardless of their size. The firm also has the RBMN Foundation which supports many local charities and community causes.

Q: What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned, independents businesses?

A: Personally, several of my favorite independent local businesses include Weller Book works and the King’s English Bookshop, Acoustic Music, and any number of restaurants, including, most recently, Frida Bistro; however, we’re fortunate to have so many excellent locally owned choices when it comes to shopping, dining, and other services. 

Q: Why do you support the Local First movement?

 A: Without a robust local business economy, a city can easily lose its unique character and become an “Anyplace, U.S.A.”  Local businesses also contribute to the local economy by providing local jobs, fostering sustainable economic stability, and supporting educational advancement.  The Local First movement is vital to Utah’s future, and helps shape our quality of life.

Join us in this powerful movement. Engage with Local First Utah by actively branding your business as locally owned. Create anEnhanced Listing, making use of the tools and resources Local First Utah provides. Or, help lead the movement by joining the Local First Leaders Circle. Each step we take, together, helps us create livable, thriving places to call home. If you're interested in joining the Local First Leaders Circle, please contact Kristen Lavelett at .  

Published in Local First Utah Blog

A great number of independent businesses make their impact on the local economy by operating “behind the scenes” so to speak. Wise Cabinetry is one of those businesses. Though they are not open to the public, they play a vital role in supporting other local businesses. Their final products are installed all across the country in venues of a Utah-based events business, and they source locally as often as possible.

Wise Cabinetry is a great example of what we call “Localnomics” – the manner in which locals do business with other locals and in doing so strengthen our Utah economy. Co-owner, Lisa Wise is a member of the Local First Utah board of directors. We’re happy to have Wise Cabinetry as a part of our Local First Leaders Circle!

1. What is the story behind Wise Cabinetry?

Wise Cabinetry is owned and operated by Cliff and Lisa Wise. Cliff has 32 years of high-end custom cabinet experience from the San Francisco area in commercial, restaurant and residential work. Wise Cabinetry was opened in Ogden in 2011, and moved to Layton when the business needed more space and hired additional employees. We currently have 8 craftsmen who work for us. We work exclusively through a commercial contract for a Utah-based company that builds event venues throughout the United States. To date, we provided cabinetry for 28 buildings in 16 states.

2. How does Wise Cabinetry contribute to the vitality of our community?

Because of my passion for local business and my position on the board of Local First Utah, we source 90% of all our materials and supplies from locally owned companies!

3. What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned, independents businesses? A few of the companies we source from and really love are: High Mountain Forest Products in Salt Lake, BMG Finishing in Layton and Solid Surface Creations in Layton.

4. Why do you support the Local First movement?

We support the Local First movement because we love community and understand the economic impact "local" has in our communities and our state. We want to support those people who live, work, and raise their families right here.

Leaders Circle Members provide vital support to the Local First Movement in Utah. If your business is interested in joining the Local First Leaders Circle, please e-mail .

Published in Local First Utah Blog
A vibrant local economy is fueled but more than simply retail and dining. One of our dreams at Local First Utah is to see a deeply integrated, self-sufficient local economy. We're happy to welcome NuPackaging to our Local First Leaders Circle. They provide a specialize service and products, that in our current age could so easily be outsourced. They do so with expertise and passion, and much of their work helps to support other independents businesses.

1. What is the story behind NuPackaging?

Jim Suttlemyre, the owner of NU Packaging, has been in the distribution and packaging industry for 40 years.  After many years of working for others, his natural leadership and passion for distribution lead him to open his own company 13 years ago.  NU Packaging, Inc. began serving it's customers in July 2002. Since that time, the company has grown not only in size but also as a player within the packaging community. With our fast, free same and next-day delivery and competitive pricing, we can meet your packaging needs. Our warehouse stocks over 4,500 items locally and custom designs are available. Our staff has over 100 years combined packaging experience and work hard to support your business. Strategically located in South Valley, we can serve both Salt Lake County and Utah County in minutes. We also service from Logan to St. George on a weekly basis. Whether it be bubble wrap or point-of-purchase displays, NU Packaging's strength is turning a packaging problem into a packaging SOLUTION.

2. How does NuPackaging contribute to the vitality of our community?

We are a locally owned and operated, and love to support the local community any way we can.  We participate in our community by providing various sponsorship's and involvement, such as the Utah Food Bank, YMCA, Local First Utah and Utah's Own. We believe in being proactive and giving back to support our community, this is part of we do business with integrity.    


3. Why does NuPackaging support the Local First movement?

We support the Local First movement because we ourselves are a local company, and value being a contributor within the local community.  We help the economy in Utah by striving to keep packaging jobs, components and design in our local community.  We effectively and efficiently create a partnership with all of our packaging customers to achieve great results. Dedicated to supplying solutions of the highest quality, we strive to do so with integrity and without compromise. We believe that with honesty, you reap trust, with goodness, you will realize great relationships and with hard work, you will reap success.  
If you would like to learn more about the Local First Leaders Circle, or if you business is interested in joining, please contact Kristen Lavelett at
Published in Local First Utah Blog

At Local First Utah, we spend a lot of time talking about buying locally, because we are deeply passionate about the Local First movement. It is far more than the pursuit of discovering the next cool thing to buy, or cool place to eat. It’s about justice, equity and intentional living that comes as a result of being present in our communities as we support the creative endeavors of our friends and neighbors. It is, in short, one small way that we can love our neighbors.

For that reason, it is always particularly touching when members of Utah’s faith community provide financial support to Local First Utah. Because ultimately, groups like City Presbyterian and The Rock Church, who are both members of the Local First Leaders Circle are also aiming to live intentionally and love their neighbors.

Here is a little bit of information about The Rock Church, one of the newest members of the Local First Leaders Circle.

Q: What is the story behind The Rock Church?

The Rock is a revolution in church. We believe Jesus Christ was the ultimate revolutionary for social and spiritual change. Our foundation is His Word, the Bible. Without watering down or compromising the truth of the Bible, we seek to incorporate Christ’s teachings and values into our everyday lives. We're committed to loving our enemies, refusing to judge people, being kind, and treating others as we wish to be treated. We seek to love as God loves.

Q: How does The Rock Church contribute to the vitality of the community?

We regularly partner with the Rescue Mission, The Road Home, Teen Challenge, and local food pantries to provide relief for those in need. The Rock also regularly contributes financial aid and mental health aid to those who need support. Volunteers from The Rock Church have been a part of “Mission to the City” where we have worked with shelters, contributed to the Utah Aids Foundation, and worked with struggling businesses in the neighborhood of our church, helping them to repair their premises, and promote them to the community.  As well, volunteers from The Rock Church have served at Local First’s “Celebrate the Bounty” for the last five years.

Beyond service projects, we’re committed to the culture of Salt Lake City. “The Rock Music" works collaboratively with local musicians and artists. We offer free gallery space to aspiring artists, and frequently host concerts showcasing local and touring musicians. We have invited local food trucks to be a part of our events serving food to attendees of our Saturday evening church service, and the concerts and art shows we host.  A number of local food trucks, like CupBop, Black’s Sliders, Smoke-a-Billy BBQ, Cherry’s Hot Chocolate, Chop City and Waffle Love serve food at these events.

Q: Why do you support the Local First movement?

Local First Utah matters to The Rock simply because they are a part of what we love most: making a difference in the lives of people. Many people who are part of The Rock Church own local businesses and are a part of our community as artists, citizens, neighbors and families, so we recognize the value of a movement that strives enrich the lives of community.

Published in Local First Utah Blog


24 Salt Lake is a community-based online network dedicated to showing the best that Salt Lake has to offer. Highlighting the positive stories, the sights, the sounds, of Salt Lake City, 24 Salt Lake is a great resource to discover all that this town has to offer! 

Keith Manley, of 24 Salt Lake, share with us a little bit about the business, which is the newest member of the Local First Leaders Circle. 

1. What is the story behind 24 Salt Lake? 

24 Salt Lake was formed to fill the niche of creating sharable hyper local content that highlights, showcases, and promotes our amazing city and state.  Our mission is to Salt Lake City and Utah.  We are big believers in the local economic model.  We promote local business and non-profits though engaging and sharable content.

2. How does 24 Salt Lake contribute to the vitality of our community?

Our goal is to be the destination of choice when finding out what's going on in and around Salt Lake City.  We specialize in highlighting the things that make us unique.  We create useful, easily sharable content with the sole intent to promote Salt Lake City and Utah.

3. What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned businesses?

At risk of alienating any particular business, I'll say this...if you provide a quality product, over the top service, and are friendly, We like you!

4. Why do you support the Local First Movement?

Easy.  The more money we spend locally the stronger we will be.  This is our mission.

Thanks to 24 Salt Lake and all of our Leaders Circle Members. Their vital contributions allow Local First Utah to continue to accomplish our mission to empower a movement to recognize the value and vitality of locally owned, independent businesses to our communities and our economy.  We do this through educating and engaging the public, the businesses and our statewide community partners.

If you would like more information about the Leaders Circle, or are interested in joining, please contact Kristen Lavelett at



Published in Local First Utah Blog

In August, we had the opportunity to host a small party in honor of the members of the Local First Leaders Circle. 

Stalwart proponents of the "buy local" movement, these businesses have donated to Local First Utah, and offer profound contributions to their communities. 

It is an honor to work alongside these businesses, as we all seek to accomplish the mission of educating the public, government and business owners themselves about the value and vitality of locally owned businesses to our economies and communities. 

Thank you to each and everyone of our Leaders! And, a very special thank you to Ali Sabbah of Mazza Restaurant who provided brunch for us. We hope to see the Leaders Circle grow and flourish in the years to come. 

Members of the Local First Leaders Circle include:

  • 15th Street Gallery
  • Amour Spreads
  • Arches Health Plan
  • Cathedral Tattoo
  • City of Holladay
  • City Presbyterian
  • Condie's Candies
  • Hip & Humble
  • Les Madeleines
  • Lotus Community Development
  • Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine
  • Merco Local
  • Paletti
  • Pinnacle Performance
  • Piracle
  • The King's English Bookshop
  • The Stockist by Fresh
  • The Rock Church
  • Third Sun Productions
  • Utah Non Profit Housing Corporation

    If your business would like to join the Leaders Circle please contact Kristen Lavelett at


    Published in Local First Utah Blog

    Betsy Burton is the co-owner of The King’s English Bookshop, and co-founder of Local First Utah. It seems like a fairly obvious statement to say the she is a leader in the “buy local” movement. More than a leader in the movement, Betsy has the combined traits of foresight and gumption. Along with other local business owners and community leaders, Betsy not only saw the need for an organization like Local First Utah, but she possessed the wherewithal to see her vision to fruition.  

    We are immensely grateful to Betsy. Her passion, her commitment and her determination make her a one-of-a-kind, even amidst the unique local business owners that make up the tapestry of our community.  We are honored to have The King’s English as a member of the Local First Leaders Circle.

    1. What is the story behind The King’s English?

    The King’s English was founded on a passion for books rather than business acumen. We learned about business the hard way but fortunately for us, in the late ’70s and early ‘80s competition wasn’t nearly as stiff in the book business. By the time the chains came to town we had learned our lessons business-wise and were able to compete with what was a significant threat—aided by our passion for and knowledge of books.

    2. How does The King’s English contribute to the vitality of our community?

    The King’s English contributes to the community in many ways: We have a wonderful children’s room with knowledgeable children’s booksellers, story hour several days a week, summer book programs, and many children’s author events; we bring nationally known authors to SLC from all over the country; we have many knowledgeable booksellers in the adult part of the store who share our passion for books; we work with schools, both public and private, with local colleges and universities, and with libraries, volunteering our time and expertise not just in SLC but in outlying areas as well, and often partnering with other local businesses in the process; we serve on many community boards and also work to enhance our neighborhood business district with the help of the city. Our job is to put good books in the hands of people who will love them—to match books to people in other words. We are and always have been a community center for people who love to read and a community resource as well.

    3. What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned businesses?

    It’s hard to choose among local businesses but since I generally do my thinking with my stomach, I’m going to mention Mazza right next door and Frida Bistro along with Aristos. I also love the 15th St. Gallery and Hip and Humble.

    4. Why do you support the Local First Movement?

    As to the importance of Local First, back in the 1990s when the chains came to town, we recognized that they were draining money out of the community but couldn’t prove it—obtaining proof in the form of a study was one of our reasons for forming Vest Pocket and then Local First. When the study was finally done (thanks to Local First and SLC) it turned out that here in Salt Lake City if you spend your money in a local business nearly 3 times as much recirculates in your community as if you spend it in a chain (and by extension if you shop online it’s astronomically higher). What that means to community is that when you shop locally you are supporting your schools and roads and all the services your city and state provide—supporting your community in other words—instead of draining money out of your community. Local business literally IS community in a real sense and our mission—to educate the public, government, and businesses themselves about the importance of locally owned business to the economy and the community—is vital to all of us.

    If you would like to learn more about the Local First Leaders Circle, or if you business is interested in joining, please contact Kristen Lavelett at .

    Published in Local First Utah Blog

    If you take a closer look at the websites of a menagerie locally owned businesses and non-profit organizations, you’ll notice a recurring theme: Third Sun Productions is likely the business behind your favorite local’s website.

    They are also the web design company behind our very own As a lean non-profit with a statewide reach, our online presence is vital to our ability to accomplish our mission. It would be impossible for us to do this without the creativity, flexibility and committed partnership of Third Sun Productions.

    We are honored to celebrate them a member of our Local First Leaders Circle, and we’re in awe of the impact they have on the local business community, far beyond what is seen on the screen.

    1. What is the story behind Third Sun Productions?

    Third Sun Productions was founded 9 years ago during a time when there weren't a lot of options for small businesses and nonprofits for website design. Many people were caught between not being able to afford full scale marketing agencies on one side and having to rely on volunteers doing it on their own schedules on the other. At the time, the needs were simpler as well. We built quite a few 'brochure' websites in our first year but then it became very clear that the world of the internet was exploding and our clients needed to be able to manage their own websites daily and needed more 'interactive' features such as blogs, social media, e-newsletters, and more. 

    We (Troy Mumm and Jocelyn Kearl) were co-workers at KRCL and were lucky to have quite a few connections with nonprofits and small business owners in the community. Since we had no money for advertising, we started by doing what we knew how to do from the radio station -- trading our work for sponsorship recognition and advertising. The Utah Arts Festival was one of our first clients and instrumental in our exposure and growth. We're now heading into our 10th festival in 2015. We were excited to know the right people (David Nimkin and Kinde Nebeker) who connected us to Local First Utah in 2006, and knew that working with Local First Utah from almost the ground level was a great opportunity for us. 

    2. How does Third Sun contribute to the vitality of our community?

    From the beginning, our unique niche has been working with nonprofit organizations since we both came from the nonprofit community and had a good understanding of their challenges and how nonprofits work. Through that time, we have sponsored or donated thousands of hours of in-kind services. 

    We see our role as partners with our clients and we try to find cost-effective and efficient solutions for their needs, which vary from branding to website design to developing other marketing pieces to help them sell their products or engage donors. Many clients, both nonprofit and business, have been with us since almost the beginning and we've been able to do two, three, or even four renditions of their websites as needs and technology have changed. 

    We love our clients. Through them, we have been lucky to have a role in cool events and great start-up businesses that have really made Salt Lake City and Utah a dynamic and interesting place to live.

    3. What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned businesses?

    Our favorites are some of our long-time friends and clients in town. We've know Pat and Lezlie Barber at Pat's BBQ for years and have watched their business explode from a single hallway to a packed restaurant, including every Friday lunch, when you'll find a line out the door for Pat's burnt ends.

    Darin Piccoli and Chris Mautz who co-own the State Room have brought back the love of the musical venue where you can see amazing nationally touring acts in an intimate setting for a reasonable price. They have upped the game for everyone else in town while adding their own unique approach to live music.

    We've worked with Sally Sears and Randy Wirth at Caffe Ibis in Logan for the last few years as well, and they are icons in the state and the country for having done 'organic' and 'triple certified' long before any of the rest of us knew what those terms meant. Plus they demonstrate what a business can do for their community -- from the women-owned coffee co-ops they support to the every day donations they make to women's bike tours and university events among hundreds of other causes. 

    4. Why do you support the Local First Movement?

    Really, it's an exciting time to be a local business in Utah because there is a lot of momentum. We have business leaders in our community who have been fighting the good fight for a long time, and then we have an exciting youth movement who are vying for tomorrow's icons in our community. 

    While the nature of business is to compete with each other and identify our unique assets and offerings, the Local First Movement allows us an exciting opportunity to cheer for each other's successes and unite under one banner of preserving our communities and creating the type of environment we want to live and work in. The foodie movement (which we're happy to be watching via our clients, Downtown Farmers Market, Amour Spreads, Laziz Foods, Pig and a Jelly Jar, Meditrina, EPIC Brewing and others) is just the sexy and tasty sliver of what's going on city-wide and state-wide. We watch and admire all of the businesses who are modeling this attitude of collaboration even while they run their own successful businesses.

    If you would like to learn more about the Local First Leaders Circle, or if you business is interested in joining, please contact Kristen Lavelett at

    Published in Local First Utah Blog

    A lot of people could never imagine the words "Utah" and "fashion" in the same sentence, unless its a set up for a one-liner about floral-patterned dresses and hand-me downs. But, there are a number of locally owned independent businesses that are changing the perception of the fashion scene in Utah. The Stockist is one of those, offering clothing and accessories that are created by independent artists, and versatile enough to survive the hot Utah summers and snowy Utah winters. 

    Local First Utah is proud to have The Stockist as a member of the Local First Leaders Circle. 

    1. What is the story behind The Stockist?

    The Stockist (formerly Fresh) was open on July 15th 2009 by myself and my younger brother Ian Wade.  We had grown up in the snow industry and worked many years in the industry and wanted to start our own creative space.  We opened the doors hoping to offer a unique brand list and shopping experience.  We aim for quality over quantity, brands with history and stories behind them, lines that are unique to Salt Lake City and most importantly affordable.

    2. How does The Stockist contribute to the vitality of our community?

    We support the independent artists.  Our store is welcoming, we want you to feel like this is your store not just another shop on the block.  The jewelry we offer is primarily from Utah artists, I would say about 95% of our jewelry is made by a local artist.  The other 5 % is made by independent artists based in the U.S. or Canada.  We listen to our clients and try to cater to their needs and requests.  I am generally always in the store but I have a great team behind me that can also run the store.  

    3. What are 2-3 of your favorite locally owned businesses? 

    I love starting my morning off at the Coffee Garden.  If I’m shopping anywhere else for clothing,  APT202 is great.

    4. Why do you support the Local First movement?

    First, with out the Local First movement we would be no where. The education and support that Local First provides is invaluable.  As a small business we rely on the support of our community and neighborhood along with other businesses and organizations that have the same goals and values. I appreciate the resources and support provided by Local First.  

    Local First Utah is grateful for the support we receive from the businesses that are a part of the Local First Leaders Circle. If you would like to learn more about joining the Leaders Circle, please e-mail Kristen Lavelett at

    Published in Local First Utah Blog
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