Connected: Holladay, Utah

The town of Holladay, Utah has “evolved and grown from a place where pioneers would come for respite to a place that’s leading in technology.”- Congressman John Curtis (UT). In Holladay, local businesses and community organizations – including a coffee shop, food truck park, bakery, and an indoor swim club- leverage the internet in various ways to maximize their organizations’ capabilities and reach.

Congressman John Curtis (UT), Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, and representatives from Internet Association member companies Facebook, Thumbtack, and Lyft traveled to Holladay to tour small businesses and community organizations and discuss the integral role the internet has played in their success. The four businesses and community organizations visited- SwimKids, 3 Cups, Soho Food Park, and Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island – gave real world examples of the various ways the internet facilitates day-to-day tasks, boosts their businesses, and enhances community engagement.

The local business community and residents of Holladay – like many communities across America – stand to gain the most from the internet economy. The internet provides small businesses and community organizations an opportunity to create jobs, reach new customers, and strengthen the local community. The internet industry thanks Rep. Curtis for joining us in Holladay and his continued leadership in supporting small businesses that are working to grow and innovate.

Michael Beckerman, Internet Association President & CEO

The internet helps local businesses and organizations create jobs, connect with consumers, and compete worldwide. IA’s Internet Community Crawls showcase the ways the Internet drives economic growth and creates jobs in communities around the country. Watch what main street business and their elected representatives had to say about the importance of the Internet to their local economy in Internet Association’s Connected video series.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (UT) and Congressman John Curtis (UT)

The internet plays a critical role for small businesses… It’s an equalizer, right, it gives them access to things that big businesses have, and those who use it effectively can act like a big business in many ways without the exorbitant cost. So, it’s been really helpful for these small businesses to have access to technology and to the internet.

Congressman John Curtis (UT)

The internet is really the lifeblood of small businesses for so many reasons. First of it all, it helps small businesses act bigger than they are. It gives them an opportunity to reach people they never would’ve been able to reach to get their message out. It’s also important for just the actually functional running of the business- the point of sale, to transact with their bank, and interact with their customers.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (UT)

SwimKids

Our first stop in Holladay was SwimKids, a family-owned local swim school that offers online registration and a calendar of events that makes it easier for them to connect with busy families. Keaton Walker, the social media manager of SwimKids, explained just how crucial the internet is in raising awareness and reaching new customers in the age of social media on Facebook and search engines.

The internet is very important in what we do as a business because it allows us to be competitive and get our name out there and be easily found. Especially as we emerge into new markets, it’s really important to get awareness out there, and something that everybody uses every day is the internet — social media, search engines — and if we can be present on those types of media then we can make sure that our message is out there.

Keaton Walker, Social Media Manager of SwimKids

3 Cups

Next, we visited 3 Cups, a local coffee shop focused on providing high quality coffee and pastries. 3 Cups uses the internet for nearly every aspect of its business, including advertising on Instagram to highlight the unique visual aspects of their products. Their website also offers online table and event reservations services and promotes their upcoming event calendar for the local community.

We are using the internet to basically run almost everything from our point of sale system to reaching out to the community through social media and email campaigns to our payroll, our accounting. We’re pretty much tied to the internet and would be crippled without it.

Dereck Bunlap, Owner of 3 Cups Coffee

Soho Food Park

Soho Food Park opened in 2015 as a place for families to enjoy local food trucks in an open space with a scenic view of the mountainous landscape. They recently installed WiFi to improve the business and customer experiences and use their social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, to inform the community about which trucks are featured, post the schedule for the week, and provide direct updates to local residents who frequent the park.

For us, the internet is critical. It’s how we communicate directly with our customers. Our business being so modular, there’s a different truck lineup every night. It’s very important that we can communicate in a rapid manner with our customers to let them know what trucks are going to be here.

Ben Hale, Owner of Soho Food Truck Park

Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island

Our last stop on the crawl was Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island. Owner Raelynn Potts created the dessert shop as a place where friends and family could gather and enjoy good food. Auntie Rae’s depends on the internet for online reviews and uses social media to establish itself as the perfect stop for events, parties, or a late-night snack. Rae’s business has its own website, a Yelp page, Facebook, and Google My Business page, which she deems absolutely “critical” to the success of her business.

The internet is now extraordinarily important to any business, especially retail businesses. I’ve found that probably 80 percent of my business comes from some sort of any internet source. I can’t tell you how many people come in and say ‘Oh, we were looking for somewhere to have dessert, and we searched the internet and we found you.’

Raelynn Potts, Owner of Auntie Rae’s Dessert Island

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