Despite the economic uncertainty that Utah has faced throughout the year due to COVID-19, one city has been able to weather the storm rather gracefully.
Rather than have to shut down and close various stores, Orem has seen multiple new businesses relocate to the city. These businesses have popped up everywhere, including the addition of stores at Wolverine Crossing and University Place, as well as some new tenants moving their businesses to the Canyon Tech Center and the Cascade Office Park.
Kathi Lewis, Economic Development Division manager for Orem, is excited about the progress the city’s economy has made during this difficult year. With so many additions to the shopping scene this year, Lewis referred to Orem as the “retail hub of the county.”
“We are thrilled to see several new businesses that have opened.” said Lewis.
Among the new businesses that found a home in Orem this year is Lululemon, a high end athletic and yoga wear retailer based out of Canada. While Lululemon already has retail stores in Murray, Salt Lake City, St. George, Park City and Farmington, the Lululemon Pop-Up store that came to the University Mall was the first of its kind in Utah County.
Taylor Field, a Lululemon employee has seen the popularity of the mall grow as more high end stores have moved in.
“Getting nicer stores like these really just makes people want to go to the mall,” Field said. “Ever since Lululmeon got put in, we’ve upgraded. Stores like Cotopaxi and Bronxton got put in across the way.”
Although going to the shopping mall may not be the first thing on people’s minds right now, Field maintains that “people are still spending, people want to spend.”
Wolverine Crossing, which has typically been used for student housing had several businesses move into the first floor retail space. The businesses include Proof Pest Control, Brooks Pest Control, Boomerang Books, Set Fire Creative, Kraemer North America, Water Quest and Leavitt Medical.
Kathi Lewis also mentioned that the paycheck protection program loan forgiveness, rental assistance program and the small business loan program are all different federal resources that the city helped businesses take advantage of.
The city has made it a priority to provide help to small businesses, or to at least at a bare minimum give them the resources to find help on a federal level.
“Mountainland Association of Governments disbursed over $3 million dollars in Utah County Federal Cares Act grant funding to 271 Orem businesses,” Lewis said.
Though 2020 proved to be successful for the city, they have now shifted their focus to making 2021 even more positive.
Connor is a public relations major. He is a wannabe golfer, loves to play the piano, and enjoys trying new dessert places and bakeries with his wife.