SLC lending a hand to businesses struggling with Sugar House construction

Jun 3, 2024, 7:00 PM | Updated: 7:42 pm

Construction and utility projects continue on the business streets of Sugar House, in Salt Lake Cit...

Construction and utility projects continue on the business streets of Sugar House, in Salt Lake City. And business owners say their bottom lines are suffering. (Pibs Exchange)

(Pibs Exchange)

SALT LAKE CITY — Years-long construction in the trendy downtown area of the Sugar House has taken a heavy toll on the area’s mostly local, small businesses.

The combination of road repair and construction of new residential buildings has left customers with little parking and even difficulty finding an open road to their favorite shop, café or grocery store.

Sugar House residents fed up with 2100 South construction — which could take almost two more years


Sugar House shop owner says business down 30%

Sarah Snow, owner of Pibbs Exchange, a vintage and second-hand clothing and costumes shop in Sugar House, joins Dave and Debbie to share how the ongoing work has impacted her business.

Also, Salt Lake City Councilwoman Sarah Young provides details about how the city is seeking to help struggling shops, bars and restaurants.

Snow said her business has been inside a construction zone since early 2022.

“It’s been a few years that we’ve been dealing with this construction,” she said.

Through the help of a city loan, Pibbs Exchange has increased advertising to tell their customers that the shop is still open during construction.

“We’re still here, and you can still get down here, even though you have to navigate,” she said.

Snow said there has been communication with the city government, but sometimes new crews don’t have all the information about the project along 2100 South.

New construction crews “come in and they don’t know all the details and they’ve got to get refreshed . . . they don’t know that they’re not supposed to park in front of our buildings so that we have spaces for our customers and things like that.”

She added her business has seen a drop-off of “around 30 percent,” but she hasn’t had to lay off a single employee.

“We haven’t, no. I mean we’ve had different people acquire different jobs, but we haven’t really had to lay off.”

When informed that construction is set to wrap up in fall 2025, Snow said, “We’re buckling up and preparing for it.”

SLC councilwoman talks construction

Councilwoman Sarah Young joins the show to talk about how the city is supporting businesses impacted by the long-running construction.

She added construction mitigation loans are offered for area shops and stores. 

Owner Sarah Snow said she used the $3,000 loan to help with marketing and inform customers that Pibb’s Exchange was open for business during orange-cone operations.

“In addition to that, we are also working with our economic development team and Salt Lake City to be able to host events in Sugar House that really brings folks down there despite the construction,” Young said, adding a recent such event highlighted the small businesses Mochinut Donuts and Hopkins Brewing Company.

With June as LGBTQ Pride month, she said the city is working with the local community council and the Sugar House Chamber of Commerce to support upcoming events, including Sugar House Pride, which is hosted by The Locker Room: “The parking lot with be closed off for the weekend with live music, drinks and celebration of the 55th anniversary of Stonewall,” on June 28-30, according to the website.


Utah small businesses struggle under inflation

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SLC lending a hand to businesses struggling with Sugar House construction