These Utah cities are considered the best places in America to start a business

The study looked at the business environment, access to resources and the cost of doing business.

(Alastair Lee Bitsóí | Salt Lake Tribune) Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli, left, listens to the story of local pioneers with students from Sandstone Elementary during the annual Cotton Days celebration in downtown Washington City. WalletHub ranked the city as the best small town for business opportunities.

Sonya Gelter, owner of an air purification business in St. George, drove to Washington City to get her gel nails done at Organic Gel Nails. The small nail salon is owned by Leona Roberts, who started her business in 2013.

Neither was surprised to hear that Washington City and St. George were ranked number one and two of the best small cities in the US to start a business, according to WalletHub’s 2022 Best and Worst Small Cities To Start A Business.

“It’s a great place to start a business because of the growth here,” Gelter said. “And I think there are a lot of opportunities here. Depending on what your business is. As we all know, online is easy.”

WalletHub’s list includes a total of 10 cities in Utah. Other cities featured in this ranking include Cedar City (#4), Logan (#8), Eagle Mountain (#9), Lehi (#14), Pleasant Grove (#20), Midvale (#21), American Fork (# 25) and Orem (#28).

WalletHub based its data on multiple sources that compared 1,334 small towns with populations between 20,000 and 100,000 based on three factors: business environment, access to resources, and cost of doing business.

Last year, Washington City ranked fourth on WalletHub’s list.

Mayor Kress Staheli credits the city’s low regulation, low taxes, and minimal bureaucracy as factors behind the list that WalletHub creates.

“We have roots that allow us to move into a period of thriving now without losing that hometown feel. Without losing our roots and our identity,” said Staheli. “That’s how we are as a community.”

Founded in 1857, Washington City grew from a cotton farming town to more than 30,000 today. This week, the city celebrates its annual history with the Cotton Days Celebration.

Jordan Hess, Public Affairs Officer for Washington City, confirmed that over 600 business licenses have been issued in 2021 and over 100 business licenses have been issued in 2022 so far.

Exit 13 of Interstate 15 on the outskirts of town is full of new developments, from hotels to restaurants, Hess said.

Staheli said the city is working with the Utah Department of Transportation on a new switchboard for the city. Known as Exit 11, it will be connected to downtown the city.

Meanwhile, St. George has registered over 1,000 companies in 2021 and has registered about 400 companies this year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said David Cordero, communications and marketing director for the City of St. George. “This placement is a testament to the business-friendly environment that St. George has nurtured combined with the high quality of life that we enjoy. St. George is a great place to live, work, eat and play.”

Gelter agrees that the larger metropolitan area that makes St. George what it is makes them want to stay here. She has lived in New York and Las Vegas only to move back to raise her family.

“There are simply limitless outdoor hikes and activities,” said Gelter. “I just love it.” These Utah cities are considered the best places in America to start a business

Joel McCord

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