May 10, 2017

Utah ranks for small biz optimism; Utah grocers donate to schools; Utah wins in rent vs. buy debate (The Daily Herald) »

Utah ranks third for small business optimism

According to a recent Womply report, Utah small business owners are some of the most optimistic in the nation. Coming just behind Kansas and Missouri, the state ranked high.

Womply surveyed thousands of small business owners in all 50 states to see what’s driving optimism, anxiety, and action for the nation’s 28 million small businesses. Utah gained its top three rating, because optimistic Utah small business owners outnumber pessimistic ones 13 to one, and one in four small and medium Utah businesses are planning to hire this year. This optimism is being driven by quality employees, the health of the state and local economy, and good customers.

According to the study, business confidence matters for Main Street entrepreneurs, because the study found that optimists are 3.5 times more likely to hire and give raises to employees in 2017 nationwide, and pessimists are 6.5 times more likely to reduce staff and pay.

Utah grocery stores donate to area school budgets

Many Utah schools recently received an extra boost to end the school year with donations from Macey’s, Lin’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market and Fresh Market. The Utah-owned grocery stores donated $59,600 to elementary schools as part of the School Cents Program. Donated funds will be used to purchase a variety of items from classroom supplies to new tablets and computers, depending on the school’s needs.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support schools in our community through School Cents. A large number of classroom supplies and items are paid for out of our teachers’ own pockets and we’re honored to work with our guests to raise money to help our schools get the items they need,” said Ashlee Johnstun, customer relations manager for Associated Retail Operations in a press release.

This is the 17th year the stores have run the School Cents program, which allows guests to donate a portion of their shopping spend to the school of their choice when they shop with their Macey’s Perk’s or PLUS rewards account. Schools earn money from August-March before receiving a check during a special presentation at the school with store team members. School Cents has donated more than $624,000 over the last five years to elementary schools across the state.

The state of Utah wins in rent-versus-buy debate

Though much of Utah County is grappling with affordable housing issues, for those who can purchase, it makes sound financial sense to do so over renting, according to a recent SmartAsset study.

According to the study, in many areas of the United States, it actually makes more sense to rent rather than buy a home, especially for those uncertain of their longevity in the home. But in much of Utah, especially Utah County, it is more financially sound to purchase a home rather than buy.

The study shows that it takes the average Utah County homeowner only two years to reach “the breakeven point in the buy vs. rent decision— the point at which the total costs of renting become greater than the total costs of buying.” Nearby counties revealed similar results.

In area places like San Francisco, Seattle and New York, it can take 14 to 18 years before homebuyers reach the breakeven point, or recuperate the costs of buying. In Denver and Phoenix, that time lowers to five years. On the contrary, Utah as a whole only averages about three years, with eight Utah counties coming in under that.

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Karissa Neely reports on Business & North County events, and can be reached at (801) 344-2537 or Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely

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