vest-pocket-icon-newsVest Pocket News

Babs De Lay and Derek Kitchen Honored at the 5th Annual Vest Pocket Business Coalition Awards!

Shown L-R are: Vest Pocket Vice President Rebecca Yates, Richard M. Wirick Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Babs De Lay, Independent Business Advocate Award honoree Derek Kitchen, and Vest Pocket President Doug Burton.

Each year, Vest Pocket Business Coalition honors two people in our community who have been exemplary advocates for local, independent business. This year’s honorees are Babs De Lay for the Richard M. Wirick Lifetime Achievement Award and Derek Kitchen for the Independent Business Advocate Award.  Babs is owner of Urban Utah Homes & Estates and also serves as a member of the UTA Board of Trustees.  Derek is co-owner of Laziz Foods and is Council Member of Salt Lake City District Four.

Local business leaders gathered at Pierpont Place in downtown Salt Lake on May 11th to honor Kitchen and De Lay.


The Independent Business Advocate Award honors a community or educational leader who has worked diligently to promote and strengthen the position of local, independent business in Utah. Previous award recipients include Kim Angeli, former director of the Downtown Farmers’ Market (2016) and Jessica Thesing, Salt Lake City (2015).

The Richard M. Wirick Lifetime Achievement Award honors a local entrepreneur or business leader who has contributed to our economy and our community through their efforts of focusing on local independent business issues and supporting the vitality of the local business community. Previous recipients include Scott Anderson, President and CEO of Zions Bank Corporation (2016) and Lucy Cardenas and the Cardenas family, Red Iguana (2015).

Protect Your Business Goodwill & Trade Secrets

Protect Your Business

Join Vest Pocket for lunch April 19th as Richards Brandt Miller Nelson attorneys Zack Peterson and Barry Scholl discuss new Utah legislation regarding non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.  Trade secret law and non-compete agreements are an important tool in protecting business goodwill and trade secret information.  Learn if they could benefit your business and how they can be legally implemented to protect the knowledge and relationships you have worked so hard to develop.

Lunch from CytyByrd Cafe will be provided.

Register Now

VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

Join Us For VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

VOICES FOR LOCAL BUSINESS: How To Advocate For Your Business

Are you effectively advocating for your business?  Do you know who to talk to and how to make your case?  In this time of heightened political activism and awareness, learn from professional advocate Kate Bradshaw about how we can work together to ensure that local government listens to the needs of our independent business community.  Kate will also update us on the current legislative session and the status of several key pieces of legislation that may impact your business.

Register Now
Speaker Bio

Kate A. Bradshaw
Kate BradshawKate Bradshaw serves as Director of Government Affairs for Holland & Hart LLP and is the principal of her own firm, Kate A. Bradshaw Political and Media Consulting.  Kate works with businesses in our community to develop comprehensive legislative and public relations strategies and represents clients before the Utah State Legislature, the Governor’s Office and Executive branch agencies.  She previously served as Vice President of the Utah Food Industry Association and the Utah Retail Merchants Association, as well as a government relations associate for Parsons, Behle, & Latimer and a Public Relations Officer for Zion’s Bank.  Kate is an Honors Degree graduate of Westminster College and has served as a congressional intern in Washington, DC.

Register Now

The Benefits of Branding Local

Social-Media-VP-Feb-2017-followupLocal First Utah is a nonprofit organization that works to educate the public, government, and business owners about the value and vitality of locally owned businesses to our economy and community. On February 22nd, Local First Utah Executive Director Kristen Lavelett gave a presentation on the Benefits of Branding Local. Lavelett detailed how independent businesses help keep millions of dollars recirculating in our Utah economy and how branding a business as locally owned, actively participating in the “buy local” movement, and engaging with other independent business owners has a profound impact on a business’s bottom line.


Kristen Lavelett, Local First Utah Executive Director

Kristen Lavelett is the Executive Director of Local First Utah, a nonprofit organization that works to educate the public, government, and business owners themselves about the value and vitality of locally owned, independent businesses to our economy and communities. A former journalist, curriculum developer and playwright, Kristen now leads the “buy local” movement in Utah, advocating for independent businesses on state, county, and city levels in both urban and rural communities. Her expertise in branding, campaign coordination, and collaborative enterprises have spurred economic development through place making in her hometown of Salt Lake City, and across the state of Utah.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for Urban Food Connections of Utah, and is an ex officio member of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Business Advisory Board.

Political Sages Pignanelli & Webb Offer Insight On How The 2017 Utah Legislative Session Bills Might Affect Vest Pocket Businesses

On Friday morning (Jan. 20), Vest Pocket members and guests gathered for breakfast at Lamb’s Grill in Salt Lake to hear Deseret News political columnists Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb talk about upcoming bills affecting local independent businesses.

Pignanelli, an attorney, lobbyist, and political adviser, said the timing of the event on inauguration day was timely. “What happens at noon (today) is going to drive a lot of what happens during the (Utah) Legislative Session. Just the mere presence of Donald Trump is going to be driving a lot of bills and resolutions because of the perceived changes that may happen in the federal government.”

He added, “Whether it’s in health care, financial services, energy — you name it — that’s going to be driving some of the considerations.” Pignanelli said during this legislative session we can expect to see a battle between Rocky Mountain Power and the Solar Industry over a proposed change that would end net metering.

Pignanelli gave an update on a bill that is of special concern to Vest Pocket members; the Small Employer Retirement Program bill that was sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler from Woods Cross. “It didn’t pass (last year) but he’s going to introduce a new bill , Pignanelli said. “It will be similar legislation but (Weiler) says the treasurer won’t have so much influence in picking programs.” (Referring to the selection and management of retirement savings account providers.)

Other issues that Pignanelli expected to see debates around include:

  • Taxes – a possible gas tax increase and the online sales tax collection issue
  • A big infrastructure bill
  • A vigorous debate over new changes in the law governing non-compete agreements
  • A continued discussion around moving the homeless shelter in SLC
  • An examination of alcohol policies based on an alcohol bill filed by Sen. Jerry Stevenson
  • Air quality, perhaps incentives for cleaner vehicles
  • Some tweaking on health care
  • A fight over permitting of food trucks
  • A possible bill to lower the minimum number of employees required for a business to be subject to the Family Medical Leave Act
  • A change in how rental housing application fees are handled
  • Property management law amendments
  • A living wage bill to propose increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr. by 2022
  • Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act

The morning’s second speaker was David M. Davis, President of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, who talked about the (online) Sales Tax Fairness issue, a matter of great importance to many Vest Pocket members. Davis said the best solution would be if Congress passed a law to deal with the issue, but the only way something would get done at a federal level is if enough states do different things that it becomes too complicated to deal with for large online retailers. Davis outlined Senator Bramble’s upcoming sales tax fairness bill. He said it will likely include an “Economic Nexus” approach and “Affiliate Marketing Nexus” approach. Davis talked about the sales tax vendor compensation remittance credit and encouraged business owners to talk with their accountants to ensure that they are taking the proper sales tax collection credit.

Political consultant and lobbyist LaVarr Webb wrapped up the Legislative Warm-up breakfast by saying he thinks that the current legislative session will be a very interesting one. Webb said he thinks that many Utah legislators will wait on some big issues like public lands and Medicaid to see what starts to happen in Washington before making decisions locally on those issues. Webb said the topic of a 2018 ballot initiative for a tax increase for education funding will be a big deal during the legislative session. Webb said since we Utahns have more children per capita than any other state in the country, the issue of excellence in education and education funding overshadows many other initiatives. “ I don’t think we can become the number one education state in the country (by) spending the lowest per pupil in the country”, Webb said. He said that the sales tax on online sales like the tax that has now agreed to collect for the State of Utah could help contribute to education spending, perhaps reducing the need for the tax increase ballot initiative.

During the opening and closing of the breakfast, Vest Pocket President Jon Parry spoke and encouraged all local, independent business owners to get involved. “I encourage each of you to think about what issues that are important for you and your business and let’s get active!”

Pignanelli added that the Utah legislature does a really good job with their website in helping keep people in Vest-Pocket-Legislative-Featuredthe loop. “You can go on the website and follow a bill and even get alerts on your phone”, Pignanelli said. “I would encourage you to follow the bills”. He added, “Legislators do rely on hearing from the small businesses in the district and they want to make sure they’re not having a negative impact.”

When asked about the most effective time for small business owners to reach out to legislators for an in-person meeting to introduce yourself, Pignanelli said the best time is when the legislature is not in session. “I always encourage people to reach out to a legislator (prior to the start of the session) and set yourself up as a resource”, Pignanelli said. “Let them know what you do and what you care about.”

Pignanelli says that during the legislative session, e-mail probably isn’t the best way to reach out to legislators since they receive thousands of emails and the input gets aggregated. He recommends hand-written correspondence or a phone call. “If you hear about something and you’re nervous about it, or you really support it, I would call that legislator and let them know”.

Parry noted that a big part of Vest Pocket’s mission is advocacy and that means engaging with other Vest Pocket business owners to weigh in with legislators on important issues. “Only if we get active and we actually use our voices is this organization going to have the full impact that we know it can.”

How you can get involved

  1. Become a member of Vest Pocket
  1. Follow what’s going on in the legislature be frequently visiting the following sites:  – General – Numbered Bills/New Bills – Bill Tracking – Reading Calendars

  1. Let Vest Pocket know what issues you’re most concerned about and ask for the group’s support