City Creek Center Helping Small Businesses Downtown

By Erica Hartmann

SALT LAKE CITY- The doors of the new 700,000 square-foot mall, City Creek Center, have been open for about a month now, but the traffic hasn’t seemed to slow down yet! City Creek seems to be the “face-lift” that downtown Salt Lake City needed. The hoards of people excited to see the new center have made City Creek’s grand-opening a success and have also helped the existing stores and restaurants in the area.

            Many things have attracted shoppers to the new center. An impressive retractable roof (something entirely new to the United States, the only other exists in Dubai), a brand new sky bridge that crosses overtop Main Street, as well as a handful of new stores to the Salt Lake area (Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Pandora, Porsche Design, and Tiffany & Co. just to name a few).

            The stores have made money like they couldn’t believe. Kaleb Larsen, an employee in the men’s department of Nordstrom said, “It’s been non-stop busy. The first day we opened we made our entire day’s sales goal in the first hour, and it hasn’t seemed to slow down much from opening weekend. It’s been great for me since I work on commission.”

            It’s been a similar story at the smaller stores in the center as well. Suke Wilkins, one of the managers at Banana Republic said, “On an average Saturday we’ll have 2,700 people in the store, that’s more than we did at Gateway in an entire week. It’s been crazy, but a good crazy.” Wilkins also said, “We’ve hired on about five more people since opening the new store, we need more coverage and are making the money to be able to hire more people. It’s great!”

            Everyone is excited to see the new mall and the shoppers seem to be willing to spend the money needed to at these high-end stores. Many people questioned whether or not the higher price-point stores would do well in a market like Salt Lake, but so far, they seem to be fairing very well. Jenn Smith, a sales associate at Tiffany & Co. said, “most days we have to form a line outside the store because so many people want to come in. A lot of people are just curious and look around, but there have been a lot of buyers as well. Business is good so far.”

            With the new mall placed smack-dab in downtown, questions were raised about how the locally-owned and smaller business on Main Street would be affected. William Lewis, an employee of the sandwich shop Gandolfos, located on Main Street a few blocks south of City Creek said, “We’ve always been busy with the all the businesses and high-rises located so close to us, and City Creek definitely hasn’t hurt business. We’ve seen an increase on Saturdays.” He also stated, “The food court is nice at City Creek, but it’s always so crowded, I’ve heard a lot of people come in saying they had to get away from all the people.”

            Eva’s, a popular restaurant on Main Street has also seen an increase since City Creek opened. Nicole Wallace a waitress at Eva’s stated, “We’ve seen a lot of shoppers come down here for a bite to eat. I think the Cheesecake Factory is really the only sit-down dinning option for shoppers over there, and I’ve heard there’s always over an hour wait. We have much better, locally-grown food than the Cheesecake Factory, and we can usually seat people right away.”

            There is one other restaurant besides The Cheesecake Factory located at City Creek, called Texas de Brazil, but you’ll have to spend much more money to dine there than you would at most restaurants located on Main Street (and most likely the food will be better and you won’t have to wait at the restaurants on Main).

            City Creek is a new and exciting place to come visit and it seems to be helping all the small businesses around this enormous new mall. Luckily for the small, delicious restaurants located on Main Street, the eating options at the mall are limited and super crowded, causing shoppers to venture a few blocks south for a bite to eat.

            So come down and spend some money (most likely a lot considering the price-points at most stores) while also supporting the older, smaller shops and restaurants on Main Street. Downtown Salt Lake is definitely becoming a place to visit with many different things to offer!