"We've got it good in Utah, because in Utah we've got the goods."
With that rallying cry, the state launched its ambitious "Utah Works" program Wednesday in a breakfast conference at the Salt Lake Marriott Hotel.Appropriately, the breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, apple juice and potatoes . . . all grown and raised in Utah.
Gov. Norm Bangerter kicked off the new state government/private enterprise joint venture that has so far raised about $200,000 for what is being termed "internal economic development" - that is, encouraging Utahns to buy products produced in-state.
"Utah prospers when we buy what Utah produces," the governor said.
The Utah Works initiative is the brainchild of Agricultural Commissioner Miles "Cap" Ferry's department, which last year decided that a program was needed to help Utah agricultural produce - cherries, peaches, apples, beef, dairy products and grains, among others - compete against heavily promoted farm products from Washington, Oregon and California.
It then quickly expanded to include all Utah-produced products, and the Division of Community and Economic Development is now fully involved.
"There are many more Utah products than most Utahns are aware of," said Ferry, "more than just apples, cherries or even Thiokol-produced rocket boosters. We have clothing, trucks, ice cream, candy, state-of-the-art medical products . . . "
Utah Works, he said, "will champion the quality standards and the high level of workmanship that goes into all products or services produced within the state."
Here's how Utah Works works: A media campaign will identify Utah-made products in retail stores statewide with banners in shopping centers, signs and displays, and badges on employee uniforms.
Paid TV and radio commercials will be supplemented by donated time, and posters, counter cards, shelf cards and special displays at point-of-purchase in stores will hammer home the message: buy Utah.
Ferry said business and community leaders throughout the state are being provided with a step-by-step guide on how to organize the program in their areas.
"The success of this depends on a high level of local community effort and support," the commissioner said. "Leaders of various government agencies will join with key business and civic leaders to take the message to all areas of the state that the Utah Works program is good for all of us."
The Agriculture Department originally asked the Legislature for $250,000 to implement the program. That figure was pared to $100,000, which has since been matched by private businesses, of which there are 25,000 in the state.
The plan for implementing Utah Works stems from a research study commissioned by the Agriculture Department last October and conducted by Richard Kagel of Brigham Young University. In a survey of 300 Utahns from Logan to Provo, he determined that:
- Aggressive marketing programs to encourage people to buy products grown or manufactured in their home state can be successful, as proven by many Washington, Texas, Oregon and others.
- There exists a large gap in the minds of most Utahns between the actual economic contribution of key Utah industries - for instance beef cattle - and their perceived value.
- Utahns generally understand the benefits of an economic development effort such as "buy Utah" and would support it but are not enthusiastic about what the state has done so far.
- Utahns believe that Utah products are "better than" or "the same as" those from other states. Agricultural products scored somewhat higher in this regard than did manufactured products.
- Utahns are not overly familiar with what products the state grows or manufactures and would likely respond well to a program that would create pride in those products.
An advisory board has been formed to help implement and steer the Utah Works program. Chairman is Myron Walker, president of Country Crisp Inc. Members include Lynn Brenchley, general manager of Tri-Miller Meats, Cache County; Larry Bunkall, president Utah Manufacturers Assoc.; Max Knud-son, business editor, Deseret News; Ernest D. Mariani, president, Pyke Manufacturing; Robert D. Myrick, executive vice president, Valley Bank & Trust; Jim Olsen, president, Utah Retail Grocers Association; Vic Saunders, vice president of communications, Utah Farm Bureau; Jack Schiefer, branch manager, AT Al Seethaler, president of KUTV television; Al Trim-ble, president of Jetway.