New businesses, some of them unique to the area, are springing up in south-central Utah.
A bag-manufacturing business in the town of Joseph and a manufacturer of modular display systems for use by businesses in Monroe are both thriving in Sevier County. A new "destination" lodge is operating near Teasdale in Wayne County."Bag It of Utah" makes just about any type of bag. "If someone needs a bag, Bag It makes it" well describes the business, which offers "custom personalized sewing."
It was started in a house in Joseph about three years ago by Cindy and Casey Jones.
Casey Jones is a gold prospecting enthusiast who likes to attend trade shows. He returned from one show and told his wife he saw a need for bags to protect and transport metal detectors.
His wife obtained materials, sat down at a sewing machine and struggled at length in making the first bag. She soon became much more proficient and sprouted the Bag It of Utah business. She said the product sold well and people began asking if bags could be made for other types of equipment.
The couple moved to Joseph, but Cindy Jones commuted to Salt Lake City for employment until they had enough orders for her to quit her job to make and sell bags. The products are now featured in catalogs with nationwide circulation.
The business flourished, has several employees, and its owners hope to reach a sales goal of $500,000 this year.
In Monroe, Modular Display Systems was started in a garage by Jack Brady, who had worked for more than 20 years in the display business. A 400 percent growth called for moving to a new building.
The business primarily manufactures portable modular display systems for use by companies attending conventions and shows. The products are designed so companies can modify displays to meet changing needs of their show exhibits.
Brady designed a system for a custom display company he worked for in Salt Lake City that was so successful that the firm converted from custom work to mass production.
He has designed, patented and manufactured a connecting system called Panelflo. Another display system can easily be connected without using tools, and is reversible so that companies can modify displays to meet changing needs.
Brady also designed and built an injection molder that is used to produce patented fasteners on the products as well as jigs that are used on an assembly line.
Modular Display Systems has several employees and sells its products in many states.
In Wayne County, John Alexander of San Diego saw a dream come true in constructing the Skyridge Bed and Breakfast Inn. It cost about $750,000.
Alexander said he wanted to own such a business venture since he stayed at a similar facility with his parents when he was a youngster. The 12,000-square-foot structure, similar to the one he had stayed in, finally became a reality.
It has 14 rental units and is built to blend with the natural surroundings. Alexander, who owns property along four miles of the Fremont River, plans to expand the business with riverfront overflow cabins.
Other new businesses have also opened or will soon open in sparsely populated Wayne County, among them a motel, service stations, a Subway franchise outlet and a grocery store.
The county's drawing cards include Capitol Reef National Park and recreationists en route to and from Lake Powell.