12.08.2005

Sober People Give Me the Creeps - If I Want Dull, I Have Spoons


'Utah! We put the 'Or?' in 'Mormon'!

Utah's LDS Influence Is Turnoff, Some Firms Say

from Desert Morning News

A new survey of businesses looking to relocate found that while Utah is competitive, concerns persist about the effect of the "Mormon influence" as well as limitations posed by the state's size and location.

The 48-page report, made public Wednesday, was compiled to boost Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s economic development efforts on behalf of a group calling itself Real Estate Professionals for Economic Growth.

The report is actually a collection of comments gleaned from interviews with 21 "site selectors" who have represented more than 100 business relocations or expansions that involved the state during the past five years. While the names of those interviewed are listed at the back of the report, the comments aren't attributed. The companies represented include 1-800-Contacts, American Express, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Black Diamond, and Yankee Candle.

For example, one person surveyed claims that "the Mormon influence can be a negative. There is no question about that." Another states that there is a stigma associated with the state that "if you are not a Mormon it may not be a place that you fit in."

"We still have a perception problem," acknowledged the head of the group, Bill Martin, managing partner of the state's largest commercial real estate firm, Commerce CRG. "The Olympics helped reduce that but it'll never go away."

Still, Martin said he didn't see the findings as negative. "That's what we are," he said. "We need to quit being defensive or trying to rationalize why we are quirky...It's a great place to live."

The mayor said the LDS influence can be good — or bad "if people think they won't be welcomed here. My philosophy is that if they spend some time here they'll recognize people have a lot of conceptions about Utah that aren't true."

Others in the report said the influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is responsible for such positive attributes as "the state's work ethic, friendliness, clean streets, public safety, and the overall absence of crime" and one called it "a great place to live and work."


'Come. Join us. Won't you? No crime. No alcohol. No dirt. No loud noises. No tears. Don't be afraid. You will. Fit in. Eventually. Eventually. Eventually. Event-Utah.'

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