July’s Unwind Event VP Member Favorite

July’s “Unwind” event received very positive reviews from all who attended.

Unwind with us on the 4th Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Unlike our educational events, Unwind is always free to attend and is open to anyone 21 and over. No need to register. Feel free to drop by for a drink and some good conversation with like-minded entrepreneurs and local, independent business owners. 

Join us for the next “Unwind” at The Ruin (1215 Wilmington, SLC). We’d love to see you there.

The First Ever “Unwind” Event Gets Rave Reviews!

This June, Vest Pocket kicked off a new a new way for local business owners to socialize and relax at the end of the workday.

Unwind with us on the 4th Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Unlike our educational events, Unwind is always free to attend and is open to anyone 21 and over. No need to register. Feel free to drop by for a drink and some good conversation with like-minded entrepreneurs and local, independent business owners. 

Join us for the next “Unwind” at The Ruin (1215 Wilmington, SLC). We’d love to see you there.

Join Us For “Delegating Effectively to Help Your Business Grow”

Register Now

Most small business owners understand the importance of delegating, yet few do it effectively. This can lead to lower revenue, slower growth, and increased stress.

Want to learn how to keep your team accountable and trust that things gets done?

Join Vest Pocket Business Coalition at the Suazo Business Center for “Delegating Effectively to Help Your Business Grow”

In this workshop, strategic performance coach & advisor Camilla Kragius will show you how to figure out what to delegate and to whom. You’ll learn how to create a simple system so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time, how to communicate effectively, and why having an organizational chart without employee names is a must for every business.

When: Thursday, June 14th, 11:00am-1:00pm

Where: Suazo Business Center, 960 W 1700 S, Salt Lake City, UT

Cost: $12/Vest Pocket members or $15/non-members (includes lunch)

This event is presented by Vest Pocket Business Coalition and the Suazo Business Center.

Register Now

Speaker Bio

Camilla Kragius is a Strategic Performance Coach & Advisor who works with business owners and their teams showing them how to reach that next level and work more efficiently. She believes in using simple tools that give big results. Camilla specializes in time management, productivity, mindset, goal-setting, high performance as well as sales, leadership communication and business strategies. Her clients range from startups to 100 million dollar companies.

Join Us For Our May Event: A Tasting Tour of Dented Brick Distillery on Wednesday, May 16th!

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You’re invited to join Vest Pocket Business Coalition for our special May event after work on Wednesday, May 16th. Join us for a tasting tour at Dented Brick Distillery starting at 5pm. You can sample the various spirits produced at Dented Brick and learn how their distilling process works on this informative tour. Come meet other local, independent business owners and enjoy food from Caputo’s.

This is a private event and pre-registration is required. Be sure to register now to reserve your space on the tour.

When: Wednesday, May 16th, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Where: Dented Brick Distillery, 3100 South Washington Street in Salt Lake (near 3300 South and 300 West)

Cost: $12/members or $15/non-members includes cost for the tasting tour and appetizers

Other: Must be 21 or older to be admitted.

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Join Vest Pocket For A Guided Tour Of The City Library’s Creative Lab

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You’re invited to join Vest Pocket Business Coalition for a free, guided tour of the City Library’s new Creative Lab. The Creative Lab provides a space with dedicated equipment and software to create, edit, and convert digital media projects including video, audio, photography, and 3D modeling.

Need a green screen to shoot your next video? The Creative Lab has one. Need access to Adobe’s Creative Suite of software? The Creative Lab is the place. Vest Pocket board member and Social Media Expert Lydia Martinez will lead the tour along with the City Library’s Technology Coordinator, Jennifer Briggs.

The guided tour begins promptly at 10am on Wednesday, April 11th on the first floor of the Salt Lake City Main Library. The tour is free but reservations are suggested. Click below to register.

Register Now

Vest Pocket Breakfast Recaps 2018 Utah Legislative Session

Special guest speaker Kate Bradshaw recapped the 2018 Utah legislative session at Vest Pocket’s March breakfast event on March 22nd.

Special thanks to Empanada Express for providing breakfast and Red Moose Roasting for providing coffee for this event.  Also thanks to Bruce Johnson Productions for facilitating the live stream of this event.

Speaker Bio

Kate A. Bradshaw

Kate A. Bradshaw

Kate 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.


UPDATE: Business Property Tax Relief Bill Progresses in Utah Legislature

On February 21st, 2018, the Taxation and Revenue Committee of the Utah House of Representatives approved via a 9-0 vote House Bill 375 which would provide substantial relief of the personal property tax burden on Utah businesses. HB 375 in its current draft form would exempt from taxation business personal property that has a total aggregate value per county of $50,000 or less. Current law provides an exemption for tangible personal property having an aggregate value of only $10,000 or less.

HB 375 is expected to be debated soon by the full Utah House, and if it passes, will be considered by the Utah Senate.

You may personally track the progress of HB 375 by going to the Legislature’s website here: https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0375.html

Vest Pocket will continue to monitor the progress of  HB 375 and urges all business owners to contact their Senators and Representatives and urge them to vote in favor of the bill.

February’s “Tips & Tricks of Time Management” Event Provided Valuable Advice for Small Business Owners

Rena Ferguson, Vest Pocket Education Chair

On February 22, Vest Pocket members and guests participated in the “Time Management, Tips and Tricks” workshop presented by Human Resources Consultant Rena Ferguson, SPHR, MBA, from BBSI. Ferguson also serves as Vest Pocket’s Education Chair.

During this workshop Rena walked attendees through the process of managing time more efficiently.

“You can’t make more time,” Rena stated. “Everything we do costs us time, and that is not something that we add into our budgets.”

Rena recommends making a plan to start with ONE thing. Streamlining processes actually decrease our cost of time and money by increasing our efficiency. According to Rena, ORGANIZATION is the key.

Tip #1

Organization keeps teams in ‘FLOW’ and eliminates the ‘hunt’ and ‘distractions’.

  • Organize your data and files for quick access.
  • Create an intuitive filing system and enter data into systems daily or on a regular basis
  • Consider mandating that emails be answered same day and organize emails by using Outlook’s “Rules” feature
  • Keep a running list of projects and frequently update progress
  • Create “Team Habit”
  • Create policies to support habits

Tip #2

Using Databases

  • Create searchable content using databases that are available. Searching online is much faster
  • Your team should be involved in this process so they can use it easily

Tip #3

Schedule (FOCUS)

  • Schedule the important:
    •  Must Do’s (deadlines)
    • Need To’s (planning and to do items)
  • Set up for the next week’s tasks
  • Exercise (invigorate you)
  • Breaks and Rests (rejuvenate)
  • Date Nights (connect)

Tip #4


  • Only check emails at a certain time during the day
  • Schedule time to FOCUS on certain projects or tasks through completion
  • Say NO to distractions
  • Create routines that ensure certain tasks will be done at certain times.
  • Schedule time for the inevitable daily fires that need to be put out
  • Put notes in meetings and attachments

Tip #5


When we schedule priorities, we are saying NO to something else. Discipline yourself to stand firm to your schedule.

  • Admit what you do not do well or don’t want to do. Outsource or hand off to employees
  • Do what you do best and DELEGATE the REST!

Recommended Resources:

The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, Leena Rinne

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business by By Charles Duhigg

Vest Pocket Hosts Annual Legislative Warmup

Pignanelli and Webb

On January 18th, Vest Pocket members and guests gathered for breakfast at CousCous Mediterranean Grill in Murray to hear Deseret News political columnists and professional lobbyists Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb talk about the upcoming 2018 Utah legislative session affecting local independent businesses. Pignanelli and Webb have spoken at Vest Pocket’s legislative warm-up breakfasts for several years.

Webb opened by highlighting the top priorities for Utah business this session:

• Tax reform in general — especially federal tax reform and its impact on Utah, with the federal government expected to return more federal money back to Utah.

• Comprehensive State tax reform— the current tax system was developed in the 1950’s based on a manufacturing-based economy and does not reflect the service-based economy of today. The legislature will also be looking seriously into adjusting the sales tax rate and opportunities to collect sales tax.

• Personal Property tax — Legislators are considering changing the business personal property tax system substantially (this is an issue Vest Pocket will be advocating strongly about during the session)

• Real Property tax—Utah has fairly low real property taxes compared to other states. Some legislators have a concern that real property taxes may be too low.

Webb said that the mantra that is being heard over and over is “Broaden the Base, lower the Rates.”

Other areas of interest Webb touched on for the upcoming legislative session included six citizen ballot initiatives:

• “Tolling” the Canyons—Vehicle tolls will be discussed as a way to increase the number of people using public transport or carpooling to keep fewer people from driving up the canyons. Little Cottonwood Canyon road is the most dangerous for potential avalanches.

• Funding for schools—there may be a proposed dramatic increase in school funding. There is also a ballot initiative proposal in place. Surplus tax funds are being looked at as possible source. “Our Schools Now” is heavily supported this year by large teacher groups.

• Medicaid Expansion— this issue is getting close to being another initiative on the ballot. It would expand eligibility to persons with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level.

• Medical Marijuana— this may be another ballot initiative, and it is getting close to having enough signatures to being on the ballot.

• Air Quality— on the Salt Lake Chamber’s top list of priorities.

• Transportation Bill and governance of the UTA—proposed change to a three-member, full-time commission, rather than the current 16-member board.

Webb added that “all of these [ballot initiative] issues are important and have been debated, but not yet dealt with, by the legislature. This is the people’s way of doing so.”

Pignanelli, an attorney, lobbyist, and political adviser, was one of the youngest ever in Utah to be elected to a Utah state office, serving in the House of Representatives for 10 years.
He began by reiterating the issue of property tax, stating, “I think you are definitely on to something, (referencing Vest Pockets advocacy committee’s progress in the area) it will impact counties, but this session is being driven by the six initiatives.”

According to Pignanelli, the initiative that has the best shot is the “Our Schools Now” initiative, due to the fact that the supporters are well funded and have a large network of teachers backing it. Pignanelli said, “You really need to talk to your lawmakers, think about what connections you may have. You need to be engaged in the process, tell your story.”

Business-focused bills that Pignanelli highlighted included:

• Market Place Fairness (a/k/a “e-fairness”—the 2018 legislature is unlikely to return to this issue because the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up the South Dakota case on this issue and will make a ruling by the end of 2018.

• Food Tax adjustment—while there is some public sentiment to remove the food tax entirely, the legislature may actually increase the sales tax on food

• Certified tax rates—watch for impact on small business.

• Non-compete clauses – while already limited by law to one year, the legislature may, in the future, restrict them with respect to the types of employees subject to them.

• Panhandlers in the Rio Grande neighborhood in SLC —Rep. Hughes has made a difference in this situation. Pignanelli said in his recent visit to 600 West, the area looks drastically different.

• Alcohol bill—the allowable blood alcohol limited will be reduced to .05 effective December 30, 2018. This law will change businesses that serve alcohol. There is also some question on changes to insurance liabilities.

House Speaker Greg Hughes has announced he will not be running again, but it is evident that he wants to run for Governor in 2020.

Other Business bills:

• Single person sign-off through the Department of Commerce.

• LLC – a proposal to allow registration as a “benefit LLC”

• Air Quality—harder to recruit businesses now due to air quality concerns.

Pignanelli wrapped up by saying, “Communicate your concerns, reach out to smaller chambers, and businesses, create a coalition and approach the law makers, this will drive interest for them to do something.”

Take Our Survey

Should Vest Pocket Change Our Name? We Want Your Input

Take Our Survey

Two decades ago, Vest Pocket Business Coalition was started by a group of local business owners that needed advocacy help to fix a challenging parking ordinance. A grass-roots coalition formed to address the issue and they were successful. In the last 20, years Vest Pocket has advocated for countless local businesses on a variety of issues.

The name Vest Pocket was chosen because the term “Vest Pocket” brings to mind local businesses in our neighborhoods that hold close to our hearts, which is where a vest pocket is located. Once explained, the meaning is clear. However, it is worth considering this question: Will business owners (who haven’t yet heard of our organization) immediately grasp who we are and what we do based on our organization’s name?

In other words, does the name clearly and accurately signify what brings us together as local, independent business owners? Should the name be changed to help Vest Pocket be more effective? In light of these questions, we’ve been considering whether a name change might be in order. This topic is particularly important today as Vest Pocket works to increase its influence and advocacy work throughout the Wasatch Front and beyond.

The important thing is how you, our members, feel about this. Therefore, we need your feedback. Please click the link below and complete the short survey. Please let us know whether you favor a name change, and if so, which name(s) you think would best represent the organization that you’ve come to know as Vest Pocket Business Coalition. We will compile the results before the end of the year and report back to you on the results.

Thanks in advance for taking a moment to complete this survey, and thanks for your support of local, independent businesses!

Please click here to begin

Best Regards,

Doug Burton
Vest Pocket Business Coalition