Things are blossoming in Roy and it’s not just the flowers. Businesses are sprouting all along 1900 West. But that growth didn’t just come over night. It has been a process that has been years in the making and it’s taken work by many to make it grow at the rate it is now. For several years residents complained about run-down buildings and closed up businesses along the main corridor of Weber County’s second largest city.
City Manager Andy Blackburn said there have been several major players involved in the rebuilding of the retail and business corridor in the city, starting with an Economic Development team.
Mayor Willard Cragun said when he was first elected four years ago it was his first order of business to capitalize on business growth. Several things were already in process, like the remodel of the Bank of Utah building – a needed change that Cragun attributes to the start of the revitalization.
Cragun asked two city councilmen to head up an Economic Development team – Brad Hilton and Bob Dandoy. The two went to work.
A part time Economic Development Specialist was hired and special care was taken as to who that would be. Randy Sant, former Roy resident and someone Cragun considers to be an expert in the field of economic development, came on board with some residents. They would see businesses they liked approach them about coming to Roy. “Randy Sant knows our city and cares about it,” Cragun said.
That’s what got the wildly popular Asian Market, Ocean Mart, into the city. “We had a couple of citizens that were always driving to Salt Lake to go to Ocean Mart and they decided they wanted one in Roy. They approached the owners on a trip to the Salt Lake store and they agreed to meet with us,” Cragun said. The wheels were then put in motion.
The location of the Ocean Mart, on the corner of 5600 South and 1900 West has been a tricky one. Alberton’s Grocery store once occupied the space, but the land was owned by a different property owner than the building. The city worked to get that squared away so it was ready for Ocean Mart. And Cragun is thrilled. “People love having it there and it has served as an anchor for other stores to come into that area,” Cragun said.
“We have really worked so people know that Roy is a business-friendly city. We want businesses here,” he added. He also thinks the start of the beautification committee at the same time as the Economic Development Committee has proved to be a huge boon. “With the beautification and clean-up of our city, it made it more appealing for businesses to come here,” he added, talking about the entrances to the city being upgraded with fancy light fixtures and lots of flowers.
“It’s really been a group effort,” he said, noting that between 4000 South and 5600 South, along 1900 West, there aren’t many empty storefronts anymore, if any at all. There are new restaurants, and a smattering of small business owners are also making a go of it in Roy.
But it’s not just retail space. Business is booming in other ways too. America First Credit Union is looking to expand its space in the old Iomega Building near 4000 South and 1900 West. It is working with the city to expand its space to the west and help rebuild the park there.
“It will be a benefit for everyone,” Cragun said. He credits those changes to the new South Weber County Library Branch. He likes the beautiful space it occupies, but also knows it has brought a great deal of traffic to his city and given businesses like America First the idea to expand and to continue to beautify the area.
“We really always want to encourage our residents to shop local,” he said.
The partnerships between businesses, residents and city employees have been key to grow Roy, Cragun said. “We heard the concerns of citizens, but they were also willing to step up and help out.”
The future is bright too. Cragun said the city is looking to get a movie theater and possibly a hotel to put Roy on the map as a destination.