Skip to main content

The City Journals

Checking in on the Holladay Village

Jan 07, 2019 05:03PM ● By Justin Adams

Holladay Village boasts a variety of dining options including Caputo’s, 3 Cups, Tonyburgers and Taqueria 27. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Harmons grocery store in Holladay Village. It wasn’t the first business to go in the new development and certainly won’t be the last. However, it is the largest business to become part of the Holladay Village development, a proverbial anchor meant to support the rest of the growing town center. 

With one year passed since the Harmon’s opening, it’s a good time to take a step back and consider the overall impact of the Holladay Village development. Has it fulfilled the vision of those who created it, and more importantly, has it improved the lives of Holladay residents?

“The credit needs to go to Dennis Webb, the mayor who served before me, and the then-city council who had the vision for creating a village center out of what was urban blight,” Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle told the Holladay Journal. “That whole area was run down and dilapidated. It has completely transformed.”

Dahle, who was elected in 2014 when plans for the development were already well underway, said he has tried to continue to implement Webb’s original vision of a city center that emphasizes pedestrian accessibility and connection between residents. 

“The one thing we did lack was a mini anchor. Harmons provided the mini anchor that was the missing piece to the village. The place that will keep everyone wanting to come into this area,” Dahle said.

The idea for Holladay is to avoid “leakage” — a municipal code word for when residents leave their city boundaries to spend money in other cities — which hurts not only the city’s sales tax income but also the city’s employment potential. Now, the hope is that residents will do their grocery shopping at the Holladay Village Harmons instead of going somewhere in Murray or Millcreek.

Then if they’re already going to the Village, they can also stop by Blues Barbershop to get a haircut, get some light bulbs at ACE hardware, pick up a prescription at Meier’s pharmacy and round it all up with a cup of coffee at 3 Cups. 

“It’s all about convenience,” Dahle said. “We want people to be able to get everything they might need right here in Holladay.”

Eric Flynn is the owner of Flynn Cyclery, one of the new businesses to move into the Holladay Village plaza. He says business is going well enough that he’s going to renew his lease on the building. “I’m swamped with business during the summer months,” he said.

Other businesses in the new development appear to be successful as well. The various dining options certainly benefit from having a nearby junior high full of students eager to go grab a bite to eat and hang out somewhere after school.

However, for some of the older businesses further south along Holladay Boulevard, the Holladay Village development hasn’t been completely positive. 

One business owner who didn’t wish to be identified said he felt the new development hurt his business because potential customers are deterred by the prospect of having to turn left onto a very busy road during certain times of the day. 

Two other business owners said they hadn’t noticed any difference in their business as a result of the Holladay Village progress. 

Tessa Reinemer works at one of the businesses in the area and said that, outside of work, she actively avoids the entire Holladay Village area because of the traffic.

“I don’t know what the city planners were thinking,” she said.

Dahle said increased traffic is just the price you have to pay for having a successful economic city center.

“Has traffic increased? Absolutely it has. But the flipside is that you can’t have a vibrant retail core without traffic. They go hand-in-hand. If you don’t then you probably have businesses that aren’t thriving,” Dahle said.  

The mayor also pointed to recent renovations at neighboring Holladay City Park that helped to make the Holladay Village a place for the whole community together, such as the multiple free outdoor concerts that took place this summer.

Holladay residents can also expect even more additions to come to the Holladay Village in the coming years, according to Dahle.

“I think there’s a lot of things to be proud of,” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction but there’s still a lot of work to do.”