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The City Journals

Midvale named one of top 10 best small cities to start a business

Jun 23, 2021 02:06PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

Sarah Wells Frazier moved her nail salon to Midvale from Sandy in 2020. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

Midvale is the seventh best small city to start a business in the U.S. according to WalletHub, a personal finance website. 

The website evaluated cities on 20 relevant metrics, including access to financing and labor costs. Three other Utah cities made it to the top 10—St. George, Cedar City and Logan were ranked first, second and fifth, respectively. 

The next highest-ranking city in Salt Lake County was Draper, which came in at 32nd out of more than 1,300 cities across the country with a population between 25,000 and 100,000 residents.

Of the categories used to evaluate cities, Midvale’s highest ranking—18th overall—was in the “access to resources” category, meaning it’s easy to find things like financial resources and quality job applicants. Midvale is also seen as having a favorable business environment, a shorter commute, more startups per capita and higher average growth of business revenue than other cities of a similar size. The full report can be found here.

Lynzi Hale Hansen has lived in Midvale for 13 years and started her own business in 2020.

“I love that Midvale is unique,” Hansen said. “It’s part of a big metro area, but it’s community oriented. My bank knew me, and everywhere I’ve gone it’s people I know. It’s the little things.”

A former educator whose own children were now in school during the day, Hansen was looking for a new challenge. She was describing to a friend what her brother-in-law does, and suddenly realized that the job might also be perfect for her.

Hansen is a Medicare broker, which means she’s a licensed insurance agent with a sole focus on teaching seniors about Medicare and how to get the most out of their benefits. 

“Midvale is ideal, with a senior center and the VFW,” Hansen said. “The community feel leads to referral resources.”

Despite challenges associated with the pandemic, Hansen reached her goal of 40 clients in the first year, partly by using her personal network on Facebook.

Sarah Wells Frazier also took a leap during 2020. 

After working as a nail tech for over a decade, Frazier finally opened her own salon in 2017. Though she lived and had spent her career working in Midvale, she first found a storefront in Sandy. The space was nice, but Frazier realized that it was too far east. The already sparse foot traffic dried up completely with the pandemic.

“The old space started to not work out, and I knew I was definitely going to come back to Midvale,” Frazier said. “So, I got a disaster loan through the SBA and opened this space.”

Frazier only had to look for two weeks before finding the ideal location at 7667 S. Center Square.

“It’s so much better here—better rent, better parking,” Frazier said. “It was great to be back home in Midvale. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I knew where city hall was to get licensing. Everyone is so great and accommodating. People are just on it. It’s really easy to get that yucky business stuff done.”

Lia Bliss lives in South Salt Lake and has been Frazier’s client for 10 years. 

“It’s therapy. It’s those relationships where someone understands you on a beauty standpoint, but also as a woman, as a person,” Bliss said. 

When Frazier opened her new space, it was just her offering nail services. She hired two technicians last summer and another in January.

“The best thing is that my girls are from different areas, but being centrally located, it’s easy for them and easy for their clients,” Frazier said. “Compared to Sandy, there was never any walk-in business there. Here we have walk-ins daily, which is great for my girls who are still building clients.”

The WalletHub report simply confirmed what many people already know: Midvale’s central location and small town feel make it a great place to start a business. 

“The best time to start a business is today,” Hansen said. “I wish I had started five years ago. As a mom, your whole life is centered on other people. We forget that we can choose where our life goes. 2020 for me was when I decided where my life was going to end up and starting your own business is the best way to do that.”