In our Fifth Annual Neighborhood shopping guide we added a new component of a shopping map. And it was an easy choice as to which area would be best suited to launch this concept. The “local enclaves” in Salt Lake City area are well known; Sugar House, the Granary, 15th&15th, Pierpont, Broadway and Main Street, but the area that has the highest concentration of truly local businesses is 9th & 9th. Urban Gentrification has not set in here because the community has chosen to keep the chain stores out and support the locals.
900 South was recently renamed Harvey Milk Boulevard. Harvey Milk was the former outspoken Mayor of San Francisco who stood for LGBT rights. The LA Times wrote about the unanimous vote by the Salt Lake City Council to rename 20 blocks of 900 South after the gregarious activist. Coffee Garden Owners’ (and married gay couple) Alan and Deter couldn’t be more proud. It’s another example that Salt Lake City, is reclaiming our independence and that politics and religion cannot dominate over a truly free-market.
The key components of the area are interesting. There is a lack of available parking. Chain stores love parking, they use it as a key metric of their success. When there is not ample parking they typically don’t want to invest. Residents walk, bike or park a distance away if they must and this keeps the area full of pedestrians and bikers.
There is an ownership of the area because the Tower Theater, is always showing independent films. Here indies rule. Dining options offered by Mazza, Pago and Coffee Garden provide a truly unique experience which can only be found at 9th&9th.
There is only one place over the years where we have witnessed a Starbucks actually go out of business due to the dominance and superior quality provided by a local business, Coffee Garden’s pastries, coffee and drinks cannot be touched by Starbucks.