It was by all counts a big event with more than 50 different booths, hundreds of people, and lots of food.
The Tooele County Chamber of Commerce’s annual community business expo, and Taste of Our County — formerly known as Taste of Tooele and Job Fair — was held Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Historic Benson Grist Mill.
It even attracted the state’s lieutenant governor.
“I’m here because the governor announced an initiative to create 25,000 jobs in the state’s rural counties,” said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
Cox was there because if a combined Expo, Taste of Our County, and Job Fair wasn’t enough, the chamber also teamed up with Gov. Gary Herbert’s 25K Jobs Tour to bring in around 20 statewide organizations that offered support to help grow local businesses.
“We’ve traveled now to 13 counties,” Cox said. “We’ve heard the message ‘we are tired of exporting our kids. We want our children to be able to live here and make their career here.’”
Expressing concern that the positive effects of Utah’s #1 economy wasn’t being felt equally in all of Utah’s counties, Herbert announced during his 2017 state of the state address an initiative to create 25,000 jobs throughout rural Utah in the next four years.
One outsider to Tooele County gave his assessment of the chamber’s combined event.
“It looked like it was a success,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah.
The World Trade Center teamed up with the governor’s office to bring private and public organizations to the 25K jobs tour that offer assistance to help grow local businesses, thus creating jobs, Miller said.
Some of the organizations involved in the 25K Tour included the World Trade Center Utah, the Department of Workforce Services, the University of Utah’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center, USDA Rural Development, and Zions Bank.
The job of the World Trade Center is to help businesses to expand by thinking global, Miller said.
There’s an opportunity for Tooele County businesses to grow through foreign business, according to Miller.
During the 25K Tour at the grist mill, representatives of World Trade Center Utah talked to a variety of local businesses and Tooele County entrepreneurs with ideas for starting businesses involving world trade, Miller said.
“You have a great economic development team here,” he said. “They have done a good job, the challenge I see here is the need to diversify the economy and bring in more manufacturing and production jobs, including technology.”