Jul 19, 2022 - Business

Utah small business owners to meet with congressional leaders in D.C.

Illustration of an apron on the Lincoln Memorial.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A coalition of about 70 small business owners from Utah is gathering in D.C. this week to meet with the state's congressional delegation.

  • The business owners are alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which is meeting for a two-day summit.

Driving the news: They plan to express their economic and workforce challenges to lawmakers.

  • They also want to urge leaders to find policy solutions to help small businesses and to reauthorize the Small Business Administration for the first time since 2000.
  • Rising costs of goods, coupled with labor shortages and fear of a recession, are impacting already struggling business owners amid the pandemic.

What they're saying: "I'm always encouraged by the passion and the perseverance of the small business community," said Natalie Kaddas, owner and CEO of the Salt Lake City-based Kaddas Enterprises. "Now to see them take that same energy to Washington, D.C., so that our voices can be heard — I'm really excited."

  • Her company makes products used by utility companies that prevent wildlife from creating power outages.

While her business has ballooned, so has the cost of raw materials.

  • "We're doing more and it's costing us more. Our revenues are up and expenses are up," she said.
  • Kaddas added that it's also hard for her to find hardware pieces to make her products.

Schuyler Northstrom, president and CEO of Uinta Mattress, an independent manufacturing company, said materials to make mattresses have risen by 40% over the last year.

  • During the start of the pandemic, the Salt Lake City business owner said he saw an immediate decline in mattress sales, prompting his company to make face masks.
  • "I think it's important for people to know that small businesses truly are the backbone of the economy and we just want those tools to move from the pandemic and a declining economy to prosperity," he said.
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