Cache Valley - Utah's Other Innovation Hub
“Companies can start in Utah, stay in Utah and thrive in Utah,” says Brad Baird, Business Development Manager at EDCUtah, who along with Becca Haynie, recently attended a tour of Cache County arranged by Sandy Emile, president of Cache Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“Cache Valley is a good place to keep an eye on,” Baird continues, “there are so many companies with so many new technologies. It really puts Cache Valley on the map.”
In fact, even during the recession, Cache County has never had two consecutive months of negative growth. Cache Valley is diversifying and growing in many ways.
The four companies that EDCUtah met with were started in Utah. They have all been able to expand and produce a high-quality product while keeping their headquarters local. These home-grown startups aren’t the software-focused companies similar to what we see in Utah County, the companies all focus on different markets and industries, proving that startups in all sectors can grow and thrive in Utah. These companies and their facilities would rival those not only on the Silicon Slopes but in Silicon Valley as well.
Malouf Sleep is one of the companies that EDCUtah toured. The founders started the company out of their garage in college. It’s an amazingly successful company with goals not only to provide quality bedding but to bring support to community causes. Malouf just completed a 220,000 square foot headquarters and distribution facility and looks forward to even more expansion in the future.
JBS, the successor to Miller Meats, also recently expanded and renovated their facility. Their former plant needed updates to their facility, and there was some risk to building it back up. However, they decided to expand and modernize, incorporating more automation into their production. Their new state of the art facility completed in 2015 was a $100 million-dollar expansion and now employs 177 additional people. JBS plans to stay in operation and is another great Utah-born company.
S&S, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based company Sansei, is a roller coaster and amusement park ride designer and manufacturer that recently obtained sufficient capital to grow and expand. They are currently in the process of building a new 100,000 square foot facility. As the largest amusement ride manufacturer in the United States, S&S has installed over 160 tower rides, 250 children’s rides and several coasters spanning the globe in 30 countries. S&S also does all of their research and development, leading to cutting edge technology used all over the world.
Autonomous Solutions is another great startup that has a mission to help organizations reach their potential through innovative robotic solutions. It all began when the founder wrote an article almost twenty years ago about the possibility of self-driving vehicles. John Deere contacted him and helped him start the company to make it possible. They have produced self-driving trucks, tractors, combines, autonomous security guard machines, and are currently working on more innovative projects for other types of industrial workers.
“It’s fascinating to see what’s going on in Utah,” says Haynie, “Cache Valley proves that even rural communities can develop a remarkable diverse economy.”
Overall, the tour of Cache Valley was very impressive. It’s all due to the industriousness of the people that live in Utah that these companies can thrive. Cache Valley is not just a small-town agricultural area – it has become a business innovation hub. These Innovations and the development of emerging technologies will continue to establish Cache Valley, and the state of Utah, as the best state for business.
While Utah’s reputation is a hot-bed for IT, we have just as much innovation in manufacturing and product development that’s not nearly as well known. Manufacturing and Distribution is happening all over Utah, and it’s all innovative. Most people don’t realize while the Silicone slopes has become a recognizble trademark, manufacturing and distribution has carried Utah over the last century. Cache Valley has even taken it from mere manufacturing to innovation in many industries. High Tech distribution is a big deal in Utah, and most people don’t know that it exists.