Minority-owned businesses in Salt Lake City winning big during NBA All-Star weekend

Feb 19, 2023, 4:45 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah business owners are winning big this weekend with thousands of visitors in town for NBA All-Star weekend events, including several minority-owned businesses.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this year’s All-Star is the largest in history. He estimated it would bring a $280,000,000 economic impact to Utah.

A lot of business owners are feeling that impact. Lit Mercantile, an online shop with Utah roots, sells grooming products for men and women. A married African American couple owns it.

“Being a Black business owner in Utah, it was kind of scary, kind of the unknown,” owner Matthew Haddix expressed. “The population of African Americans in Utah is very low, so it’s very hard to find like-minded African Americans in Utah that have the same passion, same motivation as you have with small businesses.”

Matthew Haddix’s store was featured in a list of Black-owned businesses to visit in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

“I was getting lots of orders this past week leading up to the All-Star game. I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “When I found out I was on the list, I thought, ‘that explains it.'”

He said his sales have boosted by around 30-40% since Wednesday. Haddix said his largest customer base is here in Utah, but he’s getting orders from basketball fans across the country.

“I think it’s important for Black businesses to get highlighted because it gives other Black businesses motivation and the feeling they can do it, they can make it,” Haddix said. “Even though we feel like the minority, we feel like there’s not many people who can relate to us.”

Both locations of Red Iguana saw an uptick in customers, too.

“Having a lot of people from out of town for this event, having the TRAX being free did help us quite a bit,” manager Colleen Murphy said.

She said the full agenda of events helped, too.

“It definitely kept us more steady throughout the day of being full all day instead of having slower periods throughout the day,” Murphy said.

Several high-profile guests stopped at the restaurant.

“A lot of NBA players come in, a lot of past NBA players come in, we’ve had a few of the artists, Post Malone comes in all the time, Travis Scott was in over the weekend,” she said.

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Minority-owned businesses in Salt Lake City winning big during NBA All-Star weekend