Utah: Good To Great

Box Elder County, Utah is consistently learning and growing, with more and more to offer the business community.

By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2021 Issue

When James C. Collins wrote Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, he probably didn’t realize how much he was talking about Box Elder County, Utah. In his book, he talks about Nucor Steel in Plymouth (a small rural town in Box Elder County) that is situated in the north and surrounded by agriculture. Agriculture continues to have a strong presence in the county, raising crops like corn, wheat, onions and hay along with other agriculture products like milk, beef and fruit…especially peaches. Many of these products are purchased and processed locally and some are even shipped around the world.

Box Elder County, Utah
Known for its peaches, Brigham City is the county seat of Box Elder County. (Photo: Box Elder County)

Businesses like POST Cereals, West Liberty Foods, Honeyville Grain, Utah Onions, Big J Mill and Central Milling all take advantage of what Box Elder County has to offer. Box Elder County hopes to see this industry continue to thrive for many reasons. The first, and the one Mr. Collins points out, is the workforce. You see, when youth are exposed to hard work on a farm they tend to understand the value of hard work. This value, which is taught at a young age, gets instilled into the young woman or young man and develops them into great employees (worth every dime invested). Surveying many (if not all) businesses in Box Elder County you will find a great tendency to have (and love) a great workforce because of the employees’ hard-work ethic. Another reason why the County wants to see agricultural efforts stay strong is to have a local food source. Local food is becoming more and more important in our ever-growing populations around the world.

Apart from the agricultural industry that is found in Box Elder County, you will find a very vibrant manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is the largest industry in the county with companies like Autoliv (three facilities in the county), Nucor (three facilities in the county and growing), Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Northrop Grumman (managing over 20,000 acres), Procter and Gamble (currently expanding) and locally-grown companies like Storm Bowling (shipping bowling balls all over the world). What’s more impressive is the county has these companies with a population of around 55,000 people and the 2010 Census shows Box Elder County as one of the highest per-capita manufacturing counties in the West (over 25 percent). With that said, a drive-time report of 30 minutes will give a business access to around 700,000 people, as the counties to the east and south are larger in population. What some may not know is that Northrop Grumman (formally Thiokol, ATK and Orbital ATK, to name a few former names) was known as a hub for hundreds, if not thousands, of patients. Scientists, engineers and the like created and explored thousands of different materials, methods and processes to become a hub of what is now known as Advanced Manufacturing. They figured out how to safely get the human race into space with materials that would survive the tests. Box Elder County is excited to have Northrop Grumman in the community and looks forward to future projects like the Space Launch Systems (SLS) and the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).

Box Elder County is known for its collaborative efforts within the county and state, and with the region, reaching out to counties in the north (Idaho), east (Cache County) and south (Weber, Davis, and Morgan Counties), and being part of many organizations over the years, including the Composites and Aerospace of Northern Utah (CANU), Deseret UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and the Northern Utah Chamber Coalition. Many businesses have benefited through these collaborations, helping them to expand and thrive in the county. Internally, Box Elder County has pulled the business community together through a single Chamber of Commerce and through the Box Elder Economic Development Alliance (BEEDA) where business summits and events showcase the great work accomplished in the county. Also, the business community has benefited from these collaborations as the county has worked closely with the cities, towns, the school district and other taxing entities to create project areas designed to benefit the businesses and the communities alike.

In recent years, efforts to build up the downtowns of the two largest cities in the county—Brigham and Tremonton—have produced much fruit or benefit to the communities as businesses have improved their façades, and grown even amid the COVID-19 crisis. These community-development efforts will help both the businesses and local citizens celebrate their communities. Speaking of celebrations, two locations worth visiting in the downtown area of Brigham City, Idle Isle Cafe and Idle Isle Candies, both hit 100 years this year.

Looking to the future, Box Elder County is working on efforts to become a part of the Inland Port that the State of Utah is working on—to become a Satellite Inland Port with a focus on Agriculture and Manufacturing (including Advanced Manufacturing). The county continues to work with businesses to help them expand and is working with the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry with a testing site out west, near the home of the Golden Spike where the Trans-Continental Railroad was completed.

Box Elder County has a lot to offer the business community of this great nation and the world. Call (435) 734-3331 to learn more about why Box Elder County, Utah is more than just good, it’s great.

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