Residents look forward to convention center business draw

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A snip of red ribbon on Saturday finalized the grand opening of downtown Provo’s latest addition — the Utah Valley Convention Center.

With the official opening of the convention center, Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson urged people to make good use of the building.

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Miss Utah County Lauren Tucker and her Little Miss attendant Lucy Kesler officially open the convention center.
The convention center is part of the revitalization of Provo’s downtown. Mayor John Curtis said he is encouraged by the new building and is expecting it to help rejuvenate Center Street.

“This is only the beginning, we have a lot of exciting things coming,” Curtis said. “There is a momentum in our city that is really fun and happening.”

Blake and Lindsey Snow, who live within walking distance of the conference center, said they were excited about the building’s business potential.

“We’ve been watching it being built, so we wanted to see the finished product. So far I think it’s pretty impressive,” Lindsey said. “I think the effect of the building will be positive, as far as helping the local businesses around here grow.”

Local businesses and organizations packed the exhibit hall making contacts and selling their wares.

Business owner Ryan Sharp was there hoping to connect with other businesses. As the owner of a web-design firm, most of Sharp’s local clientele are found through networking events like conventions.

“It gives us an opportunity to talk with people and mingle,” Sharp said. “It’s a great forum for making new contacts. Most of the business we do locally is by referral, so stuff like this is where we get most of our local business.”

Sharp said he also hopes to take advantage of the training and seminars hosted by the local Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce at the convention center.

Brent Newbry, director of sales for Marriott, is also looking forward to the business the convention center will bring.

“It’s going to be awesome. It’s great for the community, and will give the whole area the oomph that it really needs,” Newbry said. “So much business was going out of the area into other counties, but now it can certainly stay right here.”

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