Exciting things are happening around Kanab! Local entrepreneurs have created business ideas that may enhance area economic conditions and provide local residents employment opportunities in the future. The Idea to Industry contest, sponsored primarily by CEBA, was an impressive economic outreach for a small rural area. Contest applicants included entries from southern Utah and the Arizona Strip.

The entrepreneurs chosen for recognition by several impartial panels have grown some exciting ideas for our rural area. Four entrepreneurs won $1000 for their business visions. The two first place winners won a $5000 cash prize from the county’s Center for Education, Business and the Arts.

Dixie Business Alliance Director Jill Ellis named the top ideas in the contest, also congratulating CEBA for its participation, and thanked all involved for their entrepreneurship.

Nathan and Brian Riddle were awarded $1000 to get their Independent Adventure Productions idea promoted. They will build historical documentaries, utilizing a number of area residents from former western film genre. “We want to establish a studio here in town,” said Brian Riddle, “and we want to tap into the commercial and independent film market here.”

They will establish a studio in Kanab, and feel it would be a good fit with Kanab’s former ‘Little Hollywood’ reputation.

Long-time Kanab resident Laurali Noteman won $1000 for the creation of a general mercantile website named Marky’sMarket.com. It’ll be a site where local artisans, crafters and jewelers will market their wares on the web. Vendors will work on consignment. One per cent of the profits will be given back to the community in the form of charitable donations. Specific recipients are the Kane County Hospital Foundation, Kane County Schools Foundation and Fredonia Schools.

“I want to allow people to see what the talented artists that northern Arizona and southern Utah have to offer,” said Noteman.

Jan Judd of Fredonia won for her and husband Tony’s new venture, the Cowboy Grill. Jan explained they thought something was needed to create a North Rim Cowboy Grill in the heart of the Old West. With their base business of Judd’s Auto Service (with 60 years in business), it’s safe to say that they are in for the long run. She explained frustration for always telling hungry tourists traveling through Fredonia how far they would have to go to get a meal.

“The project would have a giant impact on the economy of Fredonia and this area,” said Judd.

Mesa Furniture Company owner Bob Kaczowka is an architect by trade. His dream was to create ‘natural modern’ furniture that illustrates the area’s geography. He makes rustic furniture for design-minded clientele, utilizing area wood from the North Kaibab plateau, as well as Cedar Mountain. He works with clients to attempt to incorporate their ideas into his design, and capture the natural landscape of this area.

There were two local entrepreneurs that shared first place as contest winners, each earning $5000 for their efforts.

Dustin and Andrea Pederson (Techies), have created an online role-playing game that will help them tap into a staggeringly-lucrative global online game market. They will launch their program in June.

“We anticipate having 1.2 million subscribers in three years,” said Dustin Pederson, who will base the multi-million dollar business in Kanab.

Jacob Cluff, of C&F Woodwork, Inc., offers quality housing structures that can be shipped to address emergency housing needs for disasters such as earthquakes, floods, etc. He anticipates that the 10’ x 12’ house can be produced for approximately $1400 each. “Our product is currently ready for market with a patent pending,” said Cluff. He anticipates that as business expands, they will eventually employ a healthy area workforce.

Thanks to the sponsors and congratulations to the winners of the first “Idea to Industry” contest. It’s a great program, and illustrates the talented entrepreneurs who reside here.