What shifting migration patterns mean for small businesses

September 12, 2022

Monte Deere, CEO of Kizik Inc., clearly loves two things — shoes and Utah.

He’s the CEO of Lindon, Utah-based hands-free shoemaker Kizik, which allows people to put on and take off shoes without untying the laces by using a grip technology built into the heel. The company has grown to 56 employees since its founding in 2017 by entrepreneur and inventor Mike Pratt and is on track to sell a million pairs of shoes this year.

But Deere credits a lot of the company’s success to its base of operations in Utah, the entrepreneurial workers they hire there and a friendly regulatory and business environment that makes it easier to start and grow a business.

“If you saw an aerial photo of Lehigh, Utah, when I moved here in 1995. It was pretty dusty and pretty dry. Now, you see all kinds of corporate buildings, and you see all kinds of cranes and other building projects,” Deere said. “No one is afraid to build here and to grow a company here because it just feels like the workforce is getting smarter. It’s getting bigger. People are flocking here from California, Seattle. Even though it’s cold in the winter, it’s sunny 250 days a year, so that’s pretty nice.”

He said the company has thought about leaning into its Utah roots, and has contemplating putting “made in Utah” on its shoes.

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