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Sandy Welcomes Scheels
Paul Swenson never stops moving.
At the same time as he brings water to employees spray painting a grid on the Sandy City Hall lawn, he’s calling his wife to arrange a drop off of dress clothes for a political luncheon and making sure the grid doesn’t go too close to buried utility lines.
Swenson is friendly and energetic, which might be why he likes living and owning a business in Sandy so much. He sees those qualities reflected in other Sandy residents and government officials. Though he’s lived abroad, traveled extensively and married a Scottish woman, the Colonial Flag president says he keeps coming back to Sandy because it’s a good place to do business and he loves the mountains.
“I live a few blocks from work, can go to Vegas or Boise in an instant or take a break and go sit and have lunch in the mouth of the canyon and look at the cliffs. And it’s stable and crime free,” Swenson says, explaining his love for Sandy.
His family ties go far back too. Swenson said his great grandfather emigrated from Sweden in the late 1800s, arriving late at night in Salt Lake. He and his wife were supposed to stay with family friends in Sandy, and, following the instructions of a local, walked all night along the train tracks, finally arriving in the city the next morning.
Swenson’s parents also got engaged at a now-gone dance hall at 10600 South and State Street in the early 1950s. The city holds a lot of fond memories and family history.
But it’s not just great views and sentiment that keep Swenson in Sandy. “The business climate has been one of growth and organized planning so that businesses have flourished here. Sandy is a great place to be an entrepreneur,” he says.
“The guided smart growth that Sandy’s experienced since we’ve been in business, guided by the mayor, has been good.” He says he doesn’t always agree with government officials, but they are always helpful and aware that business owners are people. For example, if something doesn’t meet city code, he says, “They don’t slap me with a ticket, they give me a call.”
Getting the business-friendly benefits are nice, but Swenson is also dedicated to giving back to his community. Colonial Flag donates small flags to the Rotary Club to distribute to kids at the annual Fourth of July parade. They also put on the Healing Field display at the Sandy City Hall commemorating soldiers who’ve died and those who were killed during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Healing Field has become such a part of the city that when Swenson decided to take a year break after setting up 3,000 flags for the 10th anniversary of the attacks, local residents didn’t give him the chance. He said he got so many calls about volunteering to set it up that he knew he couldn’t skip a year.
Swenson says that volunteering and helpful spirit is one of the many things he loves about his community. It encourages more people to give back and continues to build the kind of city he wants to live and work in for years to come.
“We’re a Sandy company, we’re a Utah company, we’re a regional company and an American company,” Swenson says.