So, you're new in town. The neighbors haven't brought over the freshly baked bread and the mayor hasn't offered you a key to the city. What's a new resident to do?

Don't fret. It may just be just a matter of time before the Utah County Greeters come calling at your door.Sharine Powell, owner and president of the Utah County Greeters, started the business in July of 1989. Since then, more than 1,500 families have received special gift packets.

For a nominal fee, area businesses offer gift certificates, maps, bus schedules and tokens, sewing kits, travel and concert information, first aid kits, emergency preparedness manuals and much more in a gift packet for families new to the area.

"I felt there was a need for this type of business," Powell said, "and I had the desire to fill it. Our goal is to make people feel comfortable in their new homes."

And so far, the business seems to be doing a bang-up job.

"We have been very well-received," Powell said. "In fact, now our demand is exceeding our supply. We are averaging 225 visits per month and are looking to expand from there.

"We have quadrupled our business in the past few months and we are having to revise our schedules," Powell added.

Although a family may have lived in the county for a number of years, Powell said they may not be aware of what is offered in nearby cities.

For instance, one family had lived in a Utah County city for 35 years. They moved to another area town and were visited by the Utah County Greeters. They reported back to Powell that they didn't know there were so many amenities.

Another woman moved to Provo and had a visit from the Greeters. A few months later she moved to Springville and wanted to get another packet for that city.

With so many requests, Powell's small staff of three, including herself, is keeping very busy, especially since all packets are hand delivered to the doorstep.

Businesses have had such great success with this form of advertising, that Powell now has a waiting list of sponsors. Services are not duplicated in the packages, so many businesses are having to wait their turn.

Powell said that although they don't have a service for students just yet, they are working on it and should be ready soon.

The Utah County Greeters also offer special mail order "Bride-to-be" gift packets.

The idea of greeting new members of a community is not a unique one, but Powell said that her business is the only one of its kind in Utah County. With the rate of growth in this area, Powell said not everyone is getting the personal touch, in fact only one-tenth of the new residents are being served.

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(Additional information)

Howdy

According to company president Sharine Powell, the fastest-growing area for Utah County Greeters is in Orem. But the business also serves Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Salem, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Cedar Hills, American Fork, Alpine, Highland and Lehi.

For those interested in the service, sponsorship, or wanting to be a greeter, call Powell at 225-8451.