Doing business at home in Orem is not so unusual.
In fact, nearly 50 percent of the business licenses issued in the past three years were for home-based businesses."In some cities, the business you can conduct from a home is very limited," said Jim Wilbur, the city's senior planner. But Orem is a little different.
Ed Stout, director of Orem's Developmental Services Department, said the city wants to encourage economic growth.
"Even though we don't encourage commercial development in non-commercial zones, we want them to move into the city's commercial zones wherever possible," Stout said.
Marriott Concepts, now Marri-Tots, began making infant-care products in an Orem home and has grown into a full-fledged business. WordPerfect began in the basement of the Orem City Center.
Wilbur said most of the home businesses, which now total about 2,000, are day-care centers. A person who baby-sits more than six children must have a business license to operate.
There are also a lot of computer software operations as well as a few unusual businesses like reloading gun shells, he said.
Scott Kessler, the city's zoning administrator, is responsible for policing home businesses. He said here are only a few problems.
"The biggest problem is when the business takes place outside the home," Kessler said. For example, an automotive repair business in a garage is not permitted.
"Another problem is telling them to take down their signs," he said. The home business ordinance prohibits signs in non-commercial areas.
Other problems include businesses that have no business licenses, or those that have outgrown their homes.
"It's hard to let go of the home and go to a commercial site," Kessler said.
But that is what the city is encouraging.
The Commission for Economic Development in Orem is beginning a new program to "incubate" new businesses.
Wilbur said this incubation will provide a low-overhead establishment where a new company can prepare for a larger operation.
Stout also pointed out that only the immediate family is allowed to work at a home business.
"With that definition, it is easier to stay on top of the licensing and the problems," he said.
Also, Stout said, the neighbors of home businesses are usually "keenly aware" of what is going on in their neighborhood and they will tell the city if there is a problem.
Orem's numbers of new licenses
Home business licenses issued in Orem:
Home business All business
Year licenses licenses
1988 196 404
1989 249 525
(through Nov.) 235 402