This spring has been far from easy for small businesses. Instead of getting ready for the summer inventory, stores are forced to make decisions about how to stay in business. During these difficult times, relying on community support is more important than ever before. Wyoming is proud of its entrepreneurs while they work hard to adapt to this new normal. From restaurants switching to delivery and retail to store pick up, there are many unique ways businesses have transformed. Changing your business can seem difficult but it is not impossible.
At the heart of every town in Wyoming is a small business working hard during this pandemic. I’ve come across numerous stories of ways people have been able to transform their business model. There are many breweries becoming hand sanitizer distilleries, like a distillery in Pine Bluffs which said they already had the supplies needed on hand, so they were ready to help. Even movie theaters have adjusted to the old fashion drive-in style, and retail stores are offering private shopping times.
Businesses are also transforming to help their communities by giving back. Many stores have participated in town food drives or donated to hospital staff. The paper in Thermopolis is giving copies of the paper to nursing home residents. A bank in Lander is surprising customers by handing out local gift certificates. One family business in Sheridan is even reaching out to senior citizens and providing technology so they can video conference with family or take classes online. There are endless stories like these in Wyoming. Check out the Wyoming Business Council’s Community Resilience page to see what’s working around our state.
There are many ideas across the state, but only you know your business. You don’t have to come up with an entirely new model. Watch what’s working for others around the state and what is not. Adapting to the new normal is difficult. If it seems like the world is testing your abilities, reach out for resources to help you stay on track to meet your goals. The Wyoming Business Council keeps an updated resource page for employers that covers topics like technical and financial assistance, human resources and more. The Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network is also working hard to provide ongoing webinars and trainings at no cost on how to navigate your business through COVID-19 changes.
With each day that passes, it’s another day toward reopening. In April, I was selected to be a member of the White House task force, along with Senator Barrasso and Congresswoman Cheney, to reopen the economy. As Wyoming businesses continue to stay fluid with the changing demands, Congress and President Trump are working to get the economy back on track. I’m looking forward to working with this task force to help the future of Wyoming small businesses.
I am proud of the cowboy spirit and the businesses working hard to overcome these past few months. It’s great to read stories about Wyoming communities adapting and looking out for each other. From providing meals to health care workers to helping senior citizens in your town, the generosity from businesses is impressive. These difficult times will fade but your work ethic will not. Your community thanks you for doing your best and values your business. Keep up that hard work, it is not going unnoticed.