Wyoming is a state of creative thinkers and problem solvers. We are home to countless entrepreneurs who have found ways to succeed and do what they love. It is amazing what can happen when people act on their dreams.
What started as selling tamales at the local farmers market in Evanston turned into a successful restaurant and juice bar. The owner of Ana’s on Main Street had big dreams, and she worked to make them come true. Now the restaurant is an important and meaningful part of Evanston’s downtown community, and nearly everyone I ran into in the area recommended it.
A mother and daughter duo had a vision of opening a store in Kemmerer after realizing folks in the community were driving out of town, or even out of state, to do their shopping. In July 2018, they purchased a downtown store and spent the next three weeks renovating it in time to be open for the Oyster Ridge Music Festival. Hometown Floral & Décor now sells everything from home goods to clothing to flowers, both real and wooden. The owners, Cheryl and Nicole, said the support and recognition of their customers are the one and only thing that allows them to keep their doors open.
Several years ago at one of my Inventors Conferences, I met Brian Deurloo. He woke up one morning with the idea of a stormwater filter. Ten minutes later, he was in his garage building a prototype. Within a couple days, he submitted a patent application. A few weeks after that, he entered his Gutter Bin prototype in the Wyoming Technology Business Center Startup Challenge and became one of the winners. Since then, he has created his own business with a large workshop and space to test and improve his products in Casper.
Lisa believed her community in Rock Springs needed a place for people to gather and be able to enjoy wine and read books, so she worked hard to open Sidekicks Book and Wine Bar. With a satellite winery license, her unique business offers products from Jackson Hole Winery, coffee, appetizers, desserts and, of course, books. She also hosts community events for live music, book signings and social nights.
Each of these stories represent one of many Wyoming small businesses I visited during my recent Wyoming Works tour, which takes me into businesses that are new to me and may be unheard of even in Wyoming. It helps me look for unintended consequences of government actions that could be detrimental unless corrected in legislation. Each business has a different background, but they all add to the success and uniqueness of Wyoming. The owners had the courage to expand, renovate, invent and build something new. They contribute to their communities and care deeply about their customers. They set goals and turned their dreams into a reality.
The first week of May was National Small Business Week, an effort to encourage folks to support their local small businesses. While that week has come and gone, it is always a good idea to shop locally and support your community businesses. I urge everyone to visit small businesses near them. And if you have entrepreneurial dreams of your own, consider acting on them. There is almost no better feeling than seeing your ideas come to fruition through the success of your own business.