Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Thoughts on who is Cheyenne?


Hello! Very interesting concept here. I am an entrepreneur in Cheyenne, Wyoming and I find it difficult to grow a business and prosper primarily due to the low population. However, the city and areas of Wyoming seem to be the best place to raise a family and purchase a home (no state income tax either). Any thoughts?

Sent by Pamela Girt from Cheyenne, Wyoming

6 Responses to “Thoughts on who is Cheyenne?”

  1. clarita Says:

    Pamela,you might not like my answer,but here goes anyway.
    You are an entreprenaur,independent and creative,fearless but thoughtful,not “feckless.” right ?
    You have to really get out and about and SEE what your location LACKS and will you be able to fill that need, or maybe head an “agency” or group that can do this.
    What do these people need ?
    how much can they afford to pay for what you can offer them ?
    etc.
    Think,use your imagination–create it.

  2. Chris Says:

    Pamela –

    I visited Cheyenne back in June 2008 to see whether it would
    have what it takes to build a software business. Although the
    tax climate is good for businesses of all kinds, Cheyenne does
    not have a big enough draw as a creative center. It’s a big
    small town.

    A further complication is that Cheyenne is in a high-altitude
    plain which some people can’t handle. After a week there, my
    body was crying out for lower ground. Although correlation
    isn’t causation, there may be something to why all these tech
    businesses are in coastal areas — it could be something as
    simple as the amount of available oxygen that adds to an
    already good situation for these areas.

    Although Cheyenne is not ideal for me personally and certainly
    is not a place where I could build a software business, the
    tax advantage would let it become a “supply region” of sorts.

    An online order fulfillment business run out of Cheyenne would
    have the advantage of no sales taxes levied on purchases in almost
    all of the US. With a 5% use tax and no taxes on items sold
    outside Wyoming, Cheyenne might be an ideal location for
    setting up an online software sales business that provides
    a low tax sales outlet for companies headquartered elsewhere.

    It may turn out that you have an ideal location that turns
    one of Richard Florida’s “valleys” into a peak for a niche
    simply because of the tax advantage. The Wyoming Secretary
    of State’s office seems to want to make it easy on new
    businesses to start and Cheyenne has an unconventional
    advantage — Cheyenne’s airport is in the middle of town!
    It’s definitely easy to fly in and fly out for a meeting.
    I think you need to look in terms of positive aspects other
    than the aura of a larger city and a big creative class
    presence.

    Cheyenne does have the advantage of a pretty good bit of
    open office space in downtown — when I was there, I saw
    several buildings that looked like they had floors ready
    to customize, especially as you get closer to the banks
    and other office buildings a bit up from Lincolnway.

    It’s also a reasonably nice town which has its charms,
    but as for being a creative center, that’s already a
    position that’s taken by Boulder and parts of Denver.
    Although Cheyenne is near Denver and Boulder, it doesn’t
    feel culturally linked to either.

    Maybe the low population could work for you as well –
    if you can create a business that has advantages well
    beyond those operated in other locales, you might be
    able to position your company as a leader in a small
    field. Sometimes it’s profitable to be a big fish in
    a small pond …..

  3. Russ Says:

    Pamela,

    I worked at the base (FE Warren AFB) for over four years running the computer networks and comm systems – the presence of high-tech oriented young people at the base does impact the opportunities in Cheyenne. I still consider it my home and love the tax structure as well as the practicality of the local government entities. As someone who both works from a home office and travels extensively, it has a good proximity to the international airport in Denver, but is far enough away not to suffer the disadvantages of a large city like Denver.

    One of the frustrations of the this website for me is the assumption of business being “local” – I’m in a much bigger pond thanks to the internet and can literally work anywhere I can gain a cell phone signal – both for my phone and my computer. As far as clients, I go to them in their cities via commercial air travel. Cheyenne has a proven internet and shipping business model in Sierra Trading Post located southeast of town. Very successful at supplying high-end outdoor gear and clothing to the world and they have awesome sales at the home-base store for returned merchandise. Another driver of the local economy is the attraction for people considering retirement and looking for a low-tax environment while still having access to the larger world. I personally like the ability to disappear into the nearby mountains and not have to make a reservation for a parking spot! Outdoor hotspots in Colorado are completely overwhelmed on weekends and the worst traffic jams are on the routes to the ski resorts – an issue yet to occur in Wyoming. Obviously, the energy and mining economy also contributes to the advantages in Wyoming – keeping tax rates low while allowing young residents free tuition at the University in Laramie. The best thing though is the respect for the individual as part of the local culture – a kind of freedom that is all too uncommon in most places in the US today.

  4. Judy Says:

    I lived in Cheyenne,WY for 8 years and found it to be sexist, racist, red neck, conservative, cowboy,socially crude, set in their ways, initally not open or friendly to “outsiders”, exploitive of single women, with a high incidence of chewing tobacco, smoking, and alcoholism. The wealthy ranchers and politicians hold the power. Visitors mainly only arrive during the week long annual Frontier Days for rodeo, entertainment, drunkenness, fights, brawls, and national/regional handmade arts & crafts. Many of the people who live there, grew up there and are related to people there. The summer attracts many incoming drifters and homeless people, since it is along the interstate and has a major bus terminal. Most of the new blood with intelligence and education comes from officers who are temporarily stationed at Warren Air Force Base, although they are a tight knit group among themselves. Nearby Fort Collins,CO is more open minded but it has a strong old conservative Mormon influence. Denver is still very western but is much more open minded and Boulder is probably the most open minded, creative, and free thinking community but also has a high cocaine addiction.

  5. Kate Says:

    Wyoming needs services that’s for sure!
    Typically what I see why new businesses fail really boils down to lack of respect of the way the social structure operates here which is significantly different than most places. Most people move in and see Wyoming much the way the woman above described it, but it is not nearly as simple as that. Much like the landscape that looks barren with pockets of uniqueness, the social scene appears redneck conservative which is certainly product of the rural-ness and extremely slow growth rate except when there is boom of course. There are a lot of pockets of creatives, it is just difficult to immediately access them because unlike the mainstream definition they don’t congregate in visible places like a downtown music scene because a lot of that hasn’t developed here so they are somewhat invisible. Anyway back to the point, Wyoming is based on relationships and if you cultivate those properly you will have business, especially from unexpected places.
    Tips
    1/ Do not regularly say “but this is how we did it in ______(name any place)?” I would say that is the number 1 phrase Wyomingites are immediately turned off by.
    Why you ask? Because 1/ it implies we should be doing what everybody else is doing which is counter to the “individualistic” nature of wyoming 2/ it implies you know our business better than we do, which of course is rude and insensitive to anyone. Wyoming has developed it’s particular brand of doing things from very specific circumstances that are significantly different than other places, yes other places were rural with ag roots and many of other similarities but spend enough time to learn the nuances. Yes there is a lot of things that need to be steered in a different direction in wyoming, but learn how to be part of the dialogue, listen and learn.
    2/ get involved in everything, (community events) that is the best way to meet people and cultivate business, people are more likely to send business your way if they have met you and that can’t be stressed enough in wyoming, make alliances with as many different groups as possible and you will find surprising opportunities.

    Wyoming needs a lot of services and products, most people come in from out of state and think they can sell stuff without becoming part of the community. Become part of the community and not only will you see a lot of opportunity but you’ll have clients.

  6. Kate Says:

    Also wanted to add you might check out Sheridan Wyoming, it recently had a “creative economy” study done, and is posing itself to become another big art community in the Rocky Mountains similar to Sante Fe. It may have more of what your looking for.
    http://www.sheridanpublicarts.com/
    http://www.sheridanwyoming.org/
    http://www.city-sheridan-wy.com/index.php

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