Taking Care of Each Other

Chamber Staff - Ryan KoltiskaBy Ryan Koltiska
Director of Marketing & Communications
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

[This article originally appeared as a “Community Perspectives” column in The Sheridan Press, March 12, 2016.]

One of the best parts about my job is getting to meet new people and listen to their stories. I had the pleasure this week of speaking with a couple who are starting a new business in the area, something they have been diligently working on for over a year. As we discussed their business and the ever-so-important Chamber Membership, we also started talking about the business community. 

The topic of Sheridan’s and Wyoming’s current and future economic climate brought up the question, “Does your business community take care of each other?” My short answer was “Yes, yes we do.” 

And while that answer doesn’t begin to explain all the dynamics of business in Sheridan, I do think it is a theme.  But my wheels kept on turning after the conversation ended. Our economic outlook certainly isn’t all roses at the moment, and I’m seeing heightened concern from local businesses about what may be coming.  By nature, I tend to be a realist, hovering in between the doom of pessimism and dreamy optimism, so my take on the economy in the next few years sounds a lot like this: “it’s not going to be great, but we’re not going to implode.”

No, we’re not in a boom cycle, but what gives me the most hope is the people and businesses in Sheridan that have been taking care of each other for decades.  One business owner said that when she opened quite a few other local business owners stopped in to wish her well.  She wasn’t looked at as competition, but as an asset to the business community.  I just stopped in at Babe’s Flowers this week as they celebrated 50 years in business, and the store was filled with other business owners wishing them well for their long-standing business. There is widespread and active participation in organizations like Downtown Sheridan Association and the Chamber, keeping us all tied together and organizing joint events. 

So back to the question, “Does your business community take care of each other?” Yes, yes we do.  And while continued talk of an economic downturn continues to fill the coffee room, I think we can look on the realistic side of life and be confident that what we have done in Sheridan County to take care of each other in the past will be the same going forward. I am only 33, but even in that amount of time I have seen quite a few ups and downs in the economy, and here we are. Businesses are still here.

Chambers of Commerce all across the nation understand this concept and continue to serve their business community because of the idea that we are all dependent on each other and prosperity doesn’t happen in a bubble.  We are motivated by this concept at the Sheridan County Chamber, and my call to action to you today is to be motivated by the same principle. No matter what the economy looks like, we don’t have to just sit back and take whatever happens.  We have a choice: do nothing, or take care of each other. I vote for taking care of each other. 

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