Sleepy Little Towns?

Chamber Staff - Ryan Koltiskaby Ryan Koltiska
Director of Marketing and Communications
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

[This article originally appeared as a “Community Perspectives” column in The Sheridan Press, September 26, 2015.]

I usually only drive through Ranchester and Dayton at certain times, mostly weekends on my way up to the mountains, or in the evening to visit my in-laws in Dayton. Almost always I am with my family and chatting up a storm or singing a high-spirited children’s song at the top of my lungs. (If you’ve never sung the “Moose, Moose” song at full blast, you are missing out.) All that to say, I’m often not paying attention to my surroundings. 

This past Wednesday was a change of pace for me. I drove out to Dayton for the Chamber Coffee, so I took a break from silly children’s songs and I put on my Chamber hat. I think “pleasantly surprised” would adequately describe my experience. The sleepy little towns I’m used to on weekends or in the evenings? Not here.

Town of Ranchester - Main Street Mercantile 09.29.15Once I headed into Ranchester, the school parking lots were full of parents dropping off their kids, construction workers were already out working on the new “Main Street Mercantile” building (pictured here). The Hootin’ Owl Cafe and Eat Street were serving up grub. New houses are popping up everywhere, as well as the new elementary school.

Pano of Chamber Coffee Gallery on Main - lighterAfter I crossed the bridge into Dayton, the parking around the new Gallery on Main was filling up. The Chamber Coffee was about to start, and business people and elected officials were gathering for a round table discussion (pictured left, inside Gallery on Main). People were streaming in and energy was high. Sleepy little town? Not here.

Once we all got acquainted, the updates from the Tongue River area started flowing, and flowing, and ….  Sheridan’s neighbors may be smaller, but they are kickin’ butt!

Gina from Gallery on Main said that the response to the new gallery has been greater than she expected. Elaine from the Dayton Mercantile shared that the Mercantile will soon be on the Historic Register and people from more than 25 countries have visited her store so far this year. The Tongue River Valley Community Center and the Senior Center continue to expand their services to the area. Partnerships between Sheridan, Ranchester and Dayton are strengthening. Sleepy little towns? Not here.

So here comes my shameless plug: Take a drive to Ranchester and Dayton. Stop singing in your car and not paying attention (yes, like me), ten grab some food, check out the stores, and say thank  you to the business owners and leadership who have grand visions for their communities. From what I have seen already, I have great expectations for small but mighty communities in Sheridan County. Keep kickin’ butt!

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