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ARCHIVED  June 1, 1996

Look out, Colorado – Wyoming business is closer than you think

“It’s not that Wyoming blows; it’s that Colorado sucks.”

With those words were we greeted to Cheyenne on our first foray into the windy world of Wyoming business.

But you’ll have to forgive the person who uttered them (and who will remain eternally anonymous). They were spoken in jest on the windiest day of

the year, and they could as easily have referred to the sucking of business people from Wyoming into the Centennial State.

The volume of people coming south surprised even us when we decided to enter the Wyoming market after extensive study. It seems that volume also

would surprise a lot of other people down here, too.

Comments directed our way when we decided to expand The Business Report’s coverage to Southern Wyoming ranged from praise to incredulity,

from indifference to admonitions not to forget our core area of Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland.

Many business leaders in Northern Colorado act as if Cheyenne were in Montana and Laramie were somewhere north of the Canadian border. But the

towns, and their businesses, are closer than you think.

Cheyenne sits a quick half-hour trip (the way my partner drives) from Fort Collins, about as long as it would take to get to downtown Greeley. And

Laramie, well, OK, that’s a teensy bit farther.

But talk with any of a myriad of business leaders in those towns, and it’s clear that they’ve tied their fate to their neighbors to the south. At a dinner

sponsored earlier this year by Cheyenne LEADS, the city’s economic-development arm, one civic leader pointed out that Cheyenne’s true competition

isn’t really the Caspers and Laramies but Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland.

And don’t get too fond of that “Golden Triangle” appellation that many have affixed to our fair Northern Colorado communities; up north, many think

the term “Quad Cities” has a nicer ring to it.

Wyoming businesses across the spectrum of industry have launched operations down here, are planning to do so or have targeted this market from

afar. American National Bank, for example – not related to the one in Loveland – actively competes for loans in Northern Colorado and recently

financed the Courtyard by Marriott in Fort Collins, according to Dennis Curran, our Wyoming bureau.

And Vision Graphics’ Mark Steputis drives down here regularly, landing printing contracts from a variety of firms. Many Wyoming residents come

south for health care, shopping and sports. (For a more complete rundown of Wyoming business ties to Northern Colorado, read Curran’s article in

this issue’s Cheyenne Business section.)

Cheyenne is not just about Frontier Days. The city boasts some impressive corporate presences, including SafeCard Services, Taco John’s

International and EchoStar. And what Northern Front Range city will be the first to land a Dillard’s department store? Not Fort Collins. Not Loveland.

Not Greeley. Try Cheyenne (with Longmont soon to follow).

Gaze a bit into the future, and it’s not hard to see how these communities will grow together, both in terms of economic development and in terms of

physical space. Fort Collins, for example, will experience growth to the north, reducing the distance from Cheyenne. (Heck, once you reach

Anheuser Busch going north, you’re dang near half-way to Cheyenne already.)

And it’s hard to find a prettier drive than the stretch of U.S. Highway 85 from Greeley to Cheyenne. Eaton’s already growing fast along that road,

and the intervening towns of Ault, Pierce and Nunn will one day follow. Then, and it might not take that long, Cheyenne might seem to Greeley like

Englewood seems to Denver.

Laramie, too, enjoys strong ties to Northern Colorado, especially Fort Collins. Laramie’s environmental companies work a lot in this area, and many

Laramie residents work in Fort Collins, traversing the hills and curves of U.S. Highway 287. Some even do the reverse. Don’t laugh: Residents of

larger metropolitan areas sometimes commute twice as long.

Remember how far Greeley used to seem from Fort Collins and vice versa? Now, thousands make the trip every day. And as business ties continue to

increase with our northern neighbors, distances will naturally begin to decrease.

You’ll know that time has arrived for your business when you complete in one day, as I did recently, a loop from Loveland to Fort Collins to Greeley

to Cheyenne to Laramie and back to Loveland again.

Or maybe that’s just bad planning.

By the way, Wyoming and Colorado state patrols, my partner drives a silver Volkswagen Rabbit with a black ragtop. He always slows down at

on-ramps.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, 356-1683 or (800) 440-3506. Or reach him by fax at (970) 221-5432 or via e-mail at

ncbr@aol.com. The Business Report’s World Wide Web page is at http://ncbr.com.

“It’s not that Wyoming blows; it’s that Colorado sucks.”

With those words were we greeted to Cheyenne on our first foray into the windy world of Wyoming business.

But you’ll have to forgive the person who uttered them (and who will remain eternally anonymous). They were spoken in jest on the windiest day of

the year, and they could as easily have referred to the sucking of business people from Wyoming into the Centennial State.

The volume of people coming south surprised even us when we decided to enter the Wyoming market after extensive study. It seems that volume also

would surprise…

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