Why? Because this is one of the best small places for business.
Casper, Wyoming is best known for its outdoor recreation options: fishing, hunting, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, camping and more. But it was also listed on Forbes’ August 2013 list of the best small places for business and careers.
While not a major metropolis—estimated population is just under 58,000, according to 2012 census data—its size is part of its charm. “Being in a small metro area makes everything easy, everywhere is close, traffic is light and the people are friendly,” says Kendall Bassett, a lifelong resident of Casper and owner of Integrated Imaging, a specialized film and photo services company.
Starting a business in this cozy Wyoming city means connecting with local resources to overcome regional challenges.
Discover local resources.
Several Casper agencies point you in the right direction as you launch your business. Check out:
- Downtown Development Authority, which seeks to promote and enhance downtown Casper through business recruitment, economic development, financial assistance, education programs and more
- Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, whose core services include guidance and assistance for both business relocations and startups
- Casper Area Chamber of Commerce, for research, low-cost marketing and networking opportunities
- City of Casper, for information on business regulations, city services, taxes and more
Casper is an oasis bounded by little or nothing except wilderness, which makes for beautiful surroundings—but also comes with its challenges, says Bassett.
For instance, Casper’s remote location means few visits from sales reps who can keep you updated on industry trends and new tools. Equipment repairs can also be expensive since repair personnel must travel many miles and get a hotel, says Basset. So he stocks extra parts to eliminate additional costs and downtime and has trained himself to maintain and repair all of his equipment, including large unit video and audiotape players, telecine projectors, optical multiplexers and DVD duplicators. To learn, Basset turns to the Internet for research.
Don’t underestimate the weather.
In Casper, snow can fall from October to May, and the accumulation can impede business deliveries. The Highway Department frequently has to close stretches of highway (such as expanses between Wheatland and Cheyenne on I-25 and west of Cheyenne on I-80) to keep people from getting stranded on the high plains or in the small towns that do not have facilities to house them.
“We try to explain the situation to customers, but most do not understand how an entire state highway system can get shut down and are angry that there are delays,” Basset says, adding that he gives himself more time for deliveries when bad weather is impending.
With a regional hub in Casper, FedEx is another alternative. The delivery service flies a jet directly to Memphis daily, and the airport experiences few closures, Basset says. “It is easier to keep the airports open since they just have to clear a few miles of runway as opposed to hundreds of miles of remote highways.”