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ARCHIVED  May 1, 1997

Cheyenne recruiting focuses on Colorado

CHEYENNE – Economic developers in Cheyenne will go coast to coast to attract a new prospect to their community, but they are finding the most fertile ground close to home along the Front Range of Colorado.

Newcomers EchoStar and Quark Inc. are proof positive that when companies outgrow their bases in Colorado, expansion to their neighbor to the north is a viable alternative, said Jack Crews, president of Cheyenne LEADS, the economic-development corporation for Cheyenne and Laramie County.

“The Front Range area may have some of our greatest opportunity, and it isn’t that we’re pirating from our neighbors, it’s that we’re providing a regional alternative for companies to consider,” Crews explained. “With the growth that’s occurring along the Front Range and the various policies and regulations, it is providing us with an opportunity for marketing.”

Particular targets are companies in communities such as Boulder or Denver that are looking to expand but find land too costly or no-growth policies too restrictive.

“Clearly, there are some problems in that area, where companies are having difficulties expanding, and we want to offer Cheyenne as a viable alternative to them,” Crews said. “We’re still close enough to their headquarters that they can efficiently operate a facility (in Cheyenne) without redundant management overhead and yet be in a cost environment that’s rated as the lowest cost of doing business of any state in the nation, so we think that’s a very positive thing.”

“We’re looking at this as a form of regionalization,” he added. “We consider ourselves the northern anchor of the Front Range, and obviously there are a lot of synergies between our community and others, all the way between here and Denver.”

Crews is quick to cite EchoStar, based in Englewood, and Quark, based in Denver, as types of expansions Cheyenne is seeking.

“Those two are classic examples,” he said. “They didn’t relocate the whole company, they merely expanded certain segments of their business into Cheyenne, and that way the entire region ought to be very happy.”

One of Cheyenne’s advantages is an abundance of space. The LEADS-owned Cheyenne Business Parkway, for example, already is home to EchoStar, which plans to almost double its facility, and will be home to Quark, which is starting with a modest 80,000-square-foot structure but has room to expand to 1 million square feet or more if business warrants.

The 914-acre Business Parkway, stretching just north of Interstate 80 between the College Drive and Campstool Road interchanges, is inside the city limits and is zoned and platted for development.

Cheyenne LEADS emphasizes the parkway in its recruiting packet, with phrases such as “Acres of Opportunity,” “Give your business room to grow and freedom to soar in Cheyenne,” and “Cheyenne Business Parkway offers prime soaring space for growth and profit.”

Another advantage is Cheyenne’s generally low cost of doing business, from low property taxes to no personal or corporate income tax and no inventory tax, along with low cost for utilities and land.

And an advantage that is being increasingly marketed is Wyoming’s pro-business attitude.

“We prove it by the way we do business. On a handshake,” LEADS’ brochure reads. “No red tape. No referendums. No run-around. No delays. Just a fair shake from people who want your business in Wyoming.”

Cheyenne’s limitations include its market size, infrastructure and the size of its available work force, though there are many, including Crews, who believe that attracting new quality jobs will help retain some of the community’s young people, who generally are well-trained but often are forced to leave Cheyenne because of lack of good job opportunities.

So far, new companies moving into Cheyenne generally have found an ample supply of good employees within the community. More than two-thirds of the employees of the new firms have been hired locally – in some cases as many as 95 percent – and Crews cited that as evidence that the new arrivals have had a positive impact on Cheyenne’s work force and not a negative impact on the community.

There is a general agreement in Cheyenne’s business community that Cheyenne is too small to absorb large 500-employee or 1,000 employee firms all at once, although if companies phase in operations, “we can accommodate their growth,” Crews said.

Despite the recent successes, Crews and LEADS are not relaxing their efforts, either nationally or regionally along the Front Range. And he thinks the sight of national names in the Cheyenne Business Parkway, from EchoStar’s satellite dishes to Quark, Rex Stores and Wal-Mart, will help attract others.

“Just from a marketing standpoint, it’s going to improve our credibility by a factor of 10, 100, or 1,000 when you see big nationally and even globally recognized names that are building facilities in our parkway,” he said. “I’ve got to believe that our sales job is going to be easier and certainly more effective.”

CHEYENNE – Economic developers in Cheyenne will go coast to coast to attract a new prospect to their community, but they are finding the most fertile ground close to home along the Front Range of Colorado.

Newcomers EchoStar and Quark Inc. are proof positive that when companies outgrow their bases in Colorado, expansion to their neighbor to the north is a viable alternative, said Jack Crews, president of Cheyenne LEADS, the economic-development corporation for Cheyenne and Laramie County.

“The Front Range area may have some of our greatest opportunity, and it isn’t that we’re pirating from our neighbors, it’s that we’re providing…

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