Low Costs, Pro-Business Attitude Brings Prosperity

By Leanne Libby on June 21, 2011 at 12:38 am EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord

Casper may beckon those looking for a quieter lifestyle, but don’t tell that to the city’s thriving business sector.

According to city records, between 1998 and 2003, 155 new businesses choose to set up shop in Casper and the immediate surrounding area. The local economy isn’t the only entity taking notice, the city reported. In 2005, Inc. magazine ranked Casper third in job growth among 274 metro areas. The same year, Forbes ranked Casper as the top small metro area for the cost of doing business. In 2005, Expansion Management magazine awarded Casper their “five-star” designation in the quality of life category.

Many of Casper’s jobs are service-oriented, including retail, hotel and food service as well as health care.

The city’s major employers include Natrona County School District, Wyoming Medical Center, Key Energy Services, TIC-The Industrial Company and the City of Casper.

According to the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance’s Web site, “Casper cradles a broad industry base built around natural resources and expanding to manufacturers who desire low overhead with a central western presence.” The site promotes the advantages of area business parks with convenient access to suppliers, customers and transportation hubs.

In May 2008, the alliance celebrated the completion of additional classroom construction at the Wyoming Contractors Association’s McMurry Training Center to accommodate up to 320 more students. The project, a collaborative project among a number of organizations, is expected to result in $500,000 in revenue a year for Casper, with $10 million expected within 10 years.

The organization also recently celebrated the Natrona County International Airport’s addition of flights to Chicago and twice-weekly service to Las Vegas. The airport is the state’s largest.

“Air service is critical to creating access for new business markets,” alliance president Robert Barnessaid in a recent association newsletter. “By increasing the air service to Casper we are increasing our opportunities for new business relationships.”

The city has also worked hard at revitalizing its downtown district, which is centered around First, Second, Center, Wolcott, Durbin and Beech streets, just south of the train tracks and Interstate 25. In addition to booming retailers and restaurants, the area features parks, residences, the public library and a weekly farmers’ market.

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