The economy in Gillette, WY has helped local businesses grow
While many parts of the country felt the impacts of a slowed economy, Campbell County’s economy continued to remain steady, and many sectors continued to see growth. Many businesses in Gillette have expanded, and new companies have launched. Other companies headquartered outside the county have opened offices in Gillette to reap the benefits of its stable economy.
“Our business environment here in Campbell County has always been very strong,” says Frank Latta, a former mayor of Gillette and founder of the new ice manufacturing company, Blue Sky Ice. “It’s been said around here a lot that if you need work and can’t find it in Gillette, it’s ’cause you’re not looking!”
In January 2012, Blue Sky Ice opened its facility located just off Interstate 90 on the east side of Gillette. It currently has five full-time employees, and Latta says the company anticipates adding 10 to 20 more part-time employees in the next year.
Economy Is Energized
One reason that Campbell County’s economy held its own over the downturn of the last few years is its strong position in the energy industry. Known as the energy capital of the country, Campbell County is one of the leading producers of coal. Oil and gas production also contribute heavily to the local economy. According to the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, the population has grown to 46,618 residents, and the average median income is more than $75,000 per year. All of these factors have led to growth and expansion or new businesses in the area.
“People are watching what they spend and have the same concerns as people in other parts of the country, but they earn amazing wages,” says Jessica LaCour, owner of clothing store Main Elements. “I feel blessed that I could have a store here.”
“There is still a very steady base of employment that doesn’t change, which gives the area a lot of stability,” says Dawn Pfeifle, owner of A Prairie Dawn, a store offering decorating items and gifts.
Despite the continued uncertainty of the economy, these businesses are optimistic about the environment in Campbell County. “We continue to broaden service capabilities in niche markets and remain confident that we will add five to 10 additional employees through 2013,” says Russ Groombridge, branch manager of Interstate Power Systems.
Expanding or Growing Industries
Here are some highlights detailing some of the manufacturing or industrial firms that have expanded or increased their presence in Campbell County over the last few years.
- Yates Petroleum, headquartered in Artesia, New Mexico, is a family-owned company with 425 employees. Over the last year, the company added new rigs to expand its operations in Campbell County.
- Devon Energy is an oil and gas exploration company headquartered in Oklahoma City. The company produces an average of 4,500 barrels of oil and 241 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in Wyoming and added more rigs in Campbell County.
- Interstate Power Systems recently built a new 20,000-square-foot facility. The company, headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, provides engine and energy services.
- Liebherr Mining Equipment doubled the space of its facility. Liebherr’s U.S. manufacturing facility is located in Newport News, Virginia.
- Major Metal Service has added a 1,000-ton, 12-foot CNC Hydraulic Press Brake, as well as a 10’ x 24’ CNC cutting table, which has doubled its capacity for flame and plasma cutting.
New or Expanded Retail Stores or Services
In addition to new or expanded industries, retail and service companies have also expanded or opened new locations in Gillette. These include:
- A Prairie Dawn: This retail store offers unique decorating items and gifts. According to store owner Dawn Pfeifle, the store has moved four times in the past five years to accommodate its growth. It is now located in a 5,000-square-foot facility on E. Boxelder Rd., where it is more visible to the public.
- Main Elements Apparel: A clothing store that opened in 2007, it recently moved to a new location at 2711 S. Douglas Hwy., Ste. 100. Jessica LaCour, store owner, says the move has doubled the size of the store as well as her visibility, and she now offers twice the inventory than she did prior to the move.
- Universal Athletic offers athletic apparel and items, and the store is expanding from 4,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet when it moved from its existing location to the Energizer Fitness Complex.
- Avenue Mall: Avenue Mall, located at 217 Gillette Ave., was opened in April of 2012 by the nonprofit group All About Women. The store opened with 10 committed vendors and now has 45 vendors and constantly changing and expanding product offerings.
- FourFront Design: An architecture firm headquartered in Rapid City opened an office in Gillette in 2012. According to Shay Lundvall of the Gillette office, the firm identified a niche of architecture and other services that are needed in Gillette.
- Martin Engineering opened an office in Gillette in August of 2012. The company offers engineering, research, and development to a variety of industries, and it is headquartered in Nepenset, Illinois.