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Wyoming District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

a man in front of multiple computer screens

LARAMIE, Wyo. – Scott Tafel started his business of selling computers he made to traders in the financial industry 11 years ago with one employee and grew it to 25 before he realized that maybe less really is more. After a six-year stint in the Navy and 21 years in the nuclear power plant industry he and his wife moved to Wyoming due to her allergies, which were debilitating for her. Since Laramie sits at a good elevation and has a lack of farming around it and Tafel doesn’t mind Wyoming winters, it was a good pick for both of them.

While working in the power industry, Tafel said, a person could move their 401K account daily if they wanted to, so he played with his account, moving stocks here and there, learning a thing or two about the trading business while making money. After retirement and a move to Laramie, Tafel kept trading stocks but found it boring, so he taught himself to make a better mouse trap in the form of a faster, more reliable computer for traders which... Read More

tables on display

“Life is too short not to try things you want to do,” Kayla Hert, self-ascribed “retail therapist” and co-owner of Real Deals on Home Décor says. Kayla, 26, knew what she wanted to do and she and her husband Tyler didn't have any doubts they would be successful. The next step was building a team that believed in their vision as much as they did. Starting with a business plan, Kayla sought input and assistance from Wyoming Entrepreneur Small Business Development Center Regional Director, Susan Jerke said, “It has been exciting to follow the growth and expansion of Real Deals on Home Decor in Sheridan.  Kayla has built a strong business foundation with her team of advisors, including her lender and the SBDC. In addition, she has developed a professional sales staff that excels in customer service. Genuine smiles and helpful employees welcome every guest to their unique store!”

Next on the team, the Hert’s needed a banker. Kayla relayed that one of the best pieces of advice she... Read More

bbq, hq southern bbq, small business, food, wyoming succesful business

EVANSVILLE, Wyo. – Doug and Heidi Nicol of HQ Southern BBQ in Evansville had only been in business a short two years when nine other restaurants, one of which was a BBQ chain and clear competitor, opened within a 1.5 mile radius. Nicol, who came into his own business with almost two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry managing day-to-day restaurant operations, knew the danger of supply and demand.

“When I realized nine other new restaurants, not counting old ones, were going to open, I was inspired rather than intimidated,” Nicol said. “We fought through that and a lot of people counted us out and it’s hard to blame them, nine restaurants with one being a major BBQ chain, but it just made me go back to the drawing board and make sure we were getting it right every day.”

How does one compete with the restaurant-on-every-corner that is the junction of Casper, Evansville and I-25? Social media, a stellar staff, consistency and above all else: great... Read More

Freedom to Choose

There are many reasons people opt to become small business owners.  Some individuals choose business ownership because of the freedom it provides:  Freedom from a boss who may not believe in you, freedom to fail or succeed by your own efforts, the freedom to design your own destiny.  The woman at the helm of Haass Construction, Colleen Haass, started the company in the late seventies in her garage for just that reason.  Colleen wanted the freedom and opportunity to show what she was capable of doing despite the fact (and perhaps even because of) she is deaf.  Although Colleen was born deaf, she wasn’t diagnosed with profound sensorineural hearing loss until she was ten years old.  Determined to succeed in life, Colleen taught herself to speak and rather than learn sign language, she has developed her lip reading ability almost to a fine art.

Haass Construction developed at a slow pace in part due to the fact that many people grew impatient when trying to communicate with... Read More