Success Stories

BUFFALO, WY – On the evening of June 3, 2015, a freak storm hit the Buffalo area, dumping inches of rain in a matter of minutes. By the time the sun rose, residents were already scrambling to pump water and remove debris from their homes and businesses.
Authorities declared Buffalo a disaster area – numerous roads and structures were affected by the storm, and many residents couldn’t leave their homes.

One of the businesses affected was the Blue Gables Motel and Coffee Bar in downtown Buffalo. The owner, Jimmy Henry, lives on-site and was caught in the crossfire.

“It came in a foot-high wave, through our property, and really hit an area with minimal drainage on the property,” Henry said. “They said we had a cloud ‘burst’ up on the mountain – meaning we got roughly four inches of rain in about three minutes. When it comes downhill like that, there isn’t much you can do.”

Equally devastating as the storm was the timing of it. Buffalo businesses depend on... Read More

Christy Doak started an award winning Rock Springs, Wyoming gym in 2012 with six employees, and a love for teaching gymnastics. Today, Legacy gym has created nearly 12 jobs, and a 38-member winning competitive team, thanks in part to funding backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Doak began this winning streak by researching information on how to start a business on SBA’s website. After reviewing the “Start Your Business” checklists, she was ready to apply for funding to purchase gymnastic equipment and supplies. The SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, reducing their risk and making it easier for small businesses to get loans. Doak was approved for a $100,000 loan through Mountain America Federal Credit Union, and Legacy Gym was one step closer to opening its doors.

Doak welcomed new gymnastic... Read More

Jake Snow opened Fit24 & Prana Fitness as a 24-hour gym in Casper, Wyoming that emphasized both nutrition and exercise.  Snow started the company in 2008, with two employees and a dream. Today, the business employs 10 workers and boasts a 30 percent increase in revenue, thanks in part to a loan backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Snow opened his gym on the west side of Casper with a focus on more that exercise. “If you can get a person to change their lifestyle, you can change their life,” said Snow. “The average person wants to be healthy, and wants a healthy body over a muscular one”.

As the business began to grow, Snow saw the need to move into a larger building and add more classes taught by charismatic instructors.

“Without charisma, it is very difficult to build rapport with people,” said Snow. “Instructors can have years of experience and many certifications, but charisma keeps members interested and committed to their exercise plan... Read More

Dr. Emily Stickelberger and her husband were in Denver, Colorado, working six days a week and living too far from family and friends. Overworked and missing family, she and her husband made the decision in 2015 to move back to Casper, Wyoming.

Unable to find an optometrist job opening, she began exploring the idea of opening her own business. Checking with realtors and friends, she discovered that an optician currently operating an existing business was interested in selling.

She reached out to Tyler Stark, commercial loan officer at First Interstate Bank in Casper. “Dr. Stickelberger and Visions Plus were fantastic partners to work with. When other financing options created challenges, the SBA provided a great solution to help the dream of Visions Plus become a reality. It has been a highlight watching Visions Plus grow and thrive in the community since starting this project,” states Tyler Stark.

Stickelberger’s loan of $228,000 was approved in December of... Read More