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Public Webinar Presents Recommendations To Communities Losing Shopko

Tony Webster via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Four communities in the Big Horn Basin joined forces to find solutions when they learned Shopko would be leaving their towns. The retail store's bankruptcy will affect 13 communities in Wyoming.

Greybull, Thermopolis, Worland and Powell partnered with the National Main Street Organization and the Wyoming Business Council to help conduct public surveys and collect data. The goal is to figure out what the impact of the retail store's departure means to these communities.

On Thursday morning, the groups will present their conclusions and recommendations in a public webinar. Amy Quick, the northwest regional director for the Wyoming Business Council, said most people relied on the store for its convenience.

"Places like Shopko are for that last minute buying. We heard a lot of that, 'Oh, my child has a presentation due tomorrow and needs a poster board, or my daughter has a school program and needs whites socks and brown pants,'" said Quick.

She said the results will describe the resources these communities will need in response to the closures, as well as help them recognize the resources they already have.

"It's not so much about the emphasis on shop local but building quality business and experience and amenities so that people want to go there and live there and start a business," said Quick.

Quick said the next step is to encourage an entrepreneurial ecosystem in small towns. She said the results are not Bighorn Basin-specific and hopes other communities losing Shopko's in the state can learn something too. The link to the live webinar is on the Wyoming Business Council's website. It will also be recorded and available online at a later date.

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