Wyoming will not thrive if businesses in the Cowboy State don't survive.

It's that simple.

And an organization founded a decade ago is working to see to it that business — and jobs — stay right here.

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As its name implies, 307 First aims to keep dollars and jobs within the borders of Wyoming.

307 First spokesperson Eric Ruckle told K2 Radio News on Wednesday that there's sometimes a tendency to preach shopping local before spending dollars on big box stores or websites instead locally.

"Next thing we know, we have a chain location," Ruckle said. Ruckle added that he has nothing against chains, but ultimately he — and Wyoming residents — should want companies within the 307 area code to stay open first and foremost.

That's where 307 First comes in.

Ruckle said 307 First makes investments in Wyoming companies to help them grow and expand. The organization additionally works with business leaders to strengthen their operations and grow succession plans.

For example, Ruckle said, when a business owner decides it's time to hang up their spurs, 307 First will step in to help the outgoing business owner turn over operations to someone else in Wyoming.

"They can then transition their business to someone who is a Wyoming owner rather than needing to sell to someone (out-of-state)," Ruckle said.

That means dollars generated and jobs created stay right here in Wyoming.

In other cases, 307 First may step in and speed up the expansion process for successful businesses. Ruckle said in some cases, 307 First can assist with turning a 10-year expansion project into five years.

"All of us benefit more if we do it in five years versus 10," Ruckle said. "Everybody wins in that scenario."

Celebrating Wyoming 

Not only does 307 First promote Wyoming business, and by extension Wyoming, they celebrate it.

307 First's most visible work in the Cowboy State comes in metal sculptures throughout the state, like the one featured in this story.

On Friday, 307 First will hold a ceremony dedicating the 307 Metal Art Project and Pony Express Route at the Ramkota Hotel at 10 a.m. After, there will be a free barbecue at Wyoming Financial Insurance, 400 E 1st Street, at 11:30 a.m.

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