WHEATLAND – The annual Platte County Chamber of Commerce Business Meeting and awards ceremony was supposed to be held Saturday, April 23, at the Platte County Agriplex, but Wyoming weather which is responsible in part to most scheduling and rescheduling hit northern and southern Platte County with a dangerous winter snowstorm.
One of the only areas in the county that did not get snow, but the adverse wind was Wheatland. Due to road closures early in the day and the I-25 corridor a windy and slippery mess, Shawna Reichert, executive director of the Platte County Chamber of Commerce decided that safety must be first and foremost in the minds of those who were traveling to the event.
The business meeting and awards ceremony was moved to Monday, April 25, where there were a lot of people missing due to previous engagements and went forth without a hitch with this year’s meeting entitled “Grit and Grace.”
“What a crazy couple of years we have had,” said Reichert in her speech to the membership who were present. “When I looked back at what we have all experienced during the Covid Pandemic the same two words kept repeating in my head…Grit and Grace. There are not two better words in the dictionary to use to describe our business community.
“Grit is passion and perseverance for the long-term goals. What I saw in our business community during the last couple of years is this very thing. We all were gritting it out together to accomplish the long-term goal of making sure that everyone made it through.
“Grace for me is about generosity, kindness and compassion. There are two principles that I watched our business community do every day: “Treating others as they wanted to be treated” and “Showing up in the world as someone who makes a meaningful difference for others.” Our businesses came together to help each other out like nothing I have ever seen before.
“Grit and Grace had to be the name for tonight’s festivities. A night we get to celebrate each other and what we have been able to accomplish. With that being said, I would like to share with you just a few of the exciting things happening at your chamber.”
In Reichert’s speech, it was also mentioned that the chamber has seen an increase of 36% in membership during the pandemic from 144 members to 196 members. When other Chambers were losing members, the Platte County Chamber was gaining them.
“Our membership includes members from not only Platte County but Goshen, Albany, Laramie and Natrona counties,” Reichert said. “71% of established businesses in Platte County now belong to the Chamber. Our membership includes members from not only Platte County but Goshen, Albany, Laramie and Natrona counties. 71% of established businesses in Platte County now belong to the Chamber.”
Reichert went on to say that the goal for 2022-23 is to support community development efforts more. As a result of improving organizational operations, the Chamber will be able launch more robust community development activities. The Chamber will focus on areas that coordinate with and enhance the activity of current economic development organizations.
“We will advocate for and take the lead on initiatives aimed at preparing, attracting, and retaining a talented workforce while reinforcing the message that Chamber is focused on a prosperous business environment and quality of life for the whole business community,” Reichert said.
Following the business meeting, the annual chamber awards were given.
In the Spirit of Platte County Award, the two nominees were Justin Herdt owner of DJ Magik and Mark DeLap, editor of the Platte County Record-Times and the Guernsey Gazette. Kit West was the presenter and awarded Justin Herdt with the honor.
In the presentation for the Volunteer of the Year award, the two nominees were Dan Brecht, owner of the Wandering Hermit Books And Gifts and Catherine Benton, Head cheer coach for the Wheatland High School state champion spirit team. The award went to Dan Brecht and was presented by Laron Eller.
The Business of the Year for a business with under 10 employees had four nominees, Touch of Color, Stampede Saloon, Soar Above and Western Coffee. The award went to Touch of Color and Deanna Christensen presented the award to business owner Kim Zimmerman.
In the Business of the Year with more than 10 employees, the nominees were Thrifty Foods and Capstone Industries. The award, presented by Cody Benton was given to Jodi Peterson, owner of Thrifty Foods in Wheatland.
The final award of the night was the presentation of the Young Professional of the Year by Josephine Young. There were three nominations, High Mountain Contracting, Jeremy Haroldson and T-n-T Spotless Cleaning. T-n-T Spotless Cleaning’s Tel Finnerty and Taylor Turner received the award.
A special thank you went out to Safeway who provided the floral arrangements, Impact Ministries who provided tablescapes, Cowboy Challenge Academy who helped in setup and cleanup, the WHS spirit team who helped to serve and Lanay Meyer of Pie Tin Bakery and Catering.