Hanna is a small town – over forty miles from the next big community – and it had no grocery store. Kyle and Amelia Young set out to change that.
How do you launch a successful entrepreneurial venture in a town of 800 people in rural Wyoming? The Youngs discovered one answer was to supply needed goods regardless of weather or pandemic. After moving their family to Hanna for a job that didn't work out, the couple looked around for options, and decided to revive the local store, confident they could succeed. Providing life's basic necessities to Hanna's residents proved to be a worthy venture.
As entrepreneurs know, enthusiasm and a great idea are key to success but not enough. They needed financing to furnish the store and build inventory. Kyle and Amelia had been declined by five banks when someone in town gave them a flyer about the Wyoming Smart Capital Network. After contacting WSCN and understanding how the program worked, they went to Western States Bank in nearby Laramie, pitched their idea explaining they'd like to use the WSCN program to help bring their idea to life.
The banker, Adam Lindstrom, knew the WSCN program and believed in the opportunity in Hanna, hometown to Western State Bank's President. With Western States Bank and WSCN onboard, the process was smooth. As Kyle noted, "Adam knew what he was doing and got it done quickly." He guided the Youngs to first form a corporation and get insurance, which they did. When the loan came through, the Youngs entered into a leased space in Hanna and purchased the equipment and initial inventory to stock the shelves.
Hanna Hometown Market opened its doors in 2014. The Youngs' work hard to keep the shelves stocked and appreciate being there for the community. Through thick and thin, regardless of winter storm road closures or pandemic closures, the Hanna Hometown Market remained opened. The store is a staple in the community. The truckers have been key partners, always doing what they can to come in even if it's the middle of the night. As soon as the roads are open, the truckers work to make their deliveries.
"I know the people of Hanna are very grateful to have a nice clean grocery store that is open here in town. There were several years the town did not have anything available and the local bar actually started to carry milk and toilet paper to help the people of Hanna who could not get out of town. The Town of Hanna owned a bus and would take some of the Hanna residents into Rawlins [40 miles away]. Hanna Hometown Market has been wonderful to have even if you buy the bulk of your groceries out of town it is wonderful to be able to run to pick up a loaf of bread."
Ann Calvert, Treasurer of Hanna
Being an entrepreneur naturally brings life's ups and downs. Getting a business started is exciting, yet it is also a mental challenge that tests one's patience and perseverance. According to the couple, Kyle helped start the business but credits his wife, Amelia, as the force behind keeping it going.
They don't blame the banks who said no in the beginning. "We didn't have any experience in retail, and while we were lucky to have half the funds covered by family, we didn't have all the collateral needed to give the bank confidence. We're grateful for the support of Smart Capital Network. This business would not have been possible without that support."
About Wyoming Smart Capital Network
The Wyoming Smart Capital Network (WSCN) creates jobs by helping small business access capital. The fund was initially created with funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury as a part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program and is now an evergreen fund. The WSCN is a coalition of 16 municipalities who joined together to bring this capital resource to their communities. Development Capital Networks manages and administers WSCN on behalf of the consortium to foster small business growth and enhance job creation throughout the state of Wyoming. Western States Bank is a participating lending partner.