The Wild West identity has a strong hold over Sheridan County.
At first glance, it may seem to encourage the individualistic, lone-cowboy kind of business approach that pioneers mythically brought to our rugged terrain a couple hundred years ago. Eat or be eaten. Shoot or be shot.
Yes, occasionally, the local rumor mill tells of so-and-so undercutting their supposed rivals — and then so-and-so claps back with their side of the story. You hear of promises not kept and competitions sprung. It’s Machiavellian; it’s capitalism.
But look closer. Our Wild West entrepreneurs are more open to teamwork than you may think.
Over the past few weeks, I have met with dozens of small business owners with a partnership proposal for The Sheridan Press, which would require an ongoing collaboration in 2019.
“Where do I sign up?” has been the reaction of the majority.
As we chatted about the importance of local businesses rallying together, many told me of their own alliances, big and small, that have helped them over the years. The kindling to start the partnerships can be found everywhere, they said, from the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce to Downtown Sheridan Association to industry rivals.
A bar owner described an annual cross promotion in which, during the busy summer season, he points customers toward a specific restaurant, and vice versa. Another entrepreneur said that “pop-ups” by outside brands, while not directly profiting her business, have refreshed her look and brought people through the door. (Apologies for the ambiguity, but I am sworn to secrecy about our partners’ identity for another few days.)
These types of symbiotic relationships have always existed, but I loved hearing personal tales of them in our county. Creating the same kind of — dare I say synergetic? — partnerships for The Press has been exciting and rewarding.
OK, are you curious about our countywide collaborative project yet? It will be a game changer for The Press and our readers — and we hope for our partners, too. We couldn’t do it without them.
Check out our website or Facebook page on Jan. 1 for the big reveal. New year, new Press!