“Every necklace has a story. Wear one worth sharing.”

That’s the closing line from our video showcasing the significance and depth of impact that our products have for our artisan partners. But that tagline could also be more widely applied to describe many handmade products offered by Sheridan’s own growing craft industry.

The speed of change in today’s retail world has never been faster, so it’s refreshing to see society slowly gravitating back to seeking products with an inspiring story, personal touch or deeper meaning.

After all, it’s 2019, and I don’t know about you, but thanks to online shopping, our world seems pretty small these days. Want some of that famous Costa Rican hot sauce you tried years ago on vacation? It can be at your door in two days. Glow-in-the-dark toilet paper to go with it? They have that, too.

And while it’s logistically impossible for local businesses to match the sheer variety of online products, not to mention the price points, one surprising bright spot has been the resurgence of products and businesses that are locally made, designed or owned by Sheridanites. We have the best of both worlds — having been fortunate to hang onto cornerstone trade brands like King’s Saddlery and Sheridan Tent & Awning, while adding a handful of exciting newer ones, including Bighorn Design, Surf Wyoming, Red Bison Studios, Go Fast Don’t Die, Twin M Design, Joy in the Morning, The Union, Flower Farm, WesternGrace, and that doesn’t even mention the robust local food and beverage scene. Our own organization, Bought Beautifully, adds to Sheridan’s craft culture scene by bringing in handmade products from our 43 artisan partners in 22 countries.

Buyers are increasingly interested in and able to use their dollars to buy quality products from people who they find are doing worthwhile things: from reviving an old trade craft to inspiring a life of adventure or literally breaking the cycle of generational poverty through hard work and perseverance.

Every day, we all get to use our dollars to steer the direction of the economy — locally and globally. One of the reasons that Sheridan remains a unique and charming destination is our downtown, a downtown that continues to see new business growth and reinvention of the old. Almost gone are the days when tourists were looking for any old thing with W-Y-O-M-I-N-G stenciled on the side.

Today’s tourists are focused on eating good food, drinking great beverages, creating lasting memories and sharing stories about the coolest little town (and small businesses’ craft culture) they discovered on their recent trip out West.

Next time you are downtown, stop in at The Union at the Montgomery to find Bought Beautifully and other craft items, or sign up for a jewelry making, cooking, pottery or painting class — among a number of others offered downtown. If it will help to reduce stress, you can try your hand at expanding and supporting the craft culture here.

 

Colin Betzler and his wife, Emily, own and run the nonprofit Bought Beautifully, which searches the globe to find ministries, organizations, artists, entrepreneurs and individuals “who are living out God’s call to love without judgement or discrimination.”