OK, it’s Christmas and it’s time to buy gifts.
The year 2020 has been so difficult for Wyoming business people, it just seemed to make sense for us to reach out and support Wyoming-made products.
Here are some suggestions from some friends around the state:
Bob Grammens of Sheridan Media suggested: Jake’s Lures. Known worldwide but made in Sheridan. Website: https://www.jakeslures.com/ and Kim Love recommends Tom Balding Bits and Spurs. Known worldwide and all made in Sheridan. Website: https://tombalding.com/
Jim Hicks of Buffalo wrote: My annual note would be about Mountain Meadow Wood Mill (mountainmeadowwool.com) — (a wool mill located here). They have the best winter pullover I’ve ever seen. The quality of the wool makes them so comfortable and warm. Knitters from all over the world buy their yarn because it comes from the very best local area wool producers.
Jen Sieve-Hicks suggests Margo’s Pottery is also well known throughout the state for gorgeous “functional art” — much of the pottery is built by Margo Brown, right in Buffalo.
Rock Springs Editor Caleb Smith said he reached out to Trina Brittain, who is part of the downtown-promoting Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency. Here is what she shared:
“There is a pop-up store, Wildflower and Company, at 517 Rennie Street in Rock Springs, that specializes in homemade Wyoming merchandise. Bi-Rite/Sweet Sage/ Hallmark is the home for Wyoming gear and more at 409 Broadway Street.
“The Rock Springs Historical Museum, 201 B Street, has a selection of Wyoming literature and souvenirs. New in the community is Wyoming Raised Apparel & Gifts, (The Band and The Brand), located at 204 Center Street. This business has a good clientele since they’ve been popular at Farmer’s Markets, county fairs, craft shows, etc. Move over Hickory Farms, it doesn’t get any more Wyoming than a good old-fashioned Kronski from Boschetto’s European Market, 617 Broadway Street.” Caleb chimed in: “I too vouch for the Kronski sausages.”
Lisa LeVasseur, publisher of the Weston County Gazette in Upton suggested Wyoming Silvers, owned by Jill and Dennis Hendrix. “They do beautiful work and do all their own silver-smithing.”
Penny Merryfield, publisher of the Pine Bluffs Post, recommended: “Allwayz Manufacturing is a local company, and they do so much with metal and metal art. Check them out at allwayzmfg.com The cross with the Wyoming flag is awesome. Dean and BJ Bowman, have it.”
Steve Steiner of the Laramie Boomerang and Rawlins Times reported the following: “I believe like so many other communities and newspapers, the Christmas spirit is muted. What I have been doing for our newspaper is at night I drive around town looking for homes and some businesses that have gone all out decorating for Christmas. I have taken a slew of photos and starting this week, will start running at least one photo a day.”
Books by authors such as Craig Johnson, Ron Franscell, CJ Box, John Davis, Karen Schutte, Steven Horn, Ray Hunkins, John Waggener, Rick Ewig, Sam Lightner Jr., and others make wonderful gifts. Be sure to shop in local book stores and other local retailers this year.
Pat Henderson in Sheridan sent me the following: “Legerski Sausage gift box — Fabulous tasty and such a unique product and Koltiska Distillery — Sampler gift box of locally made crafted alcoholic beverages. King’s Ropes — Ropes, Ropes, Ropes.”
Pat also said: “Special shout-outs to Bill Sniffin on his beautiful work including our picks of Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders and Wyoming at 125 — a great gift for all who love our Wyoming.” Thanks, Pat.
Pete Illoway of Cheyenne suggests folks check out the Made in Wyoming Directory on the state’s web page, which lists some 120 items made here.
Former longtime Wheatland rancher Ray Hunkins suggests Foothills Cellar jams and jellies by Henry Poling, a paraplegic rancher, who obviously has great taste.
Queen Bee Gardens of Lovell sells amazing honey candy items, according to Darin Smith of Cheyenne.
Mike Jensen of Cheyenne raves about Maven products of Lander. This outfit was founded by Cade Maestes, Mike Lilygren, and Brendon Weaver. “They sell the best binoculars I have ever seen and just came out with a line of spotting scopes and rifle scopes. Amazing optics,” he says.
Jerry Kendall of Hudson says in Fremont County that Jess Forton makes pine furniture, Cleve Bell does metal sculptures to order and Dubois artist Marty Dorst paints custom Christmas bulbs. I believe Jerry produces some amazing walking sticks, too.
Amy Surdam raves about Alexis Drake handbags, belts and jewelry made here in Wyoming. Jean Haugen recommends beadwork by Shoshone and Arapaho tribal members. She especially likes works by Tom Lucas.
The State Museum in Cheyenne is loaded with Wyoming products, according to Tucker Fagan.
John Davis wrote the following: “I’ve got some Worland area local Wyoming products for you. We have an active honey company, Bryant Honey, which has been producing honey and distributing it for three generations. Amish Origins is another Worland company, one that makes a salve for ‘Deep Penetration Pain Relief.’ And some of the local ranchers are specializing in custom grass-fed, hormone-free beef. That includes Carter Country Meats (R. C. and Annie Carter of Ten Sleep) and Kendrick Redland of Manderson.”
Nancy Guthrie of Jackson recommends David Fales’ Wyoming Gourmet Beef of Cody. Tom Satterfield of Cheyenne likes buffalo products from Terry Bison Ranch.
Best gift you can give, though, is to reach out and help the needy. Support your local food bank programs and reach out to people who have suffered big losses this year. A kind word or an invitation to a lonely person means a lot this time of year.
Mainly, I think people need to support their downtowns. Local merchants were hit hard this year and this is the season when they might be able to get their economic situations helped a little. Plus, when you go shopping downtown you will see a lot of old friends and make a bunch of new ones. Happy shopping and be sure to wear your mask and social distance. It’s the mandate!