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CHEYENNE – Local businesses connected with customers and fellow business owners Tuesday at the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s Business Week 2019 Expo, which has been celebrating local businesses for about 20 years.

Sixty-two businesses filled a banquet room at Little America Hotel and Resort, complete with booths, games and treats. This is the fourth year DAPCPA has been the main sponsor of the event.

“We love the concept of bringing all the businesses together and providing an event where they can network, meet each other and advertise,” said David Pope, who started DAPCPA in Cheyenne in 1996.

According to Chamber of Commerce Vice President Stephanie Meisner-Maggard, one of the main purposes of the expo was to allow business owners to connect with each other. Meisner-Maggard brought up collaborative events like Small Business Saturday to highlight the community network that exists in Cheyenne.

“With regards to businesses supporting local businesses in our community, it’s definitely a mindset. It’s part of our culture,” Meisner-Maggard said.

The local business community in Cheyenne has seen steady growth over the past 20 years, according to Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dale Steenbergen. He said the expo was initially created with that business-to-business investment in mind.

“We look at consumers all the time, but as businesspeople, we can stimulate our economy by doing business with our friends and colleagues, and keep that money at home,” Steenbergen said. “There’s something really special about doing business with your neighbors.”

Mike Williams, board chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said the business landscape in Cheyenne is competitive, but the people here remain supportive of each other.

“You do business with those who do business with you, and you reciprocate that relationship,” Williams said. “It’s the right thing to do for the community, and I think our business community really embraces that.”

While the event was largely for business-to-business networking, the public was also invited to walk through. Custom Home Painters had a putting green set up, DAPCPA had a balloon-popping game, and K9s 4 Mobility was selling raffle tickets. Visitors were given tote bags as they entered the event to hold all the free merchandise.

Custom Home Painters of Cheyenne have been attending the expo for three years. Josh Miller, who does price estimates and sales, said the company was using this year’s event to launch their new line of garage floor products.

“This is a good opportunity to get the word out about that, and kind of get our face out to the town,” Miller said.

K9s 4 Mobility, a Cheyenne-based nonprofit that trains service dogs, took the expo as an opportunity to spread the word of the organization.

“For us, a lot of it is awareness,” board member Jess Ryan said.

Cheyenne has a large amount of nonprofits for its size, which Meisner-Maggard said goes to show how vast the corporate giving community is here.

The Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Week will continue with an economic forecast luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Little America, and an entrepreneurship panel at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Laramie County Community College Leadership Center.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter @MargaretMAustin.

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