Riverton economy on the upswing with business expansion and retention, strong home sales

    (Riverton, Wyo.) – With the announcement earlier this month that Sutherlands’ Home Improvement Store has signed a Letter of Intent to purchase the Kmart building on North Federal, had a conversation with the city’s Economic Development Director, Kevin Kershisnik at IDEA, Inc. In a wide-ranging discussion, Kershisnik said there is much to be positive about in Fremont County’s largest City.

    High Points

    • First, here is a rumor squasher. The Walmart Superstore on North Federal is doing well and it is not closing due to theft. Kershisnik said he didn’t know where that rumor came from, but wanted to set the record straight right away.


    • The High Mountain Jerky facility on College View Drive has expanded into both producing jerky and seasonings. He said the the meat products are USDA certified. “That is a real plus and they’ve hired some new people.”

    • Legacy Moulding in the West Main Shopping Center has added three new injection molding machines in their space and they are quite busy, he said.

    • Pertech Industries, also on College View Drive next to CWC  has expanded and hired 10 new employees over the last six months (more expansion coming, too, watch this space for new developments). The Riverton-based company produces printed circuit boards and printers.  AgTerra is one of their clients. Pertech produces High Tech Ag-related products for them.

    • The Wasatch Railcar Facility in Shoshoni has received its certification for rail car repairs in addition to inspection services. Kershisnik said the company can now do hopper cars and tank car repairs.


    • Athon Energy is actively involved in the Frenchie Draw expansion east of Shoshoni. “They presently have 10 wells, and they areslowly ratcheting back up,” he  said. “They are waiting for the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement before proceeding with additional expansion, we’re expecting big things there.”

    • Devon Energy’s Sand Draw Field. “As oil prices come up, they will pipe more down to Sinclair’s refinery,” he said.

    • The announcement by Denver Air Connection of it’s soon to be Interline Agreement with United Airlines is another step in providing great commercial air service at Riverton Regional Airport. “We’ve gotten the nation’s second best on-time performing airline, and the best in the lower 48, and their reliability and customer service has been a real positive factor in the passenger growth here,” he said. “The new interline agreement with United will occur early in the new year.”

    Passengers boarding an early morning Denver Air Connection flight from Riverton Regional Airport. Photo h/t Ernie Over

    Coming soon:

    • The Brewpub at the former Archers and Miss Ginney’s Roost building on North Federal is currently under renovation.

    • Atlantic City Federal Credit Union’s building at North Federal and Webbwood has been remodeled and expanded. The credit union will soon be moving back into the new facility.


    • The older motels on South Federal have been sold and will be refurbished and expanded.

    • There is nothing definitive on the Safeway building yet. Several companies have made inquiries, he said.

    • Infrastructure work is now beginning on the Eastern Shoshone Business Park north of Walmart. Drainage work has begun.

    • There is a USDA “Opportunity Zone” east of Federal for businesses there to take their capital gains and put them into new businesses in that zone. Kershisnik said that would allow businesses “to keep any gains they get, tax free. That should help expanding businesses there.

    • The reconstruction of North Federal is nearly completed between Washintgon to Sunset, with sidewalks, approaches and street lighting still to be finished. The rest of the project, from Sunset to just past Walmart, is on tap for next construction season.

    • The Northern Arapaho Tribe’s Wind River Internet received a grant from the USDA for equipment to expand fiber offerings.

    • The Optional One Percent Infrastructure tax has resulted in roads being improved county-wide, and streets, gutters and sidewalks being improved in town.

    “These are all good signs for the local economy. We’re seeing good activity. Our county fair was awesome and so was the Rendezvous celebrations,” Kershisnik said.

    An optional one cent sales tax project fixing curbs and sidewalks in Riverton. Photo h/t Ernie Over

    Sales Tax Revenue increasing

    Kershisnik said the sales tax revenue situation in Riverton is improving. He noted that in 2015-16 according to the Wyoming Department of Revenue’s Sales Tax Distribution Report, the county’s gross revenue of $9.16 million brought in $4.173 million to Riverton as its share of the distribution. In 2016-17 on sales of $8.259-million, Riverton’s share dipped to $3.891-million. In 2017-18, sales of $9.440 million resulted in Riverton’s share increasing to $4.271-million. “It won’t be that long before we’re back up to the $11-million gross sales level we experienced in 2014-15,” he said. “We hit the trough and we’re coming back up.”

    “Each month is coming in a little higher, which is good sign. We need to get good things happening on both the Federal and Main street corridors,” he said. “We’re already seeing businesses expansion and retention.”

    Real Estate

    George Piplica at Home Source Realty said local home sales “generally are up, we’re selling more homes in the county now,” he said. “Prices are higher in Lander, so people are buying here and commuting, 2018 was definitely a better year for sales.”

    Piplica said in the first eight months last year there were 117 home sales. “This year we’re at 152 sales.”

    He said one year ago there were 200 houses for sale, but today there are 143, “so we’re gaining and interest rates are holding, which spur sales,” he said.

    As far at the home rental market is concerned, Piplica said that area is also filling up. “We were sitting on them a year ago but now rentals are moving  from two to three months to one week. That’s another positive sign.” Helping boost the rental market was a drop of 15 percent in most rents. “They were adjusted to market rates, and that’s a positive, too.” It’s a much better year across the board.”

    Looking at the rest of the county, Piplica said Dubois and Lander are having a better year too. He noted that Lander has a lack of inventory and Riverton has a surplus of  “high end” homes. “As a whole, for 2.5 years we went backwards, but it’s not that way this year.”




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