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Renovations have begun at Kifaru International’s new home in Riverton.
The outdoor equipment manufacturer is moving into the old Big R building on Sunset Drive, with plans to open in July.
They are already looking for local employees, marketing manager Mackenzie Roberts said – particularly people who can sew.
Kifaru relies “heavily” on home sewers who can craft military-grade backpacks, shelters and other equipment, she explained, though in the future, the company would like to develop its own “cut and sew” operation so all of the work can be done in-house.
“We have the space to do that (in Riverton),” Roberts said. “So hopefully we can hire a lot of people.”
Kifaru also needs a warehouse staff, she said, and a team that is trained to custom-fit backpacks for individual buyers – many of whom will travel to Riverton to try on their gear, offering opportunities for increased tourism to the area.
Other Kifaru fans might come to town for wilderness survival lessons from company president Aron Snyder, who “has his own following,” Roberts said.
In preparation for the move to Riverton, Roberts said Kifaru is transferring 15-20 of its current employees to Fremont County in the coming months.
They’ll be coming from Colorado, which Roberts said “isn’t what it used to be.”
“There are so many people,” she said. “You can’t really go into the mountains and not run into somebody. …
“We want away from all that – and we want room to grow. We have so many expansion ideas we could just not do (in the Denver area).”
Wyoming was “always on the table” when the company decided to leave Colorado, Roberts said, and Kifaru owner Chad Shumway already owns a medical facility in Riverton, so the town “already had his heart.”
Plus, the city agreed to support the move with $80,000 in funding from Fremont County’s half percent sales tax for economic development, which generates about $600,000 per year for Riverton.
The funding agreement requires Kifaru to maintain at least 25 full-time employees in town.