ORBIS JOURNAL

Changing landscape = destination downtown

January 13, 2021

What makes a community attractive to entrepreneurs?

Individual choices and spending cause the landscape of our commercial districts to be ever changing. Yet, the appearance of our downtowns is one of the biggest indicators of the economic health of the community. 

When I was the economic development director in Torrington, Wyoming, there sat a huge empty retail building with too much square footage for the size of the market. 

So we re-developed the property into an anchor for a destination downtown – a shopping, dining and entertainment venue with public restrooms and public information. The media said the grand opening was “more than just a one-off shindig…it is the symbol of persistent resiliency and ingenuity.”

People are looking for something to do, something to eat, and something to buy. If you want to foster entrepreneurship, create a gathering place. Economics, by its very definition is a social science.

Envision the glories of yesteryear…

In the late 1800s, the prairie vistas of the Wyoming Hereford Ranch covered 65,000 acres. My Dad was a ranch foreman in the 1970s, so I have an affinity for the ranch. The landscaped has changed, and now the ranch is 2,800 acres with a small registered Hereford herd. It is a popular wedding and special events venue, and the old headquarters building is now a museum. Visitors are welcomed to, “Envision the glories of yesteryear, as well as the pride of the present, and the promise of the future.”

I shared this example with you because I have founded Orbis Advantage, Inc. with this sentiment in mind. Our work is grounded by a deep sense of community pride, appreciation for history, and a desire to build strong businesses that have positive and enduring community and economic impact.

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Lisa Johnson
Lisa is an enterprising idea person who likes to share with others to help in their business and personal success. She was raised on cattle ranches in Wyoming and Colorado. She holds a B.S. in Communications from Eastern New Mexico University and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. Her economic development career has spanned 20+ years and three states, with leadership roles at the county, regional and state level. She founded Orbis to enjoy the advantage of working on unique consulting on projects while being actively involved on her husband’s family ranch at LaGrange, Wyoming. Lisa is equally as comfortable in the corporate board room or in the saddle.