Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 50 years

Local business owners come together at the Platte Valley Community Center on March 14

On March 14, the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the Platte Valley Community Center. Local business owners came together to be recognized for their accomplishments both in business and the community.

One of those top winners of recognition was Valley Foods & Liquor, which won 2023 Business of the Year. The local grocery store is owned and managed by Adam Clarke, a third-generation grocery store owner.

Clarke said this Business of the Year Award could not be possible without the help of his loyal customers. He said that building relationships with his customers makes it all possible for Valley Foods’ success.

“You have to have good relationships with all your customers,” Clarke said. “The more you know your customers the better you become in the grocery business. It’s important to know what your customers are buying and what they are looking for. If we don’t have what they are looking for they can always ask and we will get it for them.”

Clarke said that what impresses him the most about being a member of the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce is the events they have to offer which brings in tourists. He said it helps bring revenue for his store and the community.

“The Chamber of Commerce offers a lot of great events such as the fishing derby,” Clarke said “It brings sales during the winter and helps out the hotels by bringing people from out-of-town. They do so much good for our community and that is why I am proud to be a member.”

Other winners included Irene Archibald for Volunteer of the Year, the Platte Valley Kiwanis for Organization of the Year and Sanchez Lawn & Maintenance for New Business of the Year

Archibald was honored for her involvement with Saratoga Council of Catholic Women, North Platte Valley Medical Center Board of Directors, the Wyoming Community Foundation Board of Directors, the South Central Wyoming Emergency Medical Services Joint Powers Board.

The Platte Valley Kiwanis were honored for their variety of community events such as the Kiwanis Ice Skating Park at Veterans Island and the annual Touch-A-Truck held at Kathy Glode Park.

Sanchez Lawn & Maintenance, owned by Ross Sanchez, was noted as embracing life to the fullest and having been a vital part of the Valley since being established in 2021. Along with lawn care in the summer, Sanchez Lawn & Maintenance also does snow removal in the winter.

Dick Perue, local historian and a founding member of the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce, was one of the special guests. He made a presentation on the old days of the Platte Valley and a history of the Chamber of Commerce for the first 50 years. Perue reunited with a former employee and close friend.

“Me and my wife became the first honorary life members of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce,” Peure said. “During my time with the Saratoga Sun, I had one of the best staff of reporters that I ever had and one of them was Chuck (C.J.) Box who ended up becoming such a great writer and author.”

Box, now a New York Times bestselling author, was the other special guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

“I’m here on behalf of the Platte Valley Legacy Foundation, which many of you have heard about probably in regards to scholarships around the Valley,” said Box. “Part of the mission of the Platte Valley Legacy Foundation is to establish a vehicle where assets donated by patrons can be used to stabilize and stimulate the economy of the Upper North Platte Valley.”

The Platte Valley Legacy Foundation, said Box, is a 501©(3) which exists entirely on private donations and was founded by Loren “Teense” Willford and Joe Parrie. Current board members included Willford, Parrie, Box, Amanda Shahadey, Joe Elder, Brent Snelson, Cherly Munroe and Lauren Cregan The Foundation has not only provided college scholarships to graduates from Saratoga and Encampment schools, but has sponsored estate planning seminars and distributed funds to other non-profit organizations in the community.

“Through our new Platte Valley Legacy Foundation enterprise fund, we provide financial resources to start-up and existing businesses,” said Box. “The enterprise fund was created as a local business incubator to support small business enterprises. Grants are available to start-up and existing businesses who are seeking supplemental financial support to launch, improve or support local businesses.”

Grants, said Box, are available for up to $10,000. One example of a local business utilizing the grant is the North Platte Valley Medical Center.

“We provided funding for course work for ultrasound technician Shelby Wilder-Krugman to attain expert certification in eight different applications ranging from abdomen-critical ultrasound training, breast anatomy physiology and other specialist fields,” said Box. “All to serve the Valley with more quality healthcare.”


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