Dear Editor,

Over the years there has been much confusion regarding the JOCO First and Mountain Meadow Wool relationship. Admittedly I have largely dealt with JOCO’s changing board members and lack of historical continuity on the subject in a similar way to COVID-19. … Just keeping at doing my own thing a day at a time and hopefully the chaos around me ends soon. However, sometimes we must deal with the chaos head-on and there are a variety of public elements to our relationship that need to be clarified. 

First, MMW is not part of a JOCO incubator program. MMW was the joint applicant together with JOCO First in a Wyoming Business Council “Business Committed Project” funded under a state of Wyoming grant and loan program. Detailed information about this program can be found at www.wyomingbusiness.org/brc. In summary, this program assists a particular business who is committed to start up, expand, locate or retain jobs in the community. 

MMW is not subsidized by JOCO or the state. As part of the state grant program, we have a negotiated lease in place (currently $53,460/year) that is paid to JOCO in its entirety. The beginnings of MMW required a large amount of operational square footage with room to grow, coupled with a business model that would bring in a relatively small amount of revenue per square foot. This WBC grant program was instrumental in our ability to overcome these challenges and to start textile processing in Wyoming. We are incredibly grateful for its existence, and while it is often presented that MMW is a detriment to the ongoing successful operations of JOCO First, a look at the net revenue this facility has brought to JOCO First over the past 13 years would indicate otherwise. 

We have many outstanding businesses in our community, each with their own unique struggles. Our collaboration with JOCO First was a route we chose to take 13 years ago to overcome our own obstacles and, yes, we are extremely fortunate that this has been a successful project. While this type of project directly assists one business, it is important to remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. I admire the hard work and dedication exhibited by so many businesses in our community. I hope that we can continue to pay a return on the state taxpayer dollars that funded this project and I ask publicly that JOCO First stop trying to leverage our relationship to fix their own budget problems. 

Ben Hostetler

Operations Manager, Mountain Meadow Wool

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