A regular look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

Buildings often outlive their original purposes. Outdated gas stations become obsolete. Factory buildings remain standing long after the industries they supported disappear, or architecturally ornate government buildings stand vacant as societal needs change. However, repurposing old buildings for small business can have many benefits.

Repurposed buildings can provide distinctive design, character and appeal. Furthermore, these open up access to prime locations and the chance to support and enhance your community.

Adaptive reuse is the process of taking an old building and reusing it for a purpose other than what it was originally designed for. In the past, adaptive reuse has been primarily associated with historic preservation in areas with rich histories. However, small businesses across the nation are increasingly taking advantage of these locations.

The adaptive reuse of old buildings is generally best suited to restaurants, bars, retail stores, professional offices and personal service providers -- such as hair and nail salons. These old buildings offer a comfortable aesthetic that can complement your business. The typical central placement of these buildings can give your business a favorable location and help to establish important relationships with your customers and community.

If you are interested in repurposing an old building for your small business, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network adviser at www.wyomingsbdc.org for no-cost, confidential assistance. Your adviser can go over the pros and cons of such a move and help you look for the right building.

Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Department 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

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