Cody is a finalist for a leading outdoor product manufacturer to move operations and 150 jobs to the area, Forward Cody CEO James Klessens said Tuesday at a city council meeting at City Hall.

The announcement comes during what has been a busy year for the organization, Klessens said, as business owners have been looking to move to areas such as Cody.

He said if it works out with the outdoor company, the jobs would be high quality, include a variety of positions and help to replace those lost when Cody Labs and then CertainTeed closed down. He said the company would be moving 25 of its current employees and then up to 125 openings would be available for those in the local area.

“This is a good company, they’re awesome people,” he said. “The team we brought together, we blew these people away.

“I think, barring a couple of obstacles, we could see these people landing in town in March.”

Klessens, who wouldn’t give the name of the company but said it’s been a leader in the industry throughout its 50-year existence, said Cody was one of two cities – along with another one in Wyoming – chosen by the company as a finalist for its move.

Community leaders gathered together to talk with the business leaders when they came for a visit hoping to sell them on the community.

Klessens said the visit by the company’s leaders was one of at least half a dozen visits this year by companies looking to relocate.

“It’s been full on since March 16,” he said. “This is a real eye-opener to take a look at what we have here. We undervalue it because we live here.

“It’s a credit to the quality of Cody and the business environment.”

(35) comments


I miss the good old days of the Sunday newspaper where you got a whole section of comics...the Funnys. Those days are gone.

Today we just get a stream of local comments in the online Cody Entrprise for humor and satire.

I will say this much in character: James Klessens is the only director that Forward Cody has ever known . He's been here for ~ 11 years and has been paid about $ 1.5 million in salary. What do we have to show for it ? More business losses than gains .

I sincerely hoped by now that Klessens and Forward Cody would have produced at least one new business that wasn't a new version of the same old 19th and early 20th century trades of gunsmithing and meat cutting. What's next for Forward Cody ... a livery stable ? Keep in mind that Klessens resumé is rooted in agriculture. That's all he really knows, and it shows. ( Gawd forbid he pulls a for profit prison project out of his brown derby hat... )

Meanwhile, the outside world advances, while Cody and Wyoming regress by standing still or waltzing in circles.

PJ Roemich

Not sure what's the biggest scam in Cody, Forward Klessens or the CARES Act shysters?! Forward Klessens has lacked oversight by our community leaders, these folks have continuously funneled taxpayer money Klessens way for years now, what do we have to show for it? Cody is not and will never lure top notch, legit businesses here....the word is out nationally that our economic development is a JOKE


Please! Look at the park county taxes under Forward Cody - and see all the properties that people are thinking are going towards these businesses. The businesses are being started, and the buildings are being owned by Forward Cody. Forward Cody is James Klessens. We tax payers are giving him real estate left and right at a government grant... and who is raking in the money? James Klessens, Forward Cody. Come on Enterprise. Dig DEEP. You all need to figure out where the money is going! Klessens has not kept one real business here. The majority of them all have gone defunct or changed hands. Come on Enterprise. Do your job. Dig deep, follow the money and expose it!!


Hey gunkrunner, with your "multi million dollar" business, how many Cody 'n's do you employ? I know you used to have, for a short time, a brick and mortat in town. Your business sounds like a one person operation and it seems, by your accounts, to have done you well. Do you invest in this community or is your heart in Ohio. You have not lived in Cody or Wyoming for that long, but the money amount and business prowess you have put forth to us all in blow hard posts on this website, you could be president of Cody or maybe, if you really try, emperor of Park Co.

Bob In Park County

What should be of concern is that these clothing company’s tend to be liberal (i.e.- Columbia which is trying to flee Portland). Cody doesn’t need outsiders who will look to change our culture and who are leaving cities they have helped destroy. Clearly some of the 150 will be outsiders bring values that Cody doesn’t need. And yes, I like Cody the way it is. We don’t need to head down the hole of becoming “progressive” (cover word for Socialist).


...but let's take a look at someone like "gunkrunner". What does he contribute to Cody. He sells guns, which everyone enjoys and that is more than alright, but this insecure loud mouth, touts that he moved here from Ohio, a few yers ago, keeping a fair bit of his business in the highly taxed state of Ohio. After doing the utmost of tax investigation, Weber found Wyoming the least tax restrictive state and Cody being the EASIEST COMMUNITY TO LIVE IN in Wyoming, to operate his business and run his ignorant mouth. Is Weber using the easy life of Cody , WY to keep his so called multi million dollar business alive in Ohio, that what I have heard is maintained by his ex wife. I don't know this guy from a bag of of manure, so, I am looking for some real response, not, " well, you should really know this guy."

Milo Vukelich

Okay. Lighten up everyone. Just consider you get to live where you do. Agree to disagree, tell everyone to have a nice day when you see them and move on. Life is short.

PJ Roemich

Yea, Milo, let's all lighten up. Folks, don't question why your city council and county commish keeps on giving -your- money to Forward Klessens. Keep smiling and don't ask, right Milo? heck, it's only money, our money but apparently there are much smarter poeple that were obligated to blindly give our money too, right?

Milo Vukelich

By all means, ask questions. Come up with solutions. Collaborate. Whatever you all need to do to make where you live a better place, however you define that. You all are lucky to live there....even with your disagreements. That’s my only point. If you don’t like something, run for office, or convince someone who thinks like you do to run for office.

The few

Checked the real estate market lately ? Where are they going to live ?

CJ Smith

every adult in park county should contribute $100 to forward cody to pay salary to the ceo. this will assure that mr. klassen can keep up his good work and keep cody movning forward, hence their name. you haters don't see all of the back scenes and the 100's of businesses that have been created because of mr. klassen. cody would be a ghost town if it wasn't for forward cody


Are you sure? You can't even get his name right. Are you thinking of the same guy?

PJ Roemich

I see what you did, CJ and I'm laughing! Cody was a much more prosperous town before Forward Klessens came around. It's 2020 and Look at Cody now


Time out, for a minute. While I was not a global enterprise when I lived in Cody (see what I did there), I was still able to operate a successful business from a loft looking out over the Carter Mountain range every day. From time to time a squadron of Sandhill Cranes would swoop by. Or I’d detect a coyote passing through the neighbor’s pasture.

Why it is so implausible to attract jobs to Cody? Shocker...I had better internet and iPhone service in Cody than I do in Calaveras County, CA. California, Sillycon Valley, and all that. I’m just saying, Forward Cody is all about attracting solid enterprise, there’s that name again, to the region. Sounds like something BBC might say.

Gunrunner Auctions

Taxes matter when businesses want to relocate as their people need housing, need to buy product and must pay the existing tax structure. Any of these too high? They ain't comin'....

Real world example: When I thought about moving to Cody I selected a home on the North Fork that was FOUR TIMES more value than the little house I living in along the river in Ohio. My property taxes in Ohio were $3100. For my much larger house on the NF, they are the SAME! That is life-changing right there. I figured the property taxes would be $6000 or more.

That's just one example. The firearms I sell in Wyoming are only subject to a 4% sales tax. The same firearm sold out of my Ohio operation is 6 3/4%. That 2 3/4% tax really adds up when you're selling millions of dollars in firearms. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE WHAT THE TAX IS.

I auction firearms, so the final price a bidder is willing to pay is contingent on the TOTAL BILL - especially when the bids are over $10,000. If the tax is only 4%, they will bid more. If the tax is 6 3/4% they will bid less. Fact of life. Taxes matter. High taxes inhibit commerce.

In the East and CA many of my friends are literally taxed OUT OF THEIR HOMES! Many of my friends have been forced to sell and move to condos or small homes. One of my friends here located from CT. He was paying $52,000 a year for property tax! Wow! My 95-year old father was paying over $9000 on his modest home in Ohio. We had to sell the home. Taxes matter.

Judging from the last election where the 20% hike in sales tax was shellacked to say the least is an indication that the vast majority of Park County citizens do NOT feel the elected officials are doing a good job of managing the revenue they do have! And it is an indication that they don't think their state rep (think Sandy Newsome here) can be trusted to hold down future taxes, so they insured the taxes they CAN vote out, got voted out.

Taxes matter, High taxes discourage business, sales and further expansion. New businesses want to come here under the current tax structure, but will hesitate if they think the state reps will push more taxes (think Sandy Newsome here). Low taxes, more business. Less business restrictions, more business. More business means lower taxes. It all works in concert. That's Economics 101.


Sooner or later taxes in Wyoming will have to go up to maintain all the services that you transplants demand.Those of us that are actual Wyoming natives learned to live within our means long ago...and the free ride from mineral taxes is dwindling.It is past time to pay the fiddler.

Scott Steward

Gunrunner, AKA Scott Weber, I see where you are going with this. Someone's chick is eyeing commissioner.....

barbed wire bliss

One step (Cody) forward, two steps (Cody) back.

sellin downtown

Zac Taylor of the Enterprise -maybe do some investigative report and find out who this local economic "dream team" Klessens claimed to have assembled and blew the socks of this supposed outdoor gear company. Personally, I don't know any legit business person around here who has drank the Forward Cody koolaid. Speaking of all of these huge Forward Cody "got a biggun' in the weeds" announcements....let's see, we've had about 70 of them over the 15 years with about a %00.2 success rate. Someone must think Cody is full of nothing but country bumpkins who will believe just about anything. Actually, must be some bumpkins who keep buying into this BS


Gunnrunner you are so negative, why don't you leave? People don't like what you represent, your girlfriend lost the election in the primaries because of your big mouth! Enough with bashing Sandy and our town, you are free to leave NO ONE is stopping you!

barbed wire bliss

I hear you. He's not the first bloviating transplant who thinks he speaks for the rest of us, and he certainly won't be the last.


I like what Gunrunner represents. So does my wife and daughter. So that makes 3 of us. I would never be so foolish as to tell you to leave because I don't agree with what you have said. You are also free to leave, but I wish that you wouldn't because Cody needs people that are passionate about being here. And to me, that includes those that I may not agree with.

BTW, I too believe that Sandy Newsome has made some bad moves as our Rep. I voted against her in the primary and I will do so again because I believe that she is a RINO and not a true Conservative.

I love Cody, Wy and I plan to stay here for a looooong time. You may suggest that I too leave, but I won't.


I don’t know of the politics involved here. Apparently Gunnrunner has a very viable, successful business, compatible with Wyoming values, and he ABSOLUTELY should be heard! Why would Cody not want a successful, Western business? His opinions should be predominantly in the mix. I can tell by his comments where he stands politically, and I probably disagree, but I cannot argue with success.


With the recent attention the scam known as Forward Cody has been getting it was time to float a media distraction. A distraction so unbelievable that there was only one media outlet gullible enough to publish it - the Enterprise.


Given the overall negative impression it seems so many have of "Forward Cody," maybe the Enterprise could do some good investigative journalism and provide an account of what the agency and Mr. Klessens have actually accomplished in all the years they've now been in Cody, and what it has cost. Then, with some hard, factual information in hand it might be easier to make valid judgments.


It shouldn’t take “investigative journalism” to get this information. This information should be TRANSPARENT by Forward Cody, & Forward Cody should have this info readily available on its website. The fact that it doesn’t, speaks for itself. Then, yes, journalists, or the public, should unpeel the onion!

Gunrunner Auctions

Even a minute examination reveals that not every elected official is pulling the same wagon in terms of attracting new business to the Cody area. When I was considering moving my business here ten years ago, I looked very carefully at local sales taxes, property taxes, state taxes, home sale prices, business lease/purchase prices, work force and Cody/statewide taxes. I also looked at any future tax increases. When I found the climate favorable in all respects, I relocated my business here (still have a big part in Ohio), leased a business space and bought a home and property. Good decision. My business went up 25% with my new Western operation.

However,at this time, any prospective business coming to Cody must have pause. It seems that Forward Cody is NOT coordinated with local elected officials of the county/city and darn sure NOT with our state elected reps and senators. For instance, some of these elected officials are promoting MORE TAXES and BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS. I often use as an example our liberal lawmaker HD 24 Sandy Newsome who has always voted for more taxes and business restrictions that discourage business (ironically she's on the board of Forward Cody and is part of the many failures of these sponsored companies resulting in MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars lost, empty buildings, former workers leaving Cody in droves, etc.) as an example of the disconnect that is keeping new business/helping put existing business out.

For instance, at a time when we want to attract wonderful companies, she is down in Cheyenne working on new corporate taxes, road usage taxes, voting for gas tax increases, putting in such harsh business restrictions that it not only discourages business in Cody but KILLS businesses (think AirMedCare here for one example).

And then we have the Park County commissioners and the Cody City Council placing MORE TAXES - of all things a 20% sales tax - on our businesses at the SAME TIME we are trying to attract new business. Wow! Talk about shooting holes in your boat and wondering why it's sinking. The Park County voters were smart enough to smell that rat and killed that 20% increase dead in its tracks.

When I relocated my multi-million dollar business, one of the reasons I came to Cody was the sales tax was only 4%. In Ohio it was 6 3/4%. Do the math on a $10,000 fine shotgun. These prospective businesses today are investigating not only existing taxes/business restrictions, but what the future will bring in terms of these two hot buttons. If they look at the voting records of a Sandy Newsome, they get jumpy. An elected official like her in Cheyenne loving every tax scheme is a big no-no for a new company to come in.

If the investigation shows a recent sales tax on the ballot, that is a red flag. If an investigation shows a viable company like AirMedCare was just legislated out by liberals in the Cheyenne, it's a red flag.

It's no secret that the track record of Forward Cody is dismal. Prospective businesses investigate that too regardless of the BS of the "dream team" (I wonder who that possibly could be....). New businesses aren't going to like the fact that some of the Cody work force is not hireable (dope, poor work ethic, etc.) either.

Until local elected officials learn to live within their means AND communicate with state elected officials to make Wyoming a low tax attractive climate for new business, we will see more failures or the new businesses will pass us by. Taxes and business restrictions are the FIRST THING new corporations look at when considering a new location or start-up. And they LOVE organizations with millions in grants and low-cost loans for them!


Sales tax is collected in the state in which the merchandise is delivered. So, unless all or most of your sales are made in Cody or Wyoming, then the sales tax rate is irrelevant for your argument. Secondly, sales tax & property taxes fund infrastructure, which is necessary for business & quality of life (parks, schools, libraries, senior centers, hiking trails, etc). Quality of life attracts quality employees. Wyoming & Cody are among the lowest tax rates in the country. No one likes unnecessary bureaucracy, but reasonable regulations contribute to quality of life (air quality, water quality, safe building codes, etc). So, to make a blanket statement condemning increased taxes is possibly misplaced. But, for sure, Forward Cody seems to lack transparency & why?


Spot on Gunrunner Auctions!

And I will also offer that it is not just prospective businesses that are investigating tax schemes and business restrictions. Those looking to move to Cody and settle here are looking at the same. I know I did. There already seems to be a shortage of employable workers here. The new businesses can't come here and offer jobs if they can't find employees.

I am grateful that my wife and I quickly found gainful employment upon our arrival here. We knew that we would be successful because we did our due diligence and researched the job market well before pulling the trigger and packing up the moving truck. But the fact remains, that our places of employment, like so many others, still struggle to fill good paying positions.

New tax schemes, business restrictions and poor choices by our "leaders" both elected and appointed will only lead to a diminished job market and loss of population.

sellin downtown

I, also can put together a team= bonafide business people in this town who are tire of the false hope and smoke and mirrors. My team will do some intensive huddling and examining the business climate here (should only take about 2 minutes) and compile a report. This report will simply say= get rid of the chosen few around here who've been huffing and puffing all of the economic greatness they've supposedly been providing to this community. There 15 years of fame are up. Cody has turned into an economic nuclear desert and the only way out will come within= the real economic experts here, the local business men and women on the frontlines, not some belcher of hot air and supposed big surprises in the wind


Pretty sure Kanye promised us the same thing and from what I've heard he's done with Cody and is going to move his business to Atlanta.


If he is done with Cody, I’d like to know why. That would be instructive.


Sounds like Cody might win "biggly" on this one.

PJ Roemich

Big news, Forward Cody comes through AGAIN! Meanwhile, I have also been working on bringing a huge business here to Cody. Of course, I can't tell you who this firm is but, will give you a hint - I've emailed Jeff Bezos @ Amazon inviting him to move his headquarters here. He hasn't responded yet but let me assure all of you, it'll be so HUGE for Cody!


The team "you" put together blew them (the outdoor co.) away? Huh? Anyway, once again you're blowing hot air, Mr. Klessens. We've heard all this before...

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