The pioneer spirit is alive and well in Ogden. Like most towns in Utah, Ogden revels in its cowboy history. During Pioneer Days, western heritage activities, parades and rodeos, urbanites, dressed up in their bedazzled cowboy finery come and enjoy a little festive role play. The real cowboys get a good laugh, and then everyone settles into their status quo after July.
But modern cowboys, real or posing for the holidays, are not the Wild West of today. The pioneers now are those living in “the hood,” taking a chance on a come-back community picking itself up by its bootstraps. They’re the business owners launching a startup from Weber State Downtown. They’re the corporations flocking to town, bringing with them the return of American manufacturing. They’re the trail diggers and the self-made men and women spearheading community initiatives and redevelopment projects.
And is it wild? Yes indeed. For many, Ogden’s appeal is apparent. Sure, the mountains and the rivers and streams make for an incredible backdrop, but once you dig in a bit you discover that the attraction of doing or creating a business in Ogden makes the community so much more than a place to play after closing time.
Ogden is virtually red-tape free. In many ways, this allows movers and shakers to immediately engage and make a difference for the better, and to start a legitimate business from the ground up with ease of access and affordability.
“We had already taken the risk coming out of corporate America, but it was time to make something of our own,” says Taylor Killian, co-founder of And She’s Dope Too, a cause-based apparel company based in Ogden. “Ogden was a perfect time and place. What we have here we just couldn’t have that anywhere else.”
Taylor continues as he talks about the company’s goal to find like-minded people and those who “get the vision” beyond a perfectly plotted business plan. “We want to focus on the things that matter. The community here has let us do that.”
The Wild West was a time to forge identity, and for many it was a time for lawless abandon. We have a little of both still; we’re just not slinging guns and riding ponies. Not like we used to.