This Western-style wedding dress is a unique clothing item that can be found at M&M's Secondhand Store on Fourth Street. M&M's owner Michelle Nolan likes running the store because she comes across items like this every day.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

This Western-style wedding dress is a unique clothing item that can be found at M&M's Secondhand Store on Fourth Street. M&M's owner Michelle Nolan likes running the store because she comes across items like this every day.

Business Beat: Thrift store owner enjoying her shop

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Michelle Nolan has enjoyed frequenting thrift stores for years, shopping for her friends and family and always finding good items for great prices.

That’s why her friends told her to open a thrift store of her own last summer, when the market was wide open. Dorothy Wyman had closed her thrift shop on Victory Way, Charlotte’s Web was on hiatus and only the Community Budget Center was providing the low prices.

So Nolan opened M&M’s Secondhand Store, 80 E. Fourth St., in July 2011. She figured it would be a fun business to run.

“At the time when I opened, it was just Budget Center,” Nolan said. “A bunch of my friends said I should open a store, and we’ll bring stuff to help get you started. I was really good at finding the deals in thrift stores.”

Nolan had a quick in to get a large inventory when she started. She works as a ladies’ auxiliary in addition to her duties at the store and was able to get supplies from the seniors she worked with as well as their families.

“My hours revolved around them. That’s what I still do,” Nolan said about the women she works with. “They had their kids and grandkids, and of course my own family helped get it started. Now it’s just the kindness of strangers keeping it stocked.”

M&M’s doesn’t catch the eye from outside, next to Chaos Ink on Fourth St., but upon entering the store, there is a great deal of clothing, washed and organized according to gender and size. Nolan said she washes everything because she is a “neat freak.”

There also are books, shoes and free stuffed animals to be found in the store, along with other odds and ends. It’s why Nolan has enjoyed owning a shop.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I love being surprised by what I’ll get, and I love seeing who’s going to come in through the door next. You see some interesting things.”

In the 16 months since Nolan opened M&M’s, Charlotte’s Web has reopened and three new thrift stores have started in Craig. She doesn’t see that as a problem.

“As long as there’s donations for everyone, I don’t see how we’re hurting each other, really,” Nolan said. “For me, this is more helping the community than it is to make money. I’m not any more in the hole than when I started, but if that happens, I don’t think I’ll have a problem walking away.”

Union Wireless awarded $23 million to improve Wyoming network

Union Wireless earlier this month was awarded almost $23 million to help bridge gaps in mobile coverage throughout Wyoming.

The Federal Communications Commission awarded the money through a market-based reform of the Universal Service Program, upon finding $300 million in savings from cutting waste and inefficiency to the new Mobility Fund.

Jan Fasselin, of Union Wireless, said the company had to bid on coverage areas and whichever company provided the lowest cost per mile received the bid.

“It was kind of like a reverse auction,” said Brian Woody, Union Wireless' chief customer relations officer. “Instead of the highest bidder it was the lowest.”

The goal of the fund is to improve high-speed data access to rural areas of the U.S.

According to a news release from Union Wireless, the funds will allow the company to cover an additional 13,577 miles of roads in Wyoming.

The release said the FCC requires winning companies to raise millions of dollars in private investment to complement the mobility auction funding.

Woody said the match is basically coming out of what the company normally spends on capital build-out.

The auction rules require winning companies make their networks available to other providers’ customers for roaming purposes. That rule allows everyone to benefit from the expansion.

Woody said the company has roaming agreements with several national and international wireless companies.

“Union has built an extensive regional network with the goal of converting it to the next generation of 3G and 4G wireless services. With this funding, Union will be able to provide a vast high-speed network for the public’s benefit,” Woody said in the release.

Union Wireless serves Wyoming, Northwest Colorado and northeastern Utah.

“What this allow us to do, since we weren’t able to bid on anything in Colorado,” Woody said, “is it allows us to use money we would have used in other areas farther down into Colorado, instead of spending it on other pieces of network we were already going to build.”

Woody said the money would allow the company to do about double what it normally does in network build-out over the next few years, saying the company normally spent between $20 million and $30 million a year through Wyoming, Colorado and parts of Utah.

“This will allow us to bring to customers services they could have in Denver and Salt Lake that don’t always make it out to Craig, Meeker and more rural communities.”

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