Owners want to sell iconic Wyoming Home store

Joyce Kemph and Sue Miller have welcomed people into their Wyoming Home for many years.

Now, the co-owners are ready to retire. They want to spend more time with their families and pursue other interests.

The owners hope someone will buy the business.

“Our dream is that a person or persons with an entrepreneurial spirit will come forward,” the two wrote in an Oct. 15 letter sent to vendors.

They said they hope the sale can happen soon.

“The goal is also that we will be comfortably tending our gardens by the spring of 2017,” the letter said.

Kemph and Miller said they will share all their contacts with the new owner or owners and “encourage them to maintain profitable relationships with our established vendors.”

The women will be available to the new owners to answer questions and talk about what works in the business.

The historic building that houses the business is not for sale.

Wyoming Home is an iconic, anchor business for downtown at 216 W. Lincolnway. It is a favorite stop for many on one of the city’s downtown thoroughfares.

Miller’s late husband, Reece, once described the store as a place “filled with the unique and unusual for those who love the West.”

Sue Miller calls the business a type of Western department store.

“We’ve got towels and linens and furniture and children’s (merchandise), Christmas items and pictures,” she said.

The store also sells dishes, glassware, mugs, area rugs, artwork, purses, deep leather couches and chairs, lamps, books and greeting cards.

There’s the unusual, too, such as a cribbage board made in the shape of a canoe, and Christmas ornaments that can’t be found elsewhere.

“What we have on the floor is just a sampling of what we sell,” Kemph said. “People see what we have, and we look through catalogues,” helping customers order specific items. “One of the things that we really strive for is customer service.”

Step inside and it’s easy to experience the relaxed atmosphere of the place. Customers are encouraged to drink hot coffee and cider.

On Saturdays, free samples of specialty dips are served, as well as other foods the business offers.

Molly, a friendly, 12-year-old Corgi, does her best to greet every customer. She belongs to longtime employee Carmen Hess, who, with Mary Mues, helps customers find what they want.

It won’t be easy to leave the store, Kemph said.

“I want to be sure and tell our customers how much we have appreciated them and their support and how many friends we have made, whether it is here in town or across the nation,” she said.

Customers come to Wyoming Home from all across the country and even around the world. Customers who signed guest books also included their hometowns, and listed countries that include Africa, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The business is located on the first floor of a historic building that was constructed well before 1900.

The room above the store was the place where notorious stock detective Tom Horn gave his alleged confession to lawman Joe LeFors in 1902. Horn told him he killed a teen boy. But many believethe confession was bogus.

Wyoming Home opened at its current location in August 1998, when the Millers bought the building from John Veta.

Veta had operated Western Ranchman Outfitters there for decades.

The building was vacant when the Millers bought it, but earlier had been home to Cheyenne Outfitters.

Reese Miller died two months before a huge fire broke out in December 2004 in a bake shop located in the same building as part of Wyoming Home.

Firefighters fought the blaze for 11 hours, and attacked hot spots for days. The fire destroyed a large section of Wyoming Home.

The area where the store is now located and the rooms above it suffered severe smoke and water damage.

But Sue Miller decided to rebuild and renovate, rather than start over in another location. “I just felt like we should” reopen it, she said.

“I don’t even remember you even considering not opening,” Kemph said to her.

Kemph has worked at the store since 1999 and became a co-owner shortly after the fire.

They reopened the store in late July 2005, in time for Cheyenne Frontier Days, and have been partners since.

Those interested in buying the business can call 307-638-2222.