Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
This week, I had a chance to sit down with Laurie Griffin-Kolar, owner of Golden Key Storage in Rock Springs and Account Manager at D.R. Griffin & Associates. Before Laurie moved to Rock Springs in the 1990s, she said she would never live in Wyoming. However, now she can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Laurie loves the close-knit community in Sweetwater County. She credits the people of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County for her reason for loving this community so much. Though she loves traveling and experiencing the world, Rock Springs will always be home.
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Laurie, how did you become the owner of Golden Key Storage here in Rock Springs?
Golden Key Storage was built in 1996 by JS Construction. My ex-husband (Stephen R. Griffin) and I purchased them in March of 2006. We were looking for something to have to help supplement our retirement.
Unfortunately, we got divorced in May of 2012 and then he passed away in December 2014. With the help of my current Husband Kevin Kolar and my sons, Colby Griffin and Shannon Guffey, we have continued to keep them going at a 100 percent occupancy.
What is your role at D.R. Griffin & Associates, and what do you enjoy about working there?
I started with D.R. Griffin & Associates July 22, 1991. My position was only to be 6 weeks long, as I was converting manual accounting books over to Quickbooks.
Well, as you can see, that 6 weeks has turned into almost 28 years. I am the Accounting Manager and have two wonderful ladies that I supervise.
What do i like about my job? Well, no two days are alike. I work with different clients all over the U.S. We Primarily work in the Oil and Gas Industry. Our clients are wonderful to work with.
Plus, I work with a great bunch of men and women, and we would do anything for each other. Almost all of us have worked there for 10 plus years with the exception of a couple of employees. We are a pretty close group and have a fabulous boss. Brian Forbes bought the business almost 20 years ago and is great to his employees.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I came to Rock Springs by way of Nashville, Tennessee. When we moved here it was during the boom of the 90s and Steve’s parents really needed the help. Steve had surveyed back when they lived in Alaska.
I had only been to Wyoming once and it was at Christmas time and had said that I would never live here. It was 25 below and cold as hell. Well, I was eating my words 6 months later as we were packing up our home in Gallatin and moving to Rock Springs.
I love it here now and would never move. I have always said it is the people of Rock Springs that keeps me here. If someone has a need, this town will rally together to help each other out.
What is something unique about you?
I have a very special place in my heart for kids. Every spring I put on a private Easter Egg hunt. I hide about 4,000 to 5,000 plastic eggs that will either have candy or a number for a prize for them to win. I do this in honor of my mother who lost her battle to cancer back in 1989.
I also donate something to Cowboys against Cancer in honor of her and my first husband (Roger Guffey) who also lost his battle with cancer in 1985 when i was only 23-years-old. Our son was 15 months old. Roger played piano for Conway Twitty, and he even played at the Grand Ole Opry, so i always donate something with country music as a theme. Everything I donate has also been autographed.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to travel, do crafts, go to concerts, and collect music memorabilia
What do you appreciate most about our community?
I appreciate the fact that when someone needs something, our community rallies together and helps each other out. I have never seen a community like ours. We don’t even have to know who the family might be. If they need something, we are ready and willing to put a fundraising benefit together at any given moment.
I love the fact that whether I am at the mall or at a school function, I always run into someone that I know. The only blood relatives I have here are my children, but I feel like I have more family than anyone in the world right here in Rock Springs. Like the saying goes, “you don’t have to be blood to be family”.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Work hard, play even harder, and enjoy every moment of life.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
The Sweetwater Events Complex. There is always something going on out there. Whether it is horse shows, motocross racing, home and holiday shows, home and garden shows, or my personal favorite, Wyoming’s Big Show, it’s always fun at the complex.
Whether you are volunteering or just hanging out there, it is always fun. I love being out there during the fair and working with the artists and their bands. It’s always a great time.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
I would rather drive a car. I have recently undergone 2 back surgeries since November 5, 2018, and had 3 disks fused. So for now, a car is the best way to travel for me.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
Well, I sing quite a bit at karaoke night, as my Husband is Kevin Kolar with Turn up the Volume DJ/Karaoke Services. So, I do sing quite a bit. I would sing any Chris Ledoux song with Kevin.
How would your friends describe you?
Very outgoing, always having fun, always looking for the next place to take a vacation to. Always the first in line to pay it forward.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
My greatest accomplishments are my amazing children and grandchildren. They are my life.
The other greatest accomplishment is to be able to pay it forward. My son and I didn’t have much at first when my first husband died. We got help from locals in Gallatin, Tennessee. I always said, when I am able to help people, I will.
Since living in Rock Springs, I have been able to help a lot of people and it feels amazing to do so. I was able to help four families this Christmas season!
I have also taught my granddaughter to pay it forward as well. A couple of years ago, she won a bike through the Bike and Bears giveaway. She already had a bike so that was a couple of years old, so she chose to keep her bike and donate the brand new bike to the fire department for the toys for tots.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
I continue to live in Wyoming because my children and grandchildren live here, and I couldn’t imagine being away from them. My work and business is here, as well as my husband’s business.
Rock Springs is an amazing community with it’s giving and caring people. The people of Rock Springs are who also keep me here. I love Rock Springs and I won’t be going away any time soon!
Do you have someone you think would be great for our WHYoming interviews? Let us know!