CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Jamie Horsburgh wanted to leave her corporate job behind. Kelsey Muhlbach wanted to finally open up her own independent pharmacy after years in the field.
It turns out the sisters-in-law and Cheyenne residents just needed each other to help turn those aspirations into reality.
The pair share space on the bottom floor of the six-story Boyd Building on 1720 Carey Ave. in downtown Cheyenne, recently opening separate yet connected businesses that combine modern tastes and styles with the history of the century-old structure for a venture unique to the capital city.
Horsburgh’s business, The Boardroom, is part coffee shop, part ice cream parlor and part charcuterie kitchen that has small bites and sweet treats on offer. And just down the hall sits City Drug, Muhlbach’s business, which gives downtown-goers a nearby and privately owned pharmacy option that saves a trip to a chain store located miles away.
Together, the shops compliment each other well, with both owners saying they aimed for the feel of a vintage pharmacy where a patron could grab an ice cream cone with their prescription. And in a downtown area with businesses that often blend Cheyenne’s past with present-day trends, the Boardroom–City Drug combo feels right at home.
“This space became available and [Muhlbach] was like, ‘Let’s do it,'” Horsburgh said. “So I said, ‘Well, I know nothing about pharmacy,’ and she said, ‘Well, I know nothing about food service.’ So we split it in two and I took over and came up with The Boardroom. … I worked a corporate job for 18 years, so I thought The Boardroom would be fitting to kind of take me out of corporate America.”
The space is perhaps best known among longtime Cheyenne residents as the former home of the City News and Pipe Shop, a book and tobacco store that served downtown for nearly a half-decade before it closed its doors in 2018.
Take one look around the current premises, however, and it’s easy to tell that Muhlbach and Horsburgh took great care in honoring the building’s past. The City Drug section gives out free popcorn in homage to what City News did during its life as a tenant, while Muhlbach said that its neon sign at the corner of Carey Avenue and 18th Street is currently being remodeled to say “City Drug” with the aim to be installed by the beginning of Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Muhlbach said she started her career right out of high school at the now-closed Town and Country pharmacy in town, remarking that she appreciated the independent feel early on and formed relationships with patients along the way. Years later, she said those connections paid dividends in the formation of City Drug.
“For me, it’s just all about being able to take the time and talk to people,” Muhlbach said. “I don’t ever want to be rushed in what I do. Like, I sat down with a 93-year-old and had a root beer float the other day. … I’ve had this dream for quite a while and we kind of stumbled upon this space. Our landlord has been the greatest thing ever to help us with all of this, so we just built everything from the ground up and it’s been really good so far.”
Meanwhile, City Drug’s neighbor The Boardroom may get the bulk of the space’s upcoming Frontier Days traffic due to its summer-friendly coffee and ice cream offerings — especially due to the fact that Carey Avenue is right on the Grand Parade route.
No matter how many patrons show up, however, Horsburgh and her growing team of staff will be around to serve up scoops, sips and snacks. Typical favorite ice cream flavors like vanilla and chocolate are on offer, but so are options for adventurous customers, like Tincup whiskey with pistachio brittle or basil and blackberry swirl.
The modern-meets-classic flair across the two businesses feels minimalist yet full of personality. It’s an inviting atmosphere that both owners say is part of the point.
“We’ve already had quite a few tourists in and that’s probably my favorite part, just talking to people during the day and seeing where they came from, what they’ve done and then being able to suggest other places to go and other businesses to visit,” Horsburgh said. “It’s been the most genuine, warm welcome of people. … It’s just been better than I could have ever imagined, of how people have received us and shared us. And, I mean, we’ve only been open a week.”
Muhlbach echoed her sister-in-law’s statements about feeling quickly welcomed by the rest of the downtown community, feeling that the combination of businesses has worked out well thus far and that a prior network of patients has made the pharmacy’s beginning stages that much easier.
The nostalgia with a modern twist means little if the service isn’t up to par, however, and that’s a fact that both Horsburgh and Muhlbach realize. But in bringing a pair of local businesses to downtown, they hope that the community relationships they form only build upon the space’s approachable vibe for years to come.
“We’re just so happy to be here,” Muhlbach said. “But over everything, it’s just really caring about our patients. We just want to help people in any way we can and luckily coming into a space like this, it lets us focus more on the opportunity of how to help people versus trying to make ends meet.”