This #WyoStrong man isn't idly waiting for another boom

God, a will to survive, and the business knowledge required to adapt has led one Lander man from the oil fields to the restaurant business. Bruce Knell, a Lander native, used to run several successful oil field ventures in North Dakota: a trucking company, a pressure service and a painting business. At the peak of business, he employed more than 70 people, owned 30 trucks, and provided housing his employees (FEMA homes that he purchased from Texas) and saw revenues well into seven and eight figures. But in late 2013, oil prices tanked and Knell was forced to put his operations to rest. Two years later, things aren't looking any better. He still owns much of the equipment and the trucks; there's no market to sell to and no business to use them. In mid-2015 an opportunity presented itself to Knell. He was helping to repair the roof on an unoccupied convenience store that had taken several turns as restaurants. It was then the idea to start his restaurant began to formulate; and it all came together with the grand opening of the Mountain Neighborhood Bar & Grill on February 1, 2016. He used to work 14 hours a day in North Dakota. The grill keeps him busy to the tune of about 12 hours a day, but he's only seeing about 3 percent of the income. Knell describes it as a serious life adjustment, but he had to take care of his kids. "I had to find a way to survive and live in Lander," he said. Knell has brought some of his old oil field employees with him into his new venture. Two work for him now at the grill in the kitchen and behind the bar. He employs two others in spray foam insulation business that he owns. Part of what has led him to keep going is a desire to always be busy. Keeping multiple businesses operating does this for him. "I'm a business guy," he said. "My brain likes to work." Not wasting time and having a go-getting attitude is key to surviving the downturn, he said. But first and foremost, Knell credits all of his abilities, successes and failures to Jesus. His faith has been his "one constant" through the hard times. "I didn't have to do it alone," he said. Some day, Knell would like to get back to the oil fields, where his expertise lies and where he can employee people at high wages. #wyostrong #county10 #news #buckrail #reboot #springcity #dally #county17 #shortgo #oilcity #boostrapped