Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce president and C-E-O Dale Steenbergen says a generally strong and improving local economy has local merchants hoping for a strong Christmas shopping season this year.

Steenbergen says a low unemployment rate in the area combined with the emergence of the oil industry associated with the Niobrara oil play has contributed to a positive outlook among Cheyenne area merchants he has spoken with.

Steenbergen says the Christmas season is vitally important to the local economy, and is especially critical to retail outlets. He's asking Laramie County residents to support the local economy by doing their shopping in the Cheyenne area this year.