Progress: Downtown Dillon

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Progress: Snapshot in Time 2014
Downtown Dillon
Our Community’s Heart
Progress: Snapshot in Time” is a four-part series specially produced by the Dillon Tribune to celebrate our local economy in the second decade of the 21st century. The entire series, which will be published over the next few weeks, will constitute a single product that we believe will not only be a nice addition to any coffee table, but will also be “a keeper,” right along with the family scrapbooks and photo albums. nty Cou This week’s issue, “Downtown Dillon: Our ead rh ve a e Community’s Heart,” will be followed March 26
by “Welcome: Dillon’s Booming South Entrance.” On April 2, we will issue “Community Development: Expansions Signal Economic Health,” and on April 9, the series will wrap up with “Life on the Land: Agriculture Continues to Drive Economy.” We hope you enjoy “Progress: Snapshot in Time” as part of your Dillon Tribune. A limited number of extra copies are also available for sale for as long as the supply Cour tho use lasts. •1 88 —Dick Crockford, Publisher
Price $3.00 (all 4 sections)
Great Harvest builds community ................ 3 Old building gets new life .............................. 4 Outlet store expands ........................................7 Microbrewer gets ready to tap ..................... 9
Medical supply enjoys growth.................... 11 Commercial units continue to move ..........12 Silent investor boosts town ..........................14 Building dresses up downtown ...................15
2 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
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Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 3
Downtown anchor
The Great Harvest Franchising Offices, located at the corner of South Montana Street and Glendale Street, is a solid anchor of the downtown Dillon business district. The corporate headquarters of the company has in recent years been renovated and houses 38 employees for a company that did $100 million in gross sales last year. Director of Bakery Logistics and Training Janet Tatarka, pictured above, was the 14th employee hired and is in her 23rd year with the company. She ranks fourth in seniority with Great Harvest, illustrating the low turnover rate within the company. J.P. Plutt photo
Great Harvest is great partner for Dillon
By J.P. Plutt Dillon Dillon Tribune staff The community of Dillon became nervous back in 2001 when the founders of Great Harvest Bread Franchising sold to a group from North Carolina. The locals were concerned that the company would relocate and take with it good paying jobs and an economy stabilizing cornerstone to downtown Dillon. Eventually, the new owners, headed by Great Harvest CEO Mike Ferretti, determined that Dillon was the only place for the company and have committed to Dillon as a long-term stakeholder. “It is a large part of the fiber of who we are,” said Ferretti on the link between company and community. “At the end of the day Great Harvest Franchising is a very special consulting company. We teach people how to run a Great Harvest Bakery and support them as they do that.” According to Director of Baker Logistics and Training Janet Tatarka, those bakeries number over 220 and are located in 46 states across the country. Each bakery features Montana wheat in their product. “We are not manufacturing wickets, we are manufacturing intellectual property and that is only as good the people doing it,” Ferretti said. “It is important that we are all happy there and we have made a choice that that is where we want to be.” Ferretti says the only sign that the committment isn’t 100% is the fact that he lives on the east coast to be closer to his family, but still, he estimates he is in Dillon about half the year. In pursing the purchase of Great Harvest Franchising from Pete and Laura Wakeman, the founders and original owners of the company, Ferretti and his group that included eventual Chairman of the Board and majority stock holder Nido Qubein, recognized a win-win opportunity. “We saw it as a socially responsible, profitable business and it has proven to be of those things,” revealed Ferretti. “It has allowed us to develop a very good corporate citizen that we think is a great example of how you can involve yourself in a community, give back to it and be a help and not a hindrance. “And frankly, it does make money.” The company did around $100 million in
Our daily bread
Great Harvest Bread Company CEO Mike Ferretti and Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ron de Young chat in the Dillon Great Harvest bakery during de Young’s visit to the business in September 2013. J.P. Plutt photo
gross sales last year and has become proactive in recruiting new franchise owners. “In an ideal world, we would like to be opening anywhere from 20 to 24 stores per year,” said Tatarka. “Right now, we’re opening about 10 to 12 stores per year, but we’re trying to put some things in place so that we can get to that other number.” Tatarka, who was the 14th employee hired by the company and has been with Great Harvest for 23 years, can remember when people were knocking the doors down to get an opportunity to own a Great Harvest Franchise. “We have got to do a better job of getting ourselves out there in front of people,” said Tatarka. Changing social trends have also become a challenge. Gluten free diets have challenged the long-time chart topper of the Great Harvest menu – whole wheat bread. “You’ve got to stay true to who you are as a company,” said Tatarka. “We are a whole grain company. What you have seen from us primarily is whole wheat. We have been working with the State of Montana and looking at pulse flowers – lentils, fava
beans, garbanzo beans and peas. “Can we take those grains somehow and make a bread out of it? We don’t know, but we’re willing to play with it a little bit.” “We acknowledge that gluten free is a big thing out there,” admitted Tatarka. “Is there a small portion of our line-up that needs to be focus on gluten free? Certainly it does, but at the same time we make phenomenal bread and we don’t want to lose sight of that. So we will continue to do research and development on that.” To that end, Great Harvest has hired a corporate chef who will explore recipes of both whole wheat and pulse flower varieties. Scott Molyneaux, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with experience in high-end restaurants and specialty stores, will take to the lab in an attempt to find that next, big thing. “Scott’s primary role is looking at and following those trends and then figuring out how we can stay in front of those and what kind of products we can offer to help us meet those needs, but again staying true to who we are as a whole grain bread company,” explained Tatarka. Great Harvest is committed to remaining a vital business, according to Tatarka. That commitment includes a solid relationship with the community where corporate headquarters stand. “We got to a place where we looked at the building and it definitely needed some work,” recalled Tatarka. “We bought this building in 1991 and there was a little renovation done at that point, and then nothing had been done. If you take this building away from downtown, that has a very negative impact on the community. So that was a huge driving force of a threeyear renovation plan to improve the space and keep the building in downtown Dillon here on this corner.” “We had a very conscious decision to stay in that building in Dillon, Montana,” said Ferretti. “We considered a number of options, including building a new building in the area, but we plowed a lot of money into that building. “We want to continue to grow and be healthy,” continued Ferretti on the future of Great Harvest. “We truly want to keep doing what we do – we do it very well.”
4 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
Re-booted One of Dillon’s oldest buildings enters a new phase of life
By M.P. Regan Dillon Tribune staff You may need to step back outside after you head into Atomic 79 Boots and Western Gear and check to make sure you did indeed just walk into the building at the corner of North Montana and Center Streets in downtown Dillon. Originally constructed in 1880, the structure underwent such a swift and effective makeover in just the past few months, it seems like a whole new place. “We worked night and day,” said Dan Schwarz, owner of the just opened Atomic 79 and the longtime local business Schwarz Custom Boots, which are now being made and sold on the premises. “My wife, Julia, and daughter Keni Crane and I would show up in the morning, and then my daughter and son-in-law, who own Abacus Electric, and son-in-law, who’s a carpenter, would show up in the evening to work after their day jobs,” said Schwarz, of the wind-sprint of a renovation, the majority of which did not get going until mid-January. “We had some help from contractors on a few things, like the sidewalks out front and floor refinishing. But most of everything you see was pretty much all done by the family.” And many of the new features you see are actually original features of one of Dillon’s oldest brick structures brought back to the fore by the renovation. The original maple floors now show and shine, with the carpet that covered them removed and the floors refinished so well they looked like a basketball court to Dan, who installed the backboard he found at Gracie’s on the wall above the cash register. Long hidden, the original brick walls can now be seen, inside and out. “They were pretty much all covered by plaster. We scraped and brushed and dusted and scraped and brushed and dusted, over and over, to get it down to the brick,” revealed Dan. The new paint job on the high, ornate tin ceiling now draws the eye up to admire its details and help you recognize just how high those ceilings are. New lighting and new front windows from Beaverhead Glass help illuminate the space and many of the buildings unique and long buried details, like brick interior archways in the back, that have reemerged with the renovation. “This is beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” declared Celinda Porterfield, a local customer who stopped into the store last week. “We’ve tried to achieve it with some new to go with the old,” said Julia Schwarz, whose family contributed an antique food display case from her brother-in-law’s family grocery store in Idaho, and a glass case from her great- grandfather’s Texaco station to the area around the cash register. “The brackets and shelves that hold all the boots—we made those. Dan put the metal together, we cut the wood and sanded it. But then you turn around and there’s barn wood.” “My brother farms over in eastern Montana and gave us a pickup load of barn wood, so we used a lot of barn wood trim,” said Dan, who noted that the space also features oak, cedar and cherry, local fir boards from Allen Nygren, to go along with the maple. The store’s Western product line adds to the great visuals. Atomic 79 sells quality goods from wellregarded North American companies, including: vests and coats from Schaefer; cowboy hats by Serratelli Hat Company; and money clips, buckles, earrings, bracelets and cufflinks by Vogt Silver. The shop also features a lot of boots, including pairs by Cow Town, Olathe, Hondo, Nick’s, Stallion and Lucchese. Schwarz Custom Boots are, of course, also available, though demand for the leather footwear handmade by Dan, Julia and Keni has grown so intense you may have to wait a while between getting measured for your boots and pulling them on. “There is always a demand for quality. All the boots in our shop will last you a long, long time and are fully repairable and serviceable,” said Schwarz, who also performs repairs on boots and most other leather products. Dan Schwarz got into the business of repairing and making high-quality boots almost by accident. Leaving the ranch in Malta where he spent his childhood with his father, the ranch’s foreman, Schwarz came to Dillon in 1979 to attend Western Montana College and study industrial arts. But ranch life drew him back, and he soon found himself working for a Beaverhead County rancher. Over the course of the next two decades, he came to own his cows himself, before buying Blacktail Bootery, the Dillon boot repair shop on Idaho Street owned by Butch Leonard that had once been known as Fred’s Boot and Shoe Repair. “At the time, I had a small ranch leased and was complaining about cow prices, and Butch basically said, ‘why don’t you sell your cows and buy my boot shop,” recalled Schwarz of the 1998 conversation that led to his career shift. “That was in September, and by January I owned the boot shop.” Schwarz found repairing and selling leather boots a much more stable calling than ranching. “As long as there are cows and grass, there will be cowboys, and cowboys need boots,” said Schwarz, who along with Keni, then in high school, got a crash course in boot repair from Leonard. Schwarz and his daughter then moved into boot making, slowly and surely learning the art, and then becoming masters of it, as has Julia. They even teach a course in the art of boot making. Held four times a year, the course tutors a small group of students for 12 hours a day, six days a week, for two weeks. “We have two kinds of students,” said Dan, who has seen about thirty pupils come through the course so far, “those that go on to build boots for profit and those that come to learn as a sort of working vacation, make a pair of boots and go home.” As the Schwarzs’ boot-making skills
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and reputation enhanced, more and more people around Beaverhead County began coming to them for custom-made boots. And then word drifted out to the rest of the world and more orders began coming in from as far away from Europe and Australia. The far-ranging popularity of the Schwarz Custom Boots helped lead to the business relocating to its current location, which is owned by John Cieslowski. “John came through here on a fishing trip and came into the boot shop. We became acquaintances, and then good friends. In 2001, he phoned up and said he and some buddies wanted boots but didn’t all have time to travel out to Montana. He asked if Keni and I would be interested in coming to New York City. “It was just going to be a half dozen of them. But by the time we got there, he and his friends had been talking to other people about our boots and we ended up with 20 custom orders in one shot.” Cieslowski subsequently bought the building at Center and North Montana, but only after Dan agreed to move Schwarz Custom Boots into the space. “He didn’t buy the building until we agreed to put our business in here,” said Schwartz, who moved Schwarz Custom Boots from its previous location on North Montana Street in January. “We’ve gone from about 700 feet square feet to almost 3,000,” laughed Dan. “I get tired now when I walk from the office in back to the front.” Schwarz and his wife and daughter see their suddenly much larger business space as part of a larger movement going on in downtown Dillon, where a number of older buildings have recently undergone renovations to accommodate new businesses. “Agriculture will always be the number one business in this area,” said Julia. “But we’re really excited to be part of the positive changes going on in Dillon.
Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 5
If the boot fits...
Dan Schwarz stands with daughter Keni Crane and wife Julia inside their Atomic 79 Boots and Western Gear store, which opened recently in downtown Dillon. M.P. Regan photo
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By J.P. Plutt Dillon Tribune staff The Patagonia Outlet in Dillon moved to its present location at 16 S. Idaho Street in 2013. The move down the street from a former location gave the store more room and a reason to invest in the building, since the new address included a status change from renter to owner. “We needed more room and we actually own this building so it has been nice, it has been a good move for us,” said Patagonia Assistant Manager Peggy Hoffmann, a seven-year employee. “We’ve gotten a lot of compliments from people with the way the store looks. We kept the old look to the building.” The old look includes refurbished wood on the floor and ceilings and an open space in the retail area. Out front, the removal of the old facade led to the discover of a store sign painted on the brick – Dillon Cash Grocery. The artwork of days gone by became incorporated into the new store front. The Patagonia Outlet sells outdoor clothing. The company is also known for outdoor gear including backpacks, bags, and gear for climbing, ski/snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing and trail running. The company has a major presence within the environmental community.
Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 7
Dillon Patagonia Outlet Assistant Manager Peggy Hoffmann is shown on the floor of the outdoor clothing outlet at the new Dillon store in the photo above, while the picture below shows the storefront at 16 S. Idaho Street. J.P. Plutt photos
“We get a lot of travelers going up and down I-15,” said Hoffmann of the outlet’s clientele. “We get a lot from Bozeman, Missoula, Idaho Falls. All over really.” The Dillon store is one of only five Patagonia Outlets nationwide. The other outlet stores are at Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno, Nev.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Freeport, Maine. In addition to the outlets, there are 25 other retail locations for Patagonia products of some kind. “I think it is the name recognition,” offered Hoffmann of the stores success in Dillon. “We always get the question, how did it end up in Dillon, Montana, this small town?” The answer, according to Hoffmann, is that company founder and owner Yvon Chouinard used to come fishing in southwestern Montana and liked the area enough to make an investment. “So he decided to stick one here and 21 years later we’re still here,” Hoffmann revealed.
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Beaverhead Brewing Company on tap in Dillon
By M.P. Regan Dillon Tribune staff Beaverhead Brewing Company represents a homecoming for owner Brett Maki and part of a revival of downtown Dillon’s traditional architecture, as well as another potential key piece of its future. A 1996 graduate of Beaverhead County High School, Maki will this spring begin brewing Dillon’s own commercial beers at his Beaverhead Brewing Company in the South Montana Street building now in the midst of extensive renovations. “We always wanted to move back to Dillon, but there were not a lot of professional opportunities here,” said Maki, who graduated from Beaverhead County High School in 1996, attended Concordia College in Morehead, Minn., married fellow Dillonite Dr. Anna Loge in 2001, and then moved to Seattle. Anna getting hired as an internist at Barrett Hospital & Healthcare enabled the couple to return to Dillon in June 2011, when Maki decided to make his own opportunity. He realized he could apply the skills and knowledge he’d learned working in the brewing industry while living in Seattle to starting a brewery in Dillon. “Once we moved back to Dillon, I thought there might be a need for something new and different in town,” revealed Maki, who said that prior to Prohibition starting in 1920, just about every town in Montana had its own brewery. “We don’t have grandiose ideas of becoming the next Pyramid Breweries,” said Maki, of the wildly successful brewing company with a number of locations in the Northwest and worldwide distribution. “This is about making a good quality beer for local folks.” Maki’s learning curve for brewing actually passed through Pyramid’s Seattle operation, where he started working in January 2002 and learned many of the basics and particulars of the art of brewing—and where he was eventually put in charge of brewing Pyramid’s Thomas Kemper Soda. In June 2004, Maki moved across town from the large-scale of Pyramid to a startup company, Georgetown Brewing Company, where he became head brewer within three months. Maki said that he learned many different things working for a small startup and a large, established business, but took away a basic truth from both about brewing. “I really learned about the simplicity of good beer—the simplicity of its ingredients and how to focus on what the consumer likes, which is a good clean beer.” Maki plans to brew five or six beers year-round at Beaverhead Brewing. He’ll probably start with a pale ale, and plans to then brew an American pilsner, a Belgian white, an IPA, a porter and dark lager, as well as at least a half dozen seasonal beers. Those beers will be made in large tanks, some as big as 620 gallons, moved into the brewery last month. The size of the biggest tanks, which will weigh more than three tons when full, made finding a location in Dillon for the brewery a little tricky. “We really wanted to be somewhere in the downtown vicinity,” said Maki, who searched with his parents-in-law, Charlene and Dr. Ron Loge, who eventually bought the building Beaverhead Brewing is leasing from them. “We probably looked at every building for rent or for sale in downtown Dillon.” Maki and the Loges finally chose the building at 218 S. Montana St. that served as the former home of Hillary’s Dance Studio. The location fit the downtown requirement, and the building does not have a full basement, which means its floors will have an easier time holding up the massive tanks. Though those floors still required an additional six inches of concrete poured on top of their existing four to six inches of concrete. Maki and the Loges are overseeing numerous other renovations on the building, which, according to Beaverhead County Museum Director Lynn Giles, was originally built just under a hundred years ago for a car dealership. “My father-in-law and I took out all the walls and pretty much everything else we could take out,” said Maki, who credited Ron Loge with pulling all the old nails out of the pulled-out two-by-fours and two-bysixes so the wood could be repurposed, along with the fir paneling and the old dance floor, which has been made into table tops in the brewery. “We’ve tried to re-salvage as much of the building as possible and use as many
Brett Maki is getting closer to brewing commercial beer at Beaverhead Brewing Company. The brewery is being established on South Montana Street.
J.P. Plutt photo
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10 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
High energy property
Cindy Wood teaches a dance lesson at her studio at 120 North Montana Street. The building was renovated by out-of-town investors. The property includes two rental housing units on the second floor. At street level, 250 students liven the block as they come and go from the studio, with some attending as many as eight classes a week. “I think it does bring a little bit of energy,” said Wood. “I know that a lot of traffic comes through here everyday.”. J.P. Plutt photo
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the brewery’s products between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. And serve as a place where people can gather and talk of Dillon’s past and its future. “It’s really great being back in Dillon,” said Maki, who along with his wife has a six-year-old son named Zach and a daughter, Amelia, aged 3. “Since we’ve moved back, we’ve seen quite a few old friends who have also come back to Dillon.”
Maki, who hired, among others, Pierce Rouse for the masonry, West Electric for a lot of the electric, Dan Cypher for the plumbing, Kim Baker for the rebuild, and Mike Connors to do a lot of trim and detailed woodworking, as well as to build a bar top. That bar top will be the centerpiece of the Beaverhead Brewing Company’s tasting room, where people will soon be able to gather to look at the renovated interiors and sample up to 48 ounces of
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Brett Maki completes assembly of the brewing equipment that arrived last month destined for the Beaverhead Brewery. J.P. Plutt photo
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Dillon Medical Supply – dresses for success
By J.P. Plutt Dillon Tribune staff Helen Edwards started Dillon Medical Supply, a respiratory care business, working out of her house. After a successful 16 years, she looked to expand the product line and opted for a downtown Dillon location. “We needed a presence and a store and place for our delivery truck,” recalled Edwards of a location search that ended in 1999 at 19 E. Sebree where an automobile repair shop once operated. Edwards’ extensive renovation of the property split the building into two stores, one of which she rents to the investment firm Edward Jones. “We didn’t think we needed all of the space, so we saved the best half for our renter,” said Edwards. “Edward Jones has been our renter all along, They have their own off-street parking and we have a great, professional relationship.” The garage for the delivery truck splits the building. Dillon Medical Supply now offers a full line of durable medical equipment including beds, lifts, canes, braces, wheel chairs, crutches, and even a diet program. Edwards took a hands on approach in the renovation process. She balanced a number of factors as she researched the look she wanted to present to potential clients. “I looked and looked because I wanted awnings and I wanted to keep with Dillon and I wanted it to be professionally pleasing,” recalled Edwards. “ I always thought that if you look successful, you’ll be successful. Edwards has a preference for brick and the exterior reflects that taste. Oak is the dominant look on the interior. Edwards is now a mentor in the business and looks forward to simply being a grandmother. Jenn Morrisroe, Edwards’ daughter, is learning the family business with an eye towards taking over leadership of the company. Jenn is just coming off maternity leave, and will soon run the store.
Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 11
Family affair
Jenn Morrisroe is learning the family business from her mother Helen Edwards and will soon be running the show at Dillon Medical Supply. Edwards began the business as a home operation, eventually improving a downtown Dillon property to house DMS and long-time renter Edward Jones Investments. J.P. Plutt photo
12 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
Risk manager
Dr. John Paul Micha, pictured above, opened a solo practice in Newport Beach, Calif., almost 30 years ago that he built into the largest gynecological oncologist practice on the west coast of the U.S. Micha retired from the operating room by 2012 and instead runs the business end of the practice and research foundation. Tired of putting retirement money into pension funds that returned very little, Micha opted to invest in Dillon and purchased three buildings – The Dilmart, the Turret Building and the D.I. Building. Alll three were in need of renovation, an opportunity Micha approached using local contractors and materials. MIcha’s investment idea looks at the Dillon investment as a 20 to 30 year plan, in which he has invested pension money with the hope of a 5 to 5 1/2 percent return. In the photo above, Micha is shown on Idaho Street in front of the Dilmart Building in July of 2012 shortly after closing on the Dilmart purchase. All three properties Micha purchased are on Idaho Street. J.P. Photo
Manager reports commercial and rental is moving fast
By J.P. Plutt Dillon Tribune staff Chip Rule, a broker for Guardian Real Estate of Dillon, has become Dr. John Paul Micha’s point person on the property management front. From Rule’s perspective, Micha’s plan is falling into place with both the commercial and apartment rental units getting occupied nearly as fast as they are available. Traditionally, commercial property is the tough nut to crack in Dillon, but the market has been strong according to Rule. Of all of the commercial spots available in the three Micha buildings, only one spot remains open. The Dilmart building (or Andrus Plaza) has all commercial space rented. The users are The Dilmart, Thomas and Co. Jewelers, Guardian Real Estate, and The Art Scene. The Turret Building, just north of the Dilmart is fully rented with the upstairs apartment taken and the downstairs rented by Diamond K Trading Co., an apparel and boot store. The DI Building, at the corner of North Idaho Street and Center Street has become a thriving center of Dillon’s craft and hobby business. Businesses renting space include Mountain Man Pottery, Brit’s Bake Shop, No. I Ladies Quilt Sop, Veva la Stitch, The Daily Yarn, Rockin’ R Mercantile, Spark into Motion, Pioneer P.R. and Development, and Kreg T. Jones Architect. The DI Building has one vacant commercial space available. Likewise, the apartment rental units are filled as soon as they become available. Seven of the 14 Dilmart apartments have been renovated and all seven have been rented. In the DI Building, eight of the 11 units have been remodeled and all eight have been rented. “Rents did increase based on the investment made,” said Rule. “We have some apartments that the rents have not raised at all, and we have others where a substantial amount of work was done and the rents were increased accordingly.” Rule said that four of the DI Building apartments were remodeled with a highend clientele in mind. “The plan has come together very well,” said Rule of Micha’s investment. “All of our commercial spaces are occupied except one, and we have 100 percent occupied on our remodeled units. Dr. Micha is very happy with the way the projects are going.” Rule said the mix of renters includes college students, college professors, business owners, “a good mix,” according to Rule.
Commercial property ace
Chip Rule, a broker at Guardian Real Estate, reports the investment in three Dillon buildings by Dr. John Paul Micha is at this point looking good with nearly 100 percent occupancy in commercial and apartment rentals. J.P. Plutt photo
Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 13
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14 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
Owl Tree, a silent investor, fixing Dillon up
By J.P. Plutt Dillon Tribune staff Vana Taylor of Taylor Realty earns high scores for her discretion with an out-of-state investor who buys property in Dillon, fixes it up, and then rents the improved property. She would not even give up the name of the company that owns five properties in Dillon that she manages. According to Beaverhead County Clerk and Recorder Debbie Scott, the properties are owned by Owl Tree with an address in Bozeman. The Montana address is that of the investor’s attorney. “He likes Dillon really well and when he saw some of these buildings that needed repair, he thought he could fix them up, rent them and make downtown Dillon more attractive.” The company owns the building on 33 East Helena that currently houses Hub Insurance, it owns the property at 31 E. Bannack formerly occupied by Freshwater Studio, the building on North Montana that is home to Verizon Cellular, and the vacant building adjacent to the north, and the building that houses a salon at 18 S. Montana Street next to the Dillon Tribune. Owl Tree recently sold yet another building to Beaverhead Brewing Company, with the property deeded to the Loge’s, according to the county record keeper.
A branch of the tree
Owl Tree, a private company that invests in Dillon property and renovates it, owns five properties in Dillon such as the building above on East Helena Street that is occupied by Hub Insrance. J.P. Plutt photo
The brewery needed a building with a concrete floor and not a basement, to support the weight of the various brewing vats. “His philosophy is to own a quality building that has some presentation that goes with that time period,” said Taylor of the investor. “He tries to keep the integrity of the building as much as he can.” Taylor says a renovation project will typically include news glass and doors, a new heating system and floors. “He makes it more user friendly with the electricity, heating, efficiency windows –that is the kind of stuff he likes to do,” said Taylor. “He came out here years ago and he likes southwestern Montana. He wanted to invest in Dillon.”
Since 1917
•Lumber •Hardware •Plywood •Siding •Plumbing Supplies •Electrical Supplies •Sheetrock •Countertops •Paint •Windows •Molding •Doors •Tools •Glass •Roofing •Cement •Insulation
Big art
Since 1917
•Paneling •Kitchen Cabinets •Vanities
Friendly & Helpful Service
Dillon Bar owner Beverley Ranno and her husband John have made extensive renovations to the historic tavern and hotel, both on the interior and exterior. John wanted to retire to Montana to, you guessed it – fish. Beverley wanted to stay active so in August of 2012 they compromised and purchased the business and have been continually improving the property since. J.P. Plutt photo
302 N. Montana • Dillon • 683-5521
Welborn’s Best of the West looks good on Dillon
By J.P. Plutt Dillon Tribune staff Corinne Welborn changed the colonial style of her two buildings on South Montana Street to a look she feels represents Dillon and her business in a more appropriate image. “They were a colonial style before and I really didn’t think it looked like Dillon, and it didn’t really look like what i thought my image was for my real estate office,” said Welborn. “Best of the West has always been about the best that Montana has to offer, so cowboys and fly fishing is the WELBORN look that I was after.” Welborn first remodeled the look of the building with her real estate business, and when she could afford to, made the same type of renovations to the adjoining building that she owns, and rents to LeCense Beef and Comprehensive Hearing Services. “My attitude has always been, I’ve done it more for my clients than for me,” revealed Welborn. “I think they feel good when they come into a place that looks good and looks pretty, and it looks like you’re going to take care of them. “I think it gives people confidence. I’ve tried to make all of my offices look like real, comfortable, homey places.”
Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon| 15
Looking for a win-win
Dillon real estate broker Corinne Welborn feels it important for her clients to feel confident when they enter her office. Welborn says she has invested in the ambiance of her space to set her customers at ease with a comfortable, relaxed feel Welborn’s investment has dressed up her properties on South Montana Street. J.P. Plutt photo
Thank you Dillon for helping make our first year a great success!
• Groceries • Huge Wine Selection • Full Service Pharmacy • Bakery • Floral Department • Great Magazine Selection • Full Deli • Meat Department • Stockman Bank Branch
110 Southside Blvd, Dillon, MT • 406-683-8267 •
16 | Dillon Tribune Progress Edition 2014 • Downtown Dillon
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