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Entries in Missoula economy (2)


Vann's loses lease, will close Missoula and Bitterroot stores

(MISSOULA)- Vann's is announcing plans to close its stores in Missoula and Hamilton after the company was unable to work out a deal to stay in their present locations. 

However, Vann's Acquisition LLC Chief Executive Office Greg Regelbrugge says the retailer still hopes to work out arrangements to return to both markets in the next future. 

Vann's Acquisition had purchased the locally-owned company from founder Pete Vann last year after he'd been forced to come back in and take over the struggling company, which was mired in debt. 

Since then, Regelbrugge says sales have been growing. But he says the company couldn't reach an agreement with Vann, who wanted to sell the stores in Missoula, Hamilton and Kalispell. 

Today Regelbrugge announced the company has been unable to reach agreement to extend the lease. Other attempts to move to a new location in North Reserve also haven't panned out. So Vann's will close in Hamilton by the end of this month, and by the end of May in Missoula. All of the company's business operations will move to Bozeman. 

Regelbrugge is still hopeful of making arrangements to keep the Kalispell operation open in a temporary location. The company's ON Store in the Southgate Mall will remain open. 


Report says Western MT economy still running slow

Report's authors say new operations at former Stimson mill site are a bright spot for Missoula economy(MISSOULA)- Western Montana's economy is still struggling according to the latest report from the University of Montana's latest report. But the outlook's authors say there are encouraging signs with momentum helping toward slower, steady recovery. 

The 2013 Economic Outlook is being discussed at seminars around the state this week, with Missoula's presentation set for Friday morning.

The researchers say their latest numbers show Montana's isn't "firing on all cylinders" and is still being impacted by the "fragile" conditions of the global economy. However there are bright spots. 

Statewide, the Eastern Montana economy is being helped by the Bakken oil boom, while some places like Bozeman and Kalispell have shown growth after taking an initial sharp hit at the start of the recession.

However, the report finds Missoula's economy is still "struggling", primarily because of the loss of key employers like Smurfit Stone. The researchers say recovery will depend on smaller progress, such as the new firms setting up shop at the old Stimson mill site in Bonner.

"Missoula has been the slowest to start to come around," Paul Polzin of the Montana Bureau of Business told KPAX TV. "That's because there have been permanent closures in our basic industries, wood products. The recession was also quite severe in Kalispell. But like Bozeman it did not effect other basic industries."