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Liqour licenses

Brittni Repnak pours a cocktail at the now-closed Fusion Grille in Helena in 2015. Capped by Montana’s quota system, economic gains are driving up the price of liquor licenses.

Here's a look at some of the business news in the Missoula area:

More liquor licenses are coming to Missoula. The Montana Department of Revenue's Alcoholic Beverage Control Division will open bidding July 31 for five new alcohol licenses available in Missoula and Bozeman. That's due to population increases, according to Revenue spokesperson Sanjay Talwani. Many businesses, especially restaurants, cite the lack of available liquor licenses in Missoula when deciding to open or expand here.

The available licenses are as follows:

• Missoula: one all-beverage floater license, one beer license, and one restaurant beer and wine license

• Bozeman: one all-beverage floater license, one beer license

A “floater” license allows the applicant to purchase, subject to department approval, an existing all-beverage license from an area that is above its quota for that license and float it into the area that is below quota.

Four more licenses will be available at a later date in Missoula and Bozeman: one all-beverage floater license each; and in Helena, one beer license, and one restaurant beer and wine license.

The department reviewed the latest population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the availability of the licenses in these quota areas.

These licenses are all subject to the competitive bidding process. The highest bidder of each license will be granted the opportunity to apply for the license.

Bids must be submitted electronically to the department. The electronic form (Retail Alcoholic Beverage Competitive Bid Form) will be available beginning July 31 and can be found at https://app.mt.gov/myrevenue/.

To submit a bid, the bidder must complete and submit the electronic bid form, pay a $100 processing fee plus service charges, and attach an irrevocable letter of credit from a financial institution for at least the bid amount.

Visit the department’s website at mtrevenue.gov or contact the agency's call center at 406-444-6900 for more information including the minimum bid amount for each license.

For the second year running, First Montana Bank has been awarded the Forbes Best-In-State Bank distinction, placing FMB in the top three of Montana for 2019. In 2018, First Montana Bank was the only bank so recognized in the state of Montana.

Forbes has partnered with market research powerhouse Statista to conduct their second annual independent survey of more than 25,000 customers in the US about their banking relationships. In the survey, consisting of 20 questions about their past and present customer experiences, banks were ranked on overall satisfaction, likelihood to recommend, trust, digital services, branch services and financial advice.

Among the three Montana financial institutions to appear on this year’s list, First Montana Bank is the lone small community bank and the only bank that operates solely within the state of Montana and is not publicly traded.

“Earning this prestigious distinction two years in a row is a tremendous honor, and it validates the efforts our employees put forth every day to keep the trust and confidence of our customers,” said president and CEO Adam McQuiston. “Our 106-year-old bank is considered small compared to the other financial institutions recognized by Forbes and we’re honored that our customers acknowledge our dedication to striking the ideal balance between providing the latest online and mobile technology while never sacrificing personal service and genuine caring for our customers’ financial goals.”

Of 5,400 banks in the United States, just 149 were named Best-In-State.

First Montana Bank was founded in 1913 in Libby, and is headquartered today in Missoula, with more than 80 staff and operating 10 branches in eight communities: Libby, Troy, Kalispell, Missoula, Anaconda, Butte, Bozeman and Helena (opening fall 2019). A full service bank, FMB provides consumer and commercial banking deposit and lending products and has more than $300 million in assets. First Montana Bank is rated “Outstanding” for community reinvestment by the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis.

The International Heart Institute inside St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula hosted the 29th annual Rocky Mountain Valve Symposium on July 18-19. The title and focus was “The Heart Team Approach to the Aortic Valve” and the program featured panel discussions, lectures, workshops and lab instruction.

“We are honored to host attendees from all over the U.S. and the world,” said Timothy Descamps of the IHI Foundation. “Hosting an event as large and complex as ‘Rocky’ takes the work of many people in the hospital.”

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