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

Two new restaurants recently opened in the Marriott Hotel in downtown Missoula that occupies the old Missoula Mercantile space on the corner of Higgins and Front.

Basal, a fast-casual salad bar, offers dishes like a smoked salmon salad with green olives, capers, eggs and champagne mustard. They also offer bone broth, espresso and other treats.

1889, a steak and seafood bar and restaurant, also opened last week. The restaurant has a full bar and is on the corner facing both Front and Higgins.

Two clothing stores, Olive and Iron and The Montana Scene, also opened in the ground floor of the hotel recently. Two other restaurants, Zoo Thai and The Camino, a Mexican restaurant and agave bar, are under construction.

The Montana High Tech Business Alliance has announced a list of eight Montana high-growth companies to watch in 2019, and it includes three Missoula companies.

“Montana’s 2019 high-growth companies are transforming a wide variety of sectors from health care, child care and financial services to construction and drones,” said Christina Henderson, executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. “The founders on this list bring a wealth of experience from around the globe, but have chosen Montana as the best place to launch their businesses."

Alter Enterprise offers custom IT services, and company founder Ryan Alter said they work closely with clients to produce solutions that can range from traditional IT services to cybersecurity.

Alter said the company has seen steady, significant growth over the last two years and continues to anticipate 40 percent growth over the next year, bringing their team up to 16. To help nurture potential future employees, Alter Enterprise is working with Missoula College to hire and train apprentices.

DataSmart Health Solutions uses sophisticated data analytics to help companies build the best benefits packages for their employees while saving them money. DSHS incorporates data from multiple sources, including human resources information, biometrics, questionnaires, and national health costs to identify employees and their family members who may have unidentified or unmanaged medical needs, such as depression.

Superior Traffic Services was founded in 2009. The construction tech company has built a system to manage portable traffic signals, message boards, and other construction zone traffic control equipment in real time. By providing a solution to automate traffic control in busy and rural construction zones, Superior helps make the road safer for drivers and workers.

Company CEO Jeff Hollenback said a local investor approached them out of the blue looking to fill their entire fund request of $2 million, which will go toward building more equipment. Hollenback said the investment will be well-spent, as every piece of equipment the company currently has is already out on job sites. 

Year over year, Superior has experienced about 50 percent growth in revenue, and anticipates 100% growth in 2019 and 2020.

"Each week, Montana companies announce substantial investments and hiring plans that promise to keep the trend of tech and manufacturing growth rising in the state," Henderson said.

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