After nearly 30 years on the Hip Strip block in Missoula, Bathing Beauties Beads is moving to a new location. A marijuana dispensary offered the landlord more money for their current location at 501 S. Higgins.
But owner Katie Ghen-Simpson has a positive outlook on the situation because she found a new location in the Toole Crossing building. The address is 812 Toole Ave. Suite E, right behind Hunter Bay Coffee.
“I’m excited,” she said. “Toole Crossing has a beautiful space that offers me the opportunity to teach a lot more classes. We’ll have our own classroom space and a lot of bike and car parking. It has an amazing vibe in the neighborhood.”
Ghen-Simpson said her landlord, Kirk Duce, approached her recently saying that an offer for the space had come in from a marijuana company.
“Apparently, they offered three times as much for this space specifically,” Ghen-Simpson said. “So we had a respectful conversation. It’s a historic building that needs a lot of maintenance, and I know his property taxes have gone up.”
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The Hip Strip location is right on the corner, with high visibility and a new plaza constructed by the Montana Department of Transportation.
“It’s hard to move away from,” Ghen-Simpson said. “It’s really easy to get sad, despite all the good that comes from this, about the changes that are happening in Missoula. I won’t deny that. I’m all for cannabis being legal but a lot of them are taking the prime spots.”
Kirk Duce said no other tenants are moving out.
“Just that tenant,” he said. “The company moving in is called Montana Dispensary. They’re going to remodel that space.”
Ghen-Simpson said her new location will allow her to “do something bigger and better.”
“We love working with people in all types of mediums,” she said. “We do beadwork, metalwork and we’ll have a kiln running. The neighbors in the old space are amazing, but the neighbors in the new space are amazing and we look forward to that cultivation again.”
Ghen-Simpson said she’s hoping to have First Friday celebrations at the new spot and she’s had meetings with Draught Works brewery and Hunter Bay Coffee about collaborations. She’s proud of her success on the Hip Strip.
“We’ve played a huge role on the Hip Strip and we really look forward to the new location,” she said.