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Business Buzz: New Missoula brewery, food truck locater, financing help

Business Buzz: New Missoula brewery, food truck locater, financing help


Here's some business news in the Missoula area:

An in-the-works new brewery in Missoula is on pace to start canning in December, hosting tastings and perhaps, eventually, live music.

"Tonal Brewing is a 10bbl independent craft brewery located in the beautiful valley of Missoula, Montana," owner Tim Graham said. "We're focused on our customers and making their craft beverage experience a great one. We are currently in the advanced planning stage."

He and his wife purchased the old Missoula Winery and Events Center on W. Harrier Drive and are in the process of tweaking it to fit their needs.

"It's a really great space," he said. "We've got a nice outside area. It's nice and quiet and comfortable for families and other people who want to get away. We're looking at doing some events and outdoor music and that kind of thing. A lot of people know this space."

Graham said he's been looking at starting a brewery for the past four or five years after traveling the western U.S. and bringing back beer to share with friends. 

"We're wanting our beer to be really high quality," he said. "There's a lot of great breweries in Missoula, and we want to make sure we're up there with where other places are before we have our big grand opening."

Graham was a part of the Minneapolis music scene in the '90s and has a passion for photography. He said the name Tonal Brewing references music and vision and art and color.

"That's kind of a base of what we're about, trying new things and new flavors and being open to different ideas," he said.

A new Instagram account called @foodtrucklocator.missoula is updated daily to show the locations of all the mobile vendors. Anyone who has trouble remembering where Iron Cakes or Big Thai Country are parked on certain days can now rest easy.

The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce has a survey to get data on the current state of child care options in Missoula. The Chamber launched this survey in late July and has one more week of collecting responses. The survey can be found on its Facebook page or at this link:

With the expiration of the Paycheck Protection Program earlier this month, a new U.S. Small Business Administration program is now available to help small businesses amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Advantage Recovery Loan (CARL) Program provides loans with free consulting aimed at helping businesses through the economic downturn. Benefits of the program include fast availability of funds for approved borrowers and the first six months of payments being forgiven.

The CARL Program is a pilot program to increase access to Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans in under-served areas across the country. Loans of up to $250,000 are available through the program, with funds available in 10 business days or less. With the first six months of payments forgiven, business owners receiving funds in August wouldn’t have loan payments until March. The program is only available for a limited time, however, and loans must be approved by Sept. 27, 2020. Businesses can access the program through MoFi, a community-based lender that specializes in helping those not served by traditional financial institutions.

“As small businesses across the Northern Rockies and Inland Northwest continue to feel the impact of the pandemic, this new SBA program is a great option to help with their financial recovery,” said Dave Glaser, president of MoFi. “The Paycheck Protection Program allowed many businesses across the region to keep their employees on payroll through spring and early summer. Now, this program can help them pivot to the future.”

Technical assistance that comes with Community Advantage Recovery Loans is free and can be used to help small businesses:

  • Retool their business model for the COVID-19 environment
  • Shift to an online presence
  • Build cash reserves
  • Strategize to reduce expenses, and more

To access the program through MoFi, businesses must be located in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Eastern Washington (Asotin, Spokane and Whitman Counties) or Eastern Oregon (Malheur County).

For more information about the CARL Program or to apply for a loan, contact MoFi at 844-728-9234 or visit

The University of Montana offers a unique opportunity for students to expedite and complete their degree in only three years. The Degree in 3 Program at UM allows students a cost-effective way to shorten their path to graduation, and to enter the work-force or start graduate/professional programs earlier. This is the full bachelor’s degree, but completed more efficiently.

UM currently offers seven different degree options through the Degree in 3 Program, with more coming soon.

  1. Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies 
  2. Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
  3. Bachelor of Science, Marketing 
  4. Bachelor of Science, Accounting
  5. Bachelor of Science, Finance 
  6. Bachelor of Science, Management Information Systems
  7. Bachelor of Science, Management and Entrepreneurship 

Estimated cost savings for students who participate in the Degree in 3 program are outlined here:

All students are welcome and encouraged to explore this program. Students entering UM with college equivalent credits earned through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Dual Enrollment, Running Start or other similar programs are particularly well positioned to complete Degree in 3. Students entering without college equivalent credits can complete the three-year option by taking summer session courses each year. It is highly recommended that students interested in the Degree in 3 Program participate in Summer Start at UM to get a fast start on success. 

For more information, please contact the Office for Student Success at 406-243-2800 or

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