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Business Buzz: New soup and pizza restaurants in Missoula, distillery moves

Business Buzz: New soup and pizza restaurants in Missoula, distillery moves

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Here's some business news in the Missoula area:

A new restaurant in Missoula's Northside neighborhood is going to open "soon" according to a recent social media post.

SoupFarm, owned by former Red Bird restaurant owners Jim and Laura Tracy, posted a picture on Facebook showing their new restaurant is close to being completed, at least on the outside.

"SoupFarm is bringing the soup to Missoula," the post said. "Coming soon on the Northside."

The restaurant is located at 901 N. Orange St. The Tracys could not be reached for comment late last week.

Front Street Pizza opened last week at the ROAM Student Housing building at 315 E. Front St. They offer pizza by the slice or whole pies available for carry-out for now. 

The Montana Distillery in Missoula announced this week they're closing their Missoula location and are planning on opening up in Stevensville in the Bitterroot Valley.

In a social media post, the owners said they've enjoyed being a part of the Missoula community for five years.

"It’s easy to blame the COVID-19 virus, which duly played its part in our decision," wrote Mark Hlebichuk, who owns the distillery with his wife. "Unfortunately, the restrictions of partially opening that were put in place, are not cost effective. But honestly, it is more of the fact that our Property Taxes went from $5k per year to over $26k per year in our current location. Every gain we achieved, the City Government and Missoula business affiliates took away with little to no explanation. Due to our location in the City of Missoula, we never qualified for any area re-development, yet our increased property taxes and permitting proved to be worth while to the cities structure."

The distillery is located at 631 Woody St. and will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for bottle and hand sanitizer sales through the month of May.

The Missoula Downtown Foundation has established a Downtown Missoula Business Support Fund to assist businesses and organizations negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to help rebuild the economy and vibrancy of downtown, the Foundation said in a press release that the organization has been fundraising and seeking support from individuals, businesses not impacted by the crisis, and partner organizations to raise and distribute a minimum of $100,000 in 2020.

“Supporting and maintaining a strong and vital small business presence in downtown Missoula is how we keep our authenticity. Preserving our culture and uniqueness in Missoula can only be done if small businesses thrive downtown. The Foundation is committed to doing what it can to ensure this outcome," said Alan Newell, an MDF board member.

The MDF contributed $25,000 to the Support Fund, and pivoted its spring fundraising campaign from street décor to helping businesses. The Downtown Business Improvement District contributed $10,000 from its business development budget to the fund. As of May, Clearwater Credit Union, First Interstate Bank, Stockman Bank, Missoula Broadcasters Association, TrailWest Bank, and Montana Scotch Whisky Society have each contributed to the fund, which as of late last week totaled $83,000.

The Foundation started an online fundraising campaign last week.

“In working with the groups that promote downtown over the years, the thing that has impressed me the most is the willingness of downtown folks to selflessly contribute their time and money for the betterment of downtown and the entire Missoula community," said Dan Cederberg, and MDF board member. "The Downtown Business Support Fund is another sterling example of that willingness. Many businesses and individuals have made extremely generous contributions to the fund to help those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a board member of the MDF, I am proud and humbled to have a part in the Downtown Business Support Fund."

Individuals and businesses interested in contributing to the Downtown Missoula Business Support Fund can send a check, payable to the Missoula Downtown Foundation, to 218 East Main St., Missoula, MT 59802. Donors can also contribute through the Foundation’s GoFundMe Campaign https://www.gofundme.com/f/downtown-missoula-business-support-fund. The MDF is a qualified charitable organization, and all donations are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

“Downtown Missoula has always been based on the businesses that operate there. Everything we love about our downtown can be traced back to the people who do business there. Helping our downtown businesses is helping ourselves,” said Geoff Badenoch, and MDF board member. 

The MDF is receiving applications from affected businesses every day. Applicants must have a City of Missoula Business License or an IRS Determination Letter, operate in the Downtown Business Improvement District, and/or service the community in Downtown Missoula. Downtown businesses and organizations in need of support shall complete a simple online application located at https://www.missouladowntown.com/missoula-downtown-foundation/downtown-missoula-business-support-fund/

For more information, visit www.missouladowntown.com or contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership office via phone (406-543-4238) or email (info@missouladowntown.com).

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