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'Yellowstone' boosts Missoula businesses
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'Yellowstone' boosts Missoula businesses

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Businesses in the Missoula area are reaping the benefits of Kevin Costner and his hit TV show "Yellowstone" bringing their production and filming facilities here.

Earlier this year, production company Paramount announced that Season 4 of the series would be filmed in Missoula, Hamilton and Darby. The company has leased a warehouse in West Riverside, east of Missoula, for use as a soundstage and offices, and the cast and crew have been spotted around town. They recently filmed at Community Medical Center, where several staff members reported seeing Costner himself.

Several small businesses in town have seen an increase in business due to the production.

Martin Fahrney, the owner of Waste Less Works in Missoula, sold almost 9,000 pounds of salvaged brick to the production for use as rubble in the aftermath of some kind of explosion.

Fahrney’s company deconstructs old buildings and re-sells the materials, thereby diverting them from the landfill and reducing the need for new raw materials.

“It’s not everyday that I get a call from a film producer,” Fahrney wrote in an Instagram post. “But just the other day someone from the Yellowstone TV series called and asked if I had any brick rubble to help stage a building explosion.”

In fact, he was in the middle of dismantling two old brick fireplaces.

“So no problem, except normally we save bricks and try not to break them,” he said. “In this case, they actually wanted the bricks pretty crushed. Because if a building explodes you know every brick will be broken.”

Fahrney said he actually hasn’t seen the show.

“But according to the dude from L.A. who we delivered the rubble to, Season 3 gets really good,” he said.

Stephanie Scott, the store manager for a Sherwin-Williams Paint Store in Missoula, said they also made some substantial sales to the people at "Yellowstone.”

“We sold a lot of random stuff to them,” she said. “They’ve been super great to work with. They’re great people.”

Scott said she’s heard a lot of local businesses have benefited. A casting call for the "Yellowstone" production notes shooting runs late August through November.

“It was kinda cool. I also got to be an extra on the show,” she said. “They were looking for people to be patrons in a bar. That was fun.”

Matt Mellott and Claire Matten of Sterling Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Missoula said they helped facilitate the lease of the warehouse for filming the show.

"This is really exciting from an economic development perspective, especially with production during Montana’s fall shoulder season,” Matten said. "With anywhere between 30 and 150 staff on site, it’s a great economic boost for the area and definitely some bragging rights for Montana.”

A tax credit for film production expired in Utah recently, while Montana last year enacted a tax credit bill to attract more film production. 

The Montana Film Society pushed the bill. Missoula-based filmmaker Lynn-Wood Fields was one of the lead advocates.

“The reason this had such bipartisan support is it’s really important for our economy,” she told the Missoulian last year. “Film and productions ripple the money out to the hotel industry, rental cars, food and taverns, etc. It also creates many good-paying blue-collar jobs from builders, drivers to caterers."

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