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Avelo Airlines announces nonstop service from Kalispell to Southern California, TIME Magazine lists Bozeman among ‘World’s Greatest Places’ for 2023, Billings developer one step closer to bringing 3D-printed homes to town…and more

Avelo Airlines announces nonstop service from Kalispell to Southern California, TIME Magazine lists Bozeman among ‘World’s Greatest Places’ for 2023, Billings developer one step closer to bringing 3D-printed homes to town…and more

Image by: Lauren Kemp

The Ellen Theatre in Bozeman stage renovations underway

Since 2008 when John Ludin took over as executive director, The Ellen Theatre has gone through many changes. Plumbing, seating, and other areas have all been modernized, but the one piece lacking renovation is the stage area. As of early March, that began to change. The stage curtains and sets were hanging from rope that was over 100 years old, and were balanced by sandbags from that same time period. Renovations will include the installation of a large metal beam to safely support cabling for lights and scenery. [KBZK]

Madison Foods owner in Ennis makes it affordable for employees to find housing

Chris Gentry, owner of Madison Foods in Ennis, says that with few affordable places to live in the area, she and other business owners have begun securing their own properties to offer affordable housing for employees. “I have a total of 14 employees that I provide housing for. I never thought about the rental business but I try to take care of my employees,’ shared Gentry. She rents out little units for $950 a month and has no plans to raise prices. She is not making money off the rent, she just wants to have a place for her employees to live and be able to run her business. This is a wonderful example of Montanans helping Montanans. [KBZK]

Avelo Airlines announces nonstop service from Kalispell to Southern California

A new airline carrier is coming to Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport beginning in late May 2023. “Over 15,000 flights since we started in 2021 and over 2 million customers already,” said Avelo Airlines COO Greg Baden. Baden added that he still travels on a regular basis, and knows what he pays for fares. He thinks it is an exciting value for local residents in Kalispell. Avelo is a low-cost airline and will initially be selling one-way tickets to Holywood Burbank Airport in LA County for as low as $49. This new airline fits a growing demand for air travel to and from southern California, and more space could lead to more carriers down the road. Flights begin May 22 and will be offered on Mondays and Fridays. [KPAX]

Big Timber mini cattle operation sees huge increase in demand

Two Cow Mini Cattle in Big Timber is one of the first and few breeders of mini and micro cows in Montana, and as owner Matt Kleinsasser said the demand for these animals has grown over the last few years. The bulls look different than those you might normally see, because they are mini bulls, bred to make mini cows. Kleinsasser’s bulls don’t look like most you’d typically see and that’s because they’re mini bulls, bred to make mini cows. “A mini cow is anything under 46 inches and then a micro mini cow is 36, anything under 36 inches tall,” said Kleinsasser on Sunday. Kleinsasser’s mini cow breeding operation started as a family hobby. “Then we kind of just saw that there was a demand for it, people are wanting these mini cows,” Kleinsasser said. [KBZK]

Former WHS student golfer takes up NCAA Division I rowing 

Whitefish alum, Macy Whisenand is a college freshman majoring in dental hygiene, and she decided it was a good time to dive into something new during her time in college. Whisenand became an NCAA Division I athlete on the rowing team at the University of Louisville. The team practices 20 hours a week, two times a day, six days per week. “I wake up early, go to practice, have classes and finish off with practice,” she said and added that she is inspired by her teammates. “Seniors that are in nursing school come to practice at four in the morning and leave before we’re done so they can make their clinicals. It's an amazing environment.” Whisenand plans to stick with rowing next year, and despite it being the hardest thing she has ever done, she knows she is new, still learning, and growing with the sport. [Whitefish Pilot]

Influx of Great Falls visitors brings positive economic impact

Great Falls is experiencing an increase in visitors, stemming from basketball tournaments to Western Art Week. This influx is leaving positive impacts on the town’s economy. There has been an increase in demand for hospitality including hotels, restaurants, and stores. This not only gives the local selection business and income but also encourages development and cultivation within the community itself. “It’s just a tremendous opportunity for Great Falls,” said Shane Etzwilder, the Great Falls Chamber CEO/President. “Great Falls is right in the middle of the state. So, when we get visitors in the class b or class c basketball tournaments, you know, it’s easy for them. It’s a quick drive to Great Falls versus heading to one side of the state or another. And so really, we become the center point of the state, which we are geographically. And now we’ve become the focus for these tournaments and western art week as well.” [KRTV]

TIME Magazine lists Bozeman among ‘World’s Greatest Places’ for 2023

TIME Magazine released its, “World’s Greatest Places’ list for 2023, and this year Bozeman is included alongside far-flung destinations like Naples, Italy and Phuket, Thailand. The magazine draws nominations from its correspondents and contributors to curate a list of 50 worldwide locales for its annual “World’s Greatest Places” list which is now in its fifth year. TIME says Bozeman is turning into a Rocky Mountain hub, with a rapidly growing downtown and increasingly global dining scene, on par with Denver and Park City.  [KBZK]

M&M Bar and Cafe celebrates grand reopening at new location

Selina Pankovich shared she was finally ready to celebrate the reopening of the M&M Bar and Cafe in uptown Butte during St. Patrick’s Day. The bar held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the long process of rebuilding the iconic Butte bar. The new building is next door to where the original burned down in May of 2021. There was a soft opening for Super Saturday in February, where only drinks were served. Food slowly reached the menu rotation, and they were ready to celebrate after a month of smooth business. The new location has been incredibly busy and regulars of the previous location are rebuilding the same habit. [Montanarightnow.com]

Billings developer one step closer to bringing 3D-printed homes to town

While Billings continues to struggle with the availability of affordable homes, using one method to save time and money building may be here sooner. Billings based contractor Tim Stark is moving closer to bringing 3D-printed homes to Montana. Stark gained the state’s approval to start building homes with 3D-printed walls in 2022, and now he needs to pick up the printing machine from out of state to begin building. “They take about eight months to make, and we get the joy of going down to Florida, picking it up, and bringing it back home,” Stark said. 3D-printing drastically cuts down build time, and it can also cost around 30% less than a traditional home build. A single-family home (2,000) square feet can be completed in 40 hours or less depending on the temperature and conditions according to Stark. He plans to expand the operation to Bozeman and possibly Missoula. [KBZK]

Company Spotlights

Simms Fishing Products is a leader in the fishing industry – driven to create growth and vitality in the community. They build trustworthy and angler-driven products. Their employees communicate openly, keep their commitments, and inspire trust. Simms is seeking to positions: 

 Integration Engineer: In this role, you will be a senior contributor to the IT team and will be responsible for the functionality, support, and optimization of the Simms integration environment with a particular focus on robust e-commerce integration with the Simms ERP.  This person will work with business stakeholders to plan, scope, and execute on integration projects and will also identify opportunities to automate and improve business processes. This person must be comfortable bridging the gap between technical details and high-level business requirements.

NAV Developer II: this role, you will develop, maintain, and troubleshoot the Simms NAV environment, NAV add-ons, and EDI connections. As a NAV Dev II, you will work with business users to explore, prioritize, and execute requests and projects.This position reports to the IT Director and is based out of our Bozeman, MT location.   


The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, they create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. The following position is available at Te Nature Conservancy: 

The Matador Ranch Manager (Manager) in Montana directs Matador Ranch preserve operations, including the Matador Grassbank, ecological land management, and maintenance on the Matador Ranch.  The Manager is responsible for the ecological management of the preserve, including developing and implementing yearly grazing management plans to meet habitat goals, restoration of upland and riparian systems, treatment and monitoring of invasive species, and the hunting access program.  The Manager oversees all aspects of grazing and haying leases, including creation of leases, management of public land leases, tracking cattle numbers and grazing use, hay harvest, compliance with lease provisions, and billing.  The Manager oversees all communications of the Matador Grassbank, including organizing meetings and calls, working with Grassbank Members, and presenting outcomes of the Grassbank to diverse audiences, along with many other opportunities to touch all areas of the company.