By HEIDI GAISER/The Daily Inter Lake
To help spread the word, the Evergreen-based State Farm agent has joined forces with BJ Lupton of Snappy Sport Senter and Craig Witte of Perkins Family Restaurant to form the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce.
Businesses can apply for membership at the meeting, and there will be
opportunities to ask questions and begin making plans for the organization.
“It’s time to have an identity,” Wendt said of Evergreen. “This gives us an
opportunity to grow the business community, to grow jobs, and increase traffic.
“What we do would complement what’s happening in the rest of the Flathead Valley and grow the valley as a whole.”
The idea germinated within the last few months among the steering committee of Wendt, Lupton and Witte. Lupton became the first official member of the Chamber, with Ray Thompson joining next. Bev Ferris has been tapped as the first director.
There is a lot of interest, Lupton said, and he expects a wide membership base.
“We sent out a mailing to see what people think, and out of about 400, 117 have written back and expressed interest, with about 70 having extremely high interest,” he said. “This is quite encouraging and well overdue.”
“Evergreen can use a good boost — more beautification, more identity, more traffic. There are a lot of things we can do corporately that we can’t do individually.”
The Evergreen population is about 7,000, making it the 16th-largest community in Montana. There are currently about 450 businesses in the Evergreen area, and a good deal of space for growth.
Wendt said that having a Chamber will be a crucial resource for people
looking to start or relocate a business. This could be a great help in filling
some of the higher-profile vacant buildings that exist in Evergreen, such as the old Walmart and Ashley Furniture sites.
“If someone needs a good space — for a small warehouse or manufacturing, they have a central place to go,” he said.
The reasons why a business would want to locate in Evergreen are many, Wendt said: A major highway corridor, U.S. 2, runs through the area; rail, water and sewer services are available; there is no city tax; a business can be located close to Glacier Park International Airport; there is access to a post office, restaurants, grocery stores and medical services.
“I think the community is ready for a little cohesion,” Wendt said.
For more information on the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, call 260-6092. The Chamber address is P.O. Box 5604, Kalispell, MT 59903.