Success Stories

A.L. Swanson grew up in New England where he learned woodworking from his family.  He sustained a back injury in 1992 and couldn't continue his golf course management career.  Woodworking had always been a passion and labor of love so he slowly evolved it from a hobby into his vocation. He also returned to college and studied business. He realized he was good at marketing  and loved to create unique pieces of fine art furniture. He started his business in downtown Helena in 2004.

In the last few years he began to notice a major shift in the way Millennials spend money so he decided to change course.

He wanted to bring clients to the end of the process. He started offering classes like Make a Table Over the Weekend. He was incorporating woodworking and his love for design and relationship building at the same time growing his business.

He also tapped into his constant reserve of creativity. "I got an idea one day seeing the drift boats at the downtown hotel near... Read More

A.L. Swanson grew up in New England where he learned woodworking from his family.  He sustained a back injury in 1992 and couldn't continue his golf course management career.  Woodworking had always been a passion and labor of love so he slowly evolved it from a hobby into his vocation. He also returned to college and studied business. He realized he was good at marketing  and loved to create unique pieces of fine art furniture. He started his business in downtown Helena in 2004.

In the last few years he began to notice a major shift in the way Millennials spend money so he decided to change course.

He wanted to bring clients to the end of the process. He started offering classes like Make a Table Over the Weekend. He was incorporating woodworking and his love for design and relationship building at the same time growing his business.

He also tapped into his constant reserve of creativity. "I got an idea one day seeing the drift boats at the downtown hotel... Read More

Jason and Tara Beam grew up in Great Falls. They spent twenty years as working professionals, Jason in advertising as a graphic designer and marketing, and Tara as a registered nurse.  Jason’s early work experience in the restaurant business left a lasting impression, and he always knew he wanted to start his own restaurant.

That opportunity came in early 2015 when Tara contacted a realtor and surprised Jason with an impromptu viewing of a log cabin restaurant that was listed for sale, and the dream soon became a reality. 

Jason and Tara received guidance and help with their business plan from the Great Falls SBDC and then started researching financing options.

“We approached SBA with a business idea from the ground up that was unique to our market.  We wanted to create a must-visit restaurant in Great Falls that featured fresh food made from Montana ingredients and wild, over-the-top burger creations that are often featured on cooking shows, but not seen in... Read More

Jessica Dehn, owner of Dino Drop-In Childcare centers in the Bozeman area has found the holy grail of her why. Her why, coming from a background of nonprofits and start-ups is making the connection between business and making her community a better place to live and work. 

“I wake up every day and try to do the best thing,” she said. Dehn was approached by a friend of her husband’s about starting up either a juice bar or a drop in daycare. She had experience working with a startup food company and knew she didn’t want to pursue the juice bar and really wanted to be in a position to affect change in her community. 

She has found that by offering a service to fill the gap where traditional daycare doesn’t meet parents’ needs. By starting her own business filling the gap between full time day care providers and her own model of drop in care, she can provide a service that helps parents find reliable quality day care that in return allows parents meeting their own... Read More

Pages