Success Stories

Turning a favorite past time into a successful business is a dream come true for Ron and Danielle Bolan, owners of Sleeping Giant Lanes since November 2016. 

Their two children practically grew up at the bowling center, and Danielle has been a league bowler for many years, starting at a young age.  The opportunity to purchase Sleeping Giant Lanes came along when the original owners decided they wanted to retire.  “They weren’t necessarily planning to sell, but the timing worked out and everything just fell into place,” said Ron. 

After spending more than 20 years as a fixed operations manager for Lithia Motor Group, Ron was ready to try something new.

Ron and Danielle worked closely with SCORE mentors Chick Rolling and Jan White and received assistance with their business plan.  “Once we started going over the financial statements, we got pretty excited about buying the business,” offered Ron.

The couple approached First Community Bank, and with the... 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 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

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