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Success Stories

A Bowl of Ice Cream, a Dream, and the SBA

 The love of ice cream and the desire to get into business is what drove Brian and Kelly Ackerman to purchase The Parrot Confectionery, a Helena Landmark.

 The Parrot is currently celebrating it’s 87th year in Helena and is saying goodbye to longtime owners the Duensing’s.  The Parrot has been part of the Duensing family for over half a century and they are now ready to turn over the business to new owners the Ackerman’s.

 Brian and Kelly were looking for a way to return to their home state of Montana, when discussing over a bowl of ice cream in their home in Maryland, brought them to the idea of going into the candy and ice cream business.  And that was the beginning of the journey that brought the Ackerman’s home to Montana and into the world of candy making.

 The Ackerman’s were able to purchase The Parrot only by way of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  When Brian first contacted lenders looking for financing it was difficult if not impossible... Read More

Business Brings Manufacturing and Jobs to Flathead Valley

Fifteen years ago, Jason Sonju was pounding out dents at his father’s auto body repair shop. Today, he’s director of programming for the family-owned business, Sonju Industrial Inc., which has acquired top-dollar defense contracts with some of the largest aerospace and defense corporations in the world- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

From collision repair to laser-guided missiles and assault rifles, the company has expanded steadily through the years, seizing on one opportunity after another. Sonju Industrial’s aggressive search for new business ventures has allowed it to expand through the recession, adapting to the changing political climes and mounting a firm reputation in the world of defense contracting.

The growth, while steady, has not been without its obstacles.

When Congress stopped funding of the F-22 Raptor in early 2009, for example, Sonju Industrial’s contract with Boeing was jeopardized. Although Lockheed-... Read More

Billings Business Uses Economic Recession and 504 Opportunity as a Time to Invest in the Company

While many businesses are shying away from taking out more debt and looking at cutting back or even throwing in the towel, one Montana business sees this time as an opportune time to invest in their business. Bill Kronmiller and Paul Neutgens, partners of American Steel, a steel fabricating business in Billings, took advantage of reduced costs, low interest rates and market position by building a new 26,000 square foot facility.

The new facility offers radiant floor heating, separate painting and production bays, elbow room for their employees and even indoor plumbing- a far cry from their previous location, which didn’t have indoor plumbing. Not only does the facility offer more room to take on bigger projects, but both owners agree providing extra room and space makes for happier employees.

“The employees seem to be happier, because they’re not all cramped up in a small space,” Neutgens said. “They have their own elbow room to get their jobs done and don’t... Read More

fourOsix...Not Just Montana's Area Code

Alex Rincon, Jr., known by his friends as “Papu,” always knew he would start his own business someday.  It wasn’t until after graduating from Carroll College in 2004, and managing multiple retail businesses, that his business idea began to take shape.

While attending Carroll, Rincon obtained a triple major, including a B.A. in Business Administration with a special interest in Marketing, Management and International Business; a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature; and a Multi-Disciplinary major in Visual Arts with an interest in Graphic Design.  In his spare time he enjoyed all that Montana had to offer, including snowboarding, hiking, fly fishing and much more.  It was this love for Montana’s outdoors and lifestyle, along with his diverse scholastic background, that brought fourOsix to light.

In 2007, Rincon opened fourOsix in downtown Helena, a lifestyle and retail store that promotes art, music, style, forward thinking and Montana living.  The name “four0six”... Read More

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