Business Bites: PurpleGold açaí bowl and waffle bus coming; Tracy’s reopening; Cambridge Court closing, BeeHive expanding

Açaí bowls and waffles will be hitting the road in Great Falls this summer.

Ryan and Ashley Smith are preparing to launch PurpleGold, an açaí bowl and waffle bus.59670019_10156898662874342_2159829299564118016_o

The açaí bowls will be made from blending the açaí berry into a thick smoothie, topped with gluten free granola, fresh fruit, chia seeds, hemp seeks, almonds, peanut butter, bee pollen, cacao nibs, shredded coconut and honey. The bowls can be customized.

More than 20 toppings will be available to pile onto waffles.

To start, the Smiths are planning to set up at local invents, such as community and sporting events, and tournaments, primarily on weekends and some weekdays.

“Once we get a feel for things, our schedule is likely to grow,” Ashley Smith said. “If anyone is interesting in checking us out, the best way to stay connected is via Facebook and Instagram. We’ll be giving out all our locations and times there as we get closer to opening. ”

PurpleGold Acai bowl

An açaí bowl from PurpleGold.

They’re hoping to be rolling the first week of June.

Ryan Smith started Big Sky CrossFit in July 2011 and Ashley joined him a year later.

“Together we have been able to meet, help and provide a service to help so many amazing people of Great Falls. Now that the gym is very well established, we wanted to offer even more to our city. We came across both açaí bowls and waffles while traveling to a CrossFit competition and we both thought about how awesome it would be to do that back in Montana,” Ashley Smith said. “I personally grew up working in and around food trucks as my parents have owned a mini donut and shaved ice trailer since I was six and my uncle runs the Donut Bros trailer here in town. It’s been a part of who I am and I’ve just always had a desire to run a truck of my own and share that with people. Great Falls is our home and we want to do our part in contributing to making it a thriving community.”

The food truck scene in Great Falls is small, but the Smiths are hoping theirs will serve as an encouragement to others.

“So far it’s been great. We have been working closely with Laura at the health department and she has been so helpful,” Ashley Smith said. “Ryan is doing all the construction of the bus, so we’ve really had to work from the ground up. But it’s been fun and a lot of people have been a part of this journey with us & that’s what it’s all about.”


The diner at 127 Central Ave. is now owned by Central Montana Properties, which registered with the state in March. According to property records, the warranty deed was filed for the new owners on April 9.

John Barnes and Neal DuBois are the new ownership team.

“Tracy’s was a historic part of downtown Great Falls and a part of many family traditions. Many of us saw its closure as part of Great Falls downtown failing in a way. That wasn’t true, but the staple restaurant closed nevertheless,” Barnes told The Electric. “My partners and I saw an opportunity to go into business together and do our part to re-open the restaurant, which has been a part of the Great Falls community for decades.”

According to the city, the new owners have two permits, one to reface their sign and the other is a gas permit.

Barnes and DuBois have been friends since grade school and their wives, Becki and Melissa, are both nurses and are partners in the project.

“As far as improvements, we are excited to update many aspects and features of the restaurant while keeping some of the historic nostalgia of Tracy’s,” Barnes said. “We don’t want to give too much information. We are excited to invite the public back into Tracy’s and see for themselves.”

Ryan’s Cash and Carry

Ryan’s Cash and Carry on Smelter Avenue is closing at the end of the month.

Cambridge Court

Yes, Cambridge Court is closing. No, the state did not revoke its license.

The owners informed the Department of Health and Human Services that they were voluntarily closing the assisted living facility. According to DPHHS, the process requires owners to give residents a 30-day notice and the notice was issued to residents on April 30.

DPHHS plays a role in these situations in ensuring a new placement is found for all residents and the department’s Senior and Long Term Care Division staff have been reaching out to these clients for assistance during the process, according to Jon Ebelt, DPHHS spokesman.

The team includes SLTC regional program staff, Adult Protective Services staff, the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and a Medicaid caseworker, Ebelt said.

At this point, our concern is making sure the residents are taken care of, and will have a place to move to. So, we’re working as quickly as possible to make sure this happens before the 30 days expires.

The state license for the Cambridge is still valid, as is the license for the Rainbow, which has the same owner.

If you want to look up the license history of facilities, it’s available here.

BeeHive Homes

On Tuesday, the City Commission will consider annexation, zoning, vacating an alley and more for 1.028 acres for BeeHive Homes assisted living to build two buildings, 18 bedrooms each.

As part of the project, the property owner would construct 14th Avenue South, consistent with city standards, that would include curb and gutter, sidewalks and boulevard trees.

The city would own and maintain the improvements upon completion.

The applicant is also proposing to install sidewalks along the west side of 25th Street South and along the north side of 15th Avenue South.

The subject properties are located in Neighborhood Council 5. The applicant presented the project to the Neighborhood Council on Jan. 21 and the council voted unanimously in support of the project.