Business Bites: JJs Bakery closing; Little Shell office renovation; GFPS pre-apprenticeship program; Daydream Boutique going online only; Showdown ownership change

JJ’s Bakery

JJ’s Bakery is closing and John Williams, owner, said that they’re going to focus on their other restaurant, Burger Bunker on 5th Street, to include a soup centered storefront in the space where Big Bang Pizza was located.

The bakery will be fully operational until April 2.

“We want to first thank our amazing customers that kept us thriving for the last decade. Some of the people we have met and relationships we have built will be cherished forever. Secondly, we would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the staff that has helped us along the way. This was an exceedingly difficult decision made harder by the fact that the Bakery was and is doing very well,” Williams posted on the bakery page.

Little Shell office

The Montana Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is remodeling the east portion of the building at 615 Central Ave. W. to create more usable space and work on the façade. The city received a permit application in November for the work from Tyson Kraft of Nelson Architects on behalf of the Tribe and the permit was issued in December.

Business Bites: Karhu Koski Distillery coming; Popeyes is not opening downtown; Little Shell health clinic; Electric City Coffee birthday; valentines for foster kids; The Refinery opens; office space; hotel closures; Christopher & Banks, Marketplace GameStop closing

GFPS Pre-apprenticeship program

The Great Falls Public Schools has launched a pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare students to enter and succeed in a registered apprenticeship program, and ultimately a career. The curriculum was designed in collaboration with Montana Department of Labor and the construction industry to ensure that students have the skills necessary to meet industry standards and is integrated directly into their existing curriculum and structure. Quality programs like this address the skilled labor shortage that is jeopardizing economic expansion in Montana, according to a release from GFPS.

High school house program highlights value of trades; needs funding to continue

“The Great Falls Public School’s carpenter pre-apprenticeship program aligns with industry standards to ensure that these students are able to seamlessly transition into a full apprenticeship programs should they choose to continue on after graduation,” Jay Reardon, director of the Montana Registered Apprenticeship, said in a release.

GFPS celebrated the groundbreaking of the high school house at 1509 3rd Ave. N.W. in September, marking the 23rd year of the program and it will be the 43rd house completed by GFSP high school students through the district’s Career and Technical Education program, NeighborWorks Great Falls and community supporters through monetary donations and in-kind gifts.

Student enrollment for the high school souse has increased during the last four years, according to the district, adn all 26 students are enrolled in the pre-apprenticeship program offered through the Montana Department of Labor, according to GFPS.

The pre-apprenticeship program allows the high school house students the chance to receive hours toward the apprenticeship program. This year is the largest group to sign up for the program, according to GFPS, with 360 on the job hours and 112 related instructional hours available.

Showdown Montana

George Willett has owned and operated Showdown Montana for nearly 48 years and sold the businesses to his daughter, Katie Boedecker in September 2020.

Boedecker has worked many positions at the ski area and has been the general manager for the last three years. According to the National Ski Area Association, Boedecker joins a very small list of women world-wide that own and operate a ski area. “As far as we know, Katie is the only one,” said Avery Patrick, Showdown’s long-time Marketing Director and Boedecker’s daughter.

The family legacy continues to the next generation with Boedecker’s daughter Avery Patrick, and her husband Shawn Patrick, also investing in the business and becoming shareholders in the next few months. Avery Patrick said, “I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had over these past 10 years working with my Grandpa George. There’s never been a dull moment! Looking towards the future, Shawn and I are incredibly proud of my Mom, and are excited to be involved in the business and where we’re headed. Me and my brothers were fortunate to have been raised at Showdown. With only 470 ski areas in the United States, we appreciate how rare and unusual this experience was, and we look forward to sharing this with our son and keeping Showdown in our family for generations to come,” according to a Showdown post.

“My dad and his wife Margie developed a place that is special for so many people. Continuing this legacy is a big responsibility but I’ve been taught by the best. I’m super proud of what they’ve created and excited to build upon it with my daughter, son-in-law, sons and our entire team. Showdown truly is a family-run business and we take great pride in serving the families and people of Central Montana,” Boedecker said in a post.

Willett will retain his title as Chief Product Tester, his home on the mountain, and his upstairs office where he continues to “consult” with Boedecker on a daily basis. Willett said, “Kate tells me what to do, and I get to stick around, I’ve got a pretty good deal.” George has often said, “If you have a job you love, you never work a day in your life.” We wonder what we’ve been paying him for all these years. We love you, George. “Happy Consulting!”

Daydream Boutique

The Daydream Boutique at 800 10th Ave. S. is closing their store front and going online only.