Business Bites: Maria’s Mexican Restaurant is moving; Colored Snow moving into downtown; GF Craft Beer Week is on; Russell is retiring from Lewis and Clark Foundation; Chamber holding Ag Celebration Week

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant is moving to the former Rikki’s location at 1220 9th St. S.

The last day in the current location on Central Avenue is March 20 and they hope to open in the new location on April 6.

Colored Snow

Colored Snow, a shaved ice vending unit that has operated as a food truck but is now moving into a downtown store front.

The shop will be opening on the corner of Central Avenue and 5th Street, where Last Straw Bistro was previously operating.

Darby Bogden, the owner, and her fiance, sister and brother-in-law, will be renovating the space over the next few weeks and plan to open mid-April.

They’re expanding from 25 flavors to more than 65 and more than 20 toppings.

Last Straw Bistro closed in October and there’s been activity in the space over the last week.

Craft Beer Week

Great Falls Craft Beer Week is set for June 6-12. Organizers are planning tap takeovers, trivia night, dinner pairings, olympics, golf scramble, and Brewfest is scheduled for June 12.

Lewis and Clark Foundation director retiring

Jay Russell, the Lewis and Clark Foundation’s executive director is retiring effective June 30.

Russell has served in this position for the past 17 years.

The foundation is the non‐profit partner for the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

The foundation was a volunteer‐led organization when the center first opened. Russell became its first full‐time staff member in 2004. The foundation has grown from an annual budget of $10,000 in 2004, to $330,000, with two full‐time and four part‐time staff, according to a release. The foundation owns and operates the Portage Cache Store at the Interpretive Center.

In 2010, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center Foundation merged with the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Association, and the new organization became the Lewis and Clark Foundation. 

During Russell’s tenure the foundation has funded a number of projects, including:

  • $700,000 for the purchase of five parcels of land directly across the Missouri River from the Interpretive Center. The foundation purchased the former Wilhelm house directly across from Giant Springs as part of the project, and demolished it. The north bank of the river is largely undeveloped for 18 miles, and the foundation purchased the remaining parcels to preserve the viewshed and natural landscape along the river.
  • $330,000 for the 2007 remodel of the Interpretive Center to create new offices and a library for the national headquarters of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
  • the 7th grade Field Investigations program, a heroic‐size statue of Seaman, Lewis’ dog that accompanied the expedition, a new film for the theater, and numerous other programs and exhibits.
  • a summer seasonal internship at the Center, and the annual Lewis and Clark Festival.
  • the newest project is an exhibit, the Lewis and Clark Discovery Display, which opened at the Great Falls Airport on Feb. 22.

The foundation is accepting applications for the executive director position through March 26. A complete job description and instructions to apply are available at the LCF website.

Ag Celebration Week

The Great Falls Chamber is holding Ag Celebration Week March 21-27, organized by the Chamber’s agriculture committee.

“The event will focus on awareness and appreciation of the region’s number one industry, agriculture. This week offers insight into how the agriculture industry affects our daily lives and celebrates the community that works tirelessly to provide us with fabulous food and clothing. It is about education, admiration and gratitude for the area’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers, as well as agri-business and agri-business research representatives,” according to the Chamber.

Learn how to engage with the Great Falls Chamber, win prizes, discover more about the ag industry, and support the area’s many ag industry businesses.