Business Bites: Magpie opens; Game Night Lounge closing; Crumbl planned; 5th and Wine adding patio; Ortho Rehab opening; Alluvion breaks ground; GFPS music award; community cleanup; Russell Museum has consignment for auction; WakeFest; reading at Cassiopeia


Magpie has opened in Machinery Row at 202 2nd Ave. S. They have infused cocktails, beers on draft, and sandwiches and street tacos. The patio is open.

Game Night Lounge

Game Night Lounge is closing over the next month. They’ll be open Friday through Sunday for normal business hours until their last day on June 26.

“It is hard to go. We know that rising costs have been making it harder to do those extra fun things. You will all be in our hearts. Thank you for taking this journey with us. It was awesome,” the owners wrote in a Facebook post.

Business Bites: The Sting changing hands; historic preservation awards; GF Clinic gets new equipment; Omerta Cigar Lounge opens; Habitat for Humanity donation; Easterseals-Goodwill anniversary; Husted, Nitschke get national recognition


A Crumbl Cookies is planned for 2214 10th Ave. S. in the Target/Albertson’s shopping center.

They’re hoping to open in September.

No permits have yet been submitted to the city planning office for the project.

Business Bites: El Comedor changes hands; new Taco Bell; new food trucks coming; American Bar closes; KellerGeist, Tres65 expanding

5th and Wine

A patio/deck project is underway at 5th and Wine for what the owners are calling the Courtyard at 5th. They’ve also launched their party space called the Loft at 5th, according to owner Tara Tronson.

Ortho Rehab

Ortho Rehab is opening June 6 at 1110 9th St. S.

Business Bites: The Wild Hare open; Rise Athletics going to national competition; Alumni Club blacklisted by Malmstrom; Trail Mixer and Legacy Awards coming up

Mountain View Physical Therapy

City planners are reviewing a building permit application to renovate the old downtown Eklunds furniture store at 314 1st Ave. N. into Mountain View Physical Therapy.

Arrowhead Renovations 

Caleb Cunningham and Greg Biggs have launched Arrowhead Renovations, a full service general contractor. Arrowhead is registered with the state and licensed with the city of Great Falls. They offer free estimates and are ready to serve people in Great Falls and the surrounding areas.

Business Bites: Jersey Mike’s, Jimmy John’s open; Best Donuts for sale; Mountain Berry Bowls coming; B&B Loan and Rental closing showroom; Home and Garden Show this weekend

Rocky Mountain Building construction

Alluvion Health officially broke ground on their new clinic on May 24 at the the former Rocky Mountain Building on a two-year, $29 million project.

Once completed, the new Alluvion Health at 601 Central will create capacity for 50-100 new high-wage jobs in the healthcare sector and related fields.

Business Bites: Tire store for old Prime Cut site; new coffee shop planned; Great Falls Clinic expanding; housing summit is March 15; Malmstrom awards contract

Cassiopeia Books

Cassiopeia Books is hosting a benefit reading at 6 p.m. June 2 by contributors to ‘A Wild Land Ethic,’ a history compiled by the Montana Wilderness Association, now known as Wild Montana. All profits from books sold at the event will go to Wild Montana. Cassiopeia is at 606 Central Ave.

C.M. Russell Museum consignment

The C.M. Russell Museum announced that the Charles M. Russell watercolor High, Wide, and Handsome has been consigned to The Russell Live Auction on August 20, 2022.

This 1919 watercolor painting depicts one of Russell’s most sought after subjects – the bucking bronco. Many of Russell’s earliest sketches of bucking horses showed cowboys sometimes holding their own, sometimes taking a somersault through the air. Horse and rider were often integrated into story-telling pictures of rangeland routine – a bronc to breakfast, a rider of the rough string – but at its simplest, the subject boiled down to a timeless struggle for mastery between man and animal.

Business Bites: OP closed; Paniolo Cafe open; Life in Bloom opening; Mike’s Movies closing; Act Normal Theater performing in March

Although Russell created many sketches of rodeo scenes, there are very few paintings. High, Wide, and Handsome, is one such rare example specifically showing contestants vying for prize money.

The 16 by 12.5 inch painting was likely intended for use in the advertising of a rodeo close to Russell’s heart – the 1919 Calgary Stampede, according to the museum. Russell’s first international one-man exhibition was at the 1912 Calgary Stampede and, by all accounts, was a success. When show promoter Guy Weadick was hired to stage a second Stampede in 1919, he was sure to invite Montana’s famed cowboy artist Charles Russell to once again have a show in Calgary. While rodeo was a substitute for Russell’s former cowboy life, his presence at the Calgary Stampede and pieces like High, Wide, and Handsome were his tributes to the proud cowboy tradition.

The Russell fundraising event is set for Aug. 18-21 in Great Falls.

Business Bites: GFDA releases housing needs study; New City Church moving into former Tribune building; Leadership Great Falls fundraising for Alliance for Youth; new casino planned for 10th Avenue South; The Wild Hare set to open in March; Family Promise opening new shelter; GFPS hosting orchestra festival; Central Catholic gets donation for scholarship; AWARE working on office space; life coach accepting clients; work on downtown church ceased

GFPS music education award

GFPS has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 23rd year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the designation, GFPS answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Great Falls is a community that values the Arts, and our students have reaped the benefits from keeping a strong Arts program with a vibrant Music component intact in the face of a pandemic,” Dusty Molyneaux, GFPS Music and Art supervisor, said in a release. “Being recognized again for this award validates the statements we make as a District about the importance of studying music for the success of our student’s overall education and the well-being of our community.”

Business Bites: Community Rec Center offering winter break activities; Big Iron truck wash groundbreaking; former Fox Farm Diner owners sued in district court; Benefis opening Women’s and Children’s Center; PRo Rodeo Circuit Finals tickets on sale; Reisig elected as vice chair to national board

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 and a stated emphasis on a well-rounded education, many school districts have re-committed to music and arts education programs. During the pandemic, music and arts programs were a vital component to keeping students engaged in school. ESSA provides designated funding for well-rounded educational opportunities through Title IV Part A Student Academic Success and Achievement grants. NAMM Foundation research has revealed that these grants are being widely used by school districts to address instructional gaps in access to music and arts education, according to a release.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music: After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well, according to the release.

Business Bites: New Starbucks location; thrift store closing; Rainbow International open in new location; First Command’s new location; Falls Print Works has moved; UP 12 days of giveaways; Embark merging; Citizens Alliance new branch open; Malone named to national council

Community Cleanup

In May, nearly 450 volunteers cleaned up 20 neighborhood sites, 15 parks and more than 56 miles of roadway as part of a community-wide clean up organized by NeighborWorks Great Falls and United Way of Cascade County.

The two nonprofits partner as part of NeighborWorks Great Falls’ CommUNITY Clean Up and United Way’s Take Pride in Our Parks events.

Volunteers spread wood chips beneath playground equipment, raked out dead leaves, picked up garbage and pinecones, trimmed bushes and more at Elk’s Riverside, Rhodes, Grande Vista, Madison, Belview, Noah’s Ark, Black Eagle, Library, Meadowlark, Pinski, Russell, Jaycee and Valley View parks, and cleaned along the River’s Edge Trail.

General Mills has adopted a park all 10 years that United Way has recruited teams. Scheels and D.A. Davidson each adopted two parks.

Business Bites: The Commons on Central coming to former JJs Bakery; The Wild Hare renovation progressing; demo permit issued for former China Buffet; Studio Barre celebrating third anniversary; Cassiopeia hosting events; Hi-Line Climbing expansion continuing; NWGF acquires more land

Malmstrom Air Force Base squadrons cleaned up more than 56 miles of roadway throughout Great Falls. Other volunteers laid sod at 10 NeighborWorks owner-built homes. This is the 39th year that NeighborWorks has coordinated the CommUNITY Cleanup as a part of their work to revitalize and build stronger neighborhoods.

Volunteers cleaned up four yards whose owners are elderly or disabled. Some volunteers cleaned up the Pea Pods’ community garden, the Montana Veterans Memorial, the Black Eagle Park, Black Eagle Community Center, the field near the east end Walmart and the Great Falls Public Library parking lot.

This is the 10th year that United Way has organized Take Pride in Our Parks to celebrate National Volunteer Month and give local people the opportunity to make our city parks a safe and inviting place for healthy play. United Way’s goals include advancing health and studies show that volunteering just two hours a week improves your health physically and mentally and extends your lifespan.

To find out more volunteer opportunities go to United Way’s free volunteer website where more than 55 nonprofit organizations post their volunteer opportunities.

Business Bites: Five Guys is open; county looking at marijuana rules; NWGF celebrates owner built homes; Tidal Wave Car Spa coming; urgent care clinic open; Dracut Hill speed limit; Vaughn fire fee increased; Sun Prairie Village wastewater improvements; Little Shell listening sessions

Baker interpretation event at Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

President Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, will speak at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center theater on June 18.

Veteran historical actor-interpreter Bill Barker is widely recognized as the foremost interpreter of Thomas Jefferson in the nation.

Barker currently portrays Jefferson for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and will perform at the Great Falls facility.

Barker began interpreting Jefferson in 1984 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He went on to portray Jefferson for 26 years at Colonial Williamsburg, until he joined the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in June 2019 at Jefferson’s historic home at Monticello.

Business bites: Honey Hippo Play Cafe opening; Porkie D’s moving; GFDA hosting community meeting on economic development strategy; new Mexican food truck; Sip ‘n Dip finalists announced; Big River Ruckus this weekend; no, we’re still not getting an Olive Garden

Barker will appear in two performances at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center theater in Great Falls on June 18 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Portage Route Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, and is one of many activities included in the 32nd annual Lewis and Clark Festival. Both performances are free, but seating is limited. Advance reservations are required.

For reservations or more information visit, or call the Portage Cache Store at 406-452-5661.

Northern Pipes Glass Co.

Northern Pipes Glass Co. has moved from their former location on 10th Avenue South to 2 5th St. N. downtown.

Safety Town

Great Falls College MSU’s Lifelong Learning teamed up with Great Falls Public Schools to bring Safety Town to children this fall.

The program is offered in four separate two-week sessions and is presented in partnership with GFPS and the National Safety Town Center.

Safety Town was established in 1937 by a police officer and a kindergarten teacher after a child was hit by a car and killed walking to school. It started with traffic safety and has expanded to other areas.

The program will help children develop positive attitudes and values toward safety, which will benefit them throughout
their lifetime. Safety topics include traffic, gun, fire, stranger, water, bus and home.

The program will be part of Lifelong Learning’s summer kids’ camps series, with GFPS providing the site, grounds crew, students in AutoCAD, pre-construction and graphics classes to produce the layout and the mini-building and signs. The National Safety Town Center provides the curriculum and guidance.

Business Bites: New Thai food truck; The Boutique Co. for sale; apartment demolition; outfitters for sale; pop-up concert at Cassiopeia; river cleanup event; Children’s Museum still fundraising; GFPD has new vehicles

The children will practice being safe pedestrians and motorists in the mini village that consists of mini-buildings, streets, crosswalks, street signs and a traffic light. Half of the class are motorists and the other half are pedestrians. They then they switch activities midway through. They are guided by a certified teacher and teenage volunteers.
The program will combine songs, art projects and videos that take place in an indoor classroom setting to provide a fun learning experience for the children.

The sessions will be held at the Skyline Early Learning Family Center, 3300 3rd St. N.E. the week of June 13-24 and July 25-Aug. 5.

Morning sessions are 9 a.m. to noon and afternoon sessions are 1-4 p.m. The cost is $100. Registration is open here. For questions call 406-268-3734 or 406-771-5107.

Summer care scholarships

The Montana Early Childhood and Family Support Division recognizes that the need for summer care and summer programming for school age children is important for a child’s development and to the economic viability of Montana.

The scholarship is for children entering kindergarten through 5th grade in the fall of 2022. Parents must be employed, attending school, or have special circumstances.

Families must demonstrate they are paying for summer care (summer/sports camps, Boys & Girls Club, babysitters, nannies, etc.) by providing a receipt or letter of acknowledgement.

Parents have the option to choose a grant amount of either $1,500 or $2,500 per child.

There are no income restrictions. Families can apply online here. Applications will be accepted May 20 through June 3 on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, contact Family Connections online or call 406-761-6010.

Family Connections is a non-profit Child Care Resource and Referral Agency that serves 23 north, central and eastern Montana counties by helping families find and pay for child care and by helping child care businesses open and become sustainable.

National Trails Day

Kick-start your summer outdoor activities by celebrating National Trails Day on June 4.

Choose from 10 hikes planned in the Rocky Mountains, Highwood Mountains, along the Missouri River, and on local Great Falls area trails.

This one-day event is hosted by Get Fit Great Falls, a not-for-profit organization advocating healthy, active lifestyles, and sponsored by the Island Range Chapter of Wild Montana. National Trails Day is celebrated across the nation, but Great Falls historically is one of the largest.  As a courtesy to landowners and fellow hikers, participants are asked to leave their dogs at home.

Online registration is required and begins May 25 and runs through June 3. Register and view the hikes here.

The hikes are free, but space is limited and the number of participants varies with each hike.

Hikes range from kid-friendly to strenuous and are categorized into six classes: KidsEasyModerate depending on miles hiked and/or elevation gained.

Hikers are asked to read the hike descriptions carefully before selecting a trail to fit their physical conditioning. Those recovering from physical challenges, families with children in strollers or folks just starting to get into shape should check out the shorter walks and hikes labeled “easy” or described as “stroller-friendly.” Those seeking a more challenging experience should watch for hikes labeled “moderate or difficult.”

Get Fit Great Falls reminds registrants selecting a hike to “understand your skill level about hiking and your physical fitness level. A difficult five-mile hike in mountainous terrain is much more challenging than walking five miles on the flat paved sidewalks of Great Falls.”

Reiff named small business lender of the year

Nathan Reiff, commercial relationship manager at First Interstate Bank, has been named MoFi’s Great Falls Small Business Lender of the Year for 2021.

MoFi presents this award annually to its most prolific commercial and small-business lending partners, individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to meeting the needs of entrepreneurs in their community.

Additionally, First Interstate Bank has been named MoFi’s 2021 Montana Lender Partner of the Year, referring more business owners to MoFi than any other lending institution in the state.

Reiff and First Interstate Bank are recognized for helping connect Great Falls-area entrepreneurs with a resource to do just that – flexible, responsible capital that sees them through short-term growth needs and prepares them for a longer-term bank loan. That assistance comes via MoFi, a nonprofit organization that provides financing and consulting services to entrepreneurs and small businesses that are not able to receive a traditional bank loan.

Reiff has lived in Great Falls for the past 18 years, most recently working in economic development and banking. He joined First Interstate in June 2021. In his spare time, Reiff enjoys skiing, traveling and cooking.


Wakefest In the Falls returns this summer from 3-9 p.m. July 2. at Launch Watersports.

Wakefest in the Falls is a wakeboarding and wakesurfing competition.

Entry is $5 and there will be food and drink vendors including the Mighty Mo.

Pro rider Thomas Herman will judge competitors, have a meet and greet and perform his tricks.

This is an inclusive event for anyone – men, women and kids of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to register and participate. Entry fee is $25.00 per event. All additional information can be found on their website.

NeighborWorks Week

NeighborWorks Week is June 4-11.

NeighborWorks Week showcases how the NeighborWorks network across the U.S. strengthens communities and celebrates the collective impact. NeighborWorks Week is a time not only to give back in our communities, but also acknowledge the thousands of volunteers, business partners, national and civic leaders who stand with us to help deliver on our critical mission. The week includes neighborhood trolley tours. Register for the June 7 tour from 10:30 a.m. to noon here and the June 8 tour from 4-5:30 p.m. here.

The week also includes the most improved awards from 4-5:30 p.m. June 9 at Elevation 3330.

Heritage Awards

Arlyne Reichert has been selected for the 2022 Heritage Keeper award, from the Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees.

The Heritage Keeper award honors Montanans who provide distinguished service to the state and people of Montana by protecting our history and culture.

Awardees have demonstrated exemplary commitment, effort, and impact in identifying, preserving, and presenting Montana’s historical and cultural heritage for current and future generations

“These awards represent the highest honor the Historical Society can bestow upon those doing the daily work of saving Montana’s past for future generations,” Hal Stearns, MTHS board president, said in a release. “Their contributions, and their level of devotion, are amazing.”

Reichert is known as Great Falls’ “Bridge Lady,” after spending nearly three decades working to save the 10th Street Bridge. The iconic concrete arch bridge, which spans the Missouri River, was erected in 1920. It is Montana’s longest and oldest open-spandrel, ribbed-concrete arch bridge.

“Reichert tirelessly forged partnerships, gathered community support, and raised more than $1 million for restoration of the bridge. Her work began in 1996 when the city built the Eagle Falls Bridge across the Missouri River and closed the Tenth Street Bridge, slating it for demolition. Reichert founded the nonprofit Preservation Cascade to raise funds and guide efforts to save and restore the endangered structure,” according to a release.

Today, it’s a pedestrian and bike pathway.

Reichert will be honored in Great Falls during a ceremony on June 1 at the Mansfield Convention Center, Paris Gibson Room, for her efforts to save the bridge.

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