KALISPELL – With additions of plenty of commercial businesses, new highways and schools, it’s not a secret that the Flathead Valley is booming. But one area in particular is seeing more growth.
Right off Highway 93, the north side of Kalispell is proving to be a popular destination for new businesses.
“Anytime that you put in a restaurant you want it to be in a destination location. Right here is where all of the major construction is going and it’s heading north, so we wanted to be right in the middle of the action and help pull more traffic here,” said Kalispell Panera Bread general manager Michael Cothran.
The northside of Kalispell will be the first Panera Bread location in the state. Cothran also says that Missoula will be next and the company will open a total of seven throughout Montana over the next three years.
Part of what he believes will makes the business successful is its central location.
“Everything that is going on in here the construction that is already bringing people down from Whitefish it’s a great location to bring people from the southside from Kalispell and the north side from Whitefish and also we’re going to pull from Columbia Falls and Bigfork,” Cothran said.
The store is buzzing with activity as workers prepare for their grand opening next week.
Some new businesses are already open, like Bakery Bistro, and plenty more are expected to open soon, including an REI, MOD Pizza, Brickfire Pizza and a new My Place Hotel.
Cothran says the grand-opening of Montana’s first Panera Bread in Kalispell will be next Wednesday, Sept.12. The restaurant will be open seven days a week.
Reporting by Nicole Miller for MTN News