BUTTE – From 2010 to 2017, Butte only grew by about 400 people, or a growth rate of .2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We definitely aren’t headed backwards, but we also aren’t skyrocketing like some of our neighboring communities,” said Butte Local Development Corporation Executive Director Joe Willauer.
The Butte Plaza Mall has lost several tenants over the years including Herberger’s, JCPenny, and Payless. Kmart also closed for business, leaving that strip of Harrison Avenue fairly bare.
Now, First Call Resolutions (FCR), an Oregon-based call center, plans to move into the former JCPenny location at the mall. According to Willauer, this is a positive sign for the future of Butte’s economy.
“I don’t know of any other communities that have the can-do attitude and I think that stems from our mining legacy. But as we grow in an incremental fashion, we are able to keep that culture what it is and such a great place to live, while also looking to the future and enticing new companies like FCR to join us.”
Butte-Silver Bow Community Development Director Karen Byrnes believes new jobs at the call center will result in more money being spent in various areas of the community including retail, the food industry, and real estate.
“I always like to say the rising tide lifts all boats,” said Byrnes. “But it will in all areas because we do have an opportunity, because we have housing that is available. It might need to be upgraded or things might need to happen to that, but those owners will be able to provide housing to our community, so I look at it as a very great opportunity.”
This last week, FCR has started the hiring process by regionally recruiting employees throughout the northwest region of the county.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News