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Future of Butte’s economy depends on young business owners

Posted at 3:11 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 17:45:04-04

BUTTE – Butte economic leaders know it’s important to attract young entrepreneurs to the city.

“It’s no secret that we’re an aging community and we’ve always been an aging community. Throughout the state, we’re one of the oldest communities,” said Joe Willauer who heads the Butte Local Development Corporation.

Butte is hosting its first Economic Development Week that includes a list of business forums — one of which emphasizes the importance of helping young business owners settle and expand in Butte.

“One of the best things about Butte is our affordability. Our cost of living is significantly less than surrounding communities of its size, so it’s a huge opportunity for young people to come here, buy a home, start a family and get a really dang good job,” said Willauer.

Mike Marcum opened the StoneFly Fly Shop in Butte, along with co-owner Chris Bradley, when he was just 25 years old. Thirteen years later, business is booming. He said success can be made in Butte.

“Butte has fallen on some retail hard times, for sure, but that negativity of Butte is not there. You can be successful in Butte and there’s people here to help you too,” said Marcum.

Young entrepreneurs like Marcum and Bradley say they need city leaders to be proactive and to plan ahead if they want to encourage more young entrepreneurs to come to the Mining City.

“They just need to have an overall plan of what’s going to happen for Butte, have some good ideas and have some professionals come in to give the advice they need to continue on in economic growth,” said Marcum.

Will Butte’s future remain open?

The Economic Development Week will include a workforce fair at the Copper King Hotel ballroom beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday to connect workers with jobs.

The event is free to the public.

Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News