CHOTEAU — Two small businesses are off to a great start and putting the spotlight on local - a candy shop in Choteau, and a bakery in Conrad.
In Choteau, Mischa Welch recently opened Triple Boutique Divide (website), which is now Choteau's first and only candy shop. Welch grew up on a ranch near Cut Bank. She decided to bring her roots back to Montana after moving back from Arizona.
Welch said, "I decided to choose the small community of Choteau and promote a family-oriented business that we can keep all year round to promote happiness and joy and bring a little love into the community of Choteau."
What makes Welch's business stand out is the effort to promote Montana-made products. One of her top sellers is Bequet caramels from Bozeman.
"You always want to promote that small business, or local business," Welch explained. "So I’m actually promoting Montana business as much as I can. To me, it’s very important to promote our local people as much as possible and to promote our Big Sky Country in Montana."
Mischa added she plans to make some expansions to her business, one including a self-serve yogurt bar.
MTN also talked with the owner of a bakery that recently opened in Conrad called Rustic Farm Girls (website). They serves daily specials as well as a variety of baked foods.
Owner Danyell Morse explained, "My husband's job brought us here. We've been from Arizona from California to Texas to here, so each time, we've gone a little bit smaller."
The name comes from Morse's upbringing, growing up on a farm. Her husband also owns a farm, but she doesn't consider them to be "farmers."
When asked about Conrad, she said, "I love it. The people are great. Friendly town. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody looks out for everybody. It was just so welcoming to come here.”
Morse said, "I moved to Conrad four years ago, and thought something was missing in town. We just needed somewhere quick and easy for fresh food, and I was doing cakes out of my home, so this building came available, and I jumped on it and thought how fun will this be.”
Morse said she aims to make additions to her shop to bring in more residents from Conrad and the surrounding area.