A stable, well-educated workforce, an outstanding location, cutting-edge internet connectivity and an unsurpassed quality of life combine to make Whitefish the ideal spot for business success, both now and in the future!
Add to that a new wave of major private and public investment – and a number of Chamber initiatives designed to strengthen and grow the local economy – and we think you’ll agree ... Whitefish, Montana is where your business ought to be!
Residential development is, indeed, “roaring” in the 2020s, as the local housing market is busier than it ever has been. Commercial development (and planned development) in Whitefish is just as active and is approaching levels only seen in the pre-recession “boom” days. Things are particularly hot on Central Avenue and in the downtown core, where new development (and re-development) continue at a blazing pace.
The trend toward three-story, mixed-use buildings shows no signs of stopping, with dozens of new businesses opening up in ground-floor spaces below two stories of short-term vacation rental units.
A half-dozen new businesses opened in 2021 at the south end of Central Avenue, but in 2022 the action will shift to the north. Rumor has it that a new brewery and restaurant will move into the former Great Northern Brewing Company building – which has been vacant for two years – so keep your eyes open!
Just up the block, the vacant lot at the corner of Central and 1st Street won’t be vacant much longer, as a new 40-room boutique hotel, restaurant and bar has been approved for development on the site, along with an underground garage with “hydraulic stacking” … kind of like vending machine for automobiles.
Development is also heating up in the 93 South and Wisconsin Avenue corridors, and both of those areas are poised for more of the same in coming years. A half-dozen projects were completed on Highway 93 South last year, including a new car and RV wash, a drive-thru Starbucks, Smile Montana Dental Center, a new bar/restaurant in the old Whitefish Marine building, and a commercial subdivision now selling improved lots on U.S. 93 across from Wright’s Furniture.
There’s no doubt about it... it’s an exciting time for Whitefish! And the Chamber is focused on three separate-but-equal strategies for enhancing the Whitefish economy:
- Helping existing businesses get the help they need to survive, grow, and thrive.
- Welcoming new companies to Whitefish that will complement the existing business community; and
- Identifying and implementing programs, projects and events that enhance the Whitefish visitor experience, and help grow sustainable tourism in the shoulder and winter seasons.
In addition, the Chamber promotes our community on a local, regional, statewide and global basis, in an effort to:
- Attract new business and investment to Whitefish;
- Create new, high-paying jobs through business relocation, new business start-ups and the expansion of existing companies;
- Promote the Whitefish area’s assets to prospective employers, investors, and residents; and
- Improve our community by encouraging planned economic development, strong civic leadership, better education and increased cultural and recreational opportunities.
At its annual Retreat & Planning Conference in November, the Chamber Board restated its commitment to working collaboratively with a host of different groups and agencies who share common interests and constituents, including: the Whitefish City Council, Montana West Economic Development, Whitefish Convention & Visitors Bureau, Glacier AERO, Flathead County Economic Development Authority, Big Mountain Commercial Association, Whitefish Housing Authority, Glacier Park International Airport, six other Chambers of Commerce and the Flathead County Commission ... just to name a few. For a detailed look at the Whitefish Chamber’s 2022 Program of Work, click here.
Business Assistance Partners
The Chamber partners with a handful of other local and regional organizations to provide a full menu of economic development and business assistance services to local employers... and to those considering Whitefish as a home for their new—or relocating—business. Our partners include:
Montana West Economic Development
Christy Cummings Dawson, President/CEO - (406) 257-7711
Montana West connects new and existing businesses to the resources they need to accelerate their growth and leverage their investment. Services include: connections to expertise, demographic information, financing and incentive resources, industry trends, workforce assistance, site selection, gap financing lending programs, and grant programs for business development and expansion.
Small Business Development Center (part of SBA)
Dan Gorton, Director - (406) 756-3836
Job Service Kalispell
What can Job Service Kalispell help your business with? Minimum wage posters, planning job fairs & hiring events hosted at Job Service or your place of business, creative recruitment & retention strategies, monthly education on HR topics, information on Labor Market Trends, Wage & Hour and human rights information.