Happy 2108 to you all — may it be the best year ever for your business or organization, you personally and for your family!

News in Helena last week was the swearing in of our new mayor — we look forward to working with Mayor Collins as he leads the city. The swearing in ceremony at the Capitol rotunda was well attended and it was great to be in attendance to see our new mayor and two newly-elected commissioners sworn in for their terms. Our city is a great place to live but it does have some challenges, so now the work begins.

Big Dipper Ice Cream, located in the historic Power block building, has a new owner. Longtime manager Lindsey Lechman purchased it from Anna and John Doran who have owned it for the past 8 years. Lindsey plans to offer the same great ice cream in your favorite flavors — so stop by and treat yourself to homemade goodness at 58 N. Last Chance Gulch or give them a call at 406-513-1051. They are open 7 days a week.

The Discount Tire is now open in their new store near Costco. They feature Goodyear tires and have many options, including wheels, wheel covers and, of course, in every size. They also offer tire rotation, balancing and much more. You can find Discount Tire at 2011 E Custer Ave or call them at 406-634-9122.

PayneWest Insurance is happy to have been selected among the top of the pack in Business Insurance magazine’s “Best Places to Work” annual report (specifically in the small employer category). Furthermore, PayneWest was also included in Insurance Business America's "Elite Agencies" list, citing the employee satisfaction and community service PayneWest is known for. Congratulations to PayneWest on these accolades!

Lucky Bucky’s Casino located at 3425 Hwy 12 next to the auto mall, is remodeling. A sports bar, restaurant and player’s club, including 20 new Keno machines are in the works. They are in the process of signing a contract with a local restaurant to relocate with them — so watch for that news coming soon. They are still open through the remodel so stop by to see their progress and have a cold drink!

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 The Dealership Alternative has moved from its location in the Lundy Center area to 920 E. Lyndale Ave. They encourage you to stop by and see their new offices. TDA is an alternative way to purchase a new vehicle. You meet with their staff and discuss the vehicle you want and all specifications, including your budget, and then they go to work. They will find you what you need at the price you want to pay! They also offer options for financing. They put you in control of your vehicle purchase! Give them a call to discuss how they can help you at 406-442-6445 or stop by the new office and meet their experts.

Safelite Auto Glass has located in the former Sweet Heart Bakery building at 1314 Euclid. They specialize in mobile replacement of your windshields and other auto glass needs. They will travel to you — just make an appointment. They are open Monday through Friday 8-5 or call 877-664-8932.

It is always disappointing to lose a business such as Kmart in Helena, although we’ve heard for several years now that they may be a part of the downsizing that their owner, Sears Holdings, is doing nationwide. Helena is lucky enough to have several other large merchandisers such as WalMart, Target and Shopko to fill the gap. The loss of jobs is also normally a huge concern, however, the job market in Helena is excellent for job seekers. A very low unemployment and a high number of job openings make it much easier for job transitions. Businesses seeking staff could possibly reach out to the Kmart employees.

Cathy Burwell is president/CEO of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce.

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