Scott Sacry has found a way to boost Montana small businesses by introducing their products, from local buffalo jerky to bath products to candy, coffee and tea, to both out-of-state and local customers.
It all comes as a mix of eclectic goods called the Last Best Box, a subscription-based gift box delivery service that Sacry runs out of his home in Stevensville.
“I was interested in the idea of subscription boxes, and there’s literally thousands of these subscription boxes,” Sacry explained. “Anything you can think of, there’s a box for it. I noticed a lot of regional ones, and there wasn’t any Montana ones. I thought that was kind of weird because there’s so many great Montana businesses and products.”
So, he started stockpiling products in his basement, built up a website and now has a solid customer base.
Each box includes a mix of four to six consumable items like spices, popcorn, jerky, relishes, jellies, drinks and food mixes. There also will be a non-consumable product like a shirt, hat, pottery, metalwork, houseware, book or photograph.
A subscription is $29.99 a month or $84.99 for a prepaid three months, and a customer can choose a one-time subscription as a gift, or skip a month and renew or cancel anytime they like. The boxes are shipped once a month at a certain time.
Some months will contain a random variety of gifts, and other months the contents of each box will center around a theme such as camping, wildlife, national parks in Montana, breweries, seasons, regions or state history.
Some one-time customized boxes range from $34.99 for the Montana Snack Box to $44.99 for the Montana Camping Box. That last one contains a Montana cribbage travel stick from Benna Designs in Columbia Falls, wild tinder fire pellets from Wild Tinder in Livingston, a Lightnin’ Flame Fire Starter from Montana Campfire in Victor, Kracklin’ Kamut snacks from Big Sandy Organics, coffee from Treeline Coffee Roasters in Bozeman, Montana Crunch from Cream of the West in Harlowton, natural insect repellent from Natural Essentials in Churchill and a custom gift card from KTF Design in Butte, which makes specialty stationary. Sacry ships the boxes anywhere in the United States for a flat rate of $6.95, including Alaska and Hawaii.
“Each month we’ll try to select products that appeal to a wide range of people,” he said.
There’s also an option for a “build your own” Montana box. Many Missoula companies are featured in Sacry’s boxes, including Moxie Nosh (a company that makes artisan nut butters) and Lake Missoula Tea Company.
“They use our Bodo Black Assam and Bodo Green Assam, which are certified elephant-friendly teas,” said Heather Kreilick, who co-manages Lake Missoula Tea Co. with her husband Jake. “It’s nice that (Sacry) is introducing our products to new customers.”
Sacry estimates that more than half of his customers are from out of state. He was surprised to find that a big portion of his customers are businesses that buy the boxes for their employees.
"Montanans are creating some amazing products,” Sacry said. “And Montanans are awesome at supporting local businesses, but you don't have the time to discover everything. That's where we come in. The Last Best Box allows customers to sample Montana goods from the comfort of their home through a monthly subscription."
Sacry's wife owns a company in the Bitterroot Valley, so he's a stay-at-home dad and was looking for a way to bring in some extra income. He's happy that he's also been able to boost awareness about all of the hundreds of small Montana businesses that have unique products that just need a wider audience.
"Our purpose is to help Montanans support Montana businesses and experience new Montana-made products and to expose people not living in Montana to some of the amazing things that are made here," he said.