I just returned from sunny Long Beach, California, where I attended the national conference for chambers of commerce – ACCE. Over 1,000 chamber execs and staff attended this conference to learn the most cutting-edge practices and trends for chambers to meet the current needs of business. It is exciting to have new ideas and fresh energy to bring to our Helena business community. It is also gratifying to know that our chamber is on top of our workforce challenges and that other communities actually want to know more about our programs and how they can replicate the successes we are having.

While I was gone, the former Allen Appliance/Helena Industries building came down. What an exciting time for Farmers State Bank to get started on building their new bank and a bigger presence in Helena. That location (on the corner of Montana Avenue and North Last Chance Gulch) should be an excellent spot for this big investment in our city.

If you noticed a large building being built on the far west side of Helena – it is the expansion of Kolar Tire. Frank Kolar has seen great success and growth of his business in recent years. He added a second location on Highway 12 East a couple years ago and now found it appropriate to expand across the road from his first location. Congratulations to Frank and his staff on continuing to meet the needs of their customers.

La Casa Fiesta, owned by Scott and Deb Lindsey, will be moving from Cooney Drive to Euclid Avenue where Emiliano’s used to be located. They have been on Cooney Drive for many years serving excellent Mexican cuisine and plan to continue at the new location. Look for that move to happen in the next few weeks. Congratulations to the Lindseys. Until they move, you can get your favorites at the present location, 3404 Cooney Drive. Call 406-495-0684 to order ahead.

Don’t forget to enjoy the Last Chance Stampede and Fair this coming week. It has something for everyone, the rodeo is the best in Montana (my opinion 😊), they have lots of food vendors with all those fun treats. This year they have a ranch rodeo, and also a great concert is planned. Get out and enjoy it – take your friends and family.

Quite a few people mentioned that they enjoyed the crazy questions the chamber has been asked that I included a while back – so I thought I would include a few more this week. What makes them even more amusing is that these are actual calls and the people calling were sincere and truly wanted the information. Enjoy.

• Do you know someone who can babysit my Shetland ponies for a week? I'm traveling through your town on vacation and don't want to take them the rest of the way.

• What time do the Northern Lights come on?

• When is the Fourth of July?

• Can you tell me where my Aunt Sophie is buried?

• Who will come to my house and bury a horse? He isn’t dead yet but he probably will be soon.

• I’m on Montana Avenue right now – can you tell me why the train is stopped?

• How do you get rid of a squirrel in your basement?

Hope some of these made you smile. Enjoy your last full week of July – summer is racing by.

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