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Governor Bullock Celebrates the Success of Small Businesses Across Montana

Montana leads national movement to recognize impact of Small Business Development Centers

Wednesday, March 22, 2017/Categories: Market MT, Small Business Development Center Network

Governor Steve Bullock today joined Montana small businesses to celebrate their successes and spearhead the first-ever national Small Business Development Centers Day.

Montana is a great place to do business, and with the support of Small Business Development Centers, entrepreneurs are even more equipped to succeed.” said Governor Bullock. “I appreciate the opportunity to celebrate Montana’s small businesses who have translated good ideas into a successful business.”

During an event at the Stonetree Climbing Center in Helena, Governor Bullock recognized today as the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Day. Governor Bullock was also joined by business owners from The Survivor’s Boutique, Blacklock Block Manufacturing, and Play ‘N’ Learn Academy. These small Montana businesses worked with local SBDC advisors to develop business plans, purchase space, and hire employees.

Our impact is exceptional, and this is our time to highlight our advisors and successful businesses that make our program,” said SBDC State Director Chad Moore. “We are excited to lead this important national campaign.”

My start-up manufacturing company had many obstacles to overcome, but my SBDC business advisor gave me guidance and resources to get it done,” said Tony Blacklock, Blacklock Block Manufacturing owner.

Montana was the creator of today’s national campaign to share success stories and notable impacts of SBDCs on the small business community. Read Governor Bullock’s recognition of SBDC Day here:

Learn more about Montana Small Business Development Centers here:



  • Stonetree Climbing Center, Helena: Zach and Tiffany Bushilla & Tim and Barb Wetherill noticed a need for a climbing gym in Helena and approached Brandon Orr, Helena SBDC Regional Director, for help to put together a business plan with a market analysis and financial projections. Together they met with a commercial lender and were approved for financing. Their building was then purchased and redesigned, and in October 2015 Stonetree officially opened. Stonetree has created 8 new jobs in Helena and has created a space in an up and coming area of town.
  • The Survivor’s Boutique – “A Cancer Care Store”, Helena
    Cancer survivor Mickey Kunnary noticed how hard it was to find clothing and accessories for cancer patients in Helena and approached the Helena SBDC for assistance to start her business. Together they updated her business plan, created financial projections and applied for a loan and grant, both awarded to Mickey. She purchased a local prosthesis business, and in February 2017 she opened The Survivor’s Boutique, expanding the company’s original offerings to offer mastectomy care items, products for hair loss, and other cancer support items.
  • Blacklock Block Manufacturing, Butte
    Tony Blacklock needed help starting a cement block manufacturing operation and came to the Butte SBDC for help. Julie Jaksha, SBDC Regional Director, worked with Tony for over 6 months to complete his business plan and cash flow projections, and refine marketing ideas. She was also instrumental in helping him find manufacturing and storage space. Together their successful plan was financed and Blacklock Block is now fully operational and employs one full time worker, in addition to himself and his bookkeeper. 
  • Play ‘N’ Learn Academy, Great Falls
    Raegen Fraser started her preschool in 1997. Ready to expand, she came to the Great Falls SBDC to work with Regional Director Jason Nitschke in February 2015. Ever since, Jason has worked with Raegen on business plan, financial projections, strategic planning, project cost management assistance, financial packaging & structuring, and project advocacy with city planning and public works. At the end of February, Jason assisted Raegen’s business a total of hours 59.5 hours, or 67 counseling sessions. Raegen’s preschool will is projected to open in the fall of 2017. Raegen is set to retain 12 jobs and create 11-12 new FTEs with total potential new wages totaling $275-300K annually. 

About Montana Small Business Development Centers

Social media is playing a central role in connecting businesses across the country on SBDC Day. Small businesses, partners and advocates are invited to help spread the word using the hashtag #SBDCDay on March 22 to share what SBDCs do and how small businesses make a difference in local communities. To learn more about SBDC Day, and to join the movement, visit .

The Montana SBDC Network is funded in-part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Montana Department of Commerce that began in 1989. Over the course of its 28-year history, the Montana SBDC has assisted more than 29,000 Montana entrepreneurs and nearly 6,500 businesses. The Montana SBDC Lead Center, located in Helena, oversees administrative operations with satellite offices throughout the state. Montana SBDC's certified Business Consultants provide one-to-one management advising to small businesses at no cost to clients. For more information, visit




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