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Community Building in Butte and It’s Impact on New Businesses

In this video, Community Development Director Karen Byrnes discusses the qualities that make the Butte community unique and the benefits that provide for incoming businesses. Watch or read the transcription below to learn more.

What’s your name and job title?

My name is Karen Byrnes, I’m the community development director for Butte Silver Bow.

How long have you been in the Butte community?

I have lived in Butte for my whole life and I’ve been with the local government for 25 years which seems unreal to me. When I started with the local government I was 21 years old, working at the health department right out of college here at Montana Tech. I thought it was a stepping stone.

Tell us a little bit about the people of Butte. 

I know that I am a little bias because I have lived here my entire life but I have done quite a bit of traveling and visited other communities and they are wonderful and there are great places everywhere but really you aren’t going to find anywhere as amazing and engaging and friendly as Butte. I notice it daily. When you are walking into a store and someone is coming out in front of you, they hold the door for you. If you’re running down a trail, you’re out for a morning run, everyone you pass is going to wave or say hi to you. It’s just how we are. It’s just the way this community rolls and it’s absolutely wonderful.

How does the community react to new businesses and community members?

We often are known for having the biggest grand openings of things. And I say that because when a national franchise moves into the community and opens their doors, they often gauge how big their grand openings are and across the board, we always blow those numbers out of the water. A few years ago when our Pita Pit opened in uptown Butte it was the largest Pita Pit opening across the country, ever.

So to me, that just shows we are here to support our new businesses, we are here to support our existing businesses. We have a lot of pride in doing that. Our community is involved. They want to see new things. They want to see new community members. I work in the recruitment of professionals in some of our industries here in Butte. Sometimes they ask me to engage with the folks that come to interview for jobs here and I often hear they haven’t ever seen such a reception.

Is there room for new businesses in Butte?

We are completely open for business! We’ve got so many opportunities for people here. We are excited about our expansions in manufacturing here in Butte, we’re excited about our healthcare sector expanding. Our local college is growing. We’re seeing a lot of entrepreneurship going on in our community. We’re known for specialized businesses here that are homegrown. People come from across the state just to come to these businesses. 

What does it mean to you to be part of the Butte community?

There’s always something going on. There’s always something you can be involved in. Our community has so many different activities for everyone. And that’s what we’re very excited about. If you want to volunteer for an organization of any kind, there’s an opportunity to do that. If you want to be a part of an organization, if you want to be engaged in adult hockey leagues to curling to bowling to taekwondo to volleyball, I could go on and on and on, there is a place for you, there is something you can be involved in if you want to be. 

You’re also not going to find a more beautiful place to be. We often sort of joke here in our office that our Business Connection Park is the prettiest one in the country because the views are spectacular. You’re surrounded by mountains and blue sky and it’s absolutely gorgeous. In that lense to the other factor that’s so huge for locating your business here in Butte or in Montana Connections is the quality of life you’re exposed to.

Our community is so engaging and it’s a wonderful place to raise a family. It’s a wonderful place to be a young person. There are so many opportunities to be involved and be active. There’s also a great connection to outdoor recreation. You can literally be on the Continental Divide Trail in less than ten minutes form literally anywhere in the city. I don’t think anyone else can say that. It’s kind of an amazing thing. There’s just so much you can do here in terms of hiking, biking, water sports, skiing, motorized recreation, horseback riding. And it’s all right here and it’s all within your reach. It’s pretty exciting.

What would you say to someone considering Butte and MCBDP as the site for their business?

Butte is known for our history, our rich deep history here. But we’re also known for our moving forward and how much we have to offer in our community and how much of a great place it is to live. Because of our rich history and our mixing of cultures here when mining was going on that carries forward into an engaging, open, exciting community into the future. 

Interested in more videos? Check out our interview with Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Rosa here.

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