Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and every business plays a critical role in keeping Montana’s towns vibrant. The Treasure State consistently ranks in top five in reports from the Kauffman Foundation in rates of business ownership and business sustainability.
In our Q and A series, we’ll introduce you to some of Montana’s brightest and best entrepreneurs from all corners of the state. These businesses are involved in a variety of industries including hospitality, retail, and food.
Join us as we travel to Great Falls and check out the Roadhouse Diner with co-owners Jason and Tara Beam!
1. What is the name of your business?
The Roadhouse Diner
2. Are you a native Montanan? If you are, where is your hometown and why do you love it? If not, why did you decide to make Montana home?
We were both born and raised in Montana. Our hometown is the amazing Great Falls, MT! Both of us had moved away living in Denver, New York City as well as Southern California and Arizona – living life in the “fast” lane. We realized we enjoyed the quaintness of Montana with a more peaceful way of living. You can walk in a store and people will remember your name. When someone is in need, the community works together to help!
3. How long has your business been in operation? What does your business do?
We own the Roadhouse Diner in Great Falls, MT and have been open for 3 ½ years, bringing fresh food in a friendly environment to give people the ultimate dining and hospitality experience. Last year, we started Iron Swan Properties to delve into the real estate market. We enjoy knowing we are helping make a difference in someone’s life by providing innovative commercial property for their business and offering a safe and clean place for someone to rent.
4. What has surprised you about owning your own business?
What surprised us most are the amount of tax liabilities and government regulations. We were also surprised at the time and dedication it takes to have employees. Every individual is different and learning how to work with different personalities in order to get the job done has certainly created learning opportunities.
5. Why should an entrepreneur start a business in Montana?
We encourage people to start a business here in Montana because many local businesses are supportive of each other and with the right mindset, you can develop a loyal customer base. Having lived in big cities we can see the positive side to living, working, and starting a business in Montana
6. Why did you decide to start your business?
We decided to open our business and create it from ground up to allow us to control our menu, expenses, high food quality, and to make food a fun experience for our guests. We wanted to be in control of the next 20 years of our lives, and prepared ourselves to make the sacrifice that running a business requires.
7. What are three pieces of advice you would give someone about starting a company in Montana?
Advice to starting up a new business is to be ready to make changes quickly. One must listen to what the customer is requesting and see if it is an option to implement. Things will go wrong; use this as a motivator!
Read up on state laws pertaining to your business. There are many ins and outs to setting up the business that are not made readily aware – another reason that you have to be quick to adapt and change.
Understand the benefits and limitations of the job pool that you will be tapping into, and prepare to be hands-on with your employees. Educate yourself on training and management in order to dole out praise when applicable and turn negative behaviors into positive ones.
Do you know a business in your local community that should be featured on our website? Email your suggestions to Alexandria Klapmeier at Alexandria@MontanaChamber.com.
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