The Bonner industrial hub that was once home to the area’s historic sawmill is looking toward a bright future as a multi-purpose business center.
Steve Nelson, one of the partners behind the property, said 600 people now work at various companies housed there.
“It’s still growing,” he said.
The Bonner site is home to enterprises that would have seemed unimaginable during the sawmill era. Business like Big Sky Fulfillment, which ships a myriad of merchandise, and Botany Soap, which makes toiletries for boutique hotels, are only a few of the unique operations based just east of Missoula.
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Some of the businesses active in Bonner harken back to the mill’s old lumber days.
United Forest Products, for instance, manufactures siding, trim and fencing material out of wood shipped in on rail cars. Likewise, Willis Enterprises is a wood chipping operation that supplies paper mills throughout the Northwest.
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There are long-timers and newcomers in the industrial center.
One of the very first companies to move in was Hellgate Forge, a business that performs decorative