Business Buzz: Native Market Coming, Costco Expansion, Lantern Tours

Here’s some business news in the Missoula area:

Native Made Missoula, First Interstate Bank and All Nations Health Center are hosting the First Peoples’ Winter Market on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Missoula Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Building 13. The event is free and open to the public. There will be Indigenous entrepreneurs, a DJ, live music, raffle drawings, info booths and food trucks. The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center sponsors vendor booth fees, lowering the barrier to entry for 20 Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Food court at Missoula Costco is finally open. The retail store has been under construction for the past few years for a major expansion project.

Local sportswriter Zach Kaplan was one of the many Missoula residents excited to get pizza at Costco.

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“In an incredible development, I’m happy to announce that the Missoula Costco food court is finally back open after 9 (?) months of renovations,” Kaplan tweeted. “Our long local nightmare is over.

The Cognizant Foundation contributed $250,000 for University of Montana programs that support the success of the state’s Native American population through STEM and higher education, according to a UM news release.

The donation will go toward the continued growth of the Montana Native American Indian Math and Science Program, which provides Native American middle and high school students with early exposure to STEM fields. The money will also help launch the Indigenous First-Year Experience program on campus.

“These initiatives address the fact that Native American students face barriers to higher education and that Native American students are far less likely than their non-Native American peers to pursue a STEM field,” said Aaron Thomas, associate professor of chemistry and director at the University. of Indigenous Research and STEM Education, in press.

UM has a long-standing partnership with ATG, a Missoula-based Cognizant company that provides consulting and implementation services focused on the Salesforce platform. Their work together includes a joint program that provides Montanans with qualifications to prepare them to work for companies like ATG and Cognizant.

“The University of Montana has been an integral part of Cognizant ATG’s growth, and we are thrilled that Cognizant has invested in the university’s MT AIMS and Indigenous First-Year Experience programs to support a college and STEM career path for Native American students across the state of Montana,” he said said Tom Stergios, senior vice president of strategy, IP and offerings at ATG.

Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation selected 100 food banks, food pantries, rescue missions, homeless shelters and Salvation Army organizations across Montana to raise a combined $350,000 in additional grant funds to help Montana’s most vulnerable citizens during the holiday season. The Foundation’s Holiday Giving Program is in addition to other grants awarded annually to these basic needs organizations to provide the resources they need to ensure individuals and families have nutritious meals during the holidays.

“Virtually all basic needs organizations continue to struggle to meet the growing demand for their services, and these additional funds will hopefully help address shortages of food, shelter, clothing and other basic needs,” said Mike Halligan, the foundation’s executive director. “Our goal with this donation is to get much-needed resources into the hands of staff and volunteers at these critically important organizations, especially now with the winter months approaching.”

Beneficiaries in Missoula include Missoula Food Bank, Poverello Center, River of Life Ministries Inc., Salvation Army – Missoula, Montana Food Bank Network Inc. and Union Gospel Mission of Missoula – Hope Rescue Mission.

In Montana, 1 in 10 people struggle with hunger, and 1 in 6 Montana children live in homes that face food insecurity, putting them at risk of hunger. Good nutrition, especially in the first years of life, is important for creating a solid foundation that affects a child’s future physical and mental health, academic performance and economic productivity.

Hospital of St. Patrick’s in Providence has achieved the Healthgrades 2022 Outstanding Patient Experience Award for the ninth year in a row, according to a news release. This recognition ranks St. Pat’s among the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for patient experience, the report said.

Fort Missoula Historical Museum announced the return of Holiday Lantern Tours 9-11 december

This living history program will allow guests to step back in time to celebrate the holiday season in western Montana over the decades,” said Stacy Carr-Poole, development and communications coordinator for the organization. “This year’s tour will include five vignettes that will take guests to five of our historic buildings. Visitors will meet a fascinating cast of characters who will share their lives and experiences. The program is interactive and guests will help celebrate the holidays with reenactors.”

She said there are 10 tours available over the weekend and they always sell out. Admission is free for all museum members and $10 per person for all non-members. For more information, visit

The NanoAvionics MP42 satellite is equipped with a selfie stick and a GoPro camera. Check out the footage from the Great Barrier Reef after the camera was deployed. Credit: NanoAvionics | mix mash: Music: Shelter from the Storm by Amaranth Cove / courtesy of

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