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Kearns and Sons

Local business gets enterprise grant

 

Wild West Machine received a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant for technical assistance, with the assistance of the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA). The grant includes help with new technology and marketing.

Wild West Machine products, including the popular GrainMaker®, are manufactured by Bitterroot Tool & Machine (BTM). Wild West Machine LLC is owned by Bonnie Jones which has a business to business relationship with BTM. Both companies provide good-paying jobs in Ravalli County.

The GrainMaker is a quality, hand-operated grain mill designed to make quick work of grinding grains of all types. The GrainMaker is the size of a Kitchen Aide mixer and each mill is serialized to meet ISO standards. Bitterroot Tool & Machine was able to obtain their ISO through a 2008 USDA RBEG, administered by RCEDA.

Every GrainMaker grain mill is hand-crafted in the Stevensville shop and is a non-mass-produced, heirloom quality machine. Wild West Machine is the only company manufacturing a hand powered grain mill that is completely machined. This enables Wild West Machine to provide an “Heirloom Guarantee” on everything on the mill, including the burrs. The guarantee is not only for the initial customer’s lifetime, it is generational and Wild West Machine will stand behind their product for life.

The popularity of GrainMaker has resulted in BTM having to add additional shifts. In the coming 24 months it is anticipated that two new employees will be hired. Along with good wages, BTM provides paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and is working towards a full benefits package.

Bitterroot Tool & Machine is located in the recently created North Stevensville Tax Increment Finance District (TIFD). BTM currently does not have access to municipal wastewater service. RCEDA submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration to assist with sewer service construction in the new District. The project will be funded through the operation of the TIFD and a grant that will be submitted by RCEDA to the Montana Department of Commerce under its Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

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