Small Business Relief Programs

Small Business Relief Programs

Bill Bickle

Bill Bickle, Chief Credit Officer

Small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 health crisis and many businesses (particularly restaurants and bars) continue to face operating restrictions, such as those announced this week as Montana works to slow down COVID infection rates.

To help address the financial stress, Stockman Bank has been busy helping our Montana small business customers access a number of relief programs designed to help impacted businesses keep their doors open and their people employed. The following programs are part of The CARES Act, (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act).

Woman in mask in front of restaurant

Small businesses hard hit by COVID-19

Montana Board of Investments (MBOI) Loan Deferment Program

This loan program helps eligible Montana businesses who have suffered at least a 15% reduction of gross revenues due to COVID-19. Our customers received $14.5 million of assistance through this program. Overall, these customers received 31% of the total assistance provided by the MBOI and were the largest group to benefit from this program.

The Montana Working Capital Program

Also facilitated through the MBOI, this program helps Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19 to access grant funds to supplement working capital loans made by eligible lenders. Our customers received $6.5 million in principal grants. This was 28% of the total assistance provided by the MBOI, and our customers were the second largest group to benefit from this program.

Restaurant Open for Take Out

Restaurant Open for Take Out

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided 100% SBA guaranteed loans to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll. We originated 3,278 PPP loans and advanced nearly $312 million in PPP loans to Montana businesses. The bank’s lenders are now assisting our customers with the “loan forgiveness” phase of the program.

Over our nearly 70-year history, Stockman Bank has worked to ensure that our Montana farmers, ranchers and small businesses owners continue to grow and be successful. Entrepreneurship and small business is the backbone of our state. If your business is continuing to face challenges due to the pandemic, call your local Stockman Bank to make an appointment. We may be able to help.

On behalf of all of us at Stockman Bank, best wishes for a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

Bank Disclosures

Storefront during snow storm

Ready, Set, Start Your Business!

Storefront during snow stormAs we celebrate Montana businesses this month on social media, we want to shine a light on Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the important work they do for small businesses across the nation. Under the guise of the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are ten SBDC regional centers across Montana. For individuals that are looking to start a business or grow an existing one, the SBDC network is the best place to start.

Bear Paw Development Corporation

In Havre, the Bear Paw Development Corporation is a host agency for SBDC, and their region includes Hill, Blaine, Liberty, Chouteau and Phillips Counties, as well as the Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap Indian Reservations. They provide confidential, no-cost, step-by-step assistance in developing business plans, analyzing cash flow projections and financials, along with many other services designed to meet the specific needs of small businesses in northern Montana.  They also assist clients with their business accounting needs, including individual and group sessions using QuickBooks software. Other trainings which are usually tailored to the needs of each community or business are also offered.

The SBDC at Bear Paw Development also serves as the Native American Business Advisor for the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, providing entrepreneurial training and business counseling services for members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

Increase in Requests for Assistance

Paul Tuss

Paul Tuss, Executive Director for Bear Paw Development Corporation

According to Paul Tuss, Executive Director for Bear Paw Development Corporation, in the past several months they have seen a sizable increase in requests for assistance. This was due in part, to area businesses reaching out for assistance with Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications that are overseen by the Small Business Administration (SBA) due to COVID-19. And this year alone, they have sponsored 5 small business training sessions in which over 60 individuals from Bear Paw’s five-county region participated to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, and directly assisted with 5 new business start-ups or acquisitions.

“Bear Paw Development has been serving the business counseling needs of northern Montana for nearly 30 years and we know our efforts continue to make a positive difference for entrepreneurs in our very rural region,” said Paul Tuss, Executive Director.  “The SBDC is an absolutely critical partner in allowing us to deliver professional, confidential, no-cost advising to existing business owners as well as start-up entrepreneurs.

Joe LaPlante is the SBDC Director at Bear Paw Development and can be reached at 406-265-9226 or by email at He is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional, an Accredited Small Business Consultant and has served as SBDC Director at Bear Paw for 14 years.

Bank Disclosures

Benchmark Dental

Benchmark Dental in Billings is our Featured Small Business for October

Benchmark Dental

Benchmark Dental

Benchmark Dental in Billings is our featured small business for October. We are pleased to work with Halley and Ian McDonald who started their dental practice and have worked with us from the beginning. Born and raised in Billings, Ian understands that Montana is a handshake state.

At Benchmark, they understand that visiting the dentist can be daunting for some people. They offer compassion and concern while focusing on the health of their patients. The personal touch means they get to know patients and families by name. We salute Benchmark Dental as a unique practice with a true Montana feel.

Bank Disclosures

Bos Hay and Grain

Supporting Small Business – Bos Hay and Grain

This time of year, as you travel through our beautiful state, the hard work of farmers and ranchers is evident. We salute the ag industry and are proud to feature Bos Hay and Grain from Gallatin Gateway.

Bos Hay & Grain is a family farm that started in 1965. They produce high quality hay, wheat and barley. The business has grown into a professional crop production business while maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Ag business is the backbone of our country and the hard work of the Bos family shines through. We hope you enjoy the video!

Bank Disclosures

Hotel Finlen at Sunset

Focus on Small Business – Hotel Finlen

Anyone who has the smallest bit of interest in history can easily fall in love with the mining city of Butte, The Hotel Finlen, located on Broadway Street in uptown has its own history-rich story to tell. In 1924, the 9-story hotel with 250 rooms opened its doors. It was designed in a similar style to the Hotel Astor in New York City and has been a center of commerce and culture ever since.

Stockman Bank: Hotel Finlen Interior

Hotel Finlen Interior

In the 1950s, a motor inn was added to the complex and today, the Hotel Finlen is one of the most unique and interesting historic hotels in the second largest Historic Landmark District in the country. It has been regarded as one of the grandest hotels in the region and hosted notable figures and dignitaries including John F Kennedy, Thomas Edison, Richard Nixon, and Charles Lindbergh.

Stockman Bank: Hotel Finlen Exterior

Hotel Finlen Exterior

In 2018, the Hotel was purchased by a group with expertise in hospitality and real estate. Over the years the property was adapted to include apartments and office space. According to JJ Adams, one of the Finlen’s owners, owning the Finlen was the chance for a great business opportunity and a great building in a great town. Since taking over ownership they have more than doubled the number of events hosted at the hotel and grown the lodging business.

The group has made many improvements to the hotel including adding a 50 kilowatt solar array which offsets 20% of the buildings power consumption, adding new beds and bedding and improving all sorts of other amenities.

Stockman Bank: Hotel Finlen Room

Hotel Finlen Guest Room

For beer enthusiasts they added what Adams called the “Smooth Hopperator” in the hotels Cavalier Lounge. The Hopperator can infuse ordinary beer with distinctive flavors, and they have enjoyed experimenting with things like Madagascar vanilla beans and cream ale, fresh hops, licorice, pomegranate seeds, strawberries and cream ale and basil and lemon. The Hopperator is the only one of its’ kind in the United States.

Stockman Bank: Hotel Finlen Smooth Hopperator

The famous Hopperator

Currently the Cavaliar Lounge is open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the hotel is taking reservations on a limited basis to ensure the safety of its’ guests.

We are pleased to support business throughout Montana and we share this video about the Hotel Finlen. Enjoy!

Bank Disclosures

Headframe Spirits

Focus on Small Business – Headframe Spirits

Meet John and Courtney McKee, the entrepreneur couple who created the idea of Headframe Spirits in 2010, opening their tasting room in 2012. They produce and sell spirits with names based upon the local mining history and lore of Butte America; Neversweat Whiskey, Anselmo Gin, Destroying Angel Whiskey, High Ore Vodka, and the famous Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur.

The Pivot

Recent events have shown that John and Courtney fit right in to the Butte community which was built by the strong work ethic and spirit of our Nation’s immigrants and entrepreneurs. Through their tenacity they quickly pivoted Headframe Spirit’s business model and began making hand sanitizer to fight Covid-19. To date they have produced and packaged 7,500 gallons which equates to more than 40,000 bottles. All of this while keeping cost 60-500% lower than other companies nationwide, and donating over $15,000 worth of hand sanitizer to first responders, front line personnel, hospitals, non-profits and local government offices.

Boxing Bottles

The Headframe team boxing up hand sanitizer.

Not only has the production helped front-line workers, but it has also kept their employees working at a time when nearly 43% of distillery employees nationwide have been furloughed.  They have also been able to increase each employee’s hourly wage to compensate for lost tip income from their tasting room. Courtney is also helping the American Craft Spirits Association outline protocol for distillery tasting rooms to safely open their doors and operate across the country.

Spray Bottle Charlie's Angels

These three keep us safe with sanitizer!

Commitment to Community

A commitment to the community is nothing new to John and Courtney. In 2017 Headframe Spirits became a Certified B Corporation and joined other businesses as a force for good. Corporations with this designation are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

B Corporations are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They are one of only a handful of companies in the state to earn this designation.

When it is business as usual at Headframe Spirits in addition to the distillery and tasting room, Headframe Stills Manufacturing creates distillation equipment for distilleries around the world. The unique continuous distillation concept was born out of John’s experience in the biodiesel industry and is now in high demand for distillers far and wide. Creating a large scale production manufacturing business, using local malted grain personifies the creativity and knowledge these two people bring to our state and especially to Butte.

Enjoy the story of Headframe Spirits as told by Courtney and John.  And the next time you visit Butte America, be sure to stop into Headframe Spirits and say hello.


Bank Disclosures


Katelynne and Jayson Eslick - Sugar Plum Jewelry

Focus on Small Business – Sugar Plum Jewelry Co.

Katelynne and Jayson Eslick - Sugar Plum Jewelry

Today we introduce you to Katelynne and Jayson Eslick, husband and wife team, who are the owners of Sugar Plum Jewelry in Glendive. Katelynne, GIA Diamonds Graduate, is an award-winning designer, and Jayson is a laser welder expert who handles the repairs. Together they specialize in everything from handcrafted custom jewelry to traditional diamonds and engagement rings.

Glendive, a small Eastern Montana town tucked between the Yellowstone River and the Badlands, sits just west of Makoshika State Park. With a population of just under 5,000, Glendive has that small, home-town feel with care and concern for neighbors and friends alike. The Eslick’s enjoy living where they know customers by name, as well as their kids’ names, as well as what they do for a living.

While the traditional face of retail is ever-changing in today’s world, it is inspiring to see a small jewelry store in Eastern Montana, not just surviving, but thriving! Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, so it brings us great pleasure in featuring Sugar Plum Jewelry.

Montanan’s serving Montanan’s is what we are all about, and we wish the Eslick’s Sugar Plum Jewelry business great success for many years to come!

Sugar Plum Jewelry Co.


Bank Disclosures

Cash Management

Keep Your Cash Flowing and Your Business Growing

Bill Toner

Bill Toner, Vice President, Cash Management Services

We understand what it takes to run your own business. You’re the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Managing your cash is essential. Cash Management is a hidden jewel that provides an efficient and effective way to manage your business.

Bill Toner, Vice President of Cash Management Services, shared some thoughts to provide a better understanding of what this service can provide for business customers and the great tools we have in place to keep the cash flowing and the business growing.

First of all, what is Cash Management?

Simply put, it offers business customers a full suite of services that will assist them in managing funds, while operating more efficiently. There are three goals to keep in mind when thinking about Cash Management:

  1. Get money as fast as you can.
  2. Keep money as long as you can.
  3. Keep money as safe as you can.

Cash Management

How can we help Montana businesses meet these three goals?

We provide the tools to get cash faster, hold onto cash longer, when necessary, pay out in the most efficient way possible and keep cash safe as possible. Every business is different and may not need all of the tools offered, but there are some amazing services that will help in attaining the three goals.

Online Banking (eBiz) & Mobile Banking (eMobile)

We have great online tools that allow business owners to manage their accounts easily and securely. Whether you are on a desktop computer or on your mobile phone, you will enjoy greater account control with 24/7 access to monitor your balances and daily activity.

What are some of the key Cash Management tools that could benefit a business?

  1.  ACH Services – Make electronic payments or receipts such as direct deposit payroll processing for employees, accounts payable origination for automatic or recurring payments or receivables, such as receipt of monthly dues/rents. This allows flexibility to manage your business on your schedule.
  2. Wire Transfer Services – Move funds quickly and securely directly from your business.
  3. Remote Deposit of Checks (eDirect) – Deposit checks securely right from your office, so you can run your business and not have to drive to the bank.
  4. Positive Pay – Safeguard your money, protect yourself against check and ACH fraud and streamline your day-to-day operations. You can view all transactions in real time, as well as receive notifications of suspicious items.
  5. Lockbox Services – Speed up receipt and deposit of cash and check payments sent through the mail with our centralized service. This reduces the number of employee touches on a transaction and frees them up from preparing deposits and making trips to the bank.
  6. Merchant Card Services – Enjoy quick and easy electronic payments from your customers by the swipe of a credit or debit card. This provides you the convenience of easily and securely managing your payments.

Cash Flow

Why should a business consider Cash Management services? 

Simply, we help businesses of all sizes with cash flow. When a business has effective cash flow, it runs more efficiently, productivity increases, leading to growth and prosperity. Our Cash Management services provide flexibility and convenience, allowing a business to “bank on their time, not just when the bank is open.”

Where can business owners find more information on Cash Management?

You can visit our website to learn more or contact your local Stockman Bank. We will work with you every step of the way, helping you find the solutions that are right for you and your business.

Bank Disclosures

Adel’s Hot Stuff Espresso

Focus on Small Business – Adel’s Hot Stuff Espresso

Adel’s Hot Stuff EspressoWhat is an entrepreneur? The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

That describes our founder, Bill Nefsy very well. Bill never viewed himself as a banker, but as an entrepreneur and consumer of financial services.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Montana is home to over 120,000 small businesses that employ more than 65% of our private workforce! It’s clear that entrepreneurship and small business is truly the backbone of our state. As a Montana bank focused only on Montana, we are a committed partner in helping our state’s entrepreneurs reach the highest levels of success.

Today, we introduce you to Adel, a young entrepreneur from Missoula. She is an inspiration and we are proud to be a part of her story.

Adel’s Hot Stuff Espresso


Bank Disclosures