Libby Area Business Association aims for Sept. 10 launch

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If all goes according to plan, Libby businesses will soon have another organization to turn to for promotion and support.

Gail Burger, a self-employed grant writer who is also directing the rehabilitation of the Historic Hotel Libby, aims to launch the Libby Area Business Association by Sept. 10.

“We feel as business owners we wanted to have an association where we had a say in how we were being marketed and we want to take control of the fate of our businesses,” she said.

Burger said she’s been working on getting the association — modeled after the Kalispell Downtown Association — off the ground since early 2016. Bylaws are accepted and signed, articles of incorporation have been submitted to the state and she awaits word on its 501c3 status. She’ll soon submit an application to the city for a business license.

The organization’s bylaws state its purpose is to advertise and promote Libby businesses, raise money to beautify business areas and increase traffic to local businesses, among other items. It also seeks to highlight issues important to local businesses and to accept public and private contributions, “whether financial or in-kind.”

Annual membership dues are $100 for small businesses, $200 for large businesses of eight or more employees, $300 for corporations, $50 for nonprofits and home-based businesses and, and $50 for non-business memberships.

Membership benefits are still being drafted, and so far include being listed on the association’s social media pages, serving on its board or working committees and sponsoring events. Describing the organization as “run by businesses for businesses,” she said it would remain open to adapting in accordance with the needs and desires of members.

There’s other work to do, Burger said, including assembling membership packets, planning events and determining committees. Promotion of the association has been low-key — she posted a Facebook page in mid-April but hasn’t yet widely shared it. Nonetheless by Thursday the page had 26 likes and 28 followers and the association had eight confirmed members and others who had expressed interest.

Saying there’s “a lot of things we’d like to do,” Burger said the association would like to encourage events on Mineral Avenue during Christmas and perhaps to bring back events such as “Crazy Days.” She said it might also seek to establish a sister city in Canada.

Burger, a former Libby Area Chamber of Commerce member who served on its board, said businesses need not choose between the Association and the Chamber, noting that the Association already has members of both and that the Kalispell organization it’s modeled after “works well together” with that city’s chamber.

“We just want to be available to everyone,” Burger said. “We want our businesses to survive and thrive.”

For more information visit www.facebook.com/LibbyMontana59923/ or call 406-293-5311.

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