BOZEMAN- In this week’s Bozeman Business Boom we’re exploring the financial forecast for Bozeman’s future heading into 2020 and if the widespread growth in the area will continue.
With Bozeman being named the top micropolitan city in the U.S. what is bringing people to the area?
The C.E.O of the Bank of Bozeman, Clinton Gerst says it’s not Yellowstone or area ski resorts. They have a hand in traffic but they are not the main attraction.
“Businesses really are the fundamental underpins of the economy,” Gerst said, “tourism is important to Bozeman but the businesses are what’s driving the economy forward.”
More direct flights at the airport are making the region more appealing to large corporations, more flights mean more access.
“If you look at the demographics of who’s flying, it’s a lot of business travelers,” Gerst said.
So with more flights comes more interest from tech companies and their willingness to expand. But anchor industries in the Bozeman area are the hospitals and the university.
“We have such a strong university here, I mean Dr. Cruzado has done an amazing job with her team growing the university,” Gerst said, “that provides a lot of economic stability to the community.”
Gerst went on to explain that the expanding medical industry is also a larger driving force in the area.
“You have the hospital that’s been growing and then you’re going to have Billings Clinic moving here,” Gerst said, “so we’re getting a larger and larger hospital complex that’s attracting people from around the state.”
Both institutions have a very high level of stability they can provide to the region.
“It’s really both the hospital and the university, are recession-resistant,” Gerst said.
Right now the Bank of Bozeman says the largest market they’re currently serving, former students of MSU. The bobcats are choosing to stay after graduation.
Some are working in their degree field and some are taking on an entrepreneurial spirit starting businesses.
“We’re becoming younger which is unusual for small towns, most small towns are getting older in the country, we’re getting younger,” Gerst said, “partly because the growth of MSU partly because the students would like to stay here and so you have businesses expanding looking at the student talent that’s coming out of MSU.”
The bank says right now today, they have more applications for small business loans and mortgages then they did this time last year.
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