Xanterra plans to build new garage for tour buses


KALISPELL, Mont. - The new Glacier National Park concessions company is bringing more jobs to the area. This time, it means construction jobs as Xanterra builds a new warehouse to store the park's iconic red buses.

The buses are one of the most recognizable parts of the park, and they'll soon be getting a new home in Columbia Falls.

Company officials say setting up shop in Columbia Falls was an easy decision.

"Columbia Falls is the gateway to Glacier, so this is a great community for us to move into and be a part of, and really just has great proximity to the park so that's why we're choosing to be in the area," said Director of Marketing and Sales Amy Dempster.

"We're just doing our best to work with as many local vendors as we can -- local companies -- and really, hopefully, we'll have a ripple effect on the rest of the community," Dempster said.

While there's no exact number yet, the new garage project will create even more jobs in the Columbia Falls area, in addition to the new laundry facility that Xanterra is also building.

The new laundry facilities have created 50 new jobs in Columbia Falls. There are also 600 seasonal positions within the park.

For now, Dempster says that Xanterra is excited to finish up their first year as the park concessionaire.

"This first year is really just an opportunity for us to have a first season in the park and operate and learn and take as much in as we can, back into the off-season, to figure out what we want to do going forward," said Dempster.

The buses were stored at Glacier Park International Airport during the winter last year and the garage is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.