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Old 03-12-2009, 10:37 PM
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
6,981 posts, read 9,881,560 times
Reputation: 2251


I probably drove past Whitehall on the interstate 500 times when I lived near Bozeman, and not once did I stop. Why not? Not far enough from home to need gas or a meal yet, and nothing really noteworthy visible from the highway to attract a random stop. Nothing bad, just didn't have a reason to go there. And as I mention in another thread, the interstate itself does a great job of preventing stops in small towns along a traveller's route. You just don't get the random attraction to whatever cafe looks homey, because people are buzzing past on the freeway instead of trundling down Main Street at 25mph. It's not good for small-town businesses and has been the death of many such towns, but it's how things are.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:03 PM
Location: Sarasota
463 posts, read 1,300,947 times
Reputation: 146
I'm surprised to see this thread resurrected but since it's here, I will comment. Borden's has been opened and closed off and on during the 10 years I lived in the area. It has been closed now for some time and the last time the restaurant was open it was only for a very short time. I think if the right person got in there and took it over, one who knew what they were doing, it could be a successful place.
There are plenty of locals who need a place to go eat and it used to do a good business when it had people who knew what they were doing running it. I would welcome someone taking it over if they had experience and knew how to cater to the local public.

Now that the Legion St. Grill has burned down, I wouldn't be surprised if Jane and Gaby decided to move their business over to the Borden's property and start over. I think the building is a better one anyway and much brighter interior so I hope they do.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:41 PM
4 posts, read 7,923 times
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I own a the crzy bear pizza in Whitehall Montana just a few doors down from Bordens hotel..the owners name is Jim and he is a good friend . you can call the location and get a hold of him. It is true the bulding needs a lot of work..I too came from the Phoenix area and bought a bulding and a busness, I passed on Bordens due too the amount of work a few years back..
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:05 PM
Location: Sarasota
463 posts, read 1,300,947 times
Reputation: 146
I do know that he has leased the restaurant out to those who wanted to try and make it work. That may still be an option if Jane and Gaby haven't already taken it.
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:32 PM
1 posts, read 1,328 times
Reputation: 10
Default Borden Lounge

Hey NewLTDad,
I don't know if your still interested in the Borden as this post was back in '08...I just now saw it. BUT...My twin sister and I grew up in the back-end room #23 and later corner room #4, right over the dance floor. We had always hoped of living in the Doghouse off the side of the restaurant but that never happened. Hee Hee....every summer we threw water balloons from the fire escape at the cars dragging main street ).

My Mom spent nearly 40 years of her life working at the Borden and managed the bar for years. She was dearly loved and everyone called her "Mom" or "Mom Mary". She drew in the crowds! She started with the the original owner, Angie Borden. Roy and Phyllis Caldwell, Borden owners at one point, urgently moved my Mom and us girls into the hotel room so that we could flee a life of horrible violence; living in a such a public place kept our abusive father at bay and no doubt, the Borden helped SAVE our lives. We worked off our rent/meals starting at the age of 7. Ironically, my Dad did the first major (and to to my knowledge, the only) remodel on the place before we moved in. We know that building like we know our own hearts...even the scary basement! We lived there through multiple owners and were deeply loved, protected and cared for by all owners of the Borden, the customers (from near and far) and the entire community.

I know for a fact the Borden was once a lucrative and profitable business. We had people from all over come to stay at the Borden. Repeat customers! From California hunters and hollywood celebrities, to corporate leaders from the Mayo Clinic, General Mills and JC Penny just to name a few! I waited on them and danced with them on music nights as a child/young adult! We had people doing business in Butte, Bozeman and Helena but choosing to stay in Whitehall and drive back & forth because they LOVED staying at the Borden! My 6 hr shifts on Sundays never left me with less than $118 in tips...old farts DO spend money!

To those of you who say no one on the free-way knows about the Borden, or gets off the free-way to go into town, you are WRONG! I know first-hand people come off the free-way and in from the rural roads as well. I also know first-hand why/how the place went downhill...I was THERE through all of it! I sincerely believe that with the right approach, TLC and yes, $ for repairs, the Borden could really come alive again and be profitable, no matter the size (or lack thereof) of the population of Whitehall and the county...EVEN in this poor economy. I am currently in the process of writing a book about growing up in Bordens.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:19 AM
1 posts, read 1,213 times
Reputation: 10
Please give me a call or shoot me back an email. I am the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce President, and also worked at Bordens for several years in my youth. The business has some great potential, especially through historical preservation grant funding, etc. The Jefferson Local Development Corporation and the Chamber have been looking for seriously interested individuals to help with getting Bordens back in shape, as it is a historical treasure.

If you are interested, let me know. I can get you any type of information you'd need. The town is at a crossroads right now and needs new business, etc., because of a catastrophic downtown fire in March. The location of Whitehall is phenomenal since it is in the midst of anything you'd want to visit, north, south, east,west because of its highways and the interstate.

Liz Kidwell
(406) 498-3807
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:13 PM
1 posts, read 1,211 times
Reputation: 10
I would echo Liz's comments. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to make a life in Small Town Montana. The upstairs of the building was once a hotel with apartments and the downstairs has the bar, restaurant and room for a shop/gallery. It spans almost half a city block and is well known as a historic property for the area.

I work with the County's economic development organization which is located in Whitehall. We have become fairly well versed in the historic preservation tax credits and grant opportunities lately and would love to lend a hand to someone that has the interest in making the project work.

As far as the town goes, I have lived here for 3.5 years and have found it to be very welcoming of people regardless of where they come from, which is different than what I have experienced in other areas of the state. I think the people are so welcoming because there are so many who intentionally relocated to Whitehall. It is a great town -- lots of people active in civic life, excellent recreational opportunities and just a short drive from amenities of three of Montana's largest communities.

Tara Mastel
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