The collaboration of public and private organizations within Montana is playing a vital role in assisting Zoot Enterprises of Bozeman to expand into a new $18 million, 150,000 square foot facility in the Four Corners area, eight miles west of Bozeman. State and county government, non-profit groups and local businesses have come together to support funding of Zoot’s expansion efforts. Their support will allow Zoot to grow its systems infrastructure and current staff in order to better serve its clients, which are primarily large financial institutions across the nation.
The Montana Board of Investments (MBOI), an economic development agency, approved Zoot for two programs. A $7 million loan guarantee for building construction will reduce the interest rate of the loan provided by Stockman’s Bank of Billings, allowing Zoot to invest more of their revenue into jobs creation. An additional $4 million loan from MBOI, in collaboration with Gallatin County, was approved to develop infrastructure at the site.
“The loan from MBOI represents a perfect marriage between MBOI’s economic development mission and a Montana business development need,” said Bill Hangas, CFO of Zoot Enterprises. “We want to keep as much of the project in state as possible. This loan ensures that all of the financing for the project remains in state.”
Jobs creation is a key component for acceptance by MBOI; Zoot’s commitment to create an additional 240 jobs in Montana was critical to the success of its application. Zoot currently has 120 employees; the new facility will hold 450. MBOI was confident that Zoot would continue its rapid growth after Cherry Tree Investments of Edina, Minnesota, conducted an extensive feasibility study on Zoot’s future. They were also reassured by the endorsement of two additional organizations: the Gallatin County Commissioners, a group that determines which projects will bring value to the area; and the Gallatin Development Corporation, a non-profit group that focuses on economic development within the Gallatin Valley.
“Zoot Enterprises receives almost 100% of its income from outside Montana and spends almost all of that income inside of Montana. With our construction project, we’ve weighted our selection of vendors heavily towards Montana companies,” added Chris Nelson, CEO of Zoot Enterprises. “The support we’ve received from all of the agencies is incredible.”