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New mall under construction in Seeley

A rendering of the Bison and Bear Trading Center under construction in Seeley Lake.

by Gary Noland

June 15, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

An idea and plan for an antique store and auction center has mushroomed into a mini-mall that will house half a dozen retail businesses, and construction is underway now at the site location just south of the Seeley Lake Post Office.

Owners and developers of the project are John and Ann Kimble of Eugene, Oregon and Seeley Lake where they have a second home on the Double Arrow Ranch subdivision.

Kimble, a professional auctioneer and property appraiser, said this week that he originally intended to construct a building to house his antique store business and an auction center, but was approached by others who needed business space.

"It didn't start out this way. It started as an antique and auction center," he said, adding that it will be a "nice looking project called the Bison and Bear Trading Center."

The project will consist of two buildings in an L-shape with parking out front.

One building will be 40 feet by 80 feet and the other will be 40 feet by 130 feet for a combined total of 8,400 square feet, Kimble said. The buildings will be steel buildings with decortive facing along a western theme.

Kimble described some of the future tenants as an electronics-type store, an office copy-computer store, the antique store and others that will be announced later. There will be no bars or restaurants, he added.

A Missoula contractor is handling construction with local contractor Jim Kyle coordinating for the Kimbles.

Kimble said eventually Montana may become the headquarters of his operation.

And, Montana is not new to Kimble who grew up in Fort Benton and Augusta, graduated from Montana State University, then worked in Montana banks where he became involved in computer systems. Later he was serving on the faculty of Oregon State University in the field of agricultural economics and computer science when he heard the "siren call of the auctioneer." As an auctioneer, he handles sales of anything from antiques to heavy equipment.

His wife, Ann, is a consulting nurse. The couple have children in Missoula and Helena. His parents also live in Missoula.

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