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Montana Made: Company goes global from a back alley shop - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana Made: Company goes global from a back alley shop

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Over the course of seven years, Mick Thompson and his wife Alanna have brought their "back alley" business to the forefront of Red Lodge. (MTN News/Brandon Sullivan photo) Over the course of seven years, Mick Thompson and his wife Alanna have brought their "back alley" business to the forefront of Red Lodge. (MTN News/Brandon Sullivan photo)
RED LODGE -

A business that started in an alley now ships custom metal work around the world.

Over the course of seven years, Mick Thompson and his wife Alanna have brought their "back alley" business to the forefront of Red Lodge.

At Back Alley Metals, Alanna takes perfect care of the showroom while Mick and the crew take care of the back. Together they've built something from the ground up, and like everything Montana Made, it's rooted in hard work.

"We started off actually in the alley, two blocks down," Mick Thompson said. "We had two garage doors and that was our whole shop. We were actually in the alley behind another business."

The business started doing just off jobs such as railing and gates. 

"When we first got this building, my dad kind of did it -  we were working in the alley, we were doing just fine, thought we were great and he's like, 'Ok, we're gonna move," Mick said. "Our rent tripled overnight. We're like, how are we gonna fill this up? I don't know how we're gonna make this work. And now we could use more space. It's amazing how fast it fills up."

Their offerings grew to include dinosaurs, wine racks, fire pits and furniture. They'll design just about anything out of metal, including bear-proof trash cans. The trash cans became their bread and butter and ca nbe found in parks from Montana to Canada.

"It's absolutely amazing. You know, having them in Glacier is fantastic it's so much fun. I'll have friends come up from Wisconsin and they'll send me pictures of garbage cans in Glacier. It's awesome, Mick said. "My favorite is we went to Yellowstone and I've seen people with Old Faithful going off in the background taking pictures of our garbage cans.  "

Creations by Back Alley Metals now reach around the world. "You gotta have a little bit of everything," Thompson said. "With metal work, the sky's the limit. You gotta have some fun with it."

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