CANYON CREEK - Situated halfway between Helena and Lincoln along Highway 279 sits the community of Canyon Creek and, a staple of that community, the Canyon Creek Country Store.
Recently, the store was sold to new owners, Allison Torres and Adrian Hahn who said the opportunity to buy the long-established business was a pretty random instance.
"We came out here to go skiing and we stopped by the store and there was a 'for sale' sign in the window, and we're back in the car and [Torres] said, 'We should go ask, how much?'" said Hahn as the two chuckled. "So I did, and we thought about it for a little bit and we thought maybe we can really make this work."
The Canyon Creek Country Store is many things, it's a small general store, an RV park, and a camping site, but with several acres of land and water rights in the area, Torres says they plan to do much more with the space they now call theirs.
"A farm-to-table kind of thing, eventually, maybe. And that's always what I really wanted to do is have like a bed and breakfast and do like a small farm-to-table just with a couple of tables with real, real high-quality food. And so this kind of fit the bill of my dream, I think on some level," said Torres.
Though Hahn and Torres said they have plans in place, there's still a long way between the starting and ending points on the journey to create their vision of the Canyon Creek Country Store. In the meantime, the two are asking people what they want to see.
"I think it's probably going to be at least until it's completely up and running, I'd say three to five years. You know, we started making little changes here and there and a big part of my ideal is, you know, local is more sustainable, and so we're trying to bring in these local goods and get the interest boosted," said Torres.
"We're just kind of normal people trying to swing it. So we don't have like a huge cash infusion we can dump in to make the changes happen really fast," Torres continued. "So, we're kind of asking the community asking people what they want to see, and trying to pull in some of these more local items."
Hahn and Torres took ownership of the Store on April 27, and in that time they said the community has been welcoming of them and their plans.
"I think a lot of people are excited to see what we're going to do, and we don't even necessarily know where it's going to go yet, but everybody's been really supportive," said Torres.
Though with that trust from the community, the two understand they have a responsibility to the community to maintain that trust.
"There's definitely a big community attachment to keeping things kind of the way that they are. And we'd like to, you know, improve upon what we have and we do want to make changes, but we want to do it in a manner that's delicate and respectful of the community, and that honors the things that they love about the place," said Torres.
"That's kind of the dream, right? Is to make sure that we remain the Canyon Creek Country Store, but we also offer new things to people around here that just that they will drive here for. So that we're not — they don't have to go into town, so they can get what they need, but also offer some special products that nobody else has, so it's worth the drive from town," said Hahn.