KALISPELL, Mont. - Kalispell has seen its fair share of empty store windows and businesses that have closed due to the recession - but over the past year and a half those windows have filled up, and the city's started to re-blossom.
Last July, the Split Rock Cafe opened its doors and they haven't looked back - "We just like the history of this building downtown in general and that was important to us," said Split Rock's Jason Gerbozy. "Just to have that background behind being down here. And we never really looked anywhere else. We wanted to be downtown."
And on the west side of town, there's Ken and Judy Sederdahl's new restaurant, The Forge.
"Where we are in this whole area, they can put 10 more food venues here and it would be awesome," explained Ken. "It really needs that."
The Forge is also part of the rundown railroad corridor, and the Chamber of Commerce commends folks like Ken and Judy who are renovating before any official changes take place.
"It's a good example of when there's a commitment to urban renewal you really see the changes happen almost immediately in anticipation of what's going to occur in the area," said Chamber President Joe Unterreiner.
And everyone feels the sky's the limit for the 121 year old town.
"We're seeing very good signs moving into the beginning of 2013," explained Unterreiner. "A fresh set of improvements, a new set of investments are occurring here and that really creates a sense of optimism and hope."