BOZEMAN, Mont. - Big chains are helping boost employment in Bozeman. It's hard to miss the new buildings going up on 19th. Restaurants like Starbucks and the new Olive Garden have been under construction for the past several months and are nearing completion.
"We have currently hired almost 200 people," said Tonna Neville, the general manager of the new Olive Garden on 19th.
Neville said they are less than two weeks from opening their doors. They're confident Bozeman is the right for Montana's second location.
"Big demand in this area. A lot of people contacting our corporate asking for an Olive Garden in this area," explained Neville
NBC Montana wanted to know more about why a business might choose Bozeman. We headed to city hall and spoke to Economic Development Director, Brit Fontenot.
"One of the things that makes Bozeman so attractive is its quality of life. We provide a great quality of life for our residents and visitors."
Some of those qualities explained Fontenot are recreational opportunities and the surrounding landscape.
Another factor is the relative health of the economy.
"Some of the natural retail stories like REI, the hardware stories like Home Depot, your Lowes, those are already a reflection, the strength of our local economy," said Fontenot.
At the Olive Garden, workers are putting the finishing touches on the inside.
Neville is looking forward to a busy opening day, but also being part of the local community.
"A couple days prior to that we'll do a friends and family event, the proceeds from that event will go to local charities. it's by invitation only, it will be a great event," said Neville.
Olive Garden opens its doors to the public Monday, January 14.
NBC Montana called Starbucks to check on their plans to open a stand alone store on 19th. The building is going up right now and a corporate spokesman told us the store should be open by mid-February.