Troy Chamber’s first “Business after Business” dinner event

Jerry Bennet speaks at the  first Business after Business event held on March 27th, at the Silver Spur in Troy. Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian

By Brian Baxter


“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. It comes into us at midnight very clean. It is perfect when arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” With this quote by none other than John Wayne, Troy Commissioner Jerry Bennett presented his program in the John Wayne room of The Silver Spur restaurant in Troy on March 27th.

Mr. Bennett’s presentation was focused on sharing how Lincoln County is helping support Troy’s economic future. The speaker is a third generation Montanian, whose grandfather cross cut timber for the old J. Neil’s Timber Company, and Jerry also worked logging, contracted with St. Regis Paper Company, and worked locally in the mining industry. Him and his wife now run JMF Services Company in Libby.

The Commissioners talk centered around three main themes. First, he mentioned that where we have been includes the observation that location wise, we sit in an area of some of the richest copper and silver deposits in the world. Mr. Bennett mentioned that in the 1980’s Lincoln County had the best wages in the state of Montana. The mines were going strong and the county showed over five million dollars per year in timber receipts. Jerry still sees logging and mining as viable for the Troy and Libby areas, as well as Sanders County. The speakers view on where we stand now, included a need for housing and a well trained work force. Also, that our area requires adequate internet capabilities, and showed some optimism for potential of working with Interbell of Eureka in this aspect. As far as where we are going, Mr. Bennett related that he and others are working on broadband internet updates, coordinating with Three Rivers District of the U.S. Forest Service in Troy on looking into increased timber opportunities, and following the Hecla mining companies discussions with local entities closely. Jerry then mentioned he is very grateful that our beloved County Administrator Darren Coldwell is home now, and will be back to work soon.

The folks at the Troy Chamber of Commerce are very excited that they will have an official physical home location. The building will be located behind the Troy Museum and Visitors Center. The cottage style building should be on the site as soon as weather conditions allow. The unfinished interior will need to be completed by chamber volunteers, like Libby Electric who will be installing the wiring, to make it a usable place to distribute Chamber of Commerce welcome packets and information. After the building interior is completed this spring, the chamber will rely on volunteer staff to open the doors. This will be an excellent opportunity to promote our local business community. Newly appointed Treasurer Sharee Miller said “The new building is another step in building the positive momentum the Troy Chamber and Troy City is taking. Tonights dinner demonstrates the excitement and willingness of Troy residents to get involved in making Troy’s economy stronger. It makes me happy to be involved.”

Troy City Councilwoman Shawna Kelsey briefly mentioned the positive aspects of Troy being selected as part of the Main Street Montana Project, and will have more information coming soon on that note.  She also mentioned the City Council’s work focused on improvements to the airport trail. Additionally, Shawna mentioned ongoing work they are doing to address housing issues, and a forthcoming document on Troy’s needs that will be completed in a short while.

When asked by this reporter for her take on the evening meeting, Chera Cole of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry Job Service of Libby stated, “It is encouraging to see so many new businesses taking an interest and getting involved with the Troy Chamber. I am excited to see how this year unfolds.”