The Bargain Barn. Photo by Mati Bishop, The Montanian.


18 Annual Fishing Derby winners

Koocanusa Resort’s 18 Annual Fishing Derby has a total 253 people and 87 boats.

Rainbow trout

1st place won $1417.00

2nd $1012.00

3rd $800.00

4th $405.00

5th $243.00

6th $162.00


Kokanee winner:

1st $506.00

2nd $304.00

3rd $203.00


Photo courtesy of Josie Nelson.


Troy High School 2020 Graduation

Troy High School Graduation was held  on Saturday, May 30 at their Football field. Full video of the Troy graduation can be found  on NWMTnow.org. Photos courtesy of NWMTnow.org

Bargain Barn brings big
savings and variety to Libby

By Mati Bishop


“It’s kinda like Christmas,” is how Dale and and Kathy Merkt describe opening the pallets of goods they order for the Bargain Barn. “You never know what you are going to get.”

What they get is everything from clothes to tools, small appliances, toys, games, outdoor gear and more. All at huge discounts that they have been passing along to Libby residents for about four weeks from their Highway 2 location near the old Shopko building.

“I’ve always dreamed of owning a junk store,” said owner Dale Merkt who is quick to point out that the goods in his store are far from junk. Most of them are store returns that may have some damage to the packaging but are in otherwise new condition.

The stock at the Bargain Barn is always changing. Kathy advises that if you see something you like, you better grab it because it might not be there when you come back. Some of the goods on display at the time of printing include air conditioners, chop saws, swim trunks, various kinds of hardware, a stand mixer, tons of toys, a couple fishing poles, sunglasses and more.

The reception the Merkt’s have received from the community has been really encouraging according to Dale who has run a variety of businesses in both Alaska and Oklahoma.

“We were pointed towards Libby by my best friend in Alaska,” he explains. “He was from Montana and thought we would really enjoy it here.”

After a couple years of scoping out different communities, they chose Libby in large part because of how friendly the people are and the natural beauty of the area.   Their time in Alaska has prepared them for the Montana winters and they love how remote the area is.

The Bargain Barn is their retirement project, but according to Dale it feels like more work than he was doing before he retired. When you visit the store, you will likely find him there with a smile on his face ready to chat about the merchandise, weather, hunting, guns or just about anything else.

In addition to running the Bargain Barn, Kathy breeds and raises St. Bernard puppies and has a waiting list of buyers from all over the Northwest waiting for pups from her next litter.   Don’t be surprised to see one of the dogs looking at you from the porch of their house next to the Bargain Barn when you pull up.

Despite the hard work of getting the business off the ground, Dale and Kathy exude joy and excitement about their new business, community and retirement. The Bargain Barn is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The merchandise in the store turns over frequently, so they encourage folks to visit them often and see what’s new.