BOZEMAN — The main street in downtown Bozeman sometimes feels like a blast from the past with brick facades lining the streets. Several buildings downtown have been renovated just like the Gallatin Laundry Building as new life comes back to this old building with Backcountry, an outdoor apparel and equipment retailer, moving in.
“I used to walk by this building every single day, windows were boarded up for years it was always really sad that you couldn’t see inside,” says Jason Klimpke, Backcountry Store Manager.
No longer are the windows at the historic Gallatin laundry Building boarded up. A recent renovation brings new light and a new host to the building which was built in the late 1800s.
“To be in here and be a part of this is so fun,” says Klimpke.
Several of the employees at Backcountry have fond memories of walking past the historic building from their time at Montana State University.
“I actually lived in Belgrade for a couple of summers when I was in college, and I remember this place was empty it was kind of dilapidated,” says Matt Bluher, Marketing Director for Backcountry.
Crystal Alegria Director of Extreme History Project says preservation makes it so people walking downtown feel like they are walking in the early days of Bozeman.
“We are able to see these brick buildings that have been here since 1883, buildings that have been here since 1891, and we love to see those buildings and because they are brick, they are solid they are not going anywhere,” says Alergria.
The Gallatin Laundry sits near Bozeman Avenue and Main Street the site where Bozeman was born.
“At the epicenter of the town of Bozeman and you’ll see that the Gallatin Laundry Building is just up the street,” says Alegria.
The once empty building is flooded with light and now welcomes a crowd of people shopping as the retailer celebrates its first store in Montana.
“Were off the main street here so we're going to rely on a lot of local traffic here not just tourists,” says Joel Pearson, Director of Retail for Backcountry.
The historic sign was re-purposed attracting people from Main Street to the store.
“The sign is the original we found it in the building when we were doing the renovation,” says Bluher.
Kimpke, who lives in Bozeman, says he’s excited to welcome the community back into the old building.
“Just not necessarily have to shop but just be a part of everything we have going on we want to be a resource hub for a lot of people whether they are new to the Valley or have lived here their whole life,” says Klimpke.