The Flathead Valley was a very different place in 1974, when D.A. Davidson, an investment and financial planning firm headquartered in Great Falls, Montana, opened a regional branch office in Kalispell. The business community was small, remote, and dominated by traditional industries tied to natural resources. Over the years, as the branch’s Senior Vice President, Bob White, has noticed, the local economy has exploded.
“Now we have everything from timber, agriculture, and resources to healthcare, education, finance, and tourism,” he says. “Kalispell has always been and continues to be a prominent trade center. It’s the gateway to Glacier National Park.”
The regional branch in Kalispell, which is one of 85 offices scattered around the west, employs 20 people. Their goals are to offer straightforward financial advice, personalized solutions, and industry expertise. A sense of independence is at the core of the employee-owned business—they like to say that it’s a company as independent as you are. Nationwide, D.A. Davidson manages $43.77 billion in assets.
For 41 years, the D.A. Davidson office in downtown Kalispell has remained a staunch supporter of the community as it grew and changed. Even when it may have been cheaper to move away, they stayed put.
“Clients like to know we’re a stable part of the community, an anchor,” Bob says.
The firm’s dedication to Kalispell has paid off. As technology advances, it becomes increasingly easier for the financial advisors at D.A. Davidson to conduct business across the west and the country. Bob says that he has clients who hail from Florida to California, and that the firm’s location is often a selling point.
“Clients find it interesting and attractive to do business with Montana-based firm,” he says. “There’s a higher level of trust than if we were sitting in an office in New York City, and this business is based on trust.”
Being located in Kalispell is, Bob says, “an advantage,” both for the public perception of the company, and because of the climate of the local business community.
“If you live here, it’s for the right reasons—you don’t live here for the money,” he says. As such, “there’s a sense of community. We try to promote each other and help each other. In other areas there’s a constant sense of competition. Here, it’s about cooperation.”
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