NewsMontana and Regional News


North 40 Outfitters announces plans to buy former Kmart building in Havre

Posted: 11:16 AM, Feb 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-11 13:16:56-05
MTN News File Photo

North 40 Outfitters has announced it is in negotiations to purchase the former Kmart building at 3180 U.S. Highway 2 West in Havre.

Upon closing, North 40 will begin a remodel process and relocate from their current location at 1573 U.S. Highway 2 Northwest, according to a press release.

There is no timeline set for the remodel or relocation. The current retail space in Havre is approximately 48,000 square feet while the new proposed location is more than 91,000 square feet.

North 40 Outfitters, formerly known as Big R Stores, has maintained a product line focused on farm and ranch needs.

North 40 has 10 stores with two in Montana, five in Washington, and three in Idaho. The company is opening a second location in Great Falls.

(FEBRUARY 5, 2018) Big Bear is closing its Great Falls location after being in business for more than 50 years.

North 40 Outfitters announced on Monday that it has finalized a lease to take over the building that formerly was the Kmart on the west side of Great Falls. The building is located at 1000 3rd Street NW near the Westwood Plaza shopping center. The Kmart store closed several months ago.

North 40 also announced that it has secured the rights to the building next door, which currently is Big Bear Sporting Goods.

Jolene Schalper, vice president of the Great Falls Development Authority said this is a loss for Great Falls.

“Whenever you hear an announcement like that, our thoughts first go to the employees and we’re confident that they will be able to find meaningful employment elsewhere, but it is a disappointment when you have a long standing store and community members that now have this change and turmoil.”

That meaningful employment just might be with North 40, which announced on Monday that it has secured the rights to the Big Bear store and will be opening its second Great Falls location next door at the vacant Kmart building.

Shane Etzwiler, president and CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, said this is big news for the people of Great Falls and the surrounding communities.

“It’s exciting news for a couple of reasons. North 40 is now going to have two locations in Great Falls, one on the east side serving those folks on the east side plus those coming from the east, Lewistown and that area, but then also, on the west, northwest side as well too.”

He added the change is just how things go now.

“You know, it’s unfortunate, but I think with the dynamics of retail today, it’s just kind of what we’re seeing. While we’re sorry to see them go, definitely, we also see another company coming in as an opportunity to take advantage of that situation.”

Schalper said this is a great move for North 40 and Great Falls: “You’re looking at this area of town which is set for high growth, you have the West Bank Landing development which is going to spark additional development on that side of town. It’s a good investment and that area should see additional investment. It’s a good time in Great Falls, we have a lot of excitement going on in building, and we just need to keep up that momentum together.”

Big Bear will start its closing sale on February 14. The store has not yet announced its closing date.

Chuck McKenzie also told MTN News that all employees have been notified of the closing and he believes North 40’s announcement will be positive for Great Falls.