Glacier Park, Inc. Acquires Family Business Operations in West Glacier, Apgar

Purchase includes West Glacier Motel and Cabins, Apgar Village Lodge, 200 acres of land

By Tristan Scott

After nearly seven decades of family ownership, Glacier Park, Inc. has purchased the business operations and 200 acres of adjacent land that provide a gateway to West Glacier and Apgar Village.

The holdings have been owned by the Lundgren family since 1946, when the Lundgrens and Dave Thompson purchased West Glacier Mercantile, which consisted of the main buildings in West Glacier.

Several other structures have been added over time, but the character and charm of a scenic mountain village still remains.

“This addition perfectly complements our existing operations in and around Glacier National Park,” said Cindy Ognjanov, President of Glacier Park, Inc., in a statement “The Lundgren family has a remarkable history in West Glacier and we look forward to carrying on their traditions in this historic town. GPI has long served as a steward for the preservation of historical properties including the 101-year-old Glacier Park Lodge and the 87-year-old Prince of Wales Hotel and our commitment to these treasured places will continue in all aspects of the operation of our company.”

Included in the sale are approximately 200 acres of land in West Glacier which include: the West Glacier Motel & Cabins; the West Glacier Restaurant & Bar; the West Glacier Mercantile; the West Glacier Gift Shop and other guest services. Additionally, the sale includes 3.8 acres of inholding within Glacier National Park in Apgar, the Apgar Village Lodge, the Cedar Tree Gift Shop and staff housing units in Apgar and West Glacier.

Glacier Park, Inc. (GPI) is a subsidiary of Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI). GPI officials did not disclose the amount of the purchase, and the Lundgrens did not return phone calls.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to offer our guests a wider range of accommodation and recreation options and to extend our position as the Gateway to Glacier,” Ron Cadrette, Glacier Park, Inc. vice president and general manager. “We have great respect for what the Lundgren family has built in West Glacier. We will strive as a company to preserve and honor what they have created including their reputation for offering great hospitality to guests and an engaging work environment for staff.”

In addition to the West Glacier and Apgar properties, Glacier Park, Inc. owns and operates St. Mary Lodge & Resort, Glacier Park Lodge, Motel Lake McDonald, Grouse Mountain Lodge and the Prince of Wales Hotel, which are located in and around Glacier National Park in Montana and Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. GPI plans to operate the businesses in West Glacier and Apgar with minimal changes for the 2014 season.

In addition to GPI’s 615 total guest rooms, it operates 11 food and beverage outlets, 12 retail outlets, a shuttle service, a nine-hole golf course and a nine-hole practice golf course.

For 32 years, GPI held the contract to run all of the park’s lodging, food and beverage, retail, transportation and other visitor services. A bidding process to award a new contract began in December 2012, marking the first official rebidding process since the contract was awarded to GPI in 1981.

The National Park Service awarded a new 16-year contract for visitor services to Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which officially went into effect in January 2014.

The contract includes management duties of Lake McDonald Lodge, Apgar Village Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn, Swiftcurrent Inn and Many Glacier Hotel, as well as the Two Medicine Camp Store, public showers and laundry facilities, and Glacier’s iconic red bus tours.