CHS Kalispell Merging with Mountain West Co-op

The two businesses plan to begin operating together as CHS Mountain West Co-op on Sept. 1

By Associated Press & Beacon Staff
Grain silos near the Kalispell Center Mall on Oct. 14, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Two agricultural retailers in western Montana are planning to merge.

The Missoulian reports that the boards of the Missoula-based CHS Mountain West Co-op and CHS Kalispell have agreed to consolidate.

Mountain West board chair Brien Weber says the combined size and scope of the retailers will help them be more efficient and have more leverage with chemical manufacturers.

Mountain West runs Valley Grocery in Alberton, the Ranch and Home Store in Missoula and a 24-hour fuel pump and feed store in Drummond. CHS Kalispell operates a feed store, a country store and a discount store in the Flathead Valley.

The two businesses plan to begin operating together as CHS Mountain West Co-op on Sept. 1. CHS Kalispell board chairman Doug Manning says customers should expect a smooth transition.

Mark Lalum, general manager of CHS Kalispell, said the merger will allow the new company to better serve farmers and producers in Western Montana. Little change will occur in the day-to-day operations, Lalum said.

“We’re excited. This will allow us to better serve our local patrons and provide a bigger footprint in Western Montana,” Lalum said.

CHS Kalispell is moving forward with plans to build a new facility at the industrial rail park off Whitefish Stage Road and is awaiting the completion of an environmental assessment of the site before breaking ground.

Lalum will serve as assistant general manager of the new consolidated company and Chuck Thompson, the current general manager at Mountain West, will serve as general manager.

“This will be a good thing for all of our local producers and really position us well going forward,” Lalum said.

Both business serve farmers and ranchers in 10 counties in Montana from the Canadian border to Idaho. They are part of CHS Inc., a global agribusiness owned collectively by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the country.