Since Bill Moseley started his software company, GL Solutions, in 1997 in Bend, Oregon, he’s watched the small city’s population grow rapidly while the housing inventory failed to grow with it.
As masses of people flocked to the small mountain town, Moseley struggled to recruit employees because they couldn’t find a place to live.
In 2018, Moseley started shopping around in other states for cities with a lower cost of living and more relaxed taxes to relocate his technology company. After visiting the Idaho towns of Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Boise and Idaho Falls, as well as Reno, Nevada, he landed on Kalispell.
Moseley said Bend’s median home prices are around $600,000 while Kalispell is in the $400,000 range, making the Flathead Valley significantly more affordable in comparison.
Between a lower cost of living, a supportive and relaxed business environment, good air transportation, reasonable taxes with no sales tax on software and less than a 7% income tax, as well as the right population to provide a labor pool, Moseley says Kalispell fit the criteria.
“What really stood out was the business community and local government (support),” Moseley said.
GL Solutions writes regulatory software primarily for state government entities in 24 states in health and services occupations. Their clients include the Arizona Board of Medicine, Illinois Department of Public Health, Virginia Department of Behavior, Health and Disability Services.
Before Moseley visited Kalispell for the first time to pursue the idea of relocating to Montana, he reached out to Montana West Economic Development (MWED), where President and CEO Jerry Meerkatz arranged a meeting with roughly 20 local business leaders and government officials.
“They were all really excited to bring in a new business,” Moseley said. “Some communities don’t band together like that.”
While MWED officials’ goal is to help businesses start up or expand, Meerkatz says they also work to help other companies relocate, which can be tricky.
“This would have never happened if those people representing the community weren’t thoroughly and excitedly displaying this community and why GL Solutions should move here,” Meerkatz said. “It’s really a community that relocates a company.”
During Moseley’s visit, Meerkatz introduced him to other local organization leaders, showed him available office spaces for rent and educated him about the Flathead’s local politics and business practices.
GL Solutions’ relocation is a win-win for both Moseley and the City of Kalispell. While the move should ease recruitment stress, it will also bring higher paying jobs to the Flathead.
“(Our) objective is to bring higher paying jobs and services we don’t currently have,” Meerkatz said. “That’s really the focus of relocating companies.”
In mid-March, Moseley is moving GL Solutions to its new location on Corporate Drive, and he’s already begun the hiring process. He currently has 44 employees in Bend with around eight of those moving with the company to Kalispell. He plans to hire 20 local Kalispell employees by April 1 and add an additional 20 in the following months. Throughout the transition, the Bend office will exist for a year or two, but Moseley plans to have a single office in Kalispell for the long term.
Moseley says a general labor shortage is always a concern, but he’s not worried about finding qualified applicants in Kalispell.
“We’re really excited,” Moseley said. “The people moving are excited and we want to get settled. It’ll be good for Kalispell and good for us, too, and we’ll continue to grow and add jobs. It’s hard to predict what that’s going to look like, but we’ll continue to expand in Kalispell.”
For more information, visit www.glsolutions.com.
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