Posted: Feb 12, 2013 8:05 PM by Erin Schermele - MTN News
Updated: Feb 12, 2013 8:05 PM
CHOTEAU - For nearly 24 years Vicki and Mark Southard have lived and breathed Alpine Touch - but now it's time for the Choteau business to be the (literal) spice of someone else's life.
Vicki said, 'We wanted to stop but we wanted to find somebody that would continue to expand the business and we know we found the right people to do that."
Chad Ekegren fit the bill - he grew up in Minnesota, but has always embraced his Montana roots, explaining, "My grandparents are from Choteau, they owned the John Deere dealership, so my dad grew up here."
After attending the University of Montana and spending some time back east, Ekegren's plan was always to come back to Montana, and the perfect opportunity arrived at the start of the year.
He recalled, "I grew up on Alpine Touch and would always drive by, my father and I always thought it would be a great business venture to have someday."
From bottling to packaging to shipping, this small operation sends Alpine Touch across the country and the world.
And after 24 years in the Choteau community, the Southards are grateful that's where the company will stay.
While Ekegren looks forward to building relationships with customers new and old, it's those relationships that the Southards will miss most.
Vicki said, "We have people who say, 'I don't tell them what my secret is,' and others say, 'Well I need to get a commission because I've turned on so many people to Alpine Touch!'