For over a half-century, a locally-owned store successfully defied conventional wisdom when it came to location, product exclusivity and competition.

Montana Tool is not your typical 21st century tool and hardware store. Like the old-school ma and pa neighborhood grocery, its modest and charming appearance recalls images of a simpler time, before big box stores and large hardware chains dotted the landscape.

Over the years, the owners of Montana Tool succeeded by offering genuine one-on-one customer service, knowledgeable advice and product quality that resonated with customers who were looking for tools that were built to last.Their positioning statement spoke volumes: "Shop at a tool STORE, not a tool DEPARTMENT."

SawStop. Fein. Festool. Among their extensive product lines, Montana Tool has been known for some western Montana exclusives. As one devoted customer put it, "Best quality and most extensive collection of woodworking tools in Missoula. Montana Tool starts where the box stores end - high quality brands, specialty tools, knowledgeable, willing to advise to fit your needs. They'll also save you from buying junk, yet they aren't going to try to sell you more than you need. Don't be fooled by the plain storefront - go into the store, and you will be amazed at what they have on the floor."

Montana Tool has gone through several changes of ownership during its lifetime, from the Wilcox Brothers in the 1960s, to the late Kent Mahler, 1979-2010, to the current owners, Steve and Bernita Taft. And the decision to close was not from lack of customers.

Where have we heard this before? Staggering supply chain issues and staffing problems have forced the Taft's hand. While they have not set a closing date for the store yet, best-guest estimates are within the next 7-8 weeks, depending on remaining product.

Montana Tool is located at 1908 North Avenue West in Missoula. They will be missed.

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