Bedrock Sandals, Consumer Direct land new round of state job grants

A new round of grants from the Montana Department of Commerce will help two Missoula businesses create roughly 24 new jobs over the coming year.

The state announced $1.2 million in Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grants this week, including $135,000 to help Montana Health Solutions create 18 new jobs.

Bedrock Sandals, which announced last year that it plans to move its operations to Missoula, will receive $45,000 from the program.

“These jobs will be created throughout the year and will vary from customer service, ecommerce management, to more hands-on sewing work,” said Dan Opalacz, Bedrock Sandals co-founder.

The footwear company plans to create roughly 6 new jobs when it opens in downtown Missoula next summer. During the transition, the retail store and repair shop will operate adjacent to Big Sky Fulfillment near the Missoula International Airport.

Opalacz told the Missoula Current on Tuesday that wages and benefits will be generous for the new hires.

“The starting pay will vary but be above $19 per hour including benefits,” said Opalacz. “We will be offering full health care, generous paid time off including a bonus adventure week, and a retirement plan for all full-time employees.”

Consumer Direct Management Solutions, a home health care agency in Missoula, plans to create 18 jobs with its share of the grant. It will also receive $90,000 toward workforce training.

Consumer Direct management could not be reached on Tuesday, but the company told the Missoula Current last December that new positions will include technology, project management, accounting, sales and marketing.

Last September, Consumer Direct secured a $500 million contract in Washington state to oversee caregivers and clients in the state’s southern region.

The contract requires the company to ensure that caregivers are paid for their services – and that clients receive appropriate services.

Consumer Direct has used the funding in past years to fill dozens of new jobs, and it has directed the grant to cover costs associated with software upgrades, capital investments and office furniture.

Across Montana, the $1.4 million in grants is expected to support the creation of up to 221 jobs. The Montana Department of Commerce runs the grant program, which reimburses a portion of company costs when it creates new high-paying jobs.