Our Story: From Humble Beginnings to a Thriving Local Business

Hello! We're Alex and Brooke, the hearts behind The Last Best Company. Our journey began in 2018 in Missoula, Montana, born from a passion for creating and selling decorated goods at local markets and events. Initially serving local businesses with customized products, we expanded into wholesaling before the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a turning point. Pivoting swiftly, we started producing masks and developed our unique wood patch hat, combining laser-etched wood veneer with anodized aluminum. This innovation marked the birth of a rugged, outdoor brand that resonated with our love for Montana's spirit.

Community & Collaboration: Growing Together

Our endeavor, Soula Box, launched in late 2020, was a testament to collaboration. Featuring 11 other women-owned businesses, we crafted gift boxes to support COVID healthcare workers. This success paved the way for our acquisition of The Last Best Box, celebrating Montana's local businesses and artists.

The Last Best Store: A Dream Realized

2021 brought a new opportunity — a partnership with Southgate Mall. Our shared vision led to the opening of The Last Best Store, a hub for over 100 local Montana artists and businesses. This was more than a store opening; it was the realization of our dream to support and elevate the local community.

Innovating & Crafting: A Commitment to Quality

Our commitment to innovation continued as we enhanced our wood hat patches and expanded our sewing operations. Our high-quality water bottle totes, featuring locally sourced materials, are a testament to our dedication to craftsmanship and local manufacturing.

Meet Our Team: The People Behind Our Success

Alex Blackler

Use The Creative Visionary and Community Architect. More than just a skilled screen printer, Alex is the driving force behind our strategic direction and product innovation. His knack for unique design and creative solutions shapes the identity of The Last Best Store. His thoughtful approach extends beyond design; it's about building community engagement and fostering a network where success is shared and growth is mutual. Alex's dedication to bringing in innovative methods, like our affiliate program, not only supports our local Montana vendors but also strengthens the communal fabric, ensuring that every success within our store contributes to the prosperity of the entire community.

Brooke Blackler

The Operational Maestro and Community Builder. Brooke is the dynamic force at the helm of our operations, expertly weaving together the many threads that make The Last Best Store what it is. With a deep understanding of decoration and design, she not only ensures that our products are of the highest quality but also fosters deep connections with vendors, customers, and the local community. Her passion for elevating local talent and her strategic approach to nurturing relationships are the keystones that support the growth and success of our business.

Katie King

The Customization Captain and Creative Catalyst. Integral to The Last Best Store, Katie expertly manages our custom decoration program, overseeing the intricate process of personalizing products that resonate with our clients' visions. Her leadership in sales ensures that each custom piece not only meets but exceeds expectations. Outside her pivotal role in the store, Katie's flair for the creative is showcased in 'Tickle My Fancy', an art and music event she masterminds, where artists transform models into living canvases. Her vibrant energy and artistic acumen are vital in enriching both our store's offerings and the broader Missoula arts community.

Sonnie Tate

The Production Specialist. In our workshop, Sonnie is a key player, handling a variety of tasks from decorating mugs and apparel to the careful assembly of our wood patch hats. Known for her can-do attitude and reliable work, she's a fundamental part of our team. Her dog Dippy, often found lounging by the riveting station, adds a friendly and relaxed vibe to our workspace. Sonnie's work is essential to keeping our production running smoothly and ensuring the quality that our customers love.

Emily Cohen

The Retail Dynamo and Local Artisan Advocate. Emily, our assistant manager, is known for her friendly and upbeat presence, making everyone feel welcome at The Last Best Store. She excels in showcasing local artisans, including her own creations under Woodland Goth Creations, featuring charming earrings, eyeglass chains, and tiny embroideries. Her passion for art and community is infectious, making her a beloved figure both in-store and among our local creators.

Theo Bullock

Dynamic Retail Associate and Craftsman. Theo brings an infectious energy and fun spirit to his work at The Last Best Store. Whether he's engaging with customers in our store or representing us at summer vending booths and Griz games, his enthusiasm and upbeat attitude are unmistakable. In addition to his dynamic presence on the sales floor, Theo showcases his craftsmanship with his line of exquisite silver and copper mountain pendants under Bull + Bear, adding a unique artisan touch to our product range. His versatility and passion make him a standout member of our team, connecting with customers and fellow artisans alike.

Wilderness Watch Fundraiser

We are proud to announce our collaboration with Wilderness Watch, a national not-for-profit organization based right here in Missoula. We are taking pre-orders for sustainable t-shirts, hats and hoodiesdesigned and decorated through local manufacturing, with all profits going to support Wilderness Watch's mission of protecting and preserving America's wilderness areas.

Learn More

Made in Montana 2023 Retailer of the Year

The Last Best Store is overjoyed to announce that it has been named the 2023 Retailer of the Year in Montana by the Made in Montana Program. The Last Best Store had their grand opening at the end of February of 2022 and is owned and operated by multi-generational Montanans and Missoula natives. This is why supporting the local economy is so important to them. This is a remarkable achievement for the store, given that we had not been open for a full year by the end of 2022.

Read the Blog

New Local Artist Feature!

We are excited to announce that we will be featuring local artists every quarter in our store. Located in the Southgate Mall, we will be showcasing original paintings by talented artists from the Missoula area. Our first featured artist is Jodi Monahan, a local artist known for her large format oil paintings.

Read the Story

A Year Down

New artists, new creators, new friends and new teammates. This last hear has been a wild ride!

Our Blog

Soft Opening

We will be open until the end of the year at which point the doors will shut for a little remodel. Rest assured, we'll be right back at it with a grand opening in Mar. 2022.

More News

New Store New Products

As we continue to build out the store, be sure to check back in regularly as we are continuously adding new and exciting products

New Stuff

Southgate Mall

2901 Brooks St.
Missoula, MT

Mon - Fri, 11:00am - 7:00pm
Sat. - Sun, 11:00am - 8:30pm

Get directions