After 70 years the bulk of the businesses in West Glacier have changed hands from one family, to an Arizona-based Corporation. Glacier Park Incorporated runs several hotels and businesses in the area surrounding Glacier Park, and had been the concessions contractor for the in-Park hotels for thirty-plus years before losing the contract to Xanterra last year.
The Lundgren family sold its holdings to GPI for 17-million-dollars. Vice President and General Manager for GPI Ron Cadrette said GPI now owns West Glacier Gifts, the Mercantile, the gas station and Café, the Cedar Tree Gift Shop in Apgar and the Apgar Village Lodge.
Cadrette said GPI has been operating the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, the Motel Lake McDonald in Glacier, Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, and Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish.
“This is a perfect fit, it complements our other gateway properties very well. West Glacier Mercantile is a wonderfully run business model, it has a great team of individuals and it complements our overall operations very well,” Cadrette said.
The sale of the West Glacier and Apgar businesses also includes 199-acres of undeveloped land in West Glacier.
“We don’t have any current plans for it right now. We’ve been mostly focused on closing in on this acquisition and then operating the business for the summer,” Cadrette said.
Concerns have been raised over GPI taking over both the businesses and particularly the undeveloped land in West Glacier. A page launched on the social media site Facebook called “Save Historic West Glacier Village, Montana” started at the beginning of June and garnered more than 900 followers.
On the page it calls for GPI to publicly pledge to maintain local livelihoods by hiring locally and paying living wages, preserve the undeveloped land in line with existing zoning regulations, and work with the community and elected officials to get the village on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cadrette said the plan right now for its new West Glacier holdings is “business as usual.”
GPI was the Park concessionaire operating the in-Park hotels like Lake McDonald Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel, among others, for the past 32 years. It lost out to Xanterra when the contract came back up for renewal. Xanterra took over operations in January.