‘Edge of the Plains’ examines entrepreneurial grit in central and southeast Montana | Local News


“Success is being able to provide for my family,” said Pease. “Success is being able to provide opportunities for other people in my community.”

From left Ted Kim, Pete Tolton, and Sam Steingraber work on the documentary, “Edge of the Plains,” which features the work of a group of entrepreneurs in central and southeast Montana, including Veronnaka Evenson (left) and Ronna Kalmert. The mother / daughter team co-founded Swanky Roots, an aquaponics greenhouse near Laurel.

Photo courtesy Kristin Jean Photography

Red Oxx Manufacturing, based in East Billings, and Swanky Roots on the far West End of town, were also featured. Veronnaka Evenson, who co-founded Swanky Roots with her mother, Ronna Klamert, was filmed in one of the aquaponics greenhouses discussing the growing process for fresh lettuce and other leafy greens distributed across the region.

“There are days when I come in and look around, and I just see all the work that has to be done,” said Evenson. “It can be a very lonely job because you’re the business owner. You’re the one doing from top to bottom everything in between. ”

The family-run business operates with just one employee, she described. “The idea of ​​just wanting to be done and go work for someone else, to be able to clock in and clock out definitely crossed my mind.”

Red Oxx Manufacturing

Deanna Harmon, an employee at Red Oxx Manufacturing is seen working on a duffel bag in the business factory, located in East Billings. The business was recently featured in the documentary, “Edge of the Plains.”

Kristin jean photography

Jim Markel, who co-founded Red Oxx, also kept it in the family. Markel launched the manufacturing company from the basement of his father’s home. The global distributor of rugged travel gear is now based in the Billings Industrial Revitalization District and has expanded its campus in recent years to include an events lawn and outdoor stage for concerts.

“We are a part of our neighborhood,” said Markel. “When you move into a somewhat blighted neighborhood, what are you going to do? It’s time to fix it up. ” Markel in the film ponders the way development gets done, and asked, “Does the world need another shopping center? Absolutely not. ”

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