Bigfork Pub Purchased by Employee

Chef becomes business owner

When Louis enrolled in the culinary program at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell some years ago, he hoped it would lead to new career prospects—but he couldn’t have predicted the opportunity he and his wife Emily have today. Likewise, when Tracy Darue came across a hardworking student in one of her pastry chef classes, she simply saw someone with promise, not someone she’d one day sell her business to. But the mentor-mentee relationship recently took on a new dimension in Bigfork: Louis and his wife Emily are assuming ownership of Old Bridge Pub and Sub from Tracy and her husband Don.

As owners, the Darues had poured their hearts into the restaurant, having recently remodeled to upgrade the indoor space and reconfigure the menu. But when some personal and family challenges arose, they made the difficult decision that it was time to sell, and immediately thought of Louis and Emily.

With Emily Bertino’s years of management experience and her husband Louis’ years of work as a chef, the couple has long dreamed of owning their own restaurant. They have been saving for the day the right option would come along, but didn’t expect it so soon.

Financing to purchase a business

In order to take advantage of the opportunity, the Bertinos needed help securing financing and their situation didn’t meet the criteria of their traditional lender. MoFi provided them with a loan to complete the purchase of the business in advance of a busy summer season.

“We’re just thrilled that Louis and Emily are able to buy the business from us,” said Tracy. “Don and I couldn’t imagine it going to two better folks.” The two husband-and-wife teams worked together through the beginning of the summer to ensure a smooth transition, and that Old Bridge remains the local favorite it has become.

Louis shared that the comprehensive support from MoFi was key to completing the purchase: “The lending team at MoFi really took the time to get to know us and our unique situation, and we know that we’ll continue to benefit from consulting with them down the line. Without their support and advice, we wouldn’t have been able to move quickly enough to make this deal happen,” Louis said. “Now we’re just excited to get things in place for a great summer.”

For more information about Old Bridge Pub and Sub, visit facebook.com/oldbridgebigfork.

Financing Provided: Business Loan