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Windom Distributing closing after 39 years in business

| September 8, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

After 39 years in Libby, Windom Distributing is closing.

It will mean the loss of eight jobs.

Company president Dave Windom said Wednesday he could not reach an agreement with Park Bottling in Kalispell to continue supplying Pepsi products to 150 clients in the area. The most recent three-year contract expired in July.

"We agreed we couldn't agree," Windom said. "It's kind of the close of an era. We've been doing this forever."

Windom Distributing continues to serve the area, which stretches from Kalispell west to Idaho and includes the Noxon, Trout Creek and Heron areas. Plans call for Park Bottling to take over the territory.

"We have not set a date and don't know in what manner they will take over, whether they will buy my inventory and purchase my trucks," Windom said.

Most of the company's employees have found jobs.

Windom's parents, Robert and Rita, founded Windom Distributing in 1967. They started as a supplier of Coke products and in 1982 switched to Pepsi. Dave Windom purchased the business in 1999.

He said he will miss it.

"I ran my first route on Aug. 2, 1979," Windom said. "It was the bar route in town. I've always enjoyed the business."

Dave Windom also is selling Sunshine Vending, which services vending machines in the region, and Sunshine Food Service. The latter provides hot lunches to Libby High School.

There is some interest in both businesses, he said. With negotiations continuing, Windom did not want to name the party.

As for Windom, he and his wife, Brenda, are moving to Okanagan, Wash. Dave Windom on Oct. 2 will begin working as an environmental health specialist for Okanagan County. Their daughter, Cheri, will stay with her grandparents, Robert and Rita, so she can finish her senior year at Libby High School. Their son, Josh, is a 2005 LHS graduate and has joined the Air Force.

Dave Windom also has spent 24 years with the Army National Guard. He is a command sergeant major.