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Lofty changes



The posh Loft of Missoula, an exclusive second-floor business club in the LaFlesch building on Main Street, comes under new ownership as of August 1. Whitefish attorney and Loft founder Chad Wold declines to name the buyer, but adds the Loft of Whitefish will be included in the sale. A third location in Bend will not change hands.

Wold says the new owners are discussing potential additions to services at the two Loft locations, including food and drinks. These changes are aimed at addressing long-standing concerns from club members who desired a stronger emphasis on business facilities for client meetings and seminars.

"I think based on some of the things [members] wanted to see changed, it seems under the new management they'll be happy," Wold says. "I think they'll be pleasantly pleased."

The Whitefish location opened almost four years ago, offering upscale meeting rooms and social space for local professionals. The Loft of Missoula opened two years ago this fall on the same model. Membership at the Missoula location reportedly costs $175 a month.

Wold says Loft club members were notified of the sale by letter or e-mail several weeks ago, but he hasn't contacted them personally or been approached about the sale since.

Loft member Casey LaFlesch says he received word via e-mail but hasn't heard yet who the buyer is or what impact new management will have on the two Friday wine tastings he hosts there each month. Neither has his brother–and owner of the building–Jay LaFlesch.

"My brother still doesn't know anything either," Casey LaFlesch says. "The rent is still being paid by Chad."

Wold says negotiations for a sale and transfer of management have been ongoing for over a month. He says he wasn't actively looking to shed either location when the current buyers approached him.

"Primarily for me it's because I've been working out of state," Wold says of his reasons for selling. "So I'm not around as much. I'm working on other ventures, and they made some agreeable, enticing offers."

A local restaurant was set to buy the Loft of Whitefish earlier this year, but Wold says they backed out due to economic concerns.


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