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Falstad Column: West End prepares for openings
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A Maryland man who bought Beartooth Harley-Davidson a year ago is heading west and building along Interstate 90 in front of Tractor & Equipment Co.

Barry Usher and his brother, Brian Usher, have owned a computer firm in Maryland for 30 years. After listening to stock brokers preach diversity in investments, the Usher brothers started thinking.

"I said, 'Wait a minute. We've got all our eggs in one business: computers,' " Barry said.

So Barry hit the road. He looked at dozens of opportunities around the United States from cleaning businesses to security companies to pie-baking franchises. He thought the Harley-Davidson dealerships were out of reach financially, until a friend bought one for a reasonable price.

The Ushers decided to focus on Harleys - an American success story - and they looked at a dozen locations before settling on Billings. The brothers each bought half of the business.

It wasn't just bikes, but a lifestyle decision for Barry. He'd grown up on a farm, but said there was no land left in Maryland for his family.

"We wanted horses and space and nice people and a better life for the kids, so we bought this one," he said.

The Ushers settled on a farm and ranch near Bridger. Barry kept the place operating as it had before with the same neighbors doing the farming.

He said he plans on being a good neighbor with T&E, too. Since his 5-1/2 acre lot is right in front of the CAT dealer's nicely landscaped campus, Usher is locating his store on the east side of the property so it won't block as much of T&E's view.

Usher will more than double his space to 30,000 square feet from his current location at 1215 Monad Road. Mike Walker of NAI Business Properties handled the land sale. CTA Architects Engineers is designing the building.

Jones Construction is ready to start groundbreaking and has a target completion date of next October.

Usher has been a Montana businessman for just a year, but he's wasting no time expanding. In addition to the Billings store, he owns Beartooth Harley-Davidson of Red Lodge and is opening another Harley store this week on Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyo. The businesses employ 25 people.

Besides Harleys, the Billings dealership also carries Buell bikes, which caters to the younger crowd Barry described this way: "Those guys that go 80 miles an hour down the street. They crouch over and they just go."

Harley encourages dealers to locate along Interstates for a reason. After looking at 15 locations, Usher said the choice was easy.

"Because it's between the two exits, so if you miss me, you can catch the next exit," Usher said.

Bumper stickers "I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career."

"Don't treat me any differently than you would the queen."

Jan Falstad can be contacted at (406) 657-1306 or at