On January 2, 2017, the building in Hamilton that housed Global Wireless and Vac and Sew caught fire and was totally destroyed. Kelly Clark, owner of Global Wireless and the building, didn’t want to give up on his customers, and couldn’t give up because the business was his livelihood, along with five other employees. He figured the insurance would come through to help him rebuild.
It didn’t. After battling for more than six months, the insurance company finally offered him 30 cents on the dollar for the loss of the building. It didn’t cover loss of customers and business due to the fire. Clark figured he lost several hundred customers because he didn’t have a proper display for the retail portion of his business since they were conducting business out of two RVs in the parking lot.
“It was a catastrophic loss,” said Clark. “If it wasn’t for Farmers State Bank, we wouldn’t have this new building.”
Clark and his store manager, Linda Parks, are firm believers in supporting local businesses because Global Wireless is a local business. Parks said that the money earned from the business stays right here in the valley, supporting not only their employees but other local businesses as well. Because of this belief, Clark said that all the contractors on the build were local except for one or two specialized contractors who were from Missoula.
“We want to thank all of our local contractors who worked on the building,” said Parks. “I think there were 33 in all including Schrock Construction who was the general contractor.”
The building is the same size, 6,000 square feet, as the old building. But where that building was long and only one floor, the new building is two stories. In addition to Global Wireless, there are three other businesses in the building. Bitterroot Drone Services will offer video services to realtors and the general public. Phone Fix, located on the second floor, is owned by Derick Bumgarner. Radio Shack has returned to their old stomping grounds. Steve Strand is the owner of the Radio Shack Super Store which was located at this address for many years.
Parks points out they have paved the parking lot and have a nice drive-through window as well as an after-hours payment drop. With the new build, the state mandated they move the building back, including the signs. They also had to have new curbs on North 1st in front of the building. In addition to the businesses in the building, there are two apartments. In the back, there are storage units for the businesses and the apartments. There is also a covered breezeway to BJ’s Restaurant.
“Many of our employees eat there,” said Parks, “and many of their employees are our customers.”
Clark started Global Wireless in 2008. He saw the need for a prepaid phone service that offered no contracts, no credit checks and no deposits. Instead, Global Wireless offers prepaid cards to all major carriers. The plans are on a monthly basis but many pay three or six months in advance. The plans range from $20 to $70 and they do offer unlimited talk, text and data plans. When the customer pays, that money stays right here, according to Clark. “It’s not shipped off to other states like it is with the big box stores and chains.”
“We base our business on supporting local,” said Parks. “This includes non-profits, schools, and local events.”
Some of the many causes Global Wireless supports are 4H, the Darby Rodeo Association, Ravalli County Fair and Rockin’ RC Rodeo, junior rodeo and junior golf, Lions Club, Rotary and even the Knotty Knitters.
One event that is near and dear to Clark, who is an avid golfer, is the Hackers Golf Tournament. This event has been going on for 33 years with Earth and Wood sponsoring it for 29 years. Now, Global Wireless is the sponsor for this event which donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the Bitterroot Winter Special Olympics.
Global Wireless will have a grand opening on January 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature Moose Creek chili dogs and hot cocoa. Parks, who has been the store manager for three years, said this is a good chance to kick the new year off with a free phone for new customers (some restrictions may apply), or great phones for current customers.
“We offer financing on phones,” said Parks, who added again that some restrictions may apply.
Clark and Parks both wanted to convey their great appreciation for the customers who have supported them throughout the last year. “Without that, we wouldn’t be here today,” said Clark.
Global Wireless is located at 904 N. 1st, Hamilton. The phone number is 363-5163.