By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday Village Shopping Center manager Tiffany Korb will leave the mall next month to work for a regional economic development firm.
Korb, who has been credited for turning the once languishing shopping center just west of Havre into a thriving mall, has been hired by Bear Paw Development Corp. to direct its Small Business Development Center.
"We are very excited about the addition of Tiffany Korb to our staff of economic development professionals," Bear Paw Development executive director Paul Tuss said in a press release Tuesday. "Tiffany has extensive experience in working with the business community of northern Montana.
"Her experience will be put to work immediately in helping existing businesses expand and working with aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their start-up goals."
The Small Business Development Center provides free, confidential and professional business counseling services to people interested in starting a new business or expanding an existing one. The development center also provides classes to people in need of developing a business plan.
Korb said today she has mixed feelings about leaving the mall, but said she is ready to try something new.
"I love this place. It's been wonderful to see it fill up in the last few years, and I feel confident it will continue," she said about Holiday Village. "The owners are great. It's a great place to work. I've reached my goal of seeing it fill up and become a viable property, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do something new and promote economic opportunity in Havre."
Korb will start at the Small Business Development Center on Feb. 16.
She has been property manager for Holiday Village Shopping Center for the last four years. Prior to that, she spent eight years as the mall's marketing director.
Korb's influence on Holiday Village was considerable, said Debbie Vandeberg, executive director of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce.
"She was a great asset to the mall. I'm sure she'll be very much missed, but I know she'll be a great asset to Bear Paw Development and the Small Business Development Center," Vandeberg said.
"She was very dedicated and committed to making the mall successful, and the good thing is she'll still be working for the betterment of Havre."
Tuss called Korb's impact on the mall "obvious."
"It's pretty visible to the entire community," he said. "The mall was frankly little more than a ghost town a year ago and the revitalization that has taken place, not only with Big R and Bi-Mart, but also the interior - she has done wonders with that property."
Last fall, Oregon-based discount chain Bi-Mart opened a store in the east end of the mall, a move that coincided with the arrival of Big R. The Western clothing and ranch supply store moved from a building east of Havre on U.S. Highway 2 to its present location in the southwest corner of Holiday Village Shopping Center.
"It's just been so busy up here, it's been great," Korb said. "It's just been nuts."
Korb will replace former SBDC director Tracy Jette, who left in November to take a similar position in Bozeman. Tuss said Korb has the skills necessary for the success of the center.
"She brings a whole host of real-word business experience," he said. "She certainly understands what makes small businessess in north-central Montana tick. She also has a wealth of experience in marketing. I think that will be helpful not only for the program, but also for the businesses she ends up counseling."
Holiday Village Shopping Center is owned by Eureka, Calif.-based Security National Properties. The company has not yet found a new property manager, Korb said.
The firm's senior vice president, Fred Griffith, declined to comment this morning.