Making News

Benchmark Masonry Opens With Help From Montana & Idaho CDC

Benchmark Masonry Inc. began operations recently thanks to financing from the
Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation. Serving central Montana, Benchmark Masonry
provides tile, stone, brick, concrete block, fireplace construction and historic restoration services for
residential and commercial projects.

Benchmark Masonry owner CJ Bailey has 15 years of experience in the masonry industry, starting at the
bottom and working his way up to estimating, project management and operations. The retirement of
his employer and mentor – a longtime mason in Lewistown – and others in the area left a high demand
for work, so CJ believed the time was right to start his own business.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to have my own business, and masonry is something I am really
passionate about,” CJ said. “It’s also important for me to start it in my hometown. We also have a really
large manufacturing base in Lewistown. I wanted to be able to take advantage of that and help grow the
community’s economic base. With our centralized location, it’s a great place to start and spread our
services to the rest of the state.”

CJ is committed to providing a safe and professional work environment for his skilled employees, and
delivering the highest‐quality service to his customers. He understands the importance of maintaining a
strong community presence and is a well‐respected and active resident of Lewistown. He sits on the
school board and is described as “bright and visionary.”

“Initial startup costs of a construction business are really expensive,” CJ said. “I approached Alex Martin
at First Interstate Bank in Billings, but they are not able to fund startups. Alex referred me to Montana &
Idaho CDC.”

Montana & Idaho CDC was excited to work with CJ because of his solid character, commitment to his
community and capacity for successful business management. In addition to providing CJ with a $55,000
loan for equipment and working capital, Montana & Idaho CDC will consult with him on marketing and
accounting.

“I can’t say enough great things about Montana & Idaho CDC,” CJ said. “I was able to get the financial
backing that I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”

CJ’s business goals are not limited to greater Lewistown.

“The goal is to strategically build my business into one of the largest in Montana,” CJ said. “Masonry is
something that not a lot of young people are into. Other masonry business owners are beginning to
retire and there is a dwindling labor force. Meanwhile there is a great need for restoration of aging
buildings throughout the state. I hope to grow across central Montana, fulfilling the need.”
The Montana & Idaho CDC is excited to assist CJ in his effort to provide professional masonry services to
the construction industry in Montana.
“We are pleased to be making our first loan to a small business in Lewistown,” said Dave Glaser,
President of Montana & Idaho CDC. “Small businesses like Benchmark Masonry are the foundation of
healthy, vibrant communities. We look forward to expanding our outreach and loans to small businesses
in rural communities over the next few years.”