Curating Perfection

Celebrate with Vintage Charm

Text by Holly Matkin • Photography by Matt Ehnes

The allure of nature becomes part of the décor at Kayla McAnally’s event rental and design business.

Never underestimate the potential beauty of chicken wire, mismatched china dishes or a timeworn three-paned window once they become the muses of an artistic soul. For Rustique owner Kayla McAnally, recognizing the latent elegance of simple objects is more than a talent – it is the catalyst that turns special events into unforgettable memories.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have my own business,” Kayla explains, “and I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it.”

Kayla’s timeless designs add class and romance to any special event.  “I want to stay true to our brand of vintage and rustic,” she says.

Getting the Party Started

After graduating from college, Kayla took a position which provided her with opportunities to plan and coordinate large company events. “I found that I really enjoyed putting everything together and making it work,” she recalls, “plus I actually liked the pressure!”

Rustique’s inventory features hand-selected pieces for your special day. Photo by Ariel Dawn Photography.

She honed her skills further while helping friends with décor and design of their weddings, baby showers and other special gatherings. 

“Whatever they had going on, I really wanted to do whatever I could to help make the day special,” she says. “Everyone kept telling me that I was good at it and that I needed to turn it into something bigger, but I still wasn’t sure.”

When the time came for her own wedding, Kayla had already envisioned the rustic, vintage style she wanted, but struggled to find a place in the Great Falls area where she could rent the décor she sought.  As a result, Kayla decided to track down the perfect collection, hand-selecting individual items – classic furniture, table settings, yard games and countless “special touches” –  that would later become the building blocks of  Rustique’s inventory.

“Auctions and estate sales are great,” she notes. “I found a lot of pieces in Spokane and Kalispell, or sometimes on Craigslist or online garage sales. Now that I have the business, people are starting to approach me with things they have for sale, which is nice.”

Design Your Dream Day

In November, 2016, Rustique opened for business via the launching of the company website. “First and foremost, we are an event rental business,” Kayla explains.  “But we also do event design, event décor setup and custom event décor.  If a client has an idea, I will make it happen or I will reach out and team up with other people who can help make it happen.”

What Kayla is unable to find, she creates. “Take our farm tables, for example,” she says. “I collaborated with my friend, Matt Steffens, who is a carpenter. He made them for me from the designs we put together.”  Many items in the Rustique inventory has Kayla’s personal touch – whether adding wording to windows, refinishing furniture or adding chicken wire to screens for displaying photographs.

“More than anything, I want people to know that if they attend one of our events, the scene will be nothing short of amazing,” Kayla says.

 “I consider Rustique to be a boutique,” she explains. “I don’t want mass-produced items, and I want to stay true to our brand of vintage and rustic.  We curate every piece, so if we add it, we absolutely love it. Some items – like the glassware – I’ve collected one piece at a time. There’s just something very romantic about using things that have their own history and their own story.” 

Perhaps the best illustration of Kayla’s talents can be seen on Rustique’s website,  “The photo on the homepage is my wedding,” she says, almost shyly. “I did all of the décor you see there.  Our goal is to make customers’ events above and beyond their expectations. We don’t take shortcuts, and we are invested in their projects from start to finish.  It’s all in the details,” she emphasizes. “ That’s where the “wow” comes from!” 

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History to Hotspot

The Historic Montana Building’s Next Chapter

Text by Holly Matkin | Photography by Jim Wells

On an unassuming side street in downtown Great Falls, a renewed energy is buzzing through a stately 88-year-old brick building just north of Central Avenue. Commonly known as the Montana Building, this four-floor structure was originally constructed in 1929 in order to house the office spaces of a cooperative of medical professionals. Over the course of nearly a century, its rooms have been occupied by attorneys, doctors, dentists and an array of small businesses, interspersed with poignant stretches of vacancies that have made its vastness all the more prominent. Through good years and bad, the Montana Building has awaited its next opportunity to shine, standing as a silent witness to the evolution of the city’s business epicenter.

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Business Outside the Box

A New Twist on the American Dream

Text by Holly Matkin | Photography by Sara Young & Jinny Jandron

For centuries, those who chose to make Montana their home have been inspired by the allure of Big Sky Country’s boundless opportunities. From the days of Native American tribal living, to the exploration of Lewis and Clark, to the advent of agriculture, mining, tourism and service industries, we have embraced the notion that hard work and dedication are the cornerstones of success.

Sixteen years into the new millennium, technology continues to advance at an unprecedented rate. In many areas of our state, populations have increased, landscapes reflect years of settlement, and competition for consumer dollars is ever-present.

While the challenges facing today’s entrepreneurs may be different than those of our predecessors, the core principles governing their drive to succeed remain unchanged. Past and present, Montana’s business leaders are innovative, adaptable and determined, propelled by the allure of boundless opportunity.

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A Timeless History… An Endless Future

The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Finds
Inspiration through a Passion for its Past

Text by Holly Matkin | Photography by Marcus Serrano

All too often, many of us tend to view modern life as being superior to the days of our forefathers. With the abundance of technology and infrastructure woven into our world, it’s as if we mistakenly believe we innately possess knowledge and abilities that far surpass those of preceding generations.

Granted, what we today perceive as being commonplace – maybe even mundane – would likely have been inconceivable to those who founded Great Falls in the late 1800s. But how often do we stop to consider just how the normalcy of our everyday lives came to be? How did these quiet, vastly sprawling plains along the Missouri River become the bustling, productive community Great Falls area rebsidents call home?

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Taking a Hard Job and Making it Look Easy

Great Falls US Postal Service City Carriers
Ranked No. 1 in Nation

Text by Mary Ellen Hendrickson | Photography by Jim Wells

While “rain, heat, hail, sleet and snow,” can apply to nearly every month in Great Falls, U.S. Postal Service city carriers cannot duck out on the job. Their perseverance, along with that of the assistant carriers and management, has recently earned them a number one spot in the nation.

Peter Nowacki, spokesman for the Postal Service explains that carriers across the nation are ranked, “in Lean Mail Delivery, a process that applies proven management principles to improve service performance and reduce operating costs.”

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Fair Pay Practices Open Up Opportunities

Text by Kristen McGuire | Photography by Sara Young

The gender pay equity gap affects households, not just women. Family-friendly benefits and flexibility are just as important to millennials as higher salaries. In Montana’s agricultural economy, at least one paycheck from a side gig balances out the risk of a bad crop year. Paycheck fairness is increasingly a gender-neutral proposition.

Liz Palla gets an early start each day in her home office. With her East Coast colleagues two hours ahead, she can jumpstart her to-do list and  free up her late afternoons for family time.

Liz Palla gets an early start each day in her home office. With her East Coast colleagues two hours ahead, she can jumpstart her to-do list and free up her late afternoons for family time.

Liz Palla rejoiced when she landed a telecommuting position with a strategic consulting firm serving foundations and charities. She found the golden ticket at just the right time. Her husband, Brendan, was re-entering the workforce after completing a Ph.D., so it was likely they would be moving from New York City. Happily for the University of Great Falls, the Pallas and their two little boys relocated in 2013, five months after she started her new job.

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