It can be hard to find a good meal in Montana. We aren't exactly known as the culinary capital of the west. That being said, there is good food to be had in our little village - you just need to know where to look. The Tumbleweed Bookstore and Cafe (406-848-2225) is located in the heart of Gardiner, Montana. Their wraps and sandwiches are excellent picnic food for park adventures. If you are moving at a slower pace, they have a sunny little deck where you can enjoy a great salad, a bowl of homemade soup, a wrap, sandwich, locally made brownie or a great cup of coffee. They also have a great book selection - particularly books that pertain to the park and western history and culture.
The owner, Anna Holloway, is not only a bookstore owner. She also transcribes oral histories, guides boats down the Yellowstone River, gives out excellent advice to new chicken owners, and keeps the kids at the Gardinerr Elementary School on the right track in math. I had a chance (over a great panini - my favorite has ham, pepper jack cheese and apple slices) to ask Anna a little bit about herself and her business.
Where did you grow up? How did you come to Gardiner?
I grew up a Marine Corp brat so we moved every three years until I was in middle school when my father retired. I went to high school and college in Indiana. I moved around a lot of college because the travel bug was just still in my system. I came out to Montana to work at the B Bar Ranch for 6 months in 2003. I fell in love with the beauty of Paradise Valley and never left.
Did you always want to own a bookstore? What do you want it to be?
I just bought the business in September of 2008. It was never a dream of mine...simply an opportunity that came out of nowhere!! We offer wireless, organic foods, vegetarian foods, coffee drinks, books (of all nature), fax services, special community events. I would love to expand the community interaction part of the business. By that I mean hosting story hours, live music on the deck, and a year round book club for locals and those traveling through.
What do you dislike about owning a business?
The biggest thing I dislike about being a business owner is dealing with poor employees. I hate the feeling I get when I have to yell at someone or sit down and tell them it isn't working out. I always fear they are devastated although they could probably care less.
What do you like about owning a business?
I love the interaction with people and being able to sponsor local events that I have spent years attending.
What is an ideal day for you?
My ideal day in Yellowstone would start with an early morning soak in the boiling river to get my body and soul to wake up and prepare for a journey into the park. I would drive out to Cooke City taking many stops along the way. Lunch at Beds and Buns in Cooke City. Then, drive back home the same way I came stopping for some fly fishing at Soda Butte for an hour or two. My evening would end with a packed dinner and a bottle of wine in my backpack as I climb under the bridge right outside of Mammoth. I don't know if people are allowed to climb under that bridge but there is nothing better than a sunset dinner on the catwalk hundreds of feet above the Gardner River.
So stop by and have a sandwich! And, if you need some chicken-math-river-running advice - look for Anna!