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About Us


Axmen stove showroom

What is Axmen?

Axmen is the ultimate "everything" store.  From HOME HEATING, SPAS and ALTERNATIVE ENERGY to FARM, RANCH and FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT you will find what you need here.  If you can't find what you're looking for, we can order it for you!  Just give us a call at (406)728-7020.

Axmen caters to all 50 U.S. States, and we are proud to have been locally owned in Missoula, Montana for over 40 years.  We have a deep respect for the roots of our business and those roots are the people of Montana.  In 2007, we decided to illustrate that respect on the walls of our store and opened the Montana Museum of Work History.  The Museum contains the stories of the hardworking people that make up the history of Montana.

The coffee is always on, and the stories readily shared, so stop by any time.


History

Axmen - Missoula, Montana

It was the spring of 1973, just over 40 years ago, when the Hansons, originally from Ronan, MT, moved to Missoula and opened the Axmen store. Bud Hanson had always dreamed of doing business outside of the box, so he sold his hardware store, teamed up with his two sons and bought a piece of Missoula. Bud’s approach to business has continued through the third generation and the Axmen is even more unusual today than it was in 1973.

Bud had some novel ideas about business. Don’t sell the customer something he doesn’t need. If it isn’t the right thing to meet his needs, tell him where to get what he needs. If you can’t sell something good, don’t bother. If you truly care for your customers’ best interests the money will follow. Your customers are your biggest assets.

The Axmen has a picture of Bud in the entry to help us remember his ideas. You’ll also see a picture of the original crew from the eighties. Three of the five still work at the Axmen.

Mark Kindred has moved from a young guy loading railroad ties to being the overall coordinator of a nationally recognized retailer of heating appliances. Times have changed radically but some things remain the same. We started selling wood stoves during the first Arab oil embargo and we now sell, install and service wood, gas, pellet, and oil stoves within a 100-mile radius of Missoula.

Grant has taken our steady and basic pump department to new levels over the last ten years with the addition of firefighting equipment of every type and description. Axmen slide-in fire pumpers are now a common sight at wild-land fires throughout the Northwest. He still manages to find time to help people plan their dream of off-grid backwoods power systems and irrigate the front five acres.

In 1998, we bought a welding shop from Phil Cromwell and converted it into a retail store on the south side to be able to achieve one of Guy’s long-term ambitions of selling guns and jewelry side by side in the salesman’s dream atmosphere of mutual guilt. Missoula Mercantile (aka Axmen South) is going strong and having fun.

In 2000 we were blessed in forming Axmen Propane. Our growth has been exciting and our customers’ responses thrilling. Axmen Propane gives us the chance to handle all the parts of our customers’ heating in one package within the same 100 mile circle.

In 2010 we were lucky enough to be able to open the gates to Axmen Recycling.  The response from our community has been incredible.  We are proud to be able to help offer our customers solutions that are good for the environment and the community.

As Missoula has grown and new business have entered, we have learned to be grateful for the opportunity they bring to us all. Montana has been good to the Axmen and we try every day to be worthy of the trust that our customers place in us and to find new and better ways to meet their needs.

 


The Faces of Axmen (and Ax-women!)

 

Grant, Store Co-Owner

Grant Hanson - Co-owner, President

A genetically-inclined collector for over 40 years, Grant has been meticulously collecting pieces of Montana's history.  With his brother and co-owner, Guy, he has built up one of the most unique and interesting stores in the State of Montana.

   
Guy, Store Co-Owner

Guy Hanson - Co-owner

Guy has been a steam-powered engine enthusiest and general history buff for many many years.  Collectively, with his brother Grant, he has established the Montana Museum of Work History, and continues to collect unique historical items and provide products to the people of Western Montana.

   
Marko, Hearth Manager & Project maker/Chief cook/Bottle washer

Mark Kindred - Hearth Manager, Project Maker, Chief Cook & Bottle Washer

Mark (a.k.a. Marko) has been working at the Axmen since the 1980's - when Trans Am's ruled the roads and MTV was the newest thing. He started working here as part of a conspiracy between Grant's wife and his own, to have him leave his job at UPS and start working at a "Real Montana Store." He got stuck at Axmen, not being able to even think of a job change, having 7 children at home and constant remodeling to keep him distracted.

In his spare time, Mark enjoys running, racing, trying out new recipes, and helping with BBQ events.

   
Justin, General Manager - Recycling

Justin Quist - Recycling Manager

Justin is another "lifer" at Axmen.  From an early age, he was nurtured into the business and hasn't looked back.  He graduated from The University of Montana with a degree in Computer Science, and keeps the computer systems at Axmen running smoothly.  He also manages the new and improved Axmen Recycling Center, which recently moved up the road from the main Axmen store a few blocks.

   
Norma, Stove Sales

Norma Rukes - Stoves, Fireplaces & Hot Tub Sales

Born and raised in the Detroit area of Michigan, Norma aimed high for the mountains and made it to Missoula, Montana. She has several daughters & grandkids, and enjoys yoga, hiking, talking, listening, and eating healthy foods at home or at restaurants!  She loves people and especially the characters at Axmen!  She fits in at Axmen because there are constant changes here and she dislikes being stuck or stagnant, so the unique work environment at Axmen is a perfect match!  She is here to help keep Missoula (and the Axmen) Weird!

   
Kory, Firefighting Equipment

Kory Koski - Firefighting Equipment Specialist

Kory has been stocking and selling fire equipment for the Axmen for almost five years. He has seen fire season after fire season, and takes great pride in providing the men and women in the fire fighting industry with the gear that they need. He is very passionate about what he does, and is constantly bringing-in the latest in firefighting technology.

   
Jennifer, Feed Store & General Sales

Jennifer Stanley - Service Coordinator

Axmen has been Jennifer's home for the last 2 years, and she currently has been promoted to General in the war on weeds!  She works the main counter with her cohort Angie, and helps in the feed store with her other partner in crime, Mistie.

She was born and raised west of Missoula, and started her retail career at Petsmart as a pet groomer in '99. From there she ventured to Quality Supply, where she gained experience in tack and animal health, then she made a transition to "the AX."  She has 3 kids, and in addition to her two-legged human children, she also raises horses, dogs, chickens, pigs, a guinea pig, and even a fish. She loves being outdoors, shooting guns, riding horses, fishing, and doing just about anything outdoors with family and friends.

   
Rita Coates - Hot Tub Sales

Rita Coates - Hot Tub Sales

Rita is originally from Salmon, ID. She moved to Missoula in 2005, and has worked at the Axmen for 4 years selling stoves, fireplaces, and hot tubs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, gardening and painting

   
Amanda Shoemaker - Marketing & Hot Tub Sales

Amanda Shoemaker - Marketing & Hot Tub Sales

Born and raised in Missoula, Amanda graduated from high school in 2006 and from The University of Montana in 2009, with a double major in Psychology and Business Marketing. She has worked at Axmen since 2008, mainly in the stove, fireplace and hot tub department and is a key component in store marketing. She has been married for 5 years and enjoys spending time with her husband and 1 year old son.

   
Bert Wittl - Stove & Hot Tub Sales

Bert Wittl - Stove & Hot Tub Sales

Bert is originally from Minnesota, and has been working at Axmen for 9 years.  He bakes a tasty apple pie, and is a skilled cook as well.  When he's not helping customers decide on a new fireplace or hot tub, you can find him relaxing with his family or enjoying a vacation in Hawaii.

   
Jamie Blum - Hot Tub Sales

Jamie Blum - Hot Tub Sales

Jamie grew up in the tiny-but-beautiful town of White Sulphur Springs, MT. The natural warm springs probably facilitated her love for warm waters & their healing natures. When she is not at the Axmen she enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, BBQing, gardening, painting, craft brews, hula hooping, sports, and spending time with her friends, family & 2 adorable cats!