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Ashley Vanek, center, is pleased to announce she has purchased dtj Insurance from Shawn Christiaens and has renamed the business Mountain Front Agency. Joining her in her new venture are Juanita Meeks, left, who has a wealth of experience and has worked with Ashley for the last eight years, and the business’s newest agent, Tina McIlvain, right.

Cut Bank’s dtj insurance and real estate has undergone some changes–and they’re all good!

Ashley Vanek bought out the insurance side of dtj and changed the name of her business to Mountain Front Agency. Vanek and her business will still be located at 12 East Main Street, right here in Cut Bank. 

Vanek has been an Insurance Agent at that office for the past eight years and is joined by Juanita Meeks and Tina McIlvain, both Insurance Agents. 

“We have a really knowledgeable and dedicated staff. Juanita has been an agent here for a number of years and is very loyal and respected. Tina is our newest agent and she is doing amazing!” boasted Vanek. “She has picked up on so much already and always has a smile on her face.”

Mountain Front Agency sells home and automobile insurance, along with commercial property and liability insurance. They also offer farm packages, crop coverage, bonds, life or health policies and “anything in between,” said Vanek. “We are partnered with Farmer’s Union Insurance, which is going to be a great asset and provide even more companies to quote with than we currently have.”

She continued, “Our staff provides personalized attention to each customer and policy. We will make sure our customers are getting the best coverage and rates available and will assist them with claims and the handling of payments.”

While Vanek and her team will be handling the insurance part of what was once dtj, she reminds people that dtj Real Estate is still in existence. Shawn Christiaens owns dtj, and she, along with Vicki Connelly-Schott, handle the real estate transactions. Their office is still at 12 East Main and Shawn can be reached at 406-450-3805 and Vicki at 406-229-1485.

When Vanek first started at dtj eight years ago, Ray Christiaens was the owner. “I’ve always been super grateful to Ray for the opportunity. He approached me three or four years ago and proposed an offer for me to purchase the business from him when he planned to retire, which at that time was going to be in 10 years,” Vanek explained. “When Ray tragically passed away about two years ago, there was, obviously, some adjustments that had to take place within the office, mostly for his wife Shawn, who continued the insurance business, until now. I think it gave her some comfort knowing the selling of the business was going to go to me, as that was Ray’s goal too.”

Shawn obtained a real estate license so she could keep the real estate line of business and she still teaches elementary school in Sunburst. “And she owns another business. I really have no idea how she balances everything!” Vanek said. 

Vanek has lived in Cut Bank for the past 16 years. She and her husband, Joe, have been married for 15 years. They have three children, Austin, who will be a junior in high school; Emmalee, who will be in eighth grade ;and Ryder who will start first grade this fall. 

The office where both Mountain Front Agency and dtj Real Estate are located has been used as an office building since the early 20th century. Mr. VanDemark owned the building originally and it was used as a land office. When Harold Dye married Mr. VanDemark’s daughter, the two men went into business together in 1935 selling insurance. 

Four decades later in 1978, Dan Judge started working with the two gentlemen and then Art Tavary joined in as well in 1979. In 1980, Judge and Tavary bought the business from Dye and the name was changed to Dye, Tavary & Judge. 

Now this building has a new “partner,” Mountain Front Agency, working within its walls and a new owner, Ashley Vanek, keeping the business moving forward. She, like the others before her, will undoubtedly leave her mark in history.

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