Upon opening its newest and largest bank building in Bismarck, First International Bank and Trust wanted to celebrate in a big way.
So the bank invited 2,000 of its top customers to a private concert by Toby Keith.
“I don’t think there’s been anything held in Bismarck like it,” said President Peter Stenehjem, and the feedback, in the form of texts, emails and phone calls, was positive.
Stenehjem said, with residential neighborhoods nearby, the bank took precautions, knocking on doors of the surrounding homes to let residents know about the event. He said some neighbors attended. Others held backyard parties.
“There were a ton of people up on the hill watching and a lot on the Capitol grounds,” he said.
Some neighbors questioned the wisdom of holding the event on a Sunday night — the only night Stenehjem said Keith was able to work into his performance schedule — during the school year.
“I can appreciate them wanting to thank all those (customers), and it’s great they’re willing to do that, but think more on the date and time,” said neighbor Doris Boepple. “I felt sorry for the parents .... It’s a big deal. You’ve got to put kids to bed at a decent time.”
Boepple said the concert noise did not interrupt her sleep, though she could hear it from her home near Eastgate Funeral Home, but she wonders why the bank didn’t rent another venue.
Stenehjem said the bank did work closely with local law enforcement when planning the event. There was private security and an ambulance on site and the fire department checked the venue for safety.
When one of the neighbors explained about needing to be up for work early at one of the hospitals, Stenehjem said the bank offered to put the person up in a hotel room for the evening. Neighbors were also given gift cards for a free lunch or dinner at Stonehome to show appreciation.