Great Falls

Dec 2, 2010 1:53 PM by Ashley Korslien (Great Falls)

Business booming in downtown Great Falls

The holiday season is filled with choices, and now there are more to make in downtown Great Falls.

One of the newest businesses, My Viola Floral Studio, is owned by Kari Lane Johnson, who explained, "We concentrate on selling fresh flowers at very affordable prices. I also offer floral design classes."

The floral shop is just one of the many new stores setting up shop, and helping re-vitalize the downtown area.

Sue Ferrin of the Downtown Great Falls Association noted, "I think people are looking for a unique place to open their business other than being up on the busy 10th Avenue or up on the mall."

And more than ever, owners are taking note. In just the last six months, 11 new businesses have opened up; normally, downtown only sees an average of three new stores in a year.

Ferrin said, "Everybody wants to check out what's new, so they see a new flower shop opening, a new coffee shop, a new art gallery, they are going to want to come down and figure it out and see what they are all about."

And all the new options for shoppers means more competition for business; Ferrin commented, "If you have two or three of the same type of store, people are going to shop around, and look for the best buy. Competition is good, it's healthy."

The Uptown Gallery is another new addition, hoping to make a lasting impression on the community.

Owner Ben Chovanak said, "Downtown area is kind of the heart of a city, and if downtown area is surviving, it makes the whole community successful."

In business, the right location can lead to success, and both owners feel they made the right choice.

My Viola Floral Studio held its grand opening on Wednesday, and Uptown Gallery will hold a grand opening on Friday night during the Christmas Stroll.