GREAT FALLS — Downtown Great Falls is always full of activity, with a wide array of shopping, dining, breweries, events, art displays, and many more. This week will be the busiest shopping week in downtown Great Falls as Christmas is slowly approaching.
As people are doing their last-minute shopping, businesses are preparing for what has been traditionally known as the busiest week of the year, but also an opportunity for shoppers to support local businesses.
Kellie Pierce, Downtown Great Falls Association director of operations, said, "Downtown is definitely busy this week, probably busier than any week of the year. People finishing up their holiday shopping, and supporting local businesses is always the most important thing that we can do to help out in our community."
Small businesses is a part of what this country was founded on. However, the support is more crucial than ever before, and some have faced challenges.
Brian Kaufman of Kaufman's Menswear said, "We pretty much order our stuff six months in advance, and we get it all in here, and actually we recieved quite a bit of our inventory for the fall. We've had a few logistical stuff that has happened, but other than that, it's been a great Christmas season, and I think all of downtown is kind of where the place to be is."
One business in particular has faced a unique set of challenges when it comes to getting orders sent to her customers.
Alison Fried, the owner of Dragonfly Dry Goods, explained, "I started texting some of those customers that wait a little longer this morning and some of them said, 'I still have five days'."
Yet despite the challenges, she hopes the holidays will bring businesses and customers closer together.
She continued, "It's more about friends and neighbors, like we're all community, we're all friends, we're all neighbors, we all have great stores around us, around Dragonfly, and I think it's important."
As the busiest week in downtown Great Falls begins, businesses will be working harder than ever to make sure everyone gets what they need in time for the holidays.
Stacy Helman, a server at Tracy's Diner, said, "We've been trying to make sure that we have all of our staff in, scheduled, ready, and on time. We are also making sure we have our gift cards ready. We are doing a special. For 50 dollars, you get a 10 dollar card for free, and for 100, you get a 25 dollar card for free. We will be doing that until the end of the month."
Kerri Anderson, manager of Public Drug, said, "A few months ahead, we started ordering the products and we hope that when they're out and about, that they come in and support us."
Robin Sainsburi, who works at Pizazz, said, "We try to prepare by ordering a multitude of items to be able to purchase so that people have their stocking stuff for Christmas."
The last week until the holidays is not only an opportunity to help people with their last minute shopping, but also an opportunity to support small businesses and shop local.