HELENA — Snowy weather didn’t discourage shoppers from visiting businesses in downtown Helena for Small Business Saturday.
Business owners on Last Chance Gulch say they saw a number of customers throughout the day Saturday.
“Right off the bat, even before I was ready to open, I had people coming in, so that was great,” said Amy Barrett, owner of Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys.
Barrett says she’s had her business for more than 20 years, and she’s taken part in Small Business Saturday for the last few years. She said she’s seen a growing interest in “shopping small” over that time.
“I think people’s awareness of the importance of shopping locally and supporting their own downtown's, their own neighbors and friends, makes a big difference – and thankfully they do,” she said.
The downtown Walking Mall features many locally-owned businesses. M’Liss Bordelon is a new owner of one of them. At the start of November, she purchased Wildflower, which specializes in art and crafts made in Montana.
“I think a lot of people this season have come to show support for the local businesses,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of traffic; we’ve seen a lot of people that say that they don’t usually come downtown but they wanted to make a trip.”
Bordelon agreed many people are interested in the impact they can have by keeping their dollars in the local economy.
“I think people are kind of starting to make a conscious decision that I’m going to support these businesses because these are the type of businesses that make our town special,” she said.
Business owners say Small Business Saturday isn’t the end for them. They’ll be working hard throughout the holiday season to make sure they’re there for customers who choose to shop local.
“It’s going to be fun; it’s going to be exciting,” Bordelon said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of new stuff in here that people are going to be excited to check out.”
“We’re ready to help people come and do their Christmas shopping,” said Barrett. “If they want personal service, come downtown.”