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Kalispell businesses express positive attitude towards economy

Published On: Aug 03 2013 06:24:46 PM MDT

After some businesses were hard hit by the recession, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce reports local shop owners are starting to feel good about the economic climate.

Carole Edwards of downtown Kalispell's Sassafras has seen the city go through bumps in the road.

"We've seen some tough years and thankfully our artists have hung in there with us," said Edwards.

But lately the attitude of shop owners has shifted - there's a sense of revitalization. Store windows are filling up, and more folks are buying.

"We feel like we're coming out of that a little bit,' Edwards said. "Sales are better."

A recent survey of Kalispell Chamber of Commerce members shows a majority of respondents feel business is improving and will continue to do so for the rest of 2013.

"There's a lot of new businesses coming in. There's a lot more optimism. Just a lot of new stuff and young blood coming into the downtown area here. It's really helpful," said Karen Sanderson.

Brix Bottleshop owner Karen Sanderson is one of the "new kids on the block." She opened up her specialty store in December and was selling bottles as fast as she was stocking them.

"The fact that I was able to double my inventory between then and now I think it really says something about the valley," said Sanderson. "P{ople are really supportive and they still are."

"We're all hanging in there and we can see better times coming. It's just a slow process," explained Edwards.

Edwards said the the Flathead has grown, and all eyes are on Kalispell because store owners have found a niche that both locals and tourists love.

"They're just so excited to see something new and different," commented Sanderson. "And to see the optimism here. So it's good."

"We do have a positive outlook and the majority of merchants on Main Street feel the same way. We're here for the long haul," Edwards concluded.