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Several downtown Missoula stores report strong holiday shopping season

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Dec 26 2013 11:53:24 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 12:01:46 AM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

 Many retailers around the United States have yet to release their holiday shopping season numbers, but research from RetailNext showed that foot traffic dipped at least on the Friday and Saturday before Christmas. The analytics company studied 450 stores around the country. Many stores resorted to last minute discounts to draw shoppers in.

Many local stores in Downtown Missoula, however, appeared to buck the trend this season. NBC Montana spoke with several store managers and workers, and it appears that the “shop local” movement has given local stores a boost during the holiday season.

Barbara Theroux, the founder of the Fact and Fiction bookstore, told NBC Montana that overall, this year’s business appears to have been been better than last year, though she still has to look at the figures. She says she thinks the month of December was up a little bit over last year. 

Theroux tells NBC Montana that business was down during the cold snap earlier this month. 

“I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who did brave it and come out and shop,” said Theroux.

When it finally warmed up, she said people rushed out to buy gifts.

A couple stores down the block, at Butterfly Herbs, manager Debby Barberio told NBC Montana that 2013 was one of the store’s best years in recent memory. The holiday season also started out slow for the store, but things later picked up.

“We caught up and surpassed last year,” said Barberio

Barberio said she’s seen downtown Missoula flourish over the years. 

“When we first moved downtown, it was dead downtown…It’s come alive and it’s been really good.” said Barberio.

A worker at Imagination Station, a toy store that’s been open for just over three weeks, told NBC Montana that the shop has had a busy start. 

“I think a lot of people really enjoyed having a local place to shop for toys,” said Emma Bryson.