Small Business Saturday helping Flathead grow
There may be few areas in Montana that appreciate this day more than the Flathead.
They were once a model of growth for the state, but the recession knocked the Flathead Valley back on its heels.
Unemployment hit over 14% in 2011.
It took some time, but there are finally signs of a recovery, and small businesses have begun setting up shop again.
Saturday was their day to show off.
"I think it's very important because it gives our customers the opportunity to support us locally and know that we are going to locally support them,” said Lisa Poler, owner of Wheeler Jewelry.
She's been in business for the past 35 years, and has participated in Small Business Saturday since it first started.
"I've always supported the community and I was just thrilled that there was support out there for this kind of a process where people will shop locally and think local rather than going out of town or going to big box stores," Poler said.
Poler feels strongly about the holiday.
Since she's been participating, she's seen sales on the holiday grow every year.
Poler sees it as an important reminder for people to shop locally.
"They are able to keep that money in the community versus going to a corporate headquarters that is somewhere they're not familiar with and they're appreciative," said Poler.
Both businesses and customers told us that they're excited about the future of this shopping holiday. They feel that with the recognition it's received over the past few years, and can only grow over the next few.
Over 20 businesses in Kalispell alone participated in the holiday, as well as many others in Columbia Falls, Bigfork, and Lakeside.