Montana?s neighbors to the North are expected to start allowing Canadian shoppers to bring more products over the border, without having to pay taxes and duty fees on them. Many Flathead businesses are keeping their fingers crossed it all works out.
As a business owner in Kalispell, Karen Cramer says Canadian shoppers play a huge role in local stores.
?They?re wonderful neighbors to us and have always shopped in our area,? said Cramer, who owns Montana Expressions West.
She?s hopeful Canadian lawmakers will follow through on new border rules, allowing folks to bring more purchases back home without paying extra taxes or duty fees.
?Maybe they?ll frequently visit us a little bit more just because they can do that.?
Here?s how it would work: Canadian visitors who stay 24 hours in the US could bring home $200 worth of products. That?s four times more than the current law allows. Folks staying 48 hours or longer could take $800 worth back, which is double the current amount.
?Tourism is a large economic driver of our valley at the moment, and the Canadian visitor is a big portion of that,? said Diane Medler, Director of the Kalispell Convention and Visitor Bureau.
?I hope that local residents realize the positive impact on that and that we welcome our visitors, make them feel welcome, make them feel that we want them to come back.?
Another local business wants them to keep coming back too.
?We do quite a bit of businesses with the Canadians, and they?re great,? said Sharon Poehling, Manager at the Imagination Station.
She just has one message for the folks up North.
?Canada, come shop here.?