Bozeman locals celebrate, support role small businesses play
Downtown Bozeman bustled with activity as folks came out to support its over 250 small businesses.
Stephanie Uter is a sales associate at Hey Day, a store she says is all about celebration and this Saturday, there's even more reason to celebrate.
"Coming down and supporting the small businesses here in town is what makes this day so special," says Uter.
Uter says they've seen a steady stream of customers since they opened their doors and it doesn't hurt the holidays are a big time for Hey Day.
"This seems to be the kick-off for the season and everyone's out and seems to be in the mood," says Uter.
But just as important as the holidays are to Hey Day, is the role she says small businesses play in the Bozeman community.
"From the specials we run to the things we do for the community...Just getting people out and enjoying their town," explains Uter.
Sandy Squillace didn't know anything about Small Business Saturday. She drove in from Livingston to enjoy a day of shopping with her sister and mother. Yet, she says she chose downtown Bozeman for a reason.
"You find the coolest things that you're not expecting. It's great!" exclaims Squillace.
She says visiting on Small Business Saturday is a bonus.
"I would rather come here and support a small business than go to a big discount store because you're supporting the local community and it just makes it stronger and brings in more great stuff that we usually don't get so, it's unique stuff that's fabulous," says Squillace.
Shopper Annette Piccirillo agrees.
"Money's staying here and helping people here in a lot higher percentage than big stores," says Piccirillo.
Piccirillo is a small business owner, herself. She says she ignored the big box store, Black Friday hype, in favor of doing her holiday shopping at local small businesses.
"I don't live far from downtown so, I know how many stores come and go. There's a lot that just don't make it and if you don't shop there then they really aren't going to make it," explains Piccirillo.
Folks like Uter say Bozeman just wouldn't be the same without its small businesses.
"One of the great things about the Bozeman community is all of the local businesses here and especially in the downtown area. That's what makes it such a unique place to visit," says Uter.
In honor of Small Business Saturday, the downtown parking garage was free all day.
Folks tell us it was full with shoppers taking advantage of the opportunity.