BOZEMAN, Mont.- The Gallatin Valley Mall is packed with 70 stores year round, and close to 80 during the holidays.
According to a 2017 report by Credit Suisse, a projected quarter of malls in the United States are projected to go out of business in the next five years.
The increase of online shopping partnered with the surplus of department stores makes it difficult to stay afloat in an ever-changing business, but the Gallatin Valley Mall claims to be staying busy, especially on Black Friday.
“The period between Black Friday and Christmas is the ducks are flying,” said Gallatin Valley Mall General Manager Deb Jacupke.
Black Friday is arguably the biggest day for department stores across the nation. It is recognized for huge discounts and Christmas shopping, which means stores need to prepare.
“Well we have every person that works for me working today, so it is really busy,” said Bozeman Victoria Secret Manager Murell Jardine.
The Gallatin Valley Mall sees a lot of local shoppers, according to Jacupke, but that isn’t its only source of income.
“We draw from the smaller communities all the way around us. We are kind of the only game for many miles,” said Jacupke.
This holds true for Rebecca and Natalia Samson who traveled from Great Falls to visit family in Townsend for Thanksgiving.
“It is way better than the Great Falls mall. The Great Falls Mall is like a little candy cane,” said Natalia.
“There are more options here than in Great Falls,” said Natalia’s mother Rebecca.
But the question arises, with over 6,000 department stores closed down in 2017 and many more malls projected to go out of business in the next five years, What is the Gallatin Valley Mall doing differently?
“We saw that there was a need for more entertainment type pieces,” said Jacupke. “The stores are really revealing themselves that are going to continue to do exceptionally well. people vote through the cash register and when they vote for you, you are doing great. and thank god we are getting voted for.”
Jacupke said another component to being successful is having enough local businesses, which is 60 percent of what makes up the Gallatin Valley Mall.