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New shops bring expanded retail options to downtown Bozeman, along with mixed feelings about changes

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 11:31:58-04

BOZEMAN — If you have shopped in downtown Bozeman, you most likely have done your shopping on the western blocks of Main Street. But new shops are coming to the eastern side of downtown, bringing new retail life to that part of the city.

“I'm a lot more for local businesses to stay around and to stick around. I wish it was more like the old Bozeman,” says Bozeman native Mia Carey.

Carey has seen downtown change over the years but hasn’t been a fan of all of it.

“I think that it's really crowded and I think there's a lot of newer chain stores that I don't like seeing,” says Carey.

Downtown Bozeman Partnership Director Ellie Staley says about half a dozen new retail stores have opened or are slated to open downtown.

“The evolution of some of the franchise retail businesses has been somewhat alarming for some of our community members knowing we are a small community. But I think it also shows that our retail sector is very healthy,” says Staley.

The new openings like Fjallraven and Stio come after a wave of closures took place at the beginning of the summer.

“So, you know, this is a natural evolution that we see in downtown businesses closing and new businesses reopening,” says Staley. “So, and we do see a lot of new businesses reopening, specifically retail.”

Staley says when something leaves it fills up soon after.

"Occupancy stays very low consistently. So, yes, when we see a business closed, we generally see a business open within a couple of months,” says Staley.

With the attractiveness of Bozeman, Staley says this could be a new pattern for retail in Bozeman.

“I think Bozeman has been discovered. I think most of us know that now and I think that a lot of retail businesses have been scoping out Bozeman for a long time,” says Staley.

Some of the new shops either already open or slated to open this fall include:

  1. Fjallraven, 1 East Main Street, Open.
  2. Stio, 233 E Main Street, Open.
  3. Belle Cose, 233 E Main St, TBD
  4. Lucchese Boots, 131 E Main Street, Opening Fall 2023.
  5. Meridian Men, 107 E Main Street, Open.