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Downtown retail shops slowly opening back up in Bozeman

Posted at 8:46 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 10:14:13-04

BOZEMAN — Monday was a big day for retail stores across Montana. Phase One of Governor Bullock’s plan to reopen the state allowed retail stores to open for business, and that includes stores in downtown Bozeman.

“It’s today! It’s like the first day back for everyone. I think everyone’s just trying to figure it out,” said Lauren Wagner, a store manager at Evrgreen Clothing.

This downtown clothing store opened their doors to shoppers, but they came up with their own way to enforce Governor Bullock’s guidelines.

“Do just appointments, like half hour appointments, private shopping, basically,” Wagner explained.

Another retail store owner downtown says this pandemic has pushed her to try some new things, as well.

“Oh yes! Definitely learned some new techniques,” said Sharon Dugger, the owner of Girls Outdoors.

And Dugger knew she was ready to open up shop as soon as the announcement was made.

“There was no real debate for me. I’m definitely ready to be open. But only for the customers, who are ready to be out and about,” she said.

But the decision wasn’t as easy for everyone.

“It was a huge debate. Huge debate. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, what would work but we’re kind of just rolling with it,” Wagner explained.

Despite the approval to open back up, there were still quite a few retail stores that chose to remain closed. But so far, the stores are seeing a positive response in opening.

“From people saying thank you for doing what you’re doing, thank you for opening. Just kind of a general community thank you, which is pretty awesome,” Dugger said.

It was a quiet start today, but both businesses hope it slowly returns back to normal.

“I just hope that it’s a gradual process and it works smoothly,” Wagner said.

“I think it’s going to be just kind of a little bit of a trickle until people start to get a little more comfortable. I think, especially this first week is going to be a trial and error.”

Next week, restaurants will be allowed to open their dining room areas for customers.

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The Rebound: Montana