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Whitefish tourism boosts local business

Whitefish downtown
Posted at 2:47 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 17:23:10-05

WHITEFISH — It's the height of winter tourist season in Whitefish and while traffic is backed up and the streets are it's busy downtown, the increased tourism boosts local businesses.

Sophie Sieh, manager at The Montana Scene, says that this year is even busier than last.

"This year has been crazy especially during the holidays. I don't know if it's because there's not much snow on the mountain or if it's super icy up there, but I feel like a lot of the skiers are coming down to shop," said Sieh.

Whitefish SM Bradford store manager Janie Frazar noted that increased tourism dramatically improved their monthly sales goals.

"Everyone knows what the daily goal is. And we've exceeded it and are doing well. I think the amount of traffic and visitors coming attributes to that." she said.

However, because of the drastic increase in tourists, many times some of the employees will have to park blocks away and walk to work because all the parking spots are taken up by tourists.

"Once the snow hits and the skiers come into town, I have to park five blocks away to find a spot," explained Sieh.

A 2018 study conducted by Explore Whitefish shows that residents from outside of Flathead County spent around $80,000 on retail.

Both Sieh and Frazar told MTN News that they attribute the increased tourism to the holidays and the New Year and anticipate it will slow down in the next few months.