BOZEMAN — To some people, the announcement that the Big Sky Conference has postponed its football season just means no football. But to a lot of businesses, that’s a big loss on top of everything else.
“My first reaction, to be honest, my stomach drops. My heart sinks. That was my initial reaction hearing it last night and then hearing it today. It’s definitely disappointing,” said Arkinda Mickelson, the general manager at the Club Tavern and Grill in Bozeman.
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Disappointing to so many local businesses who rely on football season.
“Not having football season. That bridges a large gap from tourist season into our winter and not having that bridge means we’re really going to need and depend on local community support no matter what and people to come out and help keep us surviving and open,” Mickelson said.
Community support seems to be a universal response as the back-up plan.
“For us, moving forward the focus just has to be on supporting our local community,” said Blane Woodfin, who owns Tanglewood Grill & Tap, Foxtrot All Day Eatery, and Sidewinders American Grill.
Which means making the best of an already unfortunate situation.
“I don’t necessarily look at it like we’ve got a big chunk of revenue we have to replace. It’s more of just like continuing that focus on our local population and making sure that our restaurants are looked at some of the best restaurants in Bozeman to go,” Woodfin said.
But one thing’s for sure, the game-day atmosphere this fall will be missed.
“We fill up so much that people say hey if you have someone come in the door, they can join me at my table because if they’re a bobcat fan, we’re all in this together to support each other. And so, there’s that kind of community support. There’s that kind of excitement. There’s that kind of conversation. You know, people are here happy, excited,” Mickelson explained.
Businesses will have to rely on the local economy now more ever.