BOZEMAN — Classes at Montana State University in Bozeman are officially back in session, and for downtown businesses, they couldn’t be happier to welcome students back to Main Street.
“So, move-in weekend was crazy starting about Wednesday or Thursday. It did pick up a lot compared to what we’ve been used to here in the store. Saw tons of family members, still a lot of tourists as well, and then tons of students coming into the campus. And it made the weekend crazy busy for the store, but in a great way,” said Taylor Luke, the manager at Barefoot Campus Outfitter.
Luke definitely notices when students aren’t downtown.
“The last couple of days have slowed down a little bit. But we totally understand. Everybody’s having to go to classes and whatnot, which is awesome right now that they do have the opportunity to be in class, and then we get to see people in the afternoon, come in and shop the store,” Luke said.
A lot of businesses are having to rely more on local support than ever, and the addition of the students helps the economy.
“The students are 100 percent part of this Bozeman community. They always have been, and so we know their place in this community is a big deal. Their economic support, their energy, the vibrancy of our community, and so, the students play a big role,” said Ellie Staley with the Downtown Bozeman Partnership.
And a lot of the students find themselves downtown often.
“I really like it. It’s really cool that there’s a lot of local shops you can go into and businesses and it’s just kind of a fun atmosphere to even just walk around and browse,” said sophomore student Sami Samuels.
Life downtown is still a little different because of the pandemic, but businesses are ready to welcome students back and move forward together.
“Businesses are again welcoming them back with safety in mind, of course. But we’re resilient here in downtown Bozeman," Staley said.
Some of the businesses on Main Street are changing their hours of operation to better meet students' schedules.