BOZEMAN — Monday was a big day for retail stores across Montana.
The first phase of Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan to reopen the state allowed retail stores to open for business, including stores in downtown Bozeman.
Missoula remains closed under the orders of local health officials.
“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 Evergreen Clothing in Bozeman.
The downtown clothing store opened its doors to shoppers, but they came up with their own way to enforce Gov. Bullock’s guidelines.
“Do just appointments, like half hour appointments, private shopping, basically,” Wagner explained.
Another retail store owner downtown said the 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.
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.