GREAT FALLS – 2021 is coming to an end and due to the Covid pandemic, this year was expected to be a boom year for the Great Falls economy. For many companies in the city, they did just that and more.
Great Falls’ economy performed better than expected this year, according to Shane Etzwiler, president of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. He says the performance was largely due to the central Montana community and more people shopping on-site to support existing stores and bring new ones to town.
“We had a lot of companies that said it was a record year for them. People see the value of local participation and that doesn’t just mean with the chamber, with organizations or volunteer work, ”said Etzwiler. “People say, ‘Let’s run our mom-and-pop stores, our family members, our friends, our neighbors have a business here in Great Falls.’ Let’s really shop locally. And yes, we see a lot more online shopping and that has h -pened in the past few years, but I think there has been more focus on local shopping and people go, we take care of our locals, we take care of our people. “
Among those companies with a record year was Candy Masterpiece, and while the numbers are not final, they estimate they made 20% more than last year. They also say their product is getting better known and the community has given way more support over the past year and more local people are shopping.
Owner Angie Bruskotter says it has been open for 22 years and that she has kept seeing more people in her shop. Several of their glass displays are usually filled with chocolate at this time of year, but due to increased traffic, they are mostly empty and it can take more than a month to fill up again. She said she wasn’t expecting a record year and expected to keep up with last year, but she thought it “worked out”.
“It’s my passion. We don’t have that much stock now, but we have a lot more business,” said Bruskotter. “In January we will be 22 years old and I love my job as much as I did at the beginning. This year it was just go. I’m just grateful to everyone who supports their community and their city. It’s worth it. It’s a good thing. We just stick with it. Give the best, come up with new ideas, new creative things. We’re already working on some fun things Things and just keep going. “
Etzwiler says not only has the city’s businesses grown, but the Chamber of Commerce has grown too, and he expects both to continue to grow by 2022.