AUGUSTA — Saturday was Small Business Day, when across the nation, and in the small town of Augusta, the day reminded people to shop local.
Frankie Morgan is the latest owner of the Lazy B Bar & Cafe in Augusta. He and his partner decided to buy the business in March, when the pandemic started.
"Come March, we were almost going to back out, but the people in the town said they wanted some fresh blood and they wanted some new people here,” Morgan said. “We heard nothing but good comments so we were dealing with it and I think if we can do it during this time, we could probably do it during anytime."
For Latigo & Lace and the rest of the businesses, having the east side of Glacier National Park closed hindered their traffic through the town, but are looking forward positively.
"Local businesses are essential, especially in small towns and rural America, they are what keeps these little towns going,” said owner Christi Levine. “When you support a local business, your money stays local."
Local money seems to be going around. Augusta businesses admit although they may have lost tourists from out-of-state, more Montanans have visited and supported Augusta this year than last year.
"On most all months, we've come out ahead over last year, which we didn't know we would do,” said Paulette Hughes, the manager of The Forge in Augusta. “Last year, it was mostly tourists coming through town and now this year, I think since they've been stressing to shop local, we've been meeting all of our Montana neighbors."
Augusta is using their annual Festival of Trees to encourage local business shopping — in order to bid on a decorated tree, you must go to the business. Many people in the Augusta community remain confident Montanans will continue their support of local businesses through the holiday season.