GREAT FALLS — March 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the official beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montana; MTN talked to three people in Great Falls about what the year has been like.
For Dragonfly Dry Goods owner Alison Fried, there's no one way to describe the year. "It's been a lot of things. I probably could give you a list of about a hundred. We’ve been in business for 23 years and it was just reassessing every single aspect."
That's not to say the year was all bad though: "We had never spent the time to do a website, so we did put that together in order to make it an easier shopping experience for people because we had a little more time because we were quieter in store. That allowed us to do that and now we have that forever."
Elden Cox of the Lobby Bar used two words to describe the year: slow and terrible. Businesses is picking back up though, he said.
Cox also said, "It is great, you know? A lot easier to pay the bills now. I had gotten COVID in November and the only good thing that came out of that is I quit smoking."
At Central Avenue Meats, a labor shortage at big meat processing facilities has been a challenge.
"In some ways, that's benefited us from a traffic standpoint but we also do just a smaller quantity. So at times it's been hard for us to keep up,” said owner Drew Hicks.
Hicks said one thing that has not been a challenge is getting the community to support small businesses: "I really have seen a swell of community support for the downtown area. i feel like people are really going out of their way to eat locally, shop locally."
A silver lining to the cloud many might say has hung over the state for the past year.