MISSOULA, Mont. - Downtown Missoula businesses are seeing an increase in tourism and while sales are going back up, there are some different challenges they're facing this year.
The owner of Mood Boutique, Sarah Allen, said she asks her customers what brought them to Montana.
"I mean I've definitely asked before like, 'have you been to Montana before? What brought you here?' and people are just like 'I always wanted to come' or 'I knew someone who went through here,' 'we have family here and just have never made it,'" Allen said.
She said her store is almost never empty these days, and her sales are up nearly 50% from this time in 2019.
But now, businesses here in Downtown Missoula are experiencing some other problems.
"I definitely think I needed more help, but I feel like you're just competing with everyone trying to hire," Allen said. "So, we've just been working our butts off by ourselves and not really getting much of a break," Allen said.
Downtown Missoula Partnerships Marketing and Events Director, Kristen Sackett, said a lot of businesses are experiencing this.
"They're going from one extreme to another of, not really having business and just trying to get anybody to come, to now they're over-inundated with a large amount of people but the staffing has been a very large challenge for them," Sackett said.
This means you might have to wait a little loner for your food, or to check out at a boutique, but Sackett is encouraging everyone to be patient.
"Just taking a hot second to sit back and relax and enjoy Downtown Missoula and just soak it all in, because a year ago we would have given anything to just be out and about," Sackett said.
You can visit the Missoula Downtown Foundation's website for ways to support local businesses.