A new shop has opened on Main Street in Kalispell.
The Montana Scene already has locations in Bigfork, Whitefish and Bozeman and recently joined historic downtown Kalispell.
The store, which sells an array of Montana and outdoor-themed clothing and souvenirs, is owned and operated by Kalispell residents Melissa and Sean Bonnet. This is the fourth store they have opened in the last year.
“I have a lot of history with women in my family who are hard workers,” said Melissa, chief executive and co-founder of The Montana Scene. “I love being a mom and it’s a really hard job, but I needed something more. I’ve always been interested in having my own businesses.”
Bonnet and her husband Sean first opened Montana Bear Food in Bigfork in May 2010. It was successful, but the boom and bust of the location was difficult, they said. The couple liked running the business and decided that rather than sell they would rebrand the business to raise the ceiling of possibility.
The couple say one of the biggest values of the new location in Kalispell is actually in the vast basement space, which is becoming the nerve center of their statewide network. They will use the space downstairs to fill online orders and ship inventory to other stores.
About 10 percent of their sales come from online orders, but they would like to increase that, Sean said. They said about three-quarters of the online orders they fill are from within Montana.
Previously all that work was being done in a small warehouse in Kalispell. Sean will use the old space as a shop to manufacture the woodcuttings they sell.
Sean also said the storefront retail opportunities are just an extra bonus, and he is hoping it will help spread awareness of the brand.
They will also use the Kalispell location to test the popularity of new products, Melissa said. She said one of the reasons the company has thrived is because the stores are consistently stocked with new designs and products.
They attribute much of their success to exemplifying attributes of fast fashion, catering to a younger clientele that doesn’t want to be wearing the same shirt as all of their friends.
“We want to have something for everybody,” Melissa said. “That’s kind of how our business works, we are constantly putting out new stuff all the time.”
The designs they put on their goods are all done with the help of an artistic company in Whitefish, and printed on the clothing in Kalispell.
The business owners are happy to be joining the downtown community at such an exciting time. The details of the Kalispell downtown plan are being worked out, and city officials hope the changes will revitalize the area in the near future.
“I think it’s going to be the biggest structural change to Kalispell in 50 years,” said Kim Weaver, director of sales and marketing for The Montana Scene. Weaver first connected with the couple when she baby sat for them when they opened their original Bigfork store. “Now, we can actually be in on the conversation a little bit more. It’s kind of cool to have a business downtown. It’s like you are a part of Kalispell’s history.”
Sean said if the business continues to succeed they have considered lifting the model and using it in states with similar cultures founded on a fondness for the outdoors, like Colorado.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. It will be closed on Sundays. Their online inventory can be seen at https://www.themontanascene.com.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or email@example.com.