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Downtown shifts into summer mode

POLSON — It’s June, and time for the decorative goose in Jackie M’s Footwear’s window to put on her bikini and flip-flops.

Jackie’s goose isn’t the only one sprucing up for summer. All downtown Polson businesses have begun gearing up for the multitude of visitors the welcome summer season brings.

Inside Jackie M’s there are lots of flip-flops to choose from, as well as other sandals and shoes of every sort. There will be more ladies inventory, too, co-owner Jackie Cripe said, since the store is phasing out of men’s shoes. The Cripes also add extra employees for the summer season, including a couple of students who have come back every summer since they were in high school.

At Pop’s Diner, students also work waiting and bussing tables, especially in the summer time, according to Bob Gromoll, who works at the restaurant. 

Bob said Moe and Linda McElvogue, who own Pop’s Diner, hire a few more high school students in the summer and bring out the patio furniture so folks can sit on the sidewalk, enjoy their food or coffee and bask in the sunshine.

For quilters, seamstresses or crafters who’ve had enough of the sun and want to do something creative, All In Stitches is offering some two-hour classes. These make-and-take classes are quick, fun, and some of them are no-sew, according to Susan Brown, manager at All in Stitches. The store also carries many patterns and fabrics for quilters and yarn for knitters.    

The Cove doesn’t carry yarn, but they can sure feed a knitter or a quilter. In the summertime, Ken Avison said they add staff, between six to 10 people, to provide prompt service. This summer The Cove will also be open on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

The restaurant will soon adjust their food and ice cream orders as hot days and summer sun bring increased ice cream sales. Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream,a Livingston-based ice cream business, will deliver directly to The Cove this summer, Avison said. Usually one of the Avisons will meet the Wilcoxson’s truck in Missoula. 

“I look forward to tourists and to people who come back year after year,” Avison said. 

Gerry Browning at The Terrace looks forward to summer, too; and this year she has reinvented her business. 

“There was no place in town you could buy a good cigar,” she said, “and no place to buy craft beers.”

This year there is — Browning has added craft and specialty beers, cigars and more wines to her wine portfolio. The store carries chocolates and food for gift baskets, too. 

She also plans to set tables and chairs on the sidewalk for customers. She’s looking at outdoor furniture that is light enough she can move it to the sidewalk and back inside daily.

At Mission Mountain Natural Foods, Bill Pinkney said they usually add one person to their staff. 

Their business used to be steady all year around, according to Pinkney, but now it’s starting to peak in the summer time and the peak really doesn’t let up until September.

In the summertime, the Sandpiper Art and Gift Gallery has more volunteers, Sue Williamson said. Williamson, who’s a volunteer, said many of the Polson “snowbirds” have returned. The Sandpiper also offers several workshops in the summer, including some children’s art classes. 

At The First Resort, Tali Barron said they’re open seven days a week, “which is pretty special.” Sunday summer hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the summer months, they also run lots of sales and have new summer merchandise. 

Valley residents as well as visitors are invited to enjoy all downtown has to offer. While the increased traffic is always good, businesses sincerely appreciate their year-round clientele. 

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