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Downtown Polson business district sees changes

POLSON – Polson’s downtown is undergoing some changes. Two longtime businesses, Gull Printing and Jackie M’s, have either closed or will be closing soon, while another business, The Rack, is just getting started and a restaurant looks to open soon as well. 

Gull Printing’s last day was May 25, although owner Chip Kurzenbaum will continue with his on-call mobile sign business, Montana Sign & Banner. He worked in the printing business along with his parents, Jerry and Carolyn Kurzenbaum, for 32 years. 

Jackie M’s is currently in the midst of a closeout sale and will keep their doors open until everything is sold or until the lease runs out at the end of September. 

“The retail climate is changing. The Internet is making it a lot harder for businesses to survive,” said Jackie Cripe, co-owner of Jackie M’s with her husband Mike. 

Losing the two businesses is going to leave a very big hole in the community, said Marilyn Frame, co-owner for the past 29 years of the downtown Hallmark store. 

Ken Avison, owner of The Cove Deli and Pizza, called losing the two stores “a concern” and wondered if it’s a sign of the times. “It’s hard on Main Street,” he said. 

Tali Barron, who’s owned and managed the 219 Main clothing store since taking over from her father Jim Duford in 1991, wonders what the future holds. 

“It’s been hard on us (downtown business owners) the last several years,” she said. “Retail has totally changed. People seem to think they need to go out of town shopping.”

Young blood

Meanwhile, owner of The Rack, Shawneen Turner, has high hopes for her men’s and women’s clothing boutique, which opened at 308 Main St. in early April. 

The building, which previously housed a flower shop, had been vacant since last summer, she said. 

The Rack offers brand-name, stylish and affordable clothing, shoes and accessories, such as jewelry and bags, in a fun atmosphere. 

Turner, is selling “upcycled” tote bags made from military tents. She also sells jewelry made from recycled guitar strings and essential oil jewelry by local business Pure Agape. 

“The products are always new and fresh. There’s something new every month,” she said. 

She posts information about sales and discounts on Facebook and notes that she’s sold items to a wide range of customers ranging from teens to an 89-year-old woman. 

“I’m trying to hit everybody and every price point,” she said. 

A new restaurant, where Mrs. Wonderful’s used to be located at 325 Main St., is slated to open soon, Turner said, noting workers have been busy remodeling the site on the corner of Main Street and Fourth Ave. 

Mrs. Wonderful’s Marmalade Café relocated to 103B Third Ave. E in Polson.

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