Shutdown Is A Put Down For Flathead Profits - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Shutdown Is A Put Down For Flathead Profits


Wednesday made day two of the government shutdown, and some Flathead businesses are already hurting.

Columbia Falls, known as "The Gateway to Glacier," is already feeling the sting of the government shutdown.

"I would say about 90 percent of our business is based from the Park in the summertime. We've already had guests already cancel," said Kacey Evins, the assistant manager at the Western Inn Glacier.

Historically, October brings between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors to Glacier National Park. The Park's gates officially closed Tuesday, October 1, and the ripple effect is spreading fast.

"It's going to affect every single business in Columbia Falls," said Evins.

Until the week of October 1, all thirty rooms at the Western Inn were full. As of October 2, only two people were staying there, and more cancellations are still coming in, but the hospitality industry isn't the only one hurting because of the shutdown.

"This past summer, about 90 percent of my business is come from different packers and outfitters and so on going through the Park," said Sean Dougherty, the owner of the Saddle Tramp Saddlery in Columbia Falls.

Dougherty learned leather working from his father and believes he has a strong hold on the market in the Valley.

"I'm hoping that the shutdown won't affect me adversely, but if it does I'll work on something else," said Dougherty.

For Dougherty, that means focusing on local sales of some of his other crafts, such as saddle purses and native outfits.

A National Park Service study revealed in 2011, nearly $98 million was spent in and around Glacier National Park, supporting more than a thousand local jobs.

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