Valley Vendors Vying For Holiday Dollars - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Valley Vendors Vying For Holiday Dollars

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WHITEFISH -

Colder weather means holiday spending will soon be heating up.

"It's full throttle right now. I'm in here a lot. I've got both the interns working as much as they can," said Brittan Ellingson.

Brittan Ellingson, the owner and founder of Notice Snowboards in Whitefish, is an avid snowboarder himself. He says he can even do a back flip.

"I guess myself too. I don't know if I'm an athlete anymore," said Ellingson with a guffaw.

He makes and sells custom boards, taking orders online from across the country. Last year, his first year, he sold forty boards. This year he works for his business full time, devoting twenty hours per board, and plans to sell over a hundred. He is just one vendor joining Small Business Saturday.

"Anything I can do to support the locals is great," said Ellingson, "Like I said, I buy most of my materials at the local stores here."

The national movement seeks to keep local dollars in the local economy on November 30, in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the Valley, local sellers are forming a community, aided with events like First Fridays, when local Kalispell businesses keep their doors open later the first Friday of the month, encouraging foot traffic and enticing customers with snacks.

"We all know that when we're all saying the same thing at the same time, our voice gets louder," said Courtenay Sprunger, the manager of Kalispell's Small Business Saturday.

This is the first year the Kalispell chamber of commerce is orchestrating the event, already drawing in more than twenty Kalispell businesses in addition to half a dozen more from Columbia Falls, Lakeside, and Whitefish.

"I just think that that is the heartbeat of our whole country, are the small businesses," said Irene Zuehlsdorff, owner of First Choice Decor in downtown Kalispell and participant in Small Business Saturday.

For local entrepreneurs, Small Business Saturday is a way to get their name out.

"They can take advantage of branded materials that are free online through shopsmall.com. Whether that's a poster or they have created templates for emails you cans end out you can send out to your email list announcing you're participating. They have social media support," said Sprunger.

Ellingson hopes with help from Small Business Saturday, he can eventually hire his two interns and branch out into apparel.

Click here to check out Ellingson's custom snowboard business.

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