Bozeman Business Boom: Sassy Sisters leaves downtown for moves for more parking

BOZEMAN- The Sassy Sisters is a home for Montana products. The store has 22 vendors and its all made by Montanans, providing a local home for local products.

But the two sisters who own the business recently decided to leave their beloved downtown storefront citing parking issues as the top reason.

“The biggest problem right now is parking,” Glenna McGowan Patten the owner of Sassy Sisters said. “There’s just no place to park downtown, we were getting customers that would if they drove downtown and saw a spot they might stop but if they didn’t see a spot they would just drive-through.”

The two sisters did not want to lose their business but they also felt pressure, with outside developers purchasing real estate on Main Street and parking problems they felt the time to act was now.

“I think my sister and I, we could see the writing on the wall,” McGowan Patten said, “eventually someone will buy the building and the rent will go up, it was time for us to try something else.”

So they packed up the shop and left the downtown area, a move that was hard on them.

McGowan Patten says as girls their grandmother would take them downtown and that so much of their life they can remember special trips with her mother to Main Street, so becoming part of it and now having to leave it was difficult.

But the city says with growth happening at a daily rate they’re working to implement some new things to help you have a better parking experience and it all starts with the 2016 Strategic Parking Management Plan.

“So currently the city is working on the implementation of the 2016 Strategic Parking Management Plan,” Brit Fontenot the Director of Economic Development said, “this plan lists 20 some odd implementation strategies.”

The city says over the course of the last few years they have worked to implement parking benefit districts, those help manage parking around the downtown area that is not located directly on Main Street, new signage is going up to help parkers find the parking garage along with a multimillion-dollar maintenance program to the parking garage and a potential new parking garage is in talks.

“The idea of just parking in front of the exact business were you want to be downtown is likely not going to happen very often, it will happen occasionally but it’s not going to happen as often perhaps as it happened in the past,” Fontenot said ‘that’s the nature of a changing community.”

As for the Sassy Sisters, they have no regrets in their decision to leave and they say their biggest problem has been solved.

“Oh my gosh, it’s the best we have 60 parking spots,” McGowan Patten said, “it's fantastic.”

They opened up about four weeks ago and say business is booming.

“Because were fifth-generation Montanans and our kids are sixth for us it’s really rewarding to have all these people in Montana that make jewelry, signs, teas, all these fabulous things to have someplace to sell their stuff,” McGowan Patten said.

The team of sisters says they hope to eventually teach home decor classes at their new shop.

You can view the city's parking plan here, in the new address for the Sassy Sister is available here.

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