Small and local businesses are important to the Billings economy - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Small and local businesses are important to the Billings economy

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With everything that's occurred at Big Bear Sports Center, it's unknown when the store will reopen. Extreme damage, such as what was suffered in Saturday's incident, can have a major effect on small and local businesses.

Authorities said there has been great damage done inside the store. John Brewer, the president and CEO of the Billings Chamber of Commerce said businesses, no matter how large or small, are an important part of the Billings economy.

Brewer said it's not just locals who shop in our community, it's also people who travel throughout the region who add to the economy. He said small businesses are especially important part in our community DNA. He also said it's those types of businesses who often don't have the support that some of the larger businesses have. Brewer said this is why it's important local businesses help each other.

"We are a small community and a community that's willing to set aside- things we have going on right now that are important in our lives to rally around those that are struggling and needing help," Brewer said. Again, whether it's Big Bear or all of the small businesses in town. I think this is an important time in the future of that business that we help them as a community as much as we can and have a successful holiday season."

Brewer said small businesses traditionally have an even steeper hill to climb. Especially this time of year. He said the holiday season can be a make or break scenario for small and local businesses. He also said with an incident like what happened at Big Bear, it makes it that much more difficult.

"For a small business, they traditionally don't have the support that some of the larger boxed stores do in terms of national advertising, national brand awareness, and just the resources that some of the corporate connections have," Brewer said. "So I think often times when crisis situations like this hit our small businesses, they feel very isolated and alone. They probably don't have a lot of models on how they should proceed."

Brewer said the Billings Chamber of Commerce have reached out to Big Bear Sports Center but have not yet heard back from the owner.

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