Downtown Whitefish’s Changing Face

By Beacon Staff

Between ski season and summer’s onslaught of tourists, business in downtown Whitefish slows to a creep. But this spring, Central Avenue is far from quiet. It buzzes with changes as businesses close, shops swap locations, and construction adds more.

Shortly after the ski season ended, Mountain Sports Ski and Cycle painted its window with a large “going out of business” sign. Two doors away, Mozaic Oriental Rugs followed suit, posting signs for their closing sale. Both closures come on the tail of Stuart Jewelers across the street shutting up shop.

In addition to departing businesses, several shops traded locations like pieces in a slide puzzle. Mrs. Spoonover’s ice cream hopped into the store vacated by Burch’s One-Hour Photo kitty-corner from Central School. Big Sky Antiques took over the slot from Artistic Touch when the art shop closed, and Copperleaf Chocolate Company plans to leap soon into the spot to be vacated by Mountain Sports. “It’s a spring shuffle,” laughs Gwen Carreon, owner of the Backdoor General Store that expanding to street front in the old ice cream parlor space.

Meanwhile, two sidewalk re-routes swing around construction sites—one for a new clothing store and the other a remodel on the Remington façade. Yet amid all the hubbub, some locations–Truby’s, Flanagan’s, and Cornerhouse Grill–still sit vacant with blackened windows. The latter, however, plans to reopen as a Mediterranean bistro.

The changes aren’t confined to Central Avenue. North of the viaduct, Piggyback BBQ just jumped across the street into the restaurant space vacated by Empire Café, which stayed in business less than six months. Also, the Army-Navy store on Highway 93 is closing its doors in June, having lost its lease.

The face of downtown Whitefish is changing. Just how much remains to be seen.

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