A look at the state of Boundary County business in time of pandemic

By Nancy Croll, Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Croll

It’s been a wild summer! For many business owners in Boundary County, they were expecting this summer to be record-breaking sales; this was the first summer in two years that major construction through town was going to be on hold. There was going to be an endless parade of tourists north and south, happy travelers traversing the International Selkirk Loop and spending their time and money generously at hotels, campgrounds, restaurants and shops of Bonners Ferry.

Who knew that in March all sense of “normal” would completely come to a halt?

Who could have anticipated that for the entire summer long the border between the U.S. and Canada would be closed, cutting the Selkirk Loop in half, and preventing even family members from crossing the border to see one another?

Well, it happened.

And how are the businesses faring through all this?

The Chamber asked some of our members how they’ve been handling these surprising circumstances.

“Business has not been great,” said Amy Roemelen, owner of Bonners Bottom Dollar. Amy said that her sales numbers for this summer are not at all comparable to last summer.

The international border being closed has definitely affected most businesses. The Log Inn, Northside B&B and several retail shops have all reported sales numbers feeling more like winter than summer.

While the struggle isn’t over for the businesses, there are still positives coming out of these strange times. People are trying harder than ever to shop local—partly to support their hometown stores, and partly because it’s safer and easier to stay close to home than brave the city box stores.

The border shutdown and tourism in general being decreased have opened up new opportunities for the community to support local in a whole new way.

“While we are sad that our Canadian customers could not visit us this year, we are very happy to meet so many regional as well as non-regional U.S. campers who are discovering us for the first time,” said Nick Larsen, managing director of Blue Lake RV Park.

So, if you haven’t yet discovered the beauties that our little town has to offered, now is the time to check them out!

Have a date night at one of our wonderful local restaurants and book a room at a local hotel for a mini vacation. Give your family a camping trip by booking at one of our local campgrounds, or take the family shopping for some fall clothes and accessories! Enjoy the last of summer with the shops’ clearance sales!

Boundary County businesses love their locals. Love them back with your support!