New Retail Stores Open in Downtown Missoula


It has been a lot of fun for me to discover the new things about Downtown Missoula that have changed over the last six months while my family has been living in New Zealand. In some ways, our city center is like a child. When you are a parent and you see that child every day, you don’t necessarily notice the subtle changes that occur over time. However, when you are a grandparent or maybe an aunt or uncle, and you only see that child every few months, you really notice the changes from the last time you visited.

In addition to the cluster of new restaurants that have opened up in the heart of our community, Downtown Missoula has also gained a significant number of new retail stores in the last six months. In many ways, 2013 feels like true end to the recent recession, given the number of new business startups, the number of construction projects across town, and the increased activity in the local housing market. It’s exciting to feel the buzz of economic activity happening around town, and it’s just another reminder of why I love Missoula, Montana so much.

Here’s an overview of the new retail stores waiting for you to explore:

  • The Naturalists’ Mercantile is located in the Radio Central Building at 131 East Main. Owners Mat Seidensticker, UM hoopster from 1995-99, and Peggy Persico have built a one-of-a-kind shop for the nature lover. You can find books, bird feeders, arts, science kits, toys and games that revolve around the outdoors and wildlife. Their focus on children, as well as adults, makes this a great place to for little ones to learn and play.
  • Coo Baby  is the new chic baby store at 311 North Higgins. With everything under the sun you might need for the little ones, Coo Baby is full of books, toys, apparel and equipment. Owner Gillian Fetz is a seasoned veteran in the retail industry, having owned and managed The Learning Tree in Southgate Mall for the last 25+ years. It’s not often you see a retailer relocate from the mall to downtown!
  • The Wax Bar is Missoula’s newest beauty service provider and is located at 125 West Main, right across the street from the Central Park parking structure. Offering a full range of body waxing services for both women and men, the Wax Bar is owned/staffed by Kay Boudreaux Persson and Talia Blome-Young and offers an online booking service. Wax Me Studio focuses on providing brazilian waxing services in a discreet and comfortable environment.

    Liquid Therapy Downtown Missoula

    Liquid Therapy

  • Liquid Therapy, located at 401 West Broadway, Suite B, has converted a traditional office space to a new water sports retail store at the corner of Orange and Broadway.   Owners Vinny and Erin Nuzzo and their family are passionate about water fun and offer a wide variety of water equipment to buy or rent, including boats, paddleboards, kayaks, tubes, wetsuits and more.
  • Down on the Hip Strip is a new second-hand store called Something for Everyone. Located at 833 South Higgins Avenue, Something for Everyone is right across the street from Hellgate High School and offers tools, antiques, sporting goods, musical instruments and more.
  • Bhavana is a beautifully designed urban-bohemian home store located in the Historic Montana Building at 101 East Broadway, Suite B. Owned by lifelong downtown retailer Kim Richardson and her partner Tommy Petersen, Bhavana offers colorful, high-quality home decor from numerous suppliers, many of them fair trade. Richardson’s roots run deep in Downtown Missoula, having her hand in a variety of retail stores over the last two decades.

In addition to the new stores that have opened in recent months, there have been a few other changes in the retail environment. Runner’s Edge purchased and renovated the building across the street from its old store and relocated to the new space at 304 North Higgins. Yellowstone Photo closed up shop in April. Owners Rhonda Nelson & Barrie Smith owned the business for 26 years and sold the building at 321 North Higgins. I am sure they will enjoy retirement!

There are a couple of new businesses preparing to open in the near future. Something new is arriving in the 100 block of East Main Street. Another storefront is under renovation is at 525 North Higgins Avenue.

It’s an exciting time in Downtown Missoula, and I encourage everyone to make regular visits to see the changes in our beautiful historic city center. It’s a wonderful and vibrant place to be right now!




LindaMcCarthyMissoulaLinda McCarthy has been a Missoula resident for more than 25 years and serves as Executive Director of the Missoula Downtown Association, a private non-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and enhancing the vitality of Downtown Missoula. She and her family live in the Farviews Neighborhood, and her husband, Tom Gallagher, is a computer science professor at UM’s Missoula College. Linda holds two degrees from The University of Montana and was the 2008 Montana Alumni of the Year.





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