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Polson Bounces Back event to focus on business resilience

by CAROLYN HIDY
Lake County Leader | May 12, 2021 3:00 PM

The city of Polson and Mission West Community Development Partners are co-sponsoring “Polson Bounces Back,” a special one-day event May 19 to bring Polson business owners together to discuss the business climate and share resources.

Planners said they intend the gathering to “help move forward together for a successful 2021.” The event will include panel discussions, presentations, door prizes and free popcorn.

“The event comes out of a reinvigorated partnership between the city of Polson and Mission West,” Polson City Manager Ed Meece said. “We see a lot of potential in how to expand that relationship to the benefit of the entire Lake County community.”

Part of that effort, he said, is to develop frequent and meaningful dialogue between the business community and other sectors — such as city and county governments, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and nonprofits — and not just when issues arise.

“This is the first of many,” Meece said. “It’s a chance for all of us to come out of our pandemic shell a little bit, recognize it’s been a tough year, and start talking about where we go from here. We can discuss what our local folks have done over the last year to adapt, and how we can all learn from that.”

“Our first panel is the ‘Pivoting and Bouncing Back’ panel,” said Brenna Fulks, community development director at Mission West. “This will feature business people talking about what they did at the height of the pandemic to support their businesses. This is an opportunity to ask questions and learn about some innovative ways that people pivoted to adapt.”

Panelists will include owners of HandMade Montana, Glacier Brewing and Mrs. Wonderful Cafe.

The second panel, “Resources for Resiliency,” will feature several entities that can help businesses connect to resources to help them move forward. Among the panel are Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center’s Taylor Lyon, highlighting resources available to agriculture businesses, and Mission West’s loan portfolio manager John Winegart discussing loan opportunities available for businesses, and others.

Three short presentations, fashioned after the well-known “TED Talks” series but nicknamed “Ed Talks” after City Manager Meece, will feature Elvis Nuno with the Lake County Internet Cooperative, Wendy Arnold of Flathead Lake Cheese and a representative from Montana Main Street.

The event is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. May 19 at Showboat Stadium 6, 416 Main St., Polson. A schedule of presentations is available at missionwestcdp.org/events/polson-bounces-back. Call Brenna or Jim at Mission West, 676-5901, for more information.

“This is structured in an open-house style,” Fulks said. “Come in and network, and participate in what you’re interested in.”

“Showboat Theatre policy requires masks, so we’re asking folks to respectfully participate in that manner,” Meece said.