New Polson Storefront Features Made in Montana Products + Workshops for Artists

Next week, a new storefront is opening in downtown Polson, and 50 select Montana artists – including Xplorer Maps – will have a new place to display and sell their products. They also will have the opportunity to participate in workshops on accounting, marketing, postering, product photography, and more to help them grow and expand their businesses.

Carol Lynn Lapotka, the owner of Recreate Designs and the founder of the MADE Fair, the largest art and handcrafted market with five shows throughout the year, will be opening the store at 212 Main Street to support local artists and to have a new home and production area for her “upcycled” clothing and accessories line.

Lapotka said she decided to move her business from St. Ignatius because Polson is “a great community that has been seeing an uptick in tourist activity” and her husband is employed there. After buying the 110-year-old Main Street building, Lapotka received grants from the Polson Redevelopment Agency and USDA to improve the long-empty storefront.

“Everyone is trying to get more life downtown and bring more folks down here instead of shopping other places – especially if they have a chance to purchase something that’s made in Montana,” Lapotka said. “There are a lot of new shops working to revive the downtown area, and people might want to support local business rather than go to Walmart to buy a T-shirt.”

Of the 400+ MADE Fair artists Lapotka works with throughout the year, she chose about 50 to be part of the new Polson storefront. “I looked at different categories of artists and chose some of my favorite things,” Lapotka said. “I picked those who will do well in the shop – plus I love them. Xplorer Maps fits in that realm of great products. They have consistent quality and packaging, and they are easy to work with.”

Xplorer Maps co-founder and owner, Greg Robitaille, is equally enthusiastic to be a part of this new Made in Montana adventure.

“We are extremely proud and honored to be among the Montana artists selected for Carol Lynn’s next great adventure,” Robitaille said. “Over the past 10 years, she has dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy into helping the Made in Montana brand gain exposure across the state. Every artist that has had the privilege to be a part of her shows can attest to the exceptional level of media and marketing efforts that go into what she does, and Xplorer Maps is looking forward to being a small part of this new retail opportunity in Polson.”

Lapotka hopes that the new store will help boost Polson’s economy and give artists an opportunity to sell products, tell their stories, get some exposure in the community, learn more about business practices, and keep money flowing their way.

“I would love for the store to be seen as a resource for all that’s cool and hip in Polson,” she said. “It would be great for people to stop in Polson, have a coffee down the road, and hang out for the day.”

The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Polson storefront is July 1.

Captions: Polson, Montana's Main Street and Carol Lynn Lapotka.