For the holidays, the Missoula Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with the University of Montana to promote the ‘Heart of a Grizzly’ campaign, encouraging Missoula residents to shop local for the holidays.

Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dave Clawson, who works for Northwestern Energy, introduced the program at the Chamber headquarters along with UM President Seth Bodnar and Monte alongside.

“This is a key initiative for the economy in Missoula, and all businesses are part of that economy as is the University of Montana,” said Clawson. “So we want to make this available to every business in the community, whether they're members or not, and support at the University of Montana.”

Clawson explained the deep bond between the Missoula business community and UM.

“A lot of our businesses have internships with the University of Montana,” he said. “We've worked pretty closely with the university, as well as Missoula College along the lines of some of the training that we've needed in the business community. So we that's an ongoing thing for us is, is that relationship and I just think there's, there's more opportunities there particularly because of all the changes we seem to be going through. So you know, they've been a great partner they've been a pleasure to work with and getting this off the ground. I just think it's an awesome start.”

UM President Seth Bodnar also referenced the close relationship that students and staff have with the local business community.

“I think there's such a symbiotic relationship between the University of Montana and the local business community,” said Bodnar. “That's why we're so supportive and so proud to be a part of this ‘Heart of a Grizzly’ campaign because obviously, this community supports the university, and, and we believe it's incredibly important to support our businesses here in Missoula. It's a challenging time through this pandemic. And this campaign is I think, really going to help emphasize the importance of supporting local businesses.”

Bodnar tapped that nail again of the importance for students and the entire western Montana community to shop local safely for the holidays.

“I think it's really important that we think local, and we do what we can to support our local businesses through what is undoubtedly a really challenging time,” he said. “Again, we're going to get through this pandemic, but we're going to get through it together, and I think this holiday season to the extent that we can, it's really important to support our local businesses. And that's why we're so proud to be a part of this ‘Heart of a Grizzly’ campaign.”

Local businesses, whether Chamber of Commerce members or not, will be displaying the ‘Hear of a Grizzly’ banner throughout the holiday season, encouraging Griz fans to shop local.

According to the UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research:

'Its presence in the state economy makes the economic pie significantly bigger. Our analysis indicates that 9,700 jobs, more than $1.0 billion in after-tax income, and almost $200 million in state tax revenues are attributable to the presence of UM – Missoula in the Montana economy.'