Sage & Oats Trading Post in Helena creating an online store after receiving a grant for tribal tourism
HELENA – Montana Department of Commerce announced funding of nearly $ 100,000 Support the growth of 14 Native American-owned small businesses through the Tribal Tourism Digital Business Development Grant program. A beneficiary in Helena plans to use the money to establish her online presence.
From Croatia, Japan, Mexico and everywhere else, Sage & Oats Trading Post offers a wide variety of handmade products from different cultures around the world that are present in Montana.
“Some of our audience obviously, and the products we have, relate to the tribes of Montana, but we also represent Scottish, Irish and Scandinavian artists,” says Major Robinson, co-owner of Sage & Oats. “So we really want to celebrate the diversity that exists here in Montana and the different cultures.”
Major Robinson and his wife are now bringing this diversity online thanks to a grant of approximately $ 5,000 from the Department of Commerce. Sage & Oats is ready to showcase its entire catalog on the web and hopefully bring more tourists to Helena.
“It was a bridge for people who found us on social media. The e-commerce component of the grant helps us enable people to continue their shopping experience until they can enter the physical store, ”said Michelle Robinson, co-owner of the store.
The owners say the store is now easier to spot. You may have noticed that Sage & Oats are now located on North Last Chance Gulch. They moved in May 2020, merging with another company after struggling with the pandemic.
“What this allows us to do is keep two businesses alive rather than shutting us both down,” says Major Robinson. “What was really exciting was that a lot of people who knew us from the other place followed us here. We continue to develop our audience and our clientele. “
The decision to move to this location benefited Sage & Oats. They are gaining more traffic than before and with their new grant they can launch their online store in the coming months.
The Commerce Department also acknowledged that Native American businesses were hit hard by the pandemic. The Tribal Tourism Digital Business Development Grant enables these stores to market their products on a digital platform. According to Commerce, 82% of vacationers expressed interest in exploring sites and experiences related to Native American culture and history.
Sage & Oats are now located at 424 N. Last Chance Gulch in Helena.