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Polson’s Little Shop Montana blends vintage and new finds

by BERL TISKUS
Hagadone News Network | March 14, 2024 12:00 AM

At Little Shop Montana in Polson one-of-a-kind vintage finds, such as a weathered Griz sign, are tucked amid lots of new items, including Turkish pillows, stickers for water bottles and fun clothes, ranging from flowered bib overalls to boho blouses and dresses.  

Owner Carmen Burke tucks one-of-a-kind vintage finds, such as a weathered Griz sign, amid lots of new items, including Turkish pillows, stickers for water bottles and fun clothes, ranging from flowered bib overalls to boho blouses and dresses.  

“We love vintage goods – a mix of that with all the new stuff and things no one else has,” said owner Carmen Burke. 

The shop recently made the move from U.S. 93 to Polson’s Main Street. 

Burke says she’s happy with the new location in the former Maverick clothing store, right next to Good Coffee. For one thing, parking is easier for customers, and during the summer, when visitors stroll down Polson’s increasingly vibrant Main Street, she’s bound to get more foot traffic. 

Being next door to the popular coffee shop is also helpful.

She stocks cute sweaters (a favorite of hers), corduroy pants in punchy colors, a rack of “pre-loved clothing,” and an eclectic array of vintage jewelry, house decor and plants.

The Little Shop Montana offers a mixture of prices as well.

“You don’t want to leave thinking you can’t afford to buy something,” Burke said. 

The proprietor loves plants – especially succulents – although her stock is down a bit since she had a sale when she found out she was moving her shop. She took the remaining plants home during the move, and more and more are showing up at the shop, lending their cheerful greenness and intricate flowers and leaves to the ambiance.  

The Burkes moved to Polson about three years ago with their four children, after her husband, pediatric dentist David Burke, accepted a job with the Indian Health Service. Prior to moving here, he served in the Navy, and the family lived in Guam, Denver and San Diego. 

Burke opened shops during their travels, but most were pop-ups or at markets. Those experiences helped her learn what sells and what doesn’t.  

As David’s tenure in the Navy neared its end, the couple considered whether to stay in the service or go into public health. Japan, New Mexico and Polson were among the options, but when the family visited Montana they fell for it.

“I felt it was time to finally put some frames on the walls, to just belong somewhere,” Burke explained.  

“It’s the perfect place for us,” she added. They live out of town, but it only takes three or four minutes to get to her shop.

She enjoys the mountains and Flathead Lake, and her children, ranging in age from 5-16, also love the lake and being on the water in the summertime. 

The Burkes arrived in Polson toward the end of the pandemic, but since then, the kids have flourished in school.  

And now, Burke’s Little Shop is flourishing in Polson, too.  

    Interesting items galore, from summer dresses to fun sweaters to coolers to plants, cactus, and decorative items, can be found at The Little Shop Montana, 214 Main Street, Suite B. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    Carmen Burke, owner of The Little Shop Montana, displays a "squeezy" coin purse, one of the many vintage-inspired or vintage items in her fun shop. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    The Little Shop Montana stocks lots of air plants, some in this bowl and some in tiny wooden planters. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)