By BRITTANY HORTON/Montana State News

Three new hotels being built and opened in 2015 came earlier this week via the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. They will be added to a flurry of new restaurant activity in the bustling downtown area.

Etha, a 102-room boutique hotel, will be built on top of the National Guard Armory, The Element Bozeman, a 104-room hotel, will line Mendenhall Street and Lark Motel will take the site of the former Imperial Inn. All three hotels are offering dining services in their business, and question about how this will affect newly opened restaurants in the downtown area has begun.

Open Range, Fin, Copper Whiskey Bar and 14 North are just a few of the restaurants that have opened their doors in downtown Bozeman in the last 18 months.

These new hotel restaurants could bring in further competition to Main Street, which already, like all new restaurants, has a surprising failure rate of 60 percent according to the Small Business Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chris Unger, a manager of the Copper Whiskey bar commented on this saying, “I think adding hotels to the downtown area is very wise. It gives people the opportunity to stay downtown and explore the many businesses it has to offer. Hotels downtown are beneficial for all businesses in the vicinity. I can’t speak on other businesses’ behalf in the area, all I know is Copper is dedicated to making sure our customers have a great dining and social experience, and we look forward to always finding new ways to grow our customer base.”

Stephanie Ryder, a server at Open Range seemed confident, commenting on the new businesses opening saying, “It will definitely challenge us to keep our menu and food top notch so we continue to attract customers year-around.”

– Edited by Jennifer Webster

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