Women-Owned Business of the Year!

What an incredible honor!!!

When we were nominated by the Big Sky Economic Development back in November 2023, we dutifully filled out the paperwork, returned it, and promptly forgot about it! Then the state Small Business office called us from Helena to let us know we had received a Certificate of Excellence and to make sure we would be around on May 3 just in case the National Administrator would like to visit the shop, we wondered, but decided someone else would probably be getting the award and put it out of our heads. But a couple weeks later, we found out we actually were getting the Woman-Owned Business of the Year award for Montana, AND that the presidential cabinet member overseeing the Small Business Administration would be visiting Billings MT as part of the Road Show for Small Business Week, AND the Montana officials would indeed want Administrator Guzman to visit the Yarn Bar to culminate her time in Billings!

We prepared the shop for company - thanks to our incredible team. We cleared the Security Sweep by the advance team on Thursday. We left the shop in good hands as we spent the day with other awardees and small business round table participants. There was team building organized by Canvas Creek (Karen Gross received the SBA Business Champion Award), a delicious lunch prepared by The Marble Table using locally sourced ingredients held at the Pub Station, another local downtown business. Brief speeches celebrating small businesses in general, presentation of awards, some quick photo ops, and a return to the shop to await Administrator Isabel Guzman and all others!

The Administrator was wonderful to visit with, she asked great questions pertaining to what we do and quickly picked up that we are about more than yarn, was very aware of challenges that Main Street Businesses share, and genuinely friendly and professional. The media team had a great live interview set-up, and our local media took some nice footage of the shop. Here's what she told KULR8 News:  "Yarn Bar has created a community - here in their store. It's not just a stop, shop, pick up your goods, and leave. You can problem-solve on projects that you're working on, or just come and sit down on their couch and do a project and I think that's what small businesses deliver that sense of community along our main streets . . . this camaraderie that they build." A few days later, we heard that everyone could tell that Administrator Guzman enjoyed her time at Yarn Bar based on how long she stayed to visit!

One thing interesting to note: apparently, government officials are not allowed to receive gifts valued at more than $25. When we mentioned to an assistant that we wanted to give a small gift from Yarn Bar and she was quite hesitant; the next day she told us it needed to be no more than $25. When we gave the little gift to Administrator Guzman, she also made sure to double check the value! (Our gift was a few Yarn Bar pencils and cool TSA-approved travel scissors!)

We regret that we didn't get very many formal photos taken of ourselves to help remember the amazing day! We do have some great shots taken during our visit with the Administrator, though. It is truly a huge honor to be recognized in this way for being a part of the business community in Montana. Small retail to big manufacturing and everything in between definitely makes where we live as amazing as it is. We believe that people who make things with our yarn are generally pretty happy people, and we are certain that this collective happiness spreads through all daily interactions - going pretty far to keep our region "The Last Best Place". Cheers to Small Businesses, and thank you to the Small Business Administration, our regional, state, and local offices for everything that happened for this memorable day.

Administrator Guzman looking over our local offerings from Ranching Traditions out of Whitehall, MT. She ended up purchasing a Learn to Knit kit as a grad gift for her niece.

We had guests from our local Big Sky Economic Development, the Montana & Colorado SBA offices, and a Secret Service guy.

The local TV stations were on hand for interviews and video, and the SBA office had their own crew.


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  • Congratulations!! What a proud moment for you. I love your store. The award is well deserved.

    Sue Robinson on
  • Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition. You treat your customers like they are very special. I was pleased to hear of your reward!
    Linda W from Bozeman

    Linda Wyckoff on

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