Missoula’s gray winter may soon get an infusion of maroon. After all, the color symbolizes strength, confidence, creativity and courage – qualities desperately needed for a regional city and a state University in the midst of a pandemic.
The University of Montana and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce announced a joint partnership meant to buoy Missoula’s business community and visibly celebrate the inextricable connection between UM and local businesses.
Called Heart of a Grizzly, the campaign includes apparel, window decals, stickers and other collateral to bolster the town-and-gown relationship between Missoula’s business sector and the flagship institution.
“During good times, there is a joint commitment to see each other thrive,” said UM President Seth Bodnar. “During difficult challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic, UM and local business leaders have leaned on each other and shared their grit, determination and optimism to pull through toward better days.”
Missoula employers and businesses are encouraged to visit https://missoulaheartofagriz.itemorder.com/sale and purchase Heart of a Grizzly collateral for employees. Businesses have exclusive accesses to the affordable shirts with the Heart of a Grizzly logo through Monday, Dec. 14.
Bodnar said he is calling on the entire UM family to shop local this holiday season and “return the favor” by supporting local businesses in Missoula.
“Every time an athlete suits up or a UM student crosses the graduation podium, the Missoula community and business sector are behind us,” he said. “The pandemic has provided an opportunity for us deepen our support for one another and reinvest in community pride as we look to brighter days and a new year. In order for UM to be at its best, we need to visibly show our support for our robust and thriving community.”
Bodnar said Heart of a Grizzly speaks directly to the relationship between Missoula businesses and UM’s focus on career readiness.
“Our local economy and business sector provide our students with meaningful internships, job training, mentoring and employment,” he said. “This campaign reflects that partnership of preparing our next-generation leaders to thrive.”
Steve Clawson, chairman of the Missoula Chamber board of directors and Northwestern Energy community relations manager, said the chamber has long supported UM and its students.
“One of our top priorities this year was to deepen our connection with the University in new and creative ways,” he said. “Heart of a Grizzly is a vision to reignite visible support for each other. We encourage all businesses, even if they are not chamber members, to participate.”
Missoula businesses also are encouraged to display large window stickers that promote this partnership. A limited number of stickers will be distributed by the Missoula chamber and the Missoula Downtown Partnership and made available at the online webstore through Dec.14.
UM also plans to promote this partnership to students, families and the rest of Griz Nation.
The Missoula Chamber is hosting a social media campaign celebrating and documenting local use of the Heart of a Grizzly logo. Additionally, local banners and billboards with the Heart of a Grizzly logo are planned, which will encourage consumers to shop local.
For more information on Heart of a Grizzly, call the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce at 406-543-6623 or visit https://missoulaheartofagriz.itemorder.com/sale.
Contact: Dave Kuntz, UM director of strategic communications, 406-243-5659, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kim Latrielle, president, Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, 406-543-6632, email@example.com.