More big changes are coming to West Park Plaza – not the least of which is a new grocer to the Billings market.
Besides building a 98-unit apartment complex in the northwest corner of the parking lot, Lucky's Farmers Market, a full service grocery and bakery, is part of future plans for West Park Plaza, according to Bob McDonald, owner of West Park Shopping Center, LLC.
Lucky's Farmers Market, a Boulder-based grocery store chain, has committed to a 26,000 square-foot store in the center of the west unit of West Park Plaza, between Hastings and Apricot Lane.
"The Bakken has definitely been a huge help and a huge source of revenue to us."
For many Montanans the Bakken boom has provided a plethora of opportunities. For the Gearhart family of Whitefish, the growth in the oil patch has meant growth in their family-owned business, Big Mountain Glass (BMG).
The company, owned by Chris and Kathy Gearheart, has been in Montana for 41 years and has provided commercial glazing on projects such as the Metra in Billings, the new UM Native American Studies Center in Missoula, the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, and the Whitefish Emergency Service Center, to name a few. BMG has twelve full time employees, including son and MSU graduate Scott Gearhart. Scott's the Commercial Project Manager for the company. Scott's wife is a full time nurse, and works part time at Big Mountain Glass as well. They also have a seven year old daughter.
MasterLube has announced plans to expand into Laurel, with the addition of its fifth quick lube center. The additional store will offer the same preventative automotive maintenance services as its Billings locations, including oil changes, fluid flushes, windshield chip repair and other regular maintenance services.
It will be located at 203 SE 4th Street (on the street leading to the Laurel WalMart).
The new location anticipates a soft opening in mid April and an official grand opening on May 11. May 11 will also be "Grad Day," MasterLube's annual day of fundraising for area high school's non-alcohol graduation celebrations.
Montana's international commodity exports remained steady for 2012, maintaining Montana's all-time record of $1.6 billion set in 2011. The 2012 figure is a 13% increase over the state's last record set in 2008.
Exports bring new money into the state, generating new wealth and jobs.
Zoot, a global provider of advanced loan origination, account acquisition and credit risk management solutions announced several achievements in 2012. The company launched a new solution designed to assess and monitor merchant risk, received a patent for its test file modification tool and expanded partnerships that utilize Zoot technology to drive innovation.
"We are pleased to continue a positive trajectory of growth with both existing and new clients. As we move into 2013 we're hiring for more than 20 new positions this month and anticipate additional growth throughout the year," said Dennis Dixon, president of Zoot Enterprises. "One of Zoot's core strengths is addressing industry gaps for our clients. In 2012 we developed solutions and expanded our partnerships to assist our clients with more efficient account opening, proactive risk management and increased customer satisfaction."
Downtown business owners, Steve Wahrlich, and Stella and Ziggy Ziegler, have purchased an aging apartment building and are turning it into extended stay units. The building, built over a hundred years ago, is located behind the Best Western Clock Tower Inn, 2511 1st Avenue North, fronting onto 2nd Avenue North, a block north of the new federal courthouse.
Wahrlich owns the Clocktower and the Zieglers own Stella's Kitchen and Bakery, which is located adjacent to the Clocktower on the same block. The addition is a natural extension to the existing businesses, according to Wahrlich, who as manager of 13 other extended stay units in downtown Billings, has seen a growing demand for more such units, coming from professionals and people relocating in the energy, medical and financial business sectors.
Underriner Honda has earned the President's Award for exceptional performance in 2012 from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. The award is presented to Honda's top-ranking dealerships that achieved excellence in all areas of operation – customer service and sales satisfaction, sales, training and facility. This is the sixth year that Underriner Honda has earned the award.
Swansons Mountain View Orchard and Distillery of Corvallis, was named a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winner by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This company was recognized for its dedication to the principles of free enterprise and its contributions to restoring jobs and prosperity.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103