The lone Billings Costco store on King Ave W first opened it's doors in 1991 (source Billings Gazette). That was 30 years ago and back then the population of Billings was right around 81,000 people, according to US Census data compiled by If you know anything about Billings now, it won't surprise you that current population data estimates show Montana's largest city has grown to nearly 110,000 people according to World Population Review, a growth rate of around 19%.

Those population numbers don't really reflect the substantial growth of the outlying communities. Any direction you travel from Billings city limits will reveal population increases over the last three decades. The border between Laurel and Billings continues to blur, as subdivisions replace farmland. The same can be said to the east, as the Shepherd/Huntley areas see more and more homes too.

Anyone who shops at our solitary Costco knows how incredibly busy it is. It's the only retailer in Billings I've seen that consistently has people waiting in the parking lot for the doors to open in the morning. Not just at Christmas. It's like that everyday. It boggles my mind. Can you imagine owning a business where people are waiting at your door anytime you are open? Crazy, right?

Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

On a recent visit to grab a few quick things for my Super Bowl party, the place was insanely packed, as usual. I'll give props to the employees who do a fantastic job of quickly moving the overloaded carts through the checkout lines. The newly added self-checkout lines are a nice bonus too, if you're hoping to grab just a few quick things.

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It's due time for Billings to get a second Costco and the obvious choice would be somewhere in the Heights. After all, if the Heights were its own town, it would be the second-largest town in the state. More growth in the Heights is inevitable, especially with the new bypass finally becoming a reality. Yellowstone County is ready for a second Costco and it should go in the Heights.

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