UPDATE 7/14: Town & Country Foods President Travis Frandsen said in an email that the store is hoping to open in early August, due to equipment delays.

The former Lucky's Market building has been sitting empty since the store somewhat abruptly pulled out of the Billings market in early 2020. We wrote at the time the Kroger Company brand was also closing its Missoula location, as they shuttered 32 of their 39 stores in 10 states. I didn't shop at Lucky's very often, but I did enjoy their deli and buffet-style salad bar and lunch offerings. Their pizza-by-the-slice was one of my favorites and a great value. Now, a new grocery store is preparing to open in the same location.

Photo: Michael Foth - Townsquare Media

Bozeman-based Town & Country Foods is slated to open at the end of July.

Growing up in the Gallatin Valley, my mom was (and still is) a frequent shopper of Town & Country Foods location on North 19th in Bozeman. They offer a warehouse-style grocery store experience, with stocking and display methods similar to a Winco, Sam's Club, or Costco. You bag your stuff yourself.

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Photo: Michael Foth - Townsquare Media

The store is 100% Montana and 100% Employee Owned

The first Town & Country Foods was opened in Livingston in 1966 by a Montana gentleman named Andy Perlinksi. It was followed by a Bozeman location in 1970. The company is now 100% employee-owned and has locations in Bozeman, Livingston, Lewistown, Dillon, and Belgrade. The Billings location is hiring for nearly all positions, with starting pay ranging from $14 to $18/hr for many job descriptions. The employee I ran into at the under-construction store today (7/12) told me he transferred from the Livingston store to help open the new location.

Photo: Michael Foth - Townsquare Media

Grocery competition is good for Billings.

Don't get me wrong, I like Albertsons. But I also shop at IGA, Costco, Winco, and Walmart. As food prices continue to climb, Town & Country Foods will bring another great grocery option to Billings. With Gainan's on one side of the building and Red Robin towards the other end, their new location in West Park Promenade will be great for Grand Avenue.

KEEP READING: 13 Businesses That Should Open a Location in Billings

It's not news anymore that Billings is a great place to start a business. Just look at the new businesses that have popped up in the last two years, and businesses are continuing to start or expand here. Even though just about any business would be great to have in our community, there are a few that we think Billings could use.

2021 Yellowstone Valley Kennel Club Dog Show