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winners’ guide voted the best of billings by Gazette Readers People • Places • Fun • Business • Shopping • Food • Drink • Entertainment

billingsgazette.com/readerschoice


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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Your ChoiCe for CoMpleTe AuToMoTive repAir

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Readers’ Choice Reveals Winners Quality, customer care not for sale By Brittany Cremer bcremer@billingsgazette.com

People, Places & Fun

The people................................. pages 6-8 The places & fun...................... pages 10-14

Business & Shopping

The businesses & shopping.......pages 15-35

Food, Drink & Entertainment

The food & drink......................pages 36-42 The entertainment....................pages 43-45

In an era earmarked by online shopping, cou-

Comstock, owner of Billings Hardware, who hap-

poning and BOGO sales, (that’s buy one, get one

pily send customers to one of their competitors

free for the lay shopper) it comes as a bit of a

if they don’t stock or can’t locate the particular

surprise that the vast majority of this year’s Read-

item they’re looking for. Service for these busi-

ers’ Choice recipients distinguish themselves from

ness owners extends beyond the bounds of their

the competition not by their blowout sales, not

storefront.

by free shipping and handling, but by something that too few businesses put a premium on these days—customer service. It’s an archaic concept to be sure, but it’s one long since lost in the realm of retail-a-palooza and

Wrong. The vast majority of Billings spoke up, and we

Sales & Marketing Director Dave Worstell Classified & Digital Sales Manager Ryan Brosseau

Special Sections Coordinator Linsay Duty

Content Editors Brittany Cremer Brenda Maas Allyn Hulteng

Section Designer Christine Cleveland Access Readers’ Choice at www.billingsgazette.com/specialsections.

As a reader, this special section is the perfect service guide to keep at the ready. Need to know where to take your second-hand

grab bag shopping. Who needs excellent customer clothing? Have a short in one of your outlets and service if omitting it translates into savings for don’t want to be taken to the cleaners on a serme, right?

Readers’ Choice is a special advertising section of The Billings Gazette.

Tried and true

vice call? Curious about who serves the best sushi in town? They’re all in there. The businesses and business owners recognized

heard them loud and clear. They said the reason

in this special section have earned the trust of

they shop, dine and spend their money across our

their customers and the respect of their peers.

fair city depends largely on how they’re treated

They are the crème de la crème of Billings busi-

while they’re there.

ness.

Billings, it seems, puts stock in quality over quantity and excellence over expedience. And the ones ahead of the curve, well, they offer both— savings and quality customer care.

A recipe for success

A community that cares Readers’ Choice is The Billings Gazette’s way of showing appreciation to all the local all-stars that elevate our fair city to new heights. From coffee to culture and chiropractors to karaoke, we ac-

Mom and Pop stores still thrive in Billings.

knowledge the job well done by some of Billings’

Take Village Inn Pizza, for example. There isn’t

best businesses.

a 30 or 40-something-year-old in Yellowstone County who hasn’t celebrated a birthday or had

Reader participation is crucial to this section, and the winners are a true reflection of your

a lunch-date there. This year, the nostalgic pizza

thoughtful dedication. We would like to extend a parlor celebrates 45 years of business and is again huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who parBillings’ best pick for delicious pizza. ticipated and congratulate to this year’s incredible Then there’s business owners like Denice Johnson, owner of Neecee’s clothing store, and TJ

batch of winners.


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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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people Accountant

Mike Wombolt A+ Accounting & Consulting 2116 Broadwater Ave. #309 It is truly an oxymoron: saving tax money. But, Mike Wombolt, owner of A+ Accounting & Consulting, makes the unlikely a reality. By eliminating the extraordinary fees of larger, national tax services, Wombolt breaks down the overhead of a larger company and passes that savings on to his clients. With nearly 10 years of accounting experience, Wombolt specializes in bookkeeping and payroll along with both personal and business tax returns. “I want to thank my clients for voting,” said Wombolt, “and promise to continue offering high-end treatment without incurring high-end fees.” That’s a vow that will make the grade.

Auto Mechanic

Vallie Automotive Center 2071 Rosebud Dr. Tim Vallie knows cars. As owner of Vallie Automotive Center since 2004, Vallie has worked on all makes and all models, foreign and domestic, for 22 years. “We’ll find the rattle in your dash, the vibration in your steering and the pulsating in your brakes,” he said. “We’ll diagnose your check-engine light problem; we are here to keep your vehicle running its best.” As a NAPA car care center, Vallie Automotive Center stands behind their work, too, with the NAPA nationwide Peace of Mind warranty. In addition, Vallie offers towing of a stalled vehicle plus performance work for better gas mileage or more power. “Don’t forget to winterize your vehicle,” Vallie said of the upcoming season, “because when the first cold spell

Thank

You... L

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L in ger ie

T

for voting for us and shopping with us!

655-9400

1400 Broadwater Ave.

6

hits, that’s when things like an aging battery show their weakness. We can help you avoid problems with simple maintenance.”

Chiropr actor

Meier Family Chiropractic 3419 Central Ave. Ste. C

has coached athletes at Billings Skyview, West and Central Catholic High Schools in addition to Castle Rock Middle School. While basketball, cross country and track are his specialties, Chase enjoys all sports and guiding teens toward achieving their goals. He wants his greatest impact to extend beyond the field or court. “I hope they learn what dedication really means,” he said. “The effort and commitment these kids put into

Drs. Kim and Jeff Meier strive to do more than provide chiropractic adjustments for their patients—they want to share their view on overall wellness. “We believe each individual should seek their true health. Families who make choices for proactive health care are teaching their children that their health is a valuable asset,” Dr. Kimberly Meier noted. Dr. Donnie Smith, a Rocky Mountain College football alumni, joined Meier Chiropractic in 2013 and has been an exceptional addition to the clinic. With all three doctors being college athletes, they strive to help people excel beyond injuries, beyond daily aches and pains, into the highest quality of life possible. We feel truly blessed to be doing what we love and feel grateful to be recognized by the community for the Readers’ Choice Award. In addition, Dr. Kim is certified in prenatal chiropractic care, which holds a special place in her heart.

Coach

Randy Chase Central High Boys Basketball

Courtesy of Tracy Moore Photoraphy

Pictured are Drs. Jeff and Kim Meier of Meier Family Chiropractic, this year’s choice for best chiropractor.

Randy Chase was surprised by the call, notifying him that he was voted best in the 2014 Readers’ Choice Coach category. “This comes from the kids, the parents and my colleagues, so it’s extra special,” he said. A 20- year veteran teacher and 18- year coach, Chase

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


their sports carry into every area of their lives—they learn how to push through their limits and reach their goals.” Just don’t ask Chase to narrow down his favorite competition. “I don’t really have a favorite—I love them all,” he said “I guess the one that’s in season.”

Insur ance Agent

Roger Daniel Roger L. Daniel Insurance Agency, Inc. 2047 Broadwater Ave.

Hair Stylist

Roger Daniel believes in commitment— to his family, his clients and his community. In addition to offering quality products with stellar service, he continues to invest in his hometown to ensure a continued quality of life here in Billings. “Family and community are at the heart Andrea Dahlquist has been a cosmetologist for only two years. Yet, this is her of everything we do,” Daniel noted. With more than 300 different products, second year as winner in the “Hair Stylist” category—that’s how much her customers including annuities, investments, insurance for home, auto, business, life and appreciate her work. disability, the agency provides solutions Dahlquist, who was trained at Blanco Blanco School of Cosmetology, rents space for their clients. For example, Daniel offers at Carizzma Salon & Day Spa. As a full-ser- a full suite of options and supplements to vice salon, Carizzma offer services in nails, Medicare insurance. Daniel also promotes being an active, hair, electrolysis and aesthetician services. positive element of his community through Dahlquist, who is trained in all salon and numerous non-profit affiliations and youth spa services, said that she specializes in programs in Yellowstone County. hair color and extensions to temporarily add length or thickness. I love helping my clients look their best—it’s what I do, she added.

Andrea Dahlquist Carizzma Salon & Day Spa 517 N. 24th St. W.

LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff

Roger Daniel of Roger L. Daniel Insurance Agency, Inc. is this year’s Readers’ Choice winner for best insurance agent.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

7


Interior Decor ator

Kibler & Kirch 101 N. Broadway, Red Lodge 104 N. Broadway Ste. 201, Billings Jeremiah Young, creative director for Kibler & Kirch, enjoys making the world a more beautiful place one living space at a time. On the cusp of its 25th year, Kibler & Kirch epitomizes quality, custom home design paired with innovation. “People need beauty and comfort, and our staff enjoys creating an environment that’s nurturing to them,” Young said. Young, who has been at his current position for four years, said a number of factors make Kibler & Kirch’s approach unique. “Our level of service and expertise is second to none,” he said. “Our professionals are perfectionists who won’t settle for anything less than world-class.” Young’s talented staff all bring something different to the table—design experience, an architect, even a librarian. “We all draw from one another,” Young said. “Between all of us we’ve amassed more than 100 years of decorating and design experience.” The best—most impactful design outcomes—occur when clients enlist the assistance and guidance of an interior decorator from the beginning of a project, Young said. “So many times we are called in to assist on a project when it’s too late,” Young said. “The outcome could have been so much better if we would have been involved from the beginning.” Looking toward the future, Young said he is pleased to open the Kibler & Kirch design studio in Billings, which will handle increased demand and shorten the drive for Billings clients who used to travel to the store in Red Lodge.

Massage Ther apist

Theresa Hopkins Divine Esthetics & Massage 511 N. 30th St. Nurturing is in Theresa Hopkin’s blood. Although she originally planned to be a nurse, Hopkins turned to massage therapy because she could help people improve how

they feel more quickly. “With massage therapy, you can see results so much faster,” she said, “plus it works so well as a preventative strategy. It’s more an active instead of reactive treatment.” Hopkins has honed her skills for the past eight years, working in conjunction with a local chiropractor for nearly three years. In her downtown location at Divine Esthetics & Massage, Hopkins sees downtown workers but notes that the central location is easily accessible to all who live in or visit Billings. She specializes in therapeutic massage including deeptissue, hot stone, restorative, Swedish, sports and maternity techniques. Hopkins’ goal is simple: for her client to leave her practice feeling vastly better than upon arrival. Voters agree that is true.

Pedicurist

Cindy Alkire jenMar Salon 1431 Country Manor Blvd.

with girls doing adventuresome things,” Moore said. Moore’s diverse portfolio includes action shots of teens wake boarding, cliff jumping, whitewater rafting, fly fishing and just about every other kind of outdoor adventure. Not one to just observe the fun, Moore takes part in the moment. That esprit de corps is reflected in her business tag line: Trouble-maker photographer for adventurous senior girls. Moore’s decision to focus on high school senior girls is rooted in church volunteer work. “I was a mentor for young women at Harvest Church. A lot of those girls were going through the same things I went through and needed someone to talk to besides their parents,” she said. That experience inspired Moore to capture their stories in photographs while continuing to be a positive influence. While Moore has her niche, she collaborates with a team of photographers who specialize in weddings, brides, families, babies and even commercial shoots. In addition to her studio, Moore feels very strongly about being a community and world advocate. This year she will once again participate in Santa Clause for a Cause, taking family photos pro bono and using funds she raises to give back to Billings community in addition help fund clean water wells in Africa—a subject very close to her heart.

Cindy Alkire has a touch with feet. As a pedicurist/ manicurist for more than 10 years, Alkire has developed a loyal following. “I’ve built very strong relationships with my clients over the years,” she said. “I still have some of my “original” customers from when I first started.” Darwin George At jenMar Salon, Alkire offers traditional pedicures with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices an option to upgrade to shellac polish for natural nails or Floberg Real Estate gel polish for acrylic nails. Both options help extend the life of the polish, often by several weeks. 1550 Poly Dr. Alkire has an innate appreciation for her customers. “I love making my clients feel pretty. If they enjoy When it comes to Montana real estate, Darwin George their time here and leave feeling pampered, better about is an agent with strong roots and strong values. Like themselves, then I’ve done my job.” many here in Billings, he was raised by hard-working parents who instilled a resilient work ethic. As a successful and well-respected real estate agent, George enjoys being able to help clients live out their Tracy Moore Photography dreams in what he calls “the best town around.” His extensive experience and knowledge allow him to help his 114 N. Broadway clients through the intricacies of different transactions. “It’s a great feeling when customers not only refer “High school girls are at the heart of my business – I you, but become repeat customers because they enjoyed just love working with them,” said Tracy Moore, owner of their service and experience,” said George. Tracy Moore Photography. Born and raised in Billings, George’s love of his homeAs a professional photographer, Moore specializes in town runs deep. He participates in various boards and taking portraits of high school seniors – and not just stanlocal charities, especially the Playhouse Parade, which dard studio shots. “Ninety-nine percent of the pictures I take are outdoors helps homeless and at-risk kids in Billings.

Real Estate Agent

Photogr apher

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places & Fun Bowling Center Sunset Bowl 1625 Central Ave.

of loyal customers and league players. “We’re a fun center,” she said. “Come and enjoy!”

Fitness Center

Strike! It’s easy to see why customers flock to Sunset Bowl to celebrate one of America’s favorite pastimes—bowling. A friendly, clean atmosphere with comfortable amenities, Sunset Bowl offers 24 full-service lanes (and bumpers for the kids) snack bar, lounge, arcade games and pinball. Sunset distinguishes itself from the competition by “paying attention to customers’ needs” said manager Jeanne Moses. Open for business since 1955, Moses said bowling is as popular as it’s ever been—partly due to the ageless quality of the lifelong hobby. “We get seniors, kids, families league players and everyone in between,” she said. League play for juniors, men and women is also offered. Moses said she’d like to thank Sunset Bowl’s following

Granite Health & Fitness 3838 Avenue B 1323 Main St. “Your life, your gym.” That is the mantra for the talented team of fitness professionals at Granite Health and Fitness. “People lead busy lives, and we pride ourselves on offering a variety of programs, classes and equipment to fit their needs,” said owner and general manager, Shara Ford. “We also stay current on all the science that backs up fitness.” This science includes certifications in proper exercise form, technique and nutrition—an approach that Ford says helps keep clients safe and sustains long-term success.

Jen Thompson, program director for Granite, said she and her staff are passionate about helping clients reach their goals. “Everyone is in a different phase on their fitness journey,” Thompson said. “It’s so rewarding to be a part of that and to help clients see results and reach their goals.” Known for their high-intensity group classes like Les Mills Body Pump, CX works, body combat and the GRIT program, Granite also features more low-impact options like yoga, Pilates and aquatics. “We’re a family gym,” Ford said, emphasizing that at Granite, there’s truly an activity for everyone. Granite also has on-site daycare for the little ones and a preschool at their West End location. Flexibility, paired with a state-of-the-art approach to health and fitness has distinguished Granite from its peers. With locations in the Billings’ Heights and West End, Granite continues to offer high-quality service and convenience to its customers. “We want to thank both our talented, dedicated staff and fantastic customers,” Ford said. “We’re here to serve you.”

Japanese steak House & susHi Bar

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BOB ZELLAR/Gazette Staff

Sunset Bowl is this year’s Readers’ Choice selection for best bowling center.

Tel: 406.652.0888 • 406.655.0888

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Thank you for Choosing State Farm Insurance Company Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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Golf Course

Hotel

Pryor Creek Golf Club 1292 Pryor Creek Rd., Huntley

Northern Hotel 19 N. Broadway

Fore! It’s one of our most humbling and habit-forming pastimes—golf. One great shot erases the nightmarish six holes before. It’s a feeling that Joe Link, owner and general manager of Pryor Creek Golf Club, knows well. “I love the challenge of golfing, the variables and the mental toughness of it all,” Link said. And while the course at Pryor Creek comes complete with its own set of challenges, it’s the course’s accessibility and scenic views that keep customers coming back, Link said. Featuring 36 holes (18 for members and 18 open to the public), Pryor Creek’s fairways are wall-to-wall grass— good news for all the slicers and shankers out there. “There’s no sifting through the grass or hitting the ball out of the weeds here,” Link said. Each hole offers a unique view and experience, another reason golfers from Billings aren’t afraid to jump on the interstate and make the short drive to Huntley to play a round. Link credits the course’s dedicated staff and reasonable prices for their continued success. “We’re a golfer’s golf course,” Link said, adding that he encourages eager newbies to come out and give them a try, too. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us,” Link said. “We hope to see you soon.”

Historical charm and luxurious comfort meld at the Northern Hotel. As the only 4-star urban hotel in Montana, the Northern features a suite of amenities that includes luxurious, plush rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary valet parking, gourmet dining at TEN, delectable breakfast and lunch options at Bernie’s Diner, and much more. After undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, the Northern Hotel is the perfect place for the traveling executive or vacationing family. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Northern’s unique character and charming ambiance invite guests to stop and stay. The hotel’s convenient downtown location features ample access to shopping, fine dining and entertainment.

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Martial Arts School Billings Chi Tu Do 1212 Grand Ave. Ste. 11

The philosophy of Billings Chi Tu Do is hidden right in its name. “It translates into ‘the Christian Martial Way,’” said owner and instructor, Dennis Forleo. Melding a technical approach to martial arts with spiritual instruction separates Billings Chi Tu Do from other martial arts schools in Billings.

“Martial arts isn’t just about punching, kicking and combat,” Forleo said, “it’s about becoming a better person and finding things out about yourself.” In business for 12 years, Billings Chi Tu Do has customers ranging in age from 5 to 76. Forleo and his staff organize members into peer groups based on age and agility. “We’ve focused on making it a family-friendly event,” he said. The style of martial arts taught at Billings Chi Tu Do is eclectic—some Taekwondo mixed with Kung Fu and Jujitsu. Forleo said he thanks his dedicated staff and loyal following of customers for their recent Readers’ Choice win. “You make us feel like family,” he said.

Place to have a wedding Billings Depot 2310 Montana Ave.

Besides its beautiful architecture and great location, there is just something very special about the Billings Depot. When guests walk inside, they immediately feel a part of the amazing history. “When our brides and grooms begin their happily ever after here, their story becomes part of our story. We love that,” said Depot Executive Director, Jennifer Mercer. With its vaulted ceiling, Roman columns and signature arched window, the grand “Passenger Station” has an elegant feel that envelops guests. The “Baggage Room” is the larger, reception-style room. This high-ceilinged space is the perfect “blank slate” that can be transformed

We Can’t tHANK YOU eNOUGH! One thing will never change: our commitment to our VALUED CUsTOmErs & our community. Come in and see why we are voted The Best... AGAIN.

Darwin George Vice President, GRI Residential Specialist

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


into something unique and special for every bride’s wedding day, as well as other community celebrations. No two weddings look alike, which is part of the charm of this space. Able to accommodate up to 300 guests, the Depot even offers brides a free in-depth wedding budget consultation, giving brides a great start in the overall planning of their special day. Call now to schedule a free bridal consultation and learn how the Billings Depot is the perfect place to create memories and “Reserve Your Space in History.”

Retirement Community

St. John’s Lutheran Ministries/Mission Ridge Corner of Rimrock and Shiloh Road The ministries of St. John’s have grown to meet the changing needs of the community. For their staff members, it has never been about buildings or a beautiful campus, but always about the people and those they serve. Continued commitment, compassion and innovation have inspired St. John’s mission of providing living opportunities within nurturing environments of hope, JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff dignity and love. Red Lodge Mountain is the winner of best ski mountain/resort, In 1998 Mission Ridge, a joint partnership between St. Vincent Healthcare and St. John’s, was welcomed into the a new Readers’ Choice category. family of ministries as the first Continuing Care Retirement Community in Montana. Now, 16 years later, St. John’s and Mission Ridge serve more than 600 residents between the communities of Billings, Laurel and Red Lodge, and re-configuration of the main lower lodge Lodge. cafeteria to enhance food delivery. The main attraction, however, is the mountain itself. With seven lifts and 72 runs, there’s no shortage of snow-covered terrain for skiers young and old. Red Lodge Mountain Boarders can ride the many runs or experience the thrill and challenge of two different terrain parks. 305 Ski Run Road, Red Lodge For those new to the sport, the mountain offers a great Learn to Ski package which includes a lift ticket, Following a long tradition, Red Lodge Mountain will equipment rental and a lesson. open the Friday after Thanksgiving – which is Nov. 28. “We get you on the mountain and turn you into a Winner of the 2014 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Ski skier,” said Carroll. Mountain/Resort, Red Lodge Mountain offers an excepAprès skiing, guests can relax and warm up in the tional experience for every level of mountain enthusiast. Bierstube, always a crowd favorite. Jeff Carroll, director of marketing, says guests can “Red Lodge Mountain is a great place to ski, and very expect to see some improvements on the mountain. family-friendly,” noted Carroll. “Over the summer, we worked hard on a tree-thinning “We look forward to seeing regular guests, and invite project to remove dead fall and open tree islands to proanyone interested in trying skiing or boarding for the first vide more skiable terrain,” Carroll said. time to make the short drive to the mountain and experiOther improvements include a remodel of the Midway ence the fun.”

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restaurant and grocery store food. “We teach the ladies not only how to lose weight, but how to maintain it,” she said. Kramer said she suspects that they’ve had so much success with their approach because the environment at BalanceDiet is incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. Additionally, clients will be pleased to know they won’t have to travel to two separate venues for workouts and nutrition consultations. “It’s here, all under one roof,” Kramer said, adding that the businesses’ newest location at Shiloh Crossing has been buzzing with activity. “I have met the most amazing women and feel honored to have been a part of their fitness journey,” Kramer said. “Their strength empowers me, and I couldn’t have done any of this without them and the support of my talented and dedicated staff.”

Melissa Vuletich, owner and operator of Sumits Hot Yoga, practices what she preaches—literally. She started practicing yoga while attending college in Arizona and wanted to share her passion with clients in Montana. As owner of Sumits Hot Yoga in Billings, Vuletich shares that good feeling with 27 classes each week. But it’s yoga with a twist: the room is typically a moist 100 degrees—a sauna-type environment that enhances the detoxifying aspect of yoga while allowing the muscles to stretch deeper into a pose. Skilled instructors and an encouraging and welcoming environment make Summits the perfect place to expand your yoga practice.

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Business & shopping Air/Heating Contr actor Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning 9934 Interstate 90 Frontage Rd.

Heating is an exclusive Mitsubishi Diamond dealer, offering the very best in ductless heating and cooling systems. These non-traditional systems are popular due to their efficiency and versatility, capable of heating or cooling just one room or an entire house. In terms of accessories, Comfort Heating uses their extensive training to offer customers humidifiers, electronic air cleaners and thermostats (including wireless thermostats that allow for Internet connectivity.) You can control the temperature in your home from anywhere in the world. But no matter the products they sell or how well they repair and maintain equipment, the number-one priority is their customers. “Customers make a business,” notes Jeff Scherr, “Without them, being in business is pointless.”

grew up helping her grandparents run a general store for 60 years. “The value of everyday items just got in my blood,” she says. Although the mall has been open since 2005, it has expanded seven times and now features 65 dealer spaces and more than 100 consigners along with a new coffee kiosk. “Our inventory changes every single day,”Hunsaker notes. “We do everything from the turn-of-the-century to the 1960s and tons of collectables.” Hunsaker also has an expansive selection of furniture, household furnishings, glassware, pottery, home décor, jewelry, baseball cards, cowboy paraphernalia, advertising signage and the list goes on. “If someone collects something, we have it,” she said.

Antique Store

Appliance Store

Thank You Billings For VoTing us #1!

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Customer service, great employees and the best products have resulted in Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning’s sixth consecutive Readers’ Choice award. This second-generation, family-owned business is in its 31st year serving Billings and the surrounding areas. “We treat our customers like family,” said owners Jeff and Tony Scherr, who also believe that their greatest asset is their employees. “We truly have the best crew. From the installers, service technicians and office staff to the managers. Without these great people and their skills, our customers would not get the level of service that we provide.” Yesteryears Antique Mall Lowe’s Their service includes installation of complete heating and cooling systems, repair and maintenance of existing 102 N. 29th St. 2717 King Ave W. systems and also replacement of older, inefficient units to higher efficiency products. They offer Rheem and ArmColleen Hunsaker knows all about antiques and colPerhaps more known for their hammer-and-nail hardstrong heating and cooling products. In addition, Comfort lectables. The owner/operator of Yesteryears Antique Mall ware, Lowe’s also carries a wide range of energy-efficient

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and top-of-the-line home appliances. More importantly, they staff their store with trained professionals who are at-the-ready to trouble-shoot or answer any questions you might have about your new purchase. From ovens to dishwashers and refrigerators to dryers, Lowe’s is stocked and ready to help you make your next home-related purchase.

Auto Parts Store NAPA Auto Parts 5320 Southgate Dr. 1105 1st Ave. N.

Their know-how is legendary. National Automotive Parts Association—better known to most of us as simply NAPA—shines at customer service. NAPA’s skilled technicians have helped millions get back on the road quickly and safely. For NAPA District Manager Dan Clevidence, there is no greater joy. “We take pride in providing a friendly staff and inviting store,” Clevidence said. “We thank all of our loyal customers who’ve come in through the years and allowed us to lend a hand.” Since 1925, NAPA has been offering exceptional product knowledge and customer service. Clevidence said he and his team strive to continue that legacy moving into the future. “Auto technology has changed so much in the past 20 years,” he said. “We make sure our technicians and staff are up to speed on the latest innovations in the auto industry.”

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In addition to assisting individual customers, Clevidence said he enjoys working hand-in-hand with several local small business owners and expressed immense gratitude in their partnership. “Thank you for believing in us and for allowing us to help you make your business grow,” he said. Clevidence said none of this would be possible without the help, support and expertise of his talented staff. “They make it all possible, and I can’t thank them enough.”

“We put our customers first and work around their needs and schedules,” he said. Tryan credits his talented and experienced staff with much of the businesses’ success. “Most employees here have been here 10-plus years,” he said, adding that Brown’s employs 43 workers in Billings. “Our staff is incredible—talented and professional with a wealth of experience,” Tryan said. “None of this would be possible without them.”

Automotive Service

Billiards Store

Brown’s Auto Service 1144 Broadwater Ave. 1313 1st Ave. N 624 S. 20th St. W.

Since 1956, the staff at Brown’s Auto Service has been delivering on their promise to provide exemplary customer service at a fair price. As a locally-owned, family-operated business, Brown’s continues to raise the bar and expand their suite of services. From tires and transmissions to gears and gaskets, Brown’s has you covered. “The only service we don’t provide is body work,” said owner Gordon Tryan. The company’s emphasis on quality and care starts the moment you drop your keys off. Brown’s customer courtesy van is an extension of that concept. The van will drop you off at work while your vehicle is being worked on and pick you up when it’s done.

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The Rec Room 945 Grand Ave.

Mike Guzman has been playing pool as long as he can remember. Transferring his extensive knowledge and love of the sport to a business seemed only natural. He sells, in essence, family fun. Adding a dart board or pool table to a home provides a great venue for recreational family time at home. For more than 20 years, the Rec Room has provided quality billiards tables, equipment and accessories to Billings-area customers along with table tennis, foosball tables and both soft- and steel-tipped darts and boards. In addition, they carry NFL, MLB, NBA and collegiate merchandise for every sports fan and offer maintenance and table recovering services.

Boat Dealer

Montana Honda & Marine 2124 Goodman Rd. After more than 50 years in the business, the Winchell family knows boats. Founded by Ralph Winchell in 1960, Montana Honda and Marine stands out because of its vast inventory and selection of watercraft. Current owner James Winchell is proud to offer premiere boats at competitive prices including Crestliner, Glastron, Four Winns, Chaparral and Centurion boats. In terms of service, customers are guaranteed quality. They have four Honda factory-trained and certified

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technicians along with three full-time boat technicians to meet their clients’ needs. Winchell credits his loyal customers and talented, trained staff for the businesses’ success.

Bottled/Specialty Water American Water Technologies 134 Regal St.

Crisp. Cool. Refreshing. American Water Technologies is in the business of making these words a tangible reality. Specializing in home and office delivery of bottled water in addition to other water treatment options, American Water Technologies has been a Billings staple since 1961. “Our main goal is to give customers options when it comes to water treatment solutions,” said Chad Hilario, office manager at American Water Technologies. “All it takes is a consultation to figure out the best water system to fit your needs.” American Water Technologies bottles around 1,000 five-gallon bottles per day at their Regal Street location, but they handle more than just bottling. American provides water for local dialysis equipment and offers brine reclamation systems for both residential and commercial water softening systems, among many other services within a 60-mile radius of Billings. The team at American Water can assist with installing whole-home filtration systems, reverse osmosis systems and water softeners. Some systems can even be rented at affordable rates. Hilario credits the dedicated team and loyal customer base for the business’ success. “We want to extend a big thanks to our customers for nominating us. We greatly appreciate your support.”

Car Dealer – New

Bob Smith Motors 2244 Central Ave. Bob Smith Ford 416 North Center Ave., Hardin Bob Smith Motors has a proud legacy of automotive sales and service spanning three generations. Started in 1972 when Bob Smith acquired the Lincoln

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Mercury franchise, this family-owned dealership grew and gained a reputation for providing an excellent customer experience in sales and service over the next 42 years. Today, Bob Smith Motors owns the Lincoln, Mitsubishi and Mazda franchises at the Central Avenue store, and the Ford franchise at the Bob Smith store in Hardin. Robbie Smith, Bob Smith’s grandson and general manager of Bob Smith Motors, is thrilled that the dealership has won the 2014 Readers’ Choice Award for New Car Dealer. “We appreciate the people who voted for Bob Smith Motors, and we promise to continue to earn your trust and deliver the highest standard of customer care,” Smith said. Smith invites everyone in to take a look at the new fall lineup of vehicles. “The Lincoln brand has undergone some exciting changes,” Smith said. He points to the new 2015 Lincoln MKC – a mid-sized crossover utility vehicle – as a great example of the new design. Scott noted that Mitsubishi is also coming out with some terrific new models, and the new Mazda CX5 offers phenomenal gas mileage without sacrificing the ‘zoomzoom’ quality Mazda owners expect. Service after the sale is also very important. “We’ve earned President’s Awards for high customer service satisfaction, and we’re close to achieving that again this year,” Smith said. For those who are new to Bob Smith Motors, Smith invites you to stop in and enjoy a beverage and some popcorn while browsing the showroom. “We would love to meet you and show you the Bob Smith difference,” Smith said.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

Hertz Used Car Sales 2851 King Ave. W.

It’s not a coincidence. It’s a testament to how much Hertz Car Sales cares about its customers. Winning a Billings Gazette Readers’ Choice Award 10 years in a row evidences the company’s commitment to integrity and superior customer service. “It’s simple, really,” said general manager Keith McNally. “We are honest and take care of people, operating by the Golden Rule.” Driven by three core principles—honesty, integrity and trust—Hertz is known for its low-stress, no-pressure sales approach. Hertz urges customers to make the right pick and not a hasty one. Friendly and trained staff is atthe-ready to answer any questions you might have, and customers can always expect a fair deal. Hertz carries a variety of vehicle makes, models and types but can also pull inventory from five different stores. McNally opened the Billings store in 2003 and since then has experienced very little staff turnover—in fact, he often buys lunch for his employees and points out what they are doing right. In addition, he attempts to meet each and every customer at some point during the sales process. Those simple details create a dignified, trusting relationship that works.

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Carpet Cleaner Brice’s Masterclean 3287 Banff Ave.

When it comes to stains and spills, Brice Cady has seen it all. As owner of Brice’s Masterclean, Cady has been cleaning carpets and mitigating flooring flood damage for 10 years. And although his Readers’ Choice win is for carpet cleaning, Cady’s suite of services extends to cleaning fabric, leather, upholstery tile and grout. “I enjoy helping my customers keep a clean house and offer free on-site estimates,” Cady said. Cady has owned Brice’s Masterclean for 10 years but has 22 years of experience under his belt in the floor cleaning industry. During that time, he’s noticed an evolution in the types of cleaning agents. “Everything we use is safe and biodegradable,” Cady said. “Today’s carpets stay cleaner much longer.” Depending on wear and material type, Cady recommends having your carpets cleaned every 6 months to two years. To his loyal customers who’ve supported him through the years, Cady would like to extend his heartfelt thanks. “Thank you to all of our great customers and talented, dedicated staff,” Cady said. “None of this success would be possible without your support.”

Caterer

Beyond Basil Catering 733 Lake Elmo Dr.

Thank ank

Experimentation is a good thing—especially in Marcie Tartarka’s world. As owner/operator of Beyond Basil, she loves the diversity of her work and brings her funky flair and passion for exploring cultures to her clients through fabulous food. Tartarka and her staff bring that mindset to each catering assignment and work closely with their client to have the food complement their event and budget. She also credits her outstanding staff with the success of her catering business.

Children’s Consignment Store Precious Seconds and Moms 2-B 1005 24th St. W. #5

It’s a fact of life. Plus, it’s also the motto of the 2014 winner of the Readers’ Choice children’s consignment store: Kids grow… their clothes don’t. That is the motto owner Dawn Ness came up with when she opened Moms 2-B then Precious Seconds 22 years ago. “It’s smart to shop consignment stores, especially for growing children,” Ness said. “Our customers love bringing in their barely-used, outgrown items and trading up.” Moms 2-B and Precious Seconds give KIDS KASH, or in-store credit for quality outgrown maternity clothes, children’s fashions, baby equipment and more. New at the store are monthly drawings for $20, $50 and $100 in KIDS KASH. Ness would like to take this opportunity to thank her loyal following of customers and their families.

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Children’s Photo Studio Jana Graham Photography 2301 Montana Ave. #201

Emotion is elusive. But photographer Jana Graham artfully captures it between smiles, snaps and clicks of her camera. “My favorite part of what I do is forming meaningful, personal connections with my clients,” Graham said. “It’s so fulfilling and rewarding to know that they allowed themselves to feel vulnerable in front of the camera—that they shared how they truly are as they interact with their loved ones. That is magical.” Graham, who has been in business in Billings for nine years, offers a “boutique photographic experience” in that she customizes each session to the preferences and personality of each client. Graham’s kind and tender touch makes her a perfect choice for newborn and children’s portraits, but she also specializes in commercial photography, graduation portraits, special occasion and wedding pictures. “Ultimately, my goal is to help them create a lasting piece of inspirational art that they can put up in their homes and feel good about every time they see it,” she said. “I want my photos to have that forever-quality.” Seeing the looks on her clients’ faces after a big reveal from a photo session is Jana’s favorite part. “I love seeing their faces light up, especially mothers

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“It’s our customers who have given us longevity in the community,” she said. “We thank you and look forward to watching another generation grow at Moms 2-B and Precious Seconds.”

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looking at photos of their children,” Graham said. “It warms my heart and makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself.” Graham thanks her loyal customers— many of them repeat clients who’ve been photographed in various phases of their lives—for her Readers’ Choice win. “Thank you so much—I feel blessed to have worked with every one of you,” she said.

Clothing Boutique Apricot Lane Boutique 1603 Grand Ave. Ste. 100

In era of big box stores and bargain bin shopping, one thing gets lost in the experience—a personalized touch and customer care. “At Apricot Lane, it’s less about the clothes and more about the shopping experience,” said owner Michelle Dowler. “We personally get to know each of our customers and style them so they leave feeling even better about themselves.” Dowler credits her talented, personable staff with the boutique’s continued success. “I have a great core group of people working here,” Dowler said. “We’re less like a staff and more like a big family.” Several of the same employees have been at Apricot Lane since its opening four years ago, and the team strives to accentuate the best features of each customer. “Our favorite feedback from customers is when we hear ‘I would have never tried that on by myself, but I love it,’” Dowler said. Dispelling the notion that only women in their 20s or 30s can shop at Apricot Lane, Dowler said she carries inventory for all ages, sizes and budgets. “We carry shirts that are $19 to dresses that are $250,” she said. “We’ve definitely got something for everyone.” Looking into fall and winter, Dowler anticipates that jewel tones, Aztec prints and leggings paired with tall boots to continue trending.

Clothing Store— Men’s Jasons Clothing for Men 2564 King Ave. W.

Since 1936, four generations of the Alweis family has been making Billings gents just a little more dapper by providing personally selected and high-quality merchandise. Owner Sheldon Alweis enjoys working one-on-one with clients.  

“We present them options and style to achieve personalized looks, emphasizing fit and feel,”Alweis said. Offering a wide range of inventory— suits, sport coats, blazers, slacks, sweaters, soft knits, denims, shoes and more— Alweis encourages newcomers to come by Jasons to discover the newest items. Alweis said that his favorite part about owning a clothing store is “helping a customer find the perfect outfit and seeing them smile as they leave Jasons.” Knowing they will enjoy wearing their newly-purchased items is the icing on the cake.

Clothing Store— Women’s Neecee’s 2821 2nd Ave. N.

The clothing store responsible for making the term “outfitting” a verb is now twice as good with two locations. Neecee’s flagship store is located in downtown Billings and their new location, opening in mid-November, is nestled in the Shops at Shiloh Crossing on Billings’ West End. Neecee’s owner, Denice Johnson, and her staff absolutely love helping customers discover their perfect look. Neecee’s will always have you covered with great apparel from Spain to terrific footwear from England. They work hard to find the global trends you will love without having to leave Billings. Neecee’s has become known for their unique jewelry and are devoting extra space at the Shiloh location to have more variety for your enjoyment. They continue to carry fun extras like handbags, socks, scarves and more. Be sure to check out their new gift and home décor items as well as Neecee’s custom body care line. Delightful fragrances infused into amazing shea butter lotions and sugar scrubs. Neecee’s employees know there’s a multitude of choices when it comes to women’s fashion. And if Neecee’s doesn’t carry what you’re looking for, they’ll help you find it elsewhere. “It’s about the needs of the shopper,” Johnson said. “I want to help them and if it means sending them to a competitor, I’m glad to do it.” Johnson and her team work to create an unforgettable shopping experience and want their customers to leave feeling better than when they arrived. More than anything, she and her staff strive to ensure that every visit to Neecee’s is an enjoyable one, whether you leave with one of their shopping bags or not. Johnson credits her kind, passionate staff and trendsetting mindset to the store’s continued success.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff

Denice Johnson is shown at Neecee’s, this year’s Readers’ Choice winner for best women’s clothing store. Neecee’s will open a second location at Shiloh Crossing in November 2014.

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said owner Tana Schieno, “it’s been very rewarding seeing the business grow.� Offering nearly-new and gently-used children’s clothing Rimrock Computer Company (2T and up), juniors fashion, women’s and women’s-plus 2320 Zoo Dr. styles, you’ll be sure to find just the piece you were looking for. Schieno does take donations and clothes on consignment, as long as they are seasonal, in style and in A dropped tablet or crashed hard drive may bring you great shape. to the storefront at Rimrock Computer Company, winner Schieno says she has a loyal following of regular of the Readers’ Choice for “Best Computer Repair Shop� customers, but is always excited to see new faces walk for four years in a row. through the door. “There’s a lot of really good technology firms in the “I suspect that people are just now hearing about our area, and when you add in the ‘Box Stores,’ it’s an incrednew, expanded location, and that has helped drive foot ible honor to be singled out four years in a row as a Readers’ Choice winner,� said Aaron Dantic, who with his traffic,� she said. Shieno wants to extend heartfelt thanks to her emwife, Lindsey, operate the 16- year-old business. ployees and staff. Located just south of the Zoo Exit, Rimrock Computer “I appreciate and thank you both,� she said. Company specializes in all device service and sales, from computers to tablets, data recovery, networking and more. Working in a quickly-evolving technical world, the Rimrock team is constantly handling new and unique Holiday Stationstores requests. Various locations “One day we’re making your iTunes stream through your television, the next we are configuring 20 computers to share data and printers,� Dantic said.  “And in With their clean, friendly atmosphere and convenient between, you’ll find us removing malware, the source of grab-and-go setup, Holiday Stationstores have been a those pesky ‘popups,’ from a laptop or installing a new local and regional favorite for years. Competitive gas family computer.� prices, promotions and an expansive selection of beverDantic says the key to Rimrock’s success has been ages and snacks make it the one-stop-shop for all area excellent customer service, fair pricing and having a staff travelers. of fun, professional technicians. “When you call, you’ll get a live voice. When you visit, it’s a warm welcome. We’ll stay open late or make a weekend appointment if necessary to ensure that our Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters customers get the best service at an affordable price,� “One of the Nation’s Dantic said.  As a family-run shop, Dantic and his wife Lindsey want Leading Western Stores� to let their customers know how much they appreciate them and their continued business. In 2019, we will celebrate 100 years in business. Occasionally we reflect on the past with romantic nostalgia. We consider it a privilege to have served, as we near the century mark. In 1919, Grandfather C.W. Taubert began the legacy that continues today. Near Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, C.W. Clothes Minded began Taubert’s Hardware and Ranch Supply, selling 1343 Central Ave. saddles, well supplies, hay machinery as well as darning needles, fine apparel and hand-powered washing machines to homesteaders. Ranching along the Ft. Laramie Style and savings collide at 1343 Central Ave. area, he started our family western heritage that exists Open for four years, Clothes Minded—one of Billings’ today. newest consignment clothing shops—is now celebrating His son Louis was born, served in WWII and in 1947, its new location on Central Avenue. opened the Casper Wyoming store under the new name “It offers so much more space than our old location,�

Computer Repair Shop

Convenience Store

Cowboy/Cowgirl Boots

Consignment Clothing Store

Our sincerest THANK YOU to those who voted for us in the 2014 Reader’s Choice.

Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters. Lou exemplified the western lifestyle that measured integrity and sturdiness above all other virtues. He dedicated his life to honoring the spirit of the American West. Tradition defined as a longstanding commitment to service, quality merchandise and a concern for customers’ needs. The third generation of the Taubert family expanded to Billings in 1979. Thank you for making Lou Taubert “One of the nation’s leading western stores.� May your shopping be enjoyable and a pleasure. For three generations we have taken special care in buying merchandise for brands you know and trust. We have designed the store to be a place where you can shop and relax in a spacious, casual, uncrowded atmosphere. It has been a privilege to have served you. Best Western Regards, Anita Taubert and the Taubert family In Wyoming since 1919 In Montana since 1979 Established Ft. Laramie, Wyoming

Cr aft Store

Hobby Lobby 2425 Central Ave. With more than 65,000 items replenished each week, it’s easy to see why Hobby Lobby attracts so many crafters and hobbyists. Featuring expansive sewing, painting, floral and paper crafting sections, Hobby Lobby strives to keep its inventory fresh for shoppers. With the holidays approaching, Hobby Lobby also carries a wide range of cheerful seasonal dÊcor and everything you need to deck the halls—and customers can always expect competitive, discounted prices. Thinking of tackling a giant craft project you saw on Pinterest? No problem. The friendly and helpful staff at Hobby Lobby is always willing to lend a hand or share input on your next project.

Custom Fr aming Store The Frame Hut & Gallery 1430 Grand Ave.

Offering a variety of home dĂŠcor, accessories, furniture, lamps, pillows, furnishings and of course, frames, Frame Hut & Gallery is your one-stop-shop for your home and office walls.

   

100 24th Street West www.onesourcelighting.com 406.655.7949

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Store manager Helen Tolliver is proud to offer custom framing, artwork and a suite of other home décor options to her customers. “Our mantra is ‘bring it, frame it, love it,’” she said. “We love bringing people smiles and having a hand in helping customers showcase something they treasure.” It is Frame Hut’s customer-centric approach to sales that have allowed them to stand the test of time, Tolliver said, adding that owner Curt Wheeler invests in his employees by sending them to design training forums. Current framing trends are gravitating toward an urban-ranch feel, Tolliver said, adding that customers are leaning toward warm and textural tones that are cozy and inviting. More than anything, Tolliver and the staff at Frame Hut wants to extend their thanks and gratitude toward their customers. “Thank you for trusting us, for choosing us,” Tolliver said. “We’re here to serve you.”

Day Spa Service

Sanctuary Spa & Salon 1504 24th St. W. Taking care of guests is their pleasure. And they have been shouldering your stress and rejuvenating your wellbeing since 1998. Offering a wide range of customized hair and spa services, Sanctuary Spa & Salon uses Aveda products to create the results and experiences their guests desire. Seeing a growing demand for more men’s services, Sanctuary will be adding men’s shaving, barbering and mini-facials during the shampoo ritual.

LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff

Anita Taubert is pictured at Lou Taubert, this year’s recipient for best cowboy/cowgirl boots—a new Readers’ Choice category.

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Sanctuary owner Kris Carpenter says the spa has seen continued success because it’s more than a spa—it’s “an experience center.” New to the menu this winter will be “Create your Experience” treatments. Guests book the amount of time they would like to be in the spa and the therapists design a custom experience for them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all world & neither are spa guests. Through a customized consultation, the guest and therapist will design the experience that will deliver the results the guest is looking for that day. All “Create Your Experience” visits will include take home Aveda products for the guest.   In December, Sanctuary will once again be offering year-long spa memberships—a spa club that offers the members one service (a massage or facial) per month all year long at discounted rates. “It’s just one simple way that people can look inward, relax and take time for themselves,” she said. “Our caring and dedicated staff loves being a part of that.”

Dental Pr actice Brewer Dental Center 2900 Central Ave. 710 Main St.

thank you

The team at Brewer Dental Center is welcoming, passionate about patient care and utilizes the most advanced, cutting-edge technology to ensure effective treatment. Offering three locations allows them to provide the Billings community with a Pediatric Specialist, Orthodontic Specialist and a team of skilled General Dentists to ensure all dental-related needs, from age 0+, are met under one roof. Brewer Dental Center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and always stands by their slogan, “Call Us Today, We’ll See You Today, GUARANTEED!” Brewer Dental Center is always accepting new patients and looks forward to welcoming you to their brand new state-of-the-art Orthodontic & Pediatric Center. Stop in to one of their three locations today at Brewer Dental Center West - 2900 Central Avenue (Building 1 & 2) or Brewer Dental Center Heights - 710 Main Street. To answer any questions or concerns or to schedule a new patient appointment, please contact their friendly team at (406) 656-6100.

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Dry Cleaners

Department Store

Valet Today Cleaners 1516 Main St. 741 S 24th St. W. 2802 Grand Ave.

Target 2601 Central Ave. 403 Main St.

Thirty-two years ago, a department store with a giant red bulls-eye was built on Billings’ West End. A few years later in 2000, a sister store was built in Billings’ Heights to serve even more customers. Today, store manager Dan Masin is proud to continue Target’s promise to “expect more and pay less.” And while the store continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of its customers, several of the store’s core principles have remained the same. “We are committed to greeting every customer and try to be proactive about helping customers locate what they’re looking for,” Masin said. The past few years have ushered in much technological change for Target, from their new Cartwheel app to Target mobile shopping. “Being accessible and enhancing the shopping experience is what this technology is all about,” Masin said. Extras like a food court, pharmacy and Starbucks coffee add to the overall experience Masin added, who is exited for holiday and Black Friday deals just around the corner. “Expect to see great deals—especially with toys—as early as November,” Masin said. “Be sure to check out Sunday’s ads for details.”

Drugstore

Juro’s Pharmacy, Health & Wellness 2043 Grand Ave. As a locally-owned business for more than 55 years, Juro’s Pharmacy, Health & Wellness has extensive experience in pharmaceutical, respiratory, mobility, rehabilitation and home medical supplies. They specialize in compounding pharmaceuticals when a patient needs a customized medication and offer home delivery in addition to 24-hour customer service to respiratory patients. The highly-trained, personalized staff at Juro’s knows the first and last name of most patients and is eager to help both patients and their caregivers. In short, they care—and it shows. In addition, they offer a full line of pharmacy-grade vitamins and supplements to complement their extensive knowledge and home medical supply products.

Valet Today Cleaners has been providing quality dry cleaning services to Billings- area residents for more than 50 years. Committed to providing customers with the highest standard of service and quality and protecting the environment, Valet Today actually changed their name from One Hour Valet to Valet Today because the environmentally-sensitive cleaning product they use are milder, and take a little longer than one hour to clean. Still, customers can depend on same-day service. Valet Today Cleaners not only cleans clothes, they also clean comforters, blankets, sleeping bags and more.

Electrical Contr actor Action Electric 1010 Central Ave.

In business since 1985, Action Electric specializes in keeping your home running safely. Whether it’s checking your wiring, fixing switches, installing smoke detectors or new data ports and phone lines, Action Electric has you covered. Part owner and operations manager Greg Moos said that the company’s emphasis on professionalism and precision is responsible for much of their success. “We have a dedicated and talented crew—most of which have been with us for quite a long time,” Moos said. As the company evolved, technicians began to increase their suite of services. “We don’t just fix bad wiring anymore,” Moos said, “our work is pretty comprehensive.” With a staff of 30 employees and a sister company in Powell, Wyo., Action Electric divvies up its time between commercial and residential projects. “We want to show our appreciation for our loyal clients,” Moos said. “We work hard to earn your trust and keep you safe.”

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honored tradition. For 65 years, Shipton’s Big R has provided these hardworking folks with quality products at everyday low prices Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store and unparalleled customer service. 2833 King Ave. W. “Montanans are genuine people, and a large part of their legacy is working the land and raising livestock,” said Jay Carroll, co-owner of Shipton’s Big R. “Ranchers They are project headquarters for all kinds of crafty and farmers and those who live the rural and western sorts. lifestyle are at the heart of what we do.” Offering an expansive selection of fabrics and sewThis commitment was at the core of the decision ing accessories, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft has evolved to to build a brand new Shipton’s Big R store in Billings include a variety of seasonal decorations, quilting accessories, jewelry, art supplies, cake decorating tools, florals Heights. “We’re very excited to be building our fourth store in and more. the Heights,” Carroll said. “This store will also feature the Jo-Ann employees love consulting with customers and seeing their projects reach fruition. With a wealth of same top-quality brands along with the excellent customer service people have come to expect,” Carroll said. experience, Jo-Ann staff members pride themselves on Currently under construction at 1908 Main Street, the providing exceptional customer service. And with Hallownew store’s location will have access to both Main Street een right around the corner, Jo-Ann Fabric is the perfect and Lake Elmo Drive. That access, plus the fact that place to brainstorm your ghoulish costume ideas. the store is a couple of blocks removed from the busy intersection of Wicks and Main, makes it convenient and easy. Big trucks with trailers will also find it easy to get in and get out. Shipton’s Big R Inside, the store will have wide aisles. It will be attracIn Montana: tive with bright lighting and is designed for easy customer navigation. And of course it will be “loaded” with the 216 N. 14th St., Billings products you expect from Shipton’s Big R  - merchan2600 Gabel Rd., Billings dised on state-of-the-art fixtures or eye catching displays. 1908 Main St., Billings (April 2015) “And just like the other three stores, we will have highly-trained staff members who provide friendly, inIn Wyoming: depth product information and technical assistance,” 2049 Sugarland Dr., Sheridan Carroll said. The store will open in April 2015. With the Grand Montana is renowned for its rural and western lifestyle, Opening set for May, Carroll looks forward to huge community celebration. and today’s farmers and ranchers continue that time-

Fabric Store

Farm R anch Store

THANK YOU FrOm

“We will be offering incredible specials and have many manufacturer reps on site,” said Carroll. “And everyone will be able to register for some great prize giveaways.” One of the ways in which Shipton’s Big R distinguishes itself is by staying current on customer and market trends. Store buyers attend the best tradeshows in the U.S.A., bringing back new and innovative products for customers. While the stores remain rooted in farm and ranch supplies, they have also have many other offerings to accommodate the growing needs of customers. New this year, Shipton’s Big R now offers the sale of bulk propane. “This enables us to offer customers much better pricing than purchasing pre-filled tanks,” Carroll said. Inside each store, customers continue to find large sporting goods departments along with an extensive selection of firearms. There is also an expanded range of outdoor gear including camping, fishing, hiking and outdoor cooking merchandise. Other departments include clothing & footwear, animal health and tack, lawn and garden, power equipment, automotive, pet and western jewelry. As the temperature drops, people will find wood pellets, pellet stoves, chain saws and log splitters along with a great selection of fireplace supplies at Shipton’s Big R. And colder temperatures mean cold-weather gear. “Right now we have every type of Carhartt in stock,” Carroll said. The brands that Shipton’s Big R carries are nothing less than top of the line. Husqvarna, Tarter, Honda, DeWalt, Wrangler, Ariat, Cinch, Muck, Science Diet, Smith & Wesson and Remington are among the many quality names customers will find in all store locations. For Carroll and his staff, staying true to the store’s

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Western heritage means staying connected to the community. Shipton’s Big R proudly supports many local organizations including the NILE Rodeo, 4-H, FFA, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, MontanaFair, Chase Hawks Rodeo and the Billings Mustangs. Friends of NRA is also proudly sponsored. “We also host some fun promotions like our annual upcoming Pet-o-ween Pet Costume Contest,” said Carroll. The popular contest takes place inside the store on Gabel Road, ensuring kids, pets and parents avoid inclement weather. To make it easier for people to care for their beloved pets, Shipton’s Big R holds a veterinarian clinic on the second Saturday of each month. From 10 a.m. to noon at Big R East, and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Big R West, families can bring in their dog or cat for preventative care and vaccines at affordable prices. “Shipton’s Big R is all about our customer – the farmer, the rancher, the outdoorsman, the working man, the pet owner and everyone else” said Carroll. Carroll and his staff remain committed to offering the best quality merchandise, the best pricing, the best customer service and the best overall shopping experience possible. “We invite you to stop by Shipton’s Big R and experience the difference for yourself.” Two (soon three) store locations in Billings, MT and one in Sheridan, WY. www.shiptonsbigr.com

Flooring Store Carpet One 505 S. 24th St. W.

When Randy Mostad started at Carpet One, teal green carpet was en vogue. Twenty years later, the business owner said that as time has ebbed on and styles continue to evolve, one thing remains consistent at Carpet One. “It’s our commitment to our clients,” Mostad said. “Our mantra is ‘any job worth doing is worth doing well,’” he said. This encompasses the smallest of bathroom projects to whole-home floor-scapes. “Whatever job we are focused on is the most important job that day, and we want our customers to feel that,” Mostad said. Featuring a wide range of flooring options from hardwood to tile, carpet and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), Carpet One has broaded its merchandise scope in response to customer needs and wants. “Twenty years ago, flooring sales was mostly carpeting with some hardwood and some tile,” Mostad said. “Now, sales have shifted to about 60 percent hard surface (hardwood, LVT, tile) and 40 percent carpet.” Variety isn’t the only selling point for customers browsing at Carpet One. “We’re perfectionists when it comes to the installation

process,” Mostad said. When technicians remove old carpet or flooring, they meticulously clean floors with a HEPA-vac. Next, the floor is sprayed and sealed with an antimicrobial layer that repels dust, pollen and eliminates pet odor. “When the flooring is down, you have a brand new room,” Mostad said. Mostad wants to extend thanks to his talented staff, who he said exemplifies the highest levels of integrity. Additionally, Mostad wants to graciously thank his customers and those who voted for Carpet One. “I don’t know how to quite put into words the amount of appreciation we feel,” he said. “Thank you, so much, for trusting us and believing in us.”

Florist

Gainan’s 502 N. 30th St. 810 Bench Blvd. 1211 24th St. W. For three generations, the Gainan family and valued employees have provided unique, high-quality floral, gift, home and nursery products to Billings shoppers. Yet, from day one, their focus has been on customer service and 100 percent customer satisfaction. Their unique floral creations are perfect for weddings, sympathy, birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions or just to say “I’m thinking about you and want to brighten your day.” The staff’s dedication to service shines through the moment customers walk through the door and are enveloped with the delicious fragrances of the season. “We work hard to create a unique, inspiring shopping experience,” says president Jim Gainan, noting that several people wander about the store or visit the greenhouse during their lunch hours, sometimes just as a way to relax or get away. This is just one of the many ways Gainan’s customers become their friends.

Grocery Store

Lucky’s Market 1603 Grand Ave. #135

CASEY PAGE/Gazette Staff

Lucky’s Market is this year’s Readers’ Choice selection for best grocery store.

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Food, glorious food—our stomachs and bodies have never been so thankful. Offering the highest quality of local, fresh produce, delicious deli and rows of hard-to-find specialty items, Lucky’ Market has revolutionized the way shoppers plan meals. In 2003, chefs and food lovers Trish and Bo Sharon opened the first Lucky’s Market in Boulder, Colorado. A decade later, their vision has evolved into a genuine, personal grocery store that offers quality products at an affordable price. Anchoring the newly-developed West Park Promenade on Grand Avenue in Billings, shoppers look to Lucky’s for a friendly, comfortable shopping experience. “We are so honored to have been given this recognition by our customers,” said Kari Ruleaux, store director for Lucky’s Market in Billings. “We strive every day to provide high-quality products, memorable service and prices that make healthy, delicious foods available to all. To have our neighbors tell us we are making a positive impact in the community is both thrilling and humbling. It fuels our fire to become even better.”

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


forvotingusas Billings’

Best

FlooringStore! g

505 S. 24th St. W. BILLINGS

406-656-9300 open MonDAY-FriDAY 8-6, sAtUrDAY 9-5 Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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Hair Salon

Bold & Beautiful Salon 3189 King Ave. W. Ste. 3 Kelsie Grayson and Kara Berumen know that when clients take the time to pamper themselves, they radiate confidence. That is why both sisters—just 16 months apart in age—chose careers in the beauty industry. “Out of beauty school, we both knew we wanted to own a salon,” Grayson said. In business for nine years, Bold and Beautiful continues to thrive and expand its customer base. More than just a hair salon, Bold and Beautiful also offers eyelash extensions, acrylic nails, pedicures, manicures and tanning. “Eyelashes continue to grow in popularity,” Grayson said, adding that the stylists individually bond each eyelash to one you already have. “It takes about an hour and we apply them in a comfortable, relaxed environment.” More than anything, Grayson said she loves seeing the way people look and feel after leaving the salon. Grayson and Berumen want to thank their loyal following of customers and encourage new clients to find Bold & Beautiful on Facebook to check out daily specials.

Health Food Store Good Earth Market 3024 2nd Ave. N.

Good Earth Market (GEM) Co-op is a major supporter of the Billings community. Opened in 1994, this landmark

cooperative strives to provide healthy grocery, household and personal goods, as well as a wide selection of local meats, produce and a full service deli. Most recently, notes general manager Joshua Jackson, the community requested that they carry more locally-grown and made goods that are sustainable. GEM responded by bringing in hundreds of goods from more than 130 local producers. In fact, 25 percent of what GEM carries comes from Montana and northern Wyoming. It is due to this awesome customer loyalty that helped earn GEM the Readers’ Choice Award for the last four years. The co-op also offers free workshops about healthy lifestyle choices, as well as a discount to co-op members, although customers don’t need to be a member to shop at GEM. Everyone is welcome!

House calls may be a thing of the past, but not for Laurel Hearing Aid. They go out of their way to dramatically improve their customers’ lives through better hearing. Their specialists evaluate hearing loss and customize care with high-quality devices that fit most lifestyles. “Our mantra is ‘service matters,’” said Koreen Harrington, BC-HIS, hearing instrument specialist. “From our complimentary hearing evaluations to our high-tech fittings and top-notch after-care, we strive to go above and beyond our patients’ expectations.” Family-owned for decades, Harrington said she and all the staff take pride in the great results they provide. “We greatly value our patients and want to make their experience as convenient and as pleasant as possible,” Harrington said.

Classic Design Homes is known for crafting unique, custom homes. But aside from an amazing home, the staff at Classic Design Homes believes customers should have an amazing experience. The Classic Design team, led by Doug Wild and Ben

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They may sell hardware, but it is their soft touch and personalized attention to detail that sets TJ Comstock, owner of Billings Hardware, and his team apart. Specializing in home improvement, Billings Hardware carries everything you need to get the job done. And what’s more, they are staffed with trained, knowledgeable employees who make sure that every person who walks through the doors has a good experience. And if they don’t have the answer to your hardware question or carry the item you need, they’ll find it, Comstock said. In addition to typical hardware gear, Comstock and his team carry unique and hard-to-find items and are always actively seeking out new lines to carry. At the end of the day, Comstock credits Billings Hardware’s dedicated employees and loyal customers who’ve made the store such a success. “Thank you for giving us your business,” he said. “We greatly appreciate your support. And to new customers— come give us a try and let us help you.”

Home Furnishing Store Ashley Furniture Homestore 2914 Millennium Circle

With several newcomers to the home furnishing market the past few years, Ashley Furniture has not waivered as the Readers’ Choice pick for best Home Furnishing

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Lich, leads the way in constructing innovative and highquality home designs. Because the team works so well together, a fluidity takes over and the crew is able to easily make adjustments and upgrades during the construction process. And the relationship doesn’t end when Classic Design hands over the keys. The staff at Classic knows that a new home may have some features that need to be tweaked. Extending their service past closing is one of the qualities that sets Classic Design Homes apart from some of its competitors. Ensuring that a job is done well and done right is the mission of the meticulous construction company.

We appreciate your business. Roger L. Daniel 406-252-3411

2047 Broadwater

Billings, MT 59102

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Store—an accolade general manager Travis Brownell is proud of. Since 1999, Ashley Furniture has been offering highquality furniture and home décor with service to match. Stylistically, Brownell said customers are still very interested in purchasing sectionals but are also more likely to purchase pops of accent furniture like a unique coffee table or accent chair. Ashley emphasizes taking care of the customer before and after the sale, Brownell said, which is perhaps why the business has so many repeat customers. Brownell credits the store’s knowledgeable and experienced staff with much of the business’s success. Nationally, Ashley Furniture is the largest manufacturer and retailer of home furniture. Locally, Brownell and his team are able to provide personal one-on-one service while passing along selection and savings to the customer.

Hot Tub/Spa Center Montana HotSprings Spas 2217 Grand Ave.

For Scott Prociv, owner of Montana HotSpring Spas, a spa is not as much a home improvement as it is a personal improvement—an investment in lifestyle enjoyment and wellness. It is, perhaps, this philosophy that has allowed Prociv and his team to win the Readers’ Choice pick for best Hot Tub/Spa Center for the 14th year in a row. As a professional, authorized dealer of HotSpring Spas and Finnleo Saunas, Montana HotSpring Spas specializes in their own analysis, delivery, customer care and installation. In 2012 the store underwent a major remodel to better serve their customers. With expanded display and demonstration space, clients will have a better understanding of Montana HotSprings Spas’ wellness products. For example, studies have shown that regular sauna use helps detoxify bodies, burn calories, increase circulation

and decrease stress. Prociv credits his loyal, hard-working staff (who he actually dubs a ‘family of employees’) with much of the store’s success.

Insur ance Company State Farm Insurance

“We are thrilled that State Farm was voted best insurance company in the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards,” said territory sales manager, Jamie Anderson. This underscores the strong relationships that State Farm agents have with their policyholders. As the insurer of one in every five vehicles and homes throughout the Billings area, State Farm carries more than any other insurer. “We are committed to meeting the needs of our customers and helping protect them from the financial risks of everyday life,” added Anderson. “Thank you to our amazing customers for their vote of confidence in State Farm.”

Jewelry Store

Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers 903 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. Scott Wickam is a stickler for quality. His passion for superior diamonds and fine jewelry shines through in the exquisite array of pieces displayed in Goldsmith Gallery’s beautiful 7,500-square-foot showroom. Starting in the business at age 15, Wickam has amassed a lifetime of expertise. That experience has earned him direct access to diamond dealers in Antwerp and to the best brands of jewelry and watches. “At Goldsmith Gallery, we carry a large variety of items – from brilliant diamonds to Swiss-made watches,

Pandora to pearls,” Wickam said. In addition to retail sales, the store has in-house jewelers who can create stunning, custom-designed pieces or repair heirloom jewelry. “More young people want to create custom jewelry pieces,” Wickam noted. “They pick unique aspects of different bridal rings, and our in-house goldsmiths combine those elements into a one-of-a-kind piece.” While many people think custom jewelry is more expensive than stocked items, Wickam said that isn’t the case. “Recently, a couple celebrating their fifth anniversary came in to ask about creating a custom ring. They were pleasantly surprised to find the cost was very affordable,” Wickam said. Goldsmith’s large inventory means customers can find that perfect piece at a perfect price. From a budgetfriendly Pandora bead to a 10-carat diamond, Goldsmith has a price point for every customer. When it comes to diamonds, no one has more expertise than Wickam. Bridal customers make up a large segment of Goldsmith’s business, and Wickam and his well-trained staff work hard to help people learn about diamonds – the cut, clarity, color and carat weight – and how to select a stone that perfectly fits their desire and budget. And Goldsmith’s selection of diamonds is second to none. “I travel overseas to purchase diamonds and handselect every single stone,” he said. Wickam’s strong relationships with diamond cutters ensures that he purchases only the best stones, and that he can pass along superior pricing to his customers. While brilliant white diamonds remain the favorite for engagement and wedding rings, colored diamonds have grown in popularity. Pink, blue, yellow, green and even brown or “chocolate” diamonds have been fashioned into stunning necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more. As the holiday season approaches, Wickam and his staff are pleased to announce a number of special events featuring LeVian, John Hardy, Fredrick Sage and Tacori. In addition to the events, Wickam invites everyone to come in and look over the large showroom filled with exquisite pieces. “We can help you create a Christmas wish list ensuring you get the perfect gift,” Wickam said.

Kitchen Cabinet Store Rimrock Cabinet Company 547 S. 20th St. W. #7

JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff

Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers owners Scott and Kelly Wickam are shown at the store at Shiloh Crossing. Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers is this year’s choice for best jeweler.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

At Rimrock Cabinet Company we take what we think is a unique approach to meet each customer’s individual needs. No cookie cutters here – we know that every home, every kitchen, every cabinet and each customer is unique.  “We find that it’s a humbling experience to be invited into a customers’ home and then trusted to help them transform an ordinary kitchen or bath, into an extraordinary living space that they will love living in for years to come.”  Rimrock Cabinet Company is very proud of our talented team of design and construction experts that work hard every day to meet the needs of every customer and “Do the job right!”  Stephen Wylie – General Manager, Rimrock Cabinet Company.

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Kitchen Supply Store

Swanky Fork Kitchen Shop 111 Broadway Ave., Red Lodge

Swanky Fork Kitchen Shop, located in Red Lodge, has the essentials for every cook. In its fifth year of business, the store has grown to offer over 2,000 quality cooking tools, Le Creuset cast iron and All-Clad stainless steel cookware as well as accessories for wine and cocktails. The shop also carries designer aprons, towels and cookbooks. Swanky Fork Kitchen Shop has met thousands of customers from all fifty states and abroad. There’s a common thread which runs through each day and transaction - great recipes swapped by home cooks or a technique discussion with professional chefs. Swanky Fork’s online store features over 30,000 items, quick shipping and hassle-free returns. The store also offers gift cards as well as free delivery to Yellowstone County, Powell and Cody, Wyo.  All are invited to enjoy Swedish meatballs on December 5 and 6 during the Red Lodge Christmas Stroll.

Lighting Center OneSource Lighting 100 24th St. W. #3

It’s more than a store—it’s a lighting boutique, Lauri Patterson, owner of OneSource Lighting, said. “We are firm believers that everyone’s houses should not look the same.” OneSource Lighting offers enough options—from fixtures to table and floor lamps to home décor—that Patterson’s mission is easily accomplished. In addition, the OneSource Lighting team can repair or re-wire your favorite lamp or light fixture. Couple that with the staff’s extensive knowledge, including Patterson’s 16 years of lighting expertise, and they are likely the most creative lighting professionals in town. With six Readers’ Choice Awards over their 11 years in business, there is proof that homeowners agree.

Maid Service

Limousine Service A-Limo Limousine 405 N. 12th St.

Cindy Reed knows her limos. As owner of A-Limo Limousine, she has been part of many marriage proposals— just one example of the extra-special service that A-Limo provides on consistent basis. “We have cars for just two people, or up to 14,” she said. “We’ve been part of many great moments and are always willing to do something a little extra—holiday light tours; birthdays, weddings and anniversaries; surprise parties; and, even scavenger hunts. If you can imagine it, we can help make it happen.” Reed, who does much of driving herself, adds that A-Limo has both car- and SUV-style limos and is available 24/7 with advanced appointments—perfect for a late night out or an early ride to the airport. We promise our customers the royal treatment and so appreciate their confidence in our service, she added.

Lingerie Shop

TLC Lingerie 1400 Broadwater Ave. Linda Cetrone Levy, Victoria Bartle and their expert team at TLC Lingerie have a niche market—and women know it. For 16 years, TLC has been giving area women a genuine fitting experience. “We want everyone who buys a bra to have it fit properly and get reasonable wear out it,” Cetrone Levy said. “When a bra fits properly, it lasts longer.” With band sizes from 30-54 and cup sizes ranging from A to OO (and underwires up to a J-cup), the options may seem endless; yet Cetrone Levy’s team knows their product and their clientele—they are tireless match-makers. In addition, the team knows their products so well, that most clients who come in to “have a fit” find extra time on their hands. Although they no longer carry mastectomy bras, TLC offers a wide selection of swimsuits, including mastectomy suits, in sizes 6-32 throughout the entire year, plus panties and other lingerie items. They even keep a personalized file on each client—think of it as a personalized gift list (hint, hint). As the Readers’ Choice Winners since 2009, TLC meets their goal of individualized attention, style variety and product quality for women throughout Eastern Montana.

Oui Oui Madame

Carolynn McCoy, owner of Oui Oui Madame, personally meets her clients. And, rather than being an owner behind a desk, she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Oui Oui Madame specializes in residential cleaning services. In addition, McCoy’s team will clean before or after a move and also complete seasonal deep cleaning. “We just find out what our customer needs and that’s what we do—our work is very client-specific,” said McCoy, the business’ owner for more than 10 years. A simple call to Oui Oui Madame could is all it takes to arrange an in-home estimate from McCoy. She also notes that her staff is completely trust-worthy. Oui Oui Madame is fully-insured and bonded. “Many of our clients have been with us so long that I feel like I’m part of their family,” McCoy said, “and I so appreciate them.”

Mattress Store

Mattress King 17th & Grand 24th & King Ave. (next to Applebee’s) 311 N. 7th Ave., Bozeman No one knows the importance of getting a good night’s sleep better than Jay and Mary Hoffmann. As owners of Mattress King, the couple along with their courteous, well-trained staff, have been helping people find the right bed for more than 28 years. And as Jay points out, the business is about much more than selling mattresses. “We are absolutely committed to offering our guests the very best products and the highest level of customer service,” he said. That commitment is embedded in the company mission statement: To change people’s lives by helping them experience the best sleep possible and make a positive difference in their lives while serving them each step of the way. According to Jay, that’s not just a saying on a plaque. “Every team member memorizes the mission, and we talk about it every week during meetings,” he said. Walking into a showroom and seeing dozens of mattress sets can feel overwhelming for shoppers. And after people lay down on five or six different mattresses to test

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

ontana Serving M 0 4 years. for over

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


HANNAH POTES/Gazette Staff

Gary & Nancy Pollock are the owners of the Meat & Poultry Palace, this year’s selection for best meat market/butcher a new Readers’ Choice category.

them, they become dulled to the experience. That’s just one reason Mattress King has invested in Bed Match System technology. “The Bed Match System uses a diagnostic mattress which takes more than 1000 calculations and measurements. Based on those calculations, we can narrow down the top four or five mattresses for that particular guest,” Jay said. Using technology to find the best fit for an individual not only makes the process of selecting a mattress much easier, it also ensures a better night’s sleep. The process of finding the best mattress starts with excellent sleep consultants. Every potential team member undergoes a rigorous hiring process, which includes a background check and a series of interviews. “Having a very thorough hiring process is not new for us,” noted Jay. “We have followed this strict protocol for many, many years.” Mattress King has also set a gold standard for delivery service. “We call ahead and set a specific time for delivery. When our delivery staff arrives, they roll out a carpet and wear booties over their shoes to minimize tracking anything into the home. They also wear white gloves to set up your new mattress. When we’re done, we use a Swiffer duster or vacuum cleaner to tidy your floors before we leave,” said Jay.

From helping guests find the perfect mattress to making deliveries and every step in between, the leaders and team at Mattress King deeply scrutinize every detail to ensure guests receive the highest level of service. “We carry the best brands at the best prices and give you a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee,” said Jay. “Why would anybody want to buy a bed anywhere else?”

Meat Market/ Butcher

Meat & Poultry Palace 821 16th St. W. Few things compare. In today’s society, we humans are quick and on the move, but there are a few things worth slowing down for. The high-grade products at the Meat & Poultry Palace top the list. “We are an full service, old-fashioned, butcher shop,” said Gary Pollock, who co-owns with his wife Nancy, “and specialize in quality customer service and USDA “choice” beef.” Nothing is pre-packaged. You pick out what you want, how much you want, exactly how you want it cut and we package it right in front of you, he added. In addition, the Pollocks make and smoke, on site, 15 types of fresh sausages including brats, German sausage and Ital-

Thank You, BILLINGS! We are honored that you chose us as the

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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ian sausage along with 10 types of cooked sausages like salami, summer saugage, pepper sticks and jerky. As the holidays approach, the Meat & Poultry Palace offers both walk-in and special-order hams, prime ribs and other family dinner meats. “This award is very meaningful to us because it is 100-percent customer based,” said Pollock. “They know u,s and we thank them.”

Medical Spa

Central Wellness 1010 Central Ave. #2 There’s an old adage that states: beauty starts within. Janine Griffin and Ali Mitchell, co-owners of Central Wellness, base their business on that premise. “Central Wellness is a place to visit and find wellness from the inside out,” said Griffin. “We deliver more than treatments, we want to make sure that each client has a relaxing experience designed to meet his or her unique wants, needs and expectations.” Central Wellness fuses medical care with spa services, offering massage, body treatments and facials along with services to help clients age gracefully, such as laser treatments, botox and dermal fillers. “Our mission is to help you age gracefully,” said Mitchell. “We want you to enjoy how you feel and look as you age.” Mitchell researches and embraces new technology, incorporating techniques and products that benefit their clients the most. “This is more than a business for us—it’s about building relationships and helping each person that comes in

our door, “said Mitchell. “Each client has a unique story that we get to be part of.”

Nail Salon

jenMar Salon 1431 County Manor Blvd. jenMar Salon is a full service salon that offers gel, acrylic and gel polish manicures, apa pedicures, hair design and color, full body waxing, facials and Mink eyelash extensions. “All of our techs and designers love what they do and keep up with the latest trends to provide our clients with the most up to date styles in nails and hair,” said salon owner Marcie Smith. Smith is finishing a total remodel of the salon to give clients an elegant yet relaxing atmosphere. “We so appreciate all our clients, old and new,” she said, “and know that clients are the reason for our success.”

Oil Change

MasterLube 2650 4th Ave. N. 1331 Main St. 1628 Grand Ave. 2424 King Ave. W. 203 SE 4th St., Laurel

P.B. Moss once said, “I’m going to build the

best damn hotel in Montana”

Oil changes, fluid flushes and vehicle maintenance is simply one of life’s necessities. At MasterLube, it’s about ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. And the ladies and gentlemen of MasterLube wish to thank their customers for choosing them to take care of their vehicles. “Lubers” feel that their customers are the most important part of their day. They work hard to provide a speedy, second-to-none level of service.  “It’s fun to hear our customers say things like, ‘You’re done with my car? I haven’t even finished my coffee yet!’” says president, Craig Godfrey. MasterLube seeks to introduce the world to some “uncommon people” in the community through videos on its website. The people of the Billings and Laurel community have some amazing stories to tell.

Optical Store

Barnett Opticians 2203 Broadwater Ave. Large, multi-colored and cat-eyed optical frames are making a comeback. Yet, the right eyewear at the right time makes a world of difference. Syl Schied, owner of Barnett Opticians, knows this is true. In Billings since 1952, Schied and the expert staff at Barnett Opticians offer the latest technology and the best choices from prescription sunglasses, safety glasses to sports goggles. Ultra-thin, non-glare, high-definition digital lenses give vision a “wow” factor. “Truly, you can see the difference. There’s nothing in eye care that we cannot do,” Schied said. But, the best part is matching clients to the right combination of eye-

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wear for their lifestyle and vision, he added. As a nine-time Readers’ Choice winner, there’s no doubt that Barnett Opticians knows eyewear.

Paint Store

ACE Hardware King’s ACE Hardware: 1551 Zimmerman Trail 2264 Central Ave. 4170 State Ave. Heights ACE Hardware: 1547 Main St. Laurel ACE Hardware: 415 SE 4th St. Most know ACE as the helpful place. But there’s no doubt it is also the “answer place.” With four familyowned ACE Hardware stores in Billings plus one in Laurel, chances are there’s one in your neighborhood. “People come to us for three reasons,” said owner Skip King, “We’re convenient, we have a very knowledgeable staff and we carry quality products.” ACE carries three brands of high-quality paint including Benjamin Moore, Valspar and Royal – ACE’s private label. They also have all the sundries related to any painting project. Plus, they have unbelievable expertise. Their color-matching is second-to-none, and veteran sales professionals make sure you leave satisfied with your selection. Skip King and Bob Hansen are honored to have been voted Readers’ Choice for Best Paint Store 2014. “I want to thank our customers for voting for us, and also our valued sales associates – we couldn’t do it without them,” said King.

Pet Groomer

Groomingdale’s Salon & Paw-tique 1436 Central Ave. Humans have Bloomingdale’s. In Billings, dogs and cats have Groomingdale’s Salon & Paw-tique. It is, likely, a fair trade. Owner Stacey Hess is the only groomer in Billings who is certified by the National Dog Groomers Association of America; in fact, she is one of only three in the entire state.

“At Groomingdale’s we are pet stylists—we tailor the service to both the pet’s looks and also to his or her health issues like nails and skin,” Hess said. For example, schnauzers’ hair continues to grow, even past a certain length, like humans’ hair. If it is not cut, the dog will have problems like matting and dander, even in winter. “I am passionate about pets, and to me, grooming is an art form,” Hess said. “It’s more than just a haircut, it’s a way to make them look their best, and that’s why continuing education is so important as is building a trusting relationship with our clients.” In business since 2011, Hess has recently added cat grooming and on-site pet day care. She noted that cats are cared for away from dogs (unless specified) and both the indoor and outdoor spaces are designed with the dogs’ comfort in mind, including either ortho-mats or synthetic grass.

Pet Store

Exotic Pets 2342 Grand Ave. Melissa Leiseth considers Exotic Pets be a great place for an afternoon outing. “Even if you don’t have a pet, stop in anyway,” she said. “This is such a fun place to visit.” Leiseth estimates that at any given time, visitors could see about 100 different animals, from kittens and puppies to less common sugar gliders and tegus—large lizards, primarily from South America—and everything in-between. Exotic Pets also carries pet accessories and food, including the live variety like crickets, mice and flies. In addition, they offer dog groomer service. “Our groomer has been here 21 years and we have another employee who has been here more than 25,” Leiseth noted. Knowledgeable, friendly service such as this has earned Exotic Pets the Readers’ Choice Award for the past four years. They feel strongly about supporting local business that give back to the community and often employ disabled workers from Billings Training Institute or at-risk youth via the school system. It’s important that we participate in these programs, Leiseth said. This community is important to us.

Thank you Theresa Hopkins

511 N. 30th Street Billings, Mt 59101 406-208-4072 www.divinebillings.com Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

Rimrock Plumbing 3031 Grand Ave.

As a one-man shop, Bill Manske of Rimrock Plumbing is in charge of quality control. Manske is in charge of everything else, too. He focuses mainly on plumbing remodels and service work, rather than new construction. “That type of work lends itself toward relationship building,” Manske noted, adding that he gives customers a “Good Faith Estimate” rather than a bid. “I treat others the way I want to be treated,” he said. “Everything is straight and upfront. I like to keep the homeowner informed as a project progresses, that in turn builds trust and relationships.” Manske has been in business for less than a year and is pleased with the nomination by customers. “I was completely blown away,” Manske said, “but I guess that’s a testament that customers appreciate my work.”

Power Equipment ACE Hardware King’s ACE Hardware: 1551 Zimmerman Trail 2264 Central Ave. 4170 State Ave. Heights ACE Hardware: 1547 Main St. Laurel ACE Hardware: 415 SE 4th St.

It’s that time of year again. Winter is approaching, and after last year this may be the time to finally purchase a new snow blower. “We have a huge selection of snow blowers and all types of power equipment,” noted owner Skip King. “Plus we carry quality brands like Honda, Toro and Craftsman.” For those who need to have their power equipment serviced, the experts at ACE can get you taken care of. “All of our repair and service techs are factorycertified, and we can have your power equipment in top condition in time for winter,” noted King. ACE has the answer. They are the go-to guys for your

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power tool needs—lawnmowers and trimmers, chainsaws and snow blowers. From regular service and repair, they even offer a pick-up and delivery service in the city limits. ACE has the advantage of being small enough to be customer-oriented, but is innovative enough to offer topof-the-line merchandise at fair prices—with expertise to match. Skip King, an ACE owner since 1987 added, “We have all the hard-to-find items and services—all with convenience, genuinely friendly service and knowledgeable help. That’s what we do.”

Real Estate Agency

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate 1550 Poly Dr.

Readers’ Choice win as best satellite store in Billings. A locally-owned and operated business for 13 years, the Kerchals emphasize fair-and-square pricing and oneon-one customer attention. In addition, they reward loyalty and referrals. “We appreciate our loyal customers and want to remind them of our Refer-A-Friend program,” said Renee. “The customer gets a $50 credit on their DISH bill for referring a friend who signs up via Freedom Satellite. The new customer also receives a $50 credit on their DISH bill.” The Kerchals want all of their customers to know how much they appreciate their vote and to remind them that they can always get honest answers from a real person whenever they call.

Shoe Store

Shoe Carnival 909 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. Shoe shopping can oftentimes be an exhilarating experience, but at Billings’ Shoe Carnival, their employees take it to a whole new level. Step right up and enjoy the savings, as employees of Shoe Carnival announce daily deals and specials over a microphone. Emphasizing “a fun shopping experience for everyone” is the aim of regional manager, Steve Walker and his team. Shoe Carnival’s friendly and trained staff can assist in finding the perfect pair for your feet and budget. In addition to in-style and on-sale shoe offerings, Shoe Carnival also carries fashionable purses, handbags, backpacks and socks.

The name “Floberg” has been associated with real estate in Yellowstone County for more than half a century. Despite a name change on July 1 to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate, the agency offers the same stellar service. We have always maintained a strong reputation, noted managing partner Linda Parker. “I can contribute our longevity to our ethical way of doing business.” Parker points to a client survey that feeds into quality customer services along with many long-time employees as key components. 60 agents cover a 70-mile radius from Hardin to Billings and Columbus to Red Lodge under the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Floberg Real Estate umbrella. “I want to think our readers,” added Parker, “it’s so wonderful that they are confident in us and our work.”

Satellite Store Freedom Satellite 1525 Central Ave.

When you call them, you get an actual voice, not a prompt to push options one through eight. When they install service, you wait mere days (in some cases hours) instead of weeks. When you get your statement, it isn’t filled with mysterious charges. At Freedom Satellite, owners Todd and Renee Kerchal treat customers the way they’d want to be treated. This is, perhaps, why Freedom Satellite is celebrating its 11th

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CASEY PAGE/Gazette Staff

Scheels is the winner of best sporting goods store. The new 220,000 square foot location is now open at Shiloh Crossing.

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Sporting Goods

Scheels 1121 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. Now open at Shiloh Crossing in Billings, the new Scheels store has taken its reputation for carrying all the sporting gear and apparel you need to reach peak performance to a stellar level. Covering 220,000 square feet, the store is about more than shopping – it’s a place for families to come and be entertained. Known for its large selection of sporting goods and excellent customer service, the store now carries additional lines plus a much larger selection of men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, shoes and accessories. But that’s not all. Part of the Scheels’ experience is the entertainment, and the new store delivers in spades. In the center of the store is the Scheels Ferris wheel – a 65-foot tall, 16-cart, custom-painted ride that will thrill youngsters and grownups alike. There’s also a 16,000-gallon salt water aquarium filled with more than 700 colorful fish that dart in and around the beautifully constructed coral reef. For hunters and wild life enthusiasts, Wildlife Mountain provides a fantastic opportunity to observe mounts of big game animals, varmints, bears, sheep and many species of birds displayed as you would see in their natural habitat. Those wanting a more hands-on experience can test their skill at the laser shooting gallery, which includes a lively, animated show reminiscent of theme park attractions. Or, wander over to the Buck Hunter game for a virtual shooting option.

JAKE’S

For a different type of action, try your hand at the two-lane mini-bowling alley or have your picture taken at one of the many photo opportunities located throughout the store. History hounds will appreciate the Walk of Presidents, where you can hear Abraham Lincoln recite the Gettysburg Address, or Thomas Jefferson read the Declaration of Independence. And if you need to re-charge from all the shopping and entertainment, head to Gramma Ginna’s Deli and Fudge Shop, where you can indulge in made-from-scratch deli sandwiches and burgers hot off the grill followed by delicious, homemade fudge. Store Manager, Todd Anderson, extends his deep appreciate to everyone for their votes. “We’re honored to be the Billings Gazette Readers’ Choice for sporting goods for the 15th year in a row,” Anderson said. “We invite everyone to come and experience the new Scheels store in Shiloh Crossing.”

Tanning Salon Sun Haven Tanning 595 Main St. 517 24th St. W.

There’s a reason why Julie Wegner, owner of Sun Haven Tanning, is walkin’ on sunshine. Wegner and her staff are celebrating another Readers’ Choice win for best Tanning Salon in Billings, a win that Wegner attributes to her friendly staff and tanning bed availability. Offering a wide range of tanning beds from a basic bed to one that includes aromatherapy, air conditioning

and misters, clients will be sure to find a bed that is right. Plus, customers choose to purchase a single tan, multiple tans via a package plan or become monthly tanning club members. Wegner celebrates the fact that her monthly membership rates are the best value in town and that her clients don’t have to make calls to pre-arrange beds. In addition to tanning, Sun Haven sells stylish handbags, headbands and other accessories. Two branches (one in Billings’ West End and one in the Heights) make tanning convenient. Wegner wants to thank her wonderful employees and fabulous, loyal customers. “Without them, none of this would be possible,” she said.

Tax Prep Service Colleen Black & Co., PC 1925 Central Ave.

Colleen Black is in the relationship business. Although she has owned and operated Colleen Black & Company, P.C. for 11 years and is a CPA herself, she runs her accounting firm by that statement. “I believe in sitting down with people and engaging in a conversation—you learn so much more about your client that way,” Black said. “We are not selling a way of doing taxes; we are developing a relationship.” She’s also self-claimed techy. Black’s entire office runs digitally, yet they are happy to do the “old-fashioned” paper copies for those clients who prefer that. She also remembers that many of her clients are small business owners—just like her. “I understand, especially, that small businesses should

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be allowed to stay in business, and I’m very conscious of the fees we charge,” she said. “When people open their financial lives to us, it’s important that we take that to heart.”

“This is such a diverse company,” noted marketing director, Wendy Riojas. “Many don’t realize Hanser’s services include heavy duty repair, tractor trailer recovery and emergency Hazmat spill response. She goes on to explain that as an emergency response company, All of Hanser’s spill response operators are Hazardous Waste Operator and Emergency Responder Staley’s Tire and Automotive (HAZWOPER) and receive HAZMAT and traffic control training. They are often one of the first and last on the 9300 S. Frontage Road scene of a tractor trailer wreck, recovering cargo and 1245 Central Ave. loading wreckage or waste materials onto equipment for 2503 1st Ave. N. transport. Containment, recovery and remediation activities are documented and reported to regulatory agencies such as; Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or Staley’s Tire and Automotive delivers professional tire sales, installation and tire repair services. Staley’s special- Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Headquartered in Billings, Hanser’s opened its doors izes in “touchless” tire mounting equipment, enabling in 1965 and has grown to include five locations across the technicians to mount tires with speed, precision and Eastern Montana including Hardin, Columbus, Big Timber, safety without damaging tires or wheels. Lewistown and Livingston. To better serve customers, Staley’s also offers on-site tire service and 24-hour call-out tire service. Staley’s also recently built a carwash conveniently located adjacent to the South Frontage Road store.

Tire Store

“We strip, repair, refinish, re-upholster and re-cane furniture,” said Colleen Wright, “and Michelle has a real eye for detail—she does most of the upholstery work.” In addition, the Wright’s repair luggage and sandblast metal and glass items like lawn furniture, signs or other odds and ends. Colleen notes that many items come with a story, and she loves to hear them. “We get pieces in and re-build them to their former glory,” she said. “The final product is a true transformation. Our customers tell their friends and family about it—that’s the way it works.” The Wright’s also buy and sell antiques and entire estates in addition to operating a booth at Marketplace 3301. Be sure to stop in, noted Colleen, who jokes about their greeter-dog, Charlie—Wright’s is truly a friendly place.

Vacuum Store

Stuart’s House of Vacuums 1804 Grand Ave.

Upholstery/Furniture Refinishing Store Wright’s Custom Repair 5 Washington St.

Towing & Recovery

Hanser’s Towing & Recovery Network 430 S. Billings Blvd. Say the name “Hanser’s” and most people know about a family-owned business that tows wrecked vehicles and sells recycled automotive parts. But that is only a small part of the picture.

Longevity matters. Wright’s Custom Repair has it in spades. Started 38 years ago by Frank and Shirley Wright, the upholstery and furniture repair business is now operated by Barry and Colleen Wright along with their daughter, Michelle Churchill—three full generations of serving customers from Billings and across Eastern Montana and Wyoming.

Sandy Berkshire, owner of Stuart’s House of Vacuums, has the tidiest showroom floor in town—and she rarely has to clean it herself. Customers come in to try out Stuart’s wide variety of vacuums – the largest selection in Billings and the surrounding area—and choose from premiere lines like Riccar, Miele, Lindhaus and Sebo. After more than 40 years in business, Stuart’s has cornered the market as Billings’ specialty vacuum sales and service shop. All repairs to

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


it is an honor to be chosen and we appreciate everyone items are done on-site, and Berkshire’s staff is speciallytaking time out of their day to vote, she added. trained to ensure that you’re getting a machine that will do exactly what they promise it will do. Berkshire wants to thank her loyal following of customers for shopping in her store and invites anyone looking Pella Windows & Doors to purchase a quality product to stop in for a visit and to celebrate Berkshire’s 18th anniversary of ownership. 2520 Grand Ave.

Window & Door Store

Veterinary Service

Thank you for casting your vote for Pella Windows and Doors, in this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Pella has always manufactured to the highest quality with feature rich designs in the window and door industry. Having the best product is not always enough.  Their name says it all. This award highlights our amazing sales and serDr. Diana Kuehn and her staff of veterinary experts at vice staff, who are committed to providing outstanding Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital truly do care about their customer care. Because we focus solely on windows and clients—and their clients’ chauffeurs. doors, our staff is extremely knowledgeable in way to “Our goal is to have an environment that is caring help our customers find the right fit for their home and and loving for the pets but also create a healthy atmotheir budget.  sphere for the staff that empowers them to be warm and The Readers’ Choice Award is a great honor and we hands-on when caring for both our sick and our healthy will continue working hard for you, the customer!  Thank patients,” said Dr. Kuehn. you again for your vote!  Matt Lucas – General Manager Readers’ Choice voters agree and voted Caring Hands the best veterinary service for the past six years. Kuehn appreciates and understands the bonds between patients and their families. The experienced and Simply Wine empathic staff members, including several long-timers, are often the un-sung heroes. 1027 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. “This is a hospital and it must be a sterile environment,” she said, “but we do our best to keep the “conJust in time for the holidays—that’s when Sue dos” as warm and cozy as possible. Once they realize that Rydquist, owner of Simply Wine, expects to open her it’s not so scary here, they relax.” new store in the Shiloh Crossing shopping center. We so appreciate the loyalty of our patients’ families; The new store, which will feature Simply Wine’s sig-

Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital 533 S. 24th St. W.

Wine Store

Y o ur

Award W innin

nature purple floor, includes a larger wine bar and bistro with wine dispensing machines (to keep wine fresh) and eight beers on tap. Design-wise, Rydquist is pretty excited. “We are moving it up a bit,” she said. “The new store will be more upscale, and I think our customers will be very happy with that.” One thing that won’t change is Simply Wine’s attention to each and every customer’s taste and budget. Plus, we’ll continue to offer the wine clubs, Rydquist noted, giving customers options to stay with their tried-and-true flavors or to experiment with new wines, new varieties and new vintages. That certainly gives a new meaning to “Eat, drink and be merry.”

Wireless Service Verizon Wireless 2290 King Ave. W.

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Food & Drink All-Around Restaur ant

Bagel Shop

Jake’s Restaurant 2701 1st Ave. N. 2425 Gabel Rd.

Bagel Inc. 2135 Grand Ave. 3014 4th Ave. N.

“Dining at Jake’s is about the whole experience,” Scott Berube, general manager of Jake’s Restaurant, noted. “Our customers enjoy quality, beautifully-presented food, superior service, fine wine and spirits in a classy, inviting establishment.” He goes on to explain the Jake’s philosophy that extends beyond delicious food; it is quality product and service that prompts guests to return to Jake’s. This customer-centric philosophy is at the heart of what every employee strives to deliver. And satisfied customers are the restaurant’s best ambassadors. “Every customer who walks in the door is a building block to the next customer,” Berube said. Jake’s Restaurant has been Montana’s premier steakhouse for 35 years—an icon in downtown Billings. Noting that this is the third year in a row Jake’s has won best all-around restaurant, Berube expressed his deep appreciation. “I want to thank our customers for giving us the opportunity to be up for this award,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here one year much less 35 years without you.”

When it comes to bagels, Bruce Grendahl and Patti Bangert, owners of Bagel Inc. know their stuff. “We are a traditional bagel shop,” Grendahl said. “We boil and bake the bagel—it’s a traditional process called kettling and we are the only business in town that does that.” So, doughnuts move over. Bagel, Inc. has about 16 different kinds of bagels with asiago, jalapẽno and plain being the most popular but pumpkin, the bagel of the month for October-November, also receives rave reviews. With two convenient locations, on the West End and downtown, Bagel, Inc. crafts both breakfast sandwiches like ham, egg and cheese on a bagel of choice, and lunch sandwiches with their roasted-in-house turkey. For those super, health-conscious folks, the West End location also offers 14 types of “Funky Munky” yogurt and fresh-fruit-based smoothies (with no artificial mixes). The chocolate chimp or the Tarzan & Jane are most popular. Banana, anyone?

Bakery

Harper & Madison 3115 10th Ave. N. When is a bakery more than a bakery? When Joanie Swords is at the helm. A 25-year veteran in the food business, Swords opened Harper & Madison in 2011 with the goal of serving the best food with the best customer service in the best atmosphere. “We’re a restaurant, bakery and coffee shop, plus we offer specialty retail gift food items on the side,” Swords said. “When you come here, it’s the whole experience.” Everything at Harper & Madison is made fresh daily. And Swords’ decadent pastries and sumptuous desserts are not only beautiful, they’re made with only the finest ingredients. But Swords’ vision extends beyond food, service and setting. “Our bigger goal is to bring people together and build community,” she said. Swords noted her twice-a-year farm-to-table dinners as examples of that extension. “We block off the street and invite the public to enjoy live music and shop for produce from local vendors – kind of mini-farmers’ market.” At the end of the day, Harper & Madison hosts a dinner that is also open to the public, but with limited seating. For Swords, Harper & Madison is much more than a job. “This is so fun! I can’t imagine loving anything more than I do this.”

Barbecue

Blue’s BBQ 523 Hilltop Rd.

JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff

Jake’s Restaurant is this year’s choice for all-around restaurant. Stop by their downtown or west end location for some tasty grub, like their delicious prime rib.

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There’s nothing blue about this BBQ. Blue’s BBQ has been smoking up a storm in Billings Heights since 2004 and Readers’ Choice voters approve once again. “We offer a Texas-style BBQ—all the meats are smoked pit-style with whole logs—it’s the old fashioned way to smoke,” said owner Kim Hager. “Plus, our sides are all home-made—potato salad; cole slaw; baked beans; ranch pasta; baked yams or garden salad—you pick.” Blue’s BBQ doesn’t veer from their tradition style either; 100 degrees or 20 below, their smoker is working hard. Kim’s favorite is white oak or hickory, but they often use fruitwoods here in Billings. Hager noted the legendary Garth Brooks once ate Blue’s BBQ when her husband catered a gig in Sheridan, Wyo. But she prefers her clients here. “We have some of the nicest, most respectful custom-

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


ers,” Hager noted. “They brighten our day and feel like family.” While southern style BBQ—a dry rub, with no sauce— may be not be what guests are accustomed to, co-owner Ken Hager urges folks to stop in and give them a try.

Breakfast

Stella’s Kitchen & Bakery 2525 1st Ave. N. In business for 36 years, Stella’s Kitchen & Bakery is a downtown Billings icon. Known for their giant, freshlybaked cinnamon and caramel rolls, the restaurant also offers an expansive menu of home-style breakfast dishes – all served in heaping portions. “People are sometimes surprised to learn that we make almost everything from scratch,” said Stella Ziegler, who along with her husband Ziggy owns the restaurant. Popular items include fluffy made-to-order omelets, made-from-scratch 9-grain cereal and oatmeal. Even the pancake batter and “float’em” syrup are time-tested, homemade recipes. “I got those recipes when I was a new bride 50 years ago,” Stella said. Stella’s reputation for delicious, fresh fare extends beyond a loyal local following. Many visitors to the Magic City return again and again to enjoy the homemade goodness. “Recently, an airline pilot who frequently lays over in Billings made a point to tell me, ‘I fly all over and eat in many different restaurants, and you have by far the best food and most friendly staff anywhere.’ That makes me feel really good,” Stella said. Winning the 2014 Readers’ Choice award for Best Breakfast has been an honor for Stella, Ziggy and their entire staff. “We appreciate our customers very much, and thank them for voting us Best Breakfast,” Stella said. “It makes us feel that the hard work is worthwhile.”

Casino Food

their expansive menu as they are for their fun and lively gaming. Their all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar and lunch buffet attracts quite a following during the noon hour, with menu items like prime rib (all day, every day), tempura shrimp and Santa Fe pasta rounding out can’t-miss entrees at dinner time. On Saturdays and Sundays, the breakfast buffet pleases customers over and over. Manager Kelly Eckley attributes the restaurant’s continued success to its following of loyal customers and incredible, hard-working staff. In addition, Eckley keenly recognizes that their loyal customers are the reason Montana Jack’s remains so popular. We believe in giving back to our customers with our Repeat Rewards Program, with customers getting free meals on their birthday and anniversary, she added.

Cheeseburger/Hamburger The Burger Dive 114 N. 27th St. N.

The line is out the door. But don’t fret—you, too, will have ample opportunity to swim in burger nirvana at The Burger Dive. Home of Billings’ Readers’ Choice winner for best cheeseburger/hamburger and in business for only four years, this lunchtime favorite has rapidly become a downtown mainstay. With options like the Outlaw, the Jerk or the Blackened Sabbath, who could resist? Plus, few burger joints offer an authentic Jucy Lucy, so look no farther. Owners Brad and Andi Halsten took a leap of faith in 2010 and haven’t deviated from their original mission to craft the best fresh burgers, dogs, milkshakes and accompaniments in the region. Plus, they were earned the Best of the Bash title at the Food Network’s Burger Bash in 2013—you better stop in and ask about that one. We don’t want drool on the copy.

Chinese Food Grand Garden 3839 Grand Ave.

Montana Jack’s 520 Hansen Lane

The secret is out: Montana Jack’s is a casino but so much more; it is truly is a family restaurant. And what’s better is that the food is amazing. Offering a delicious array of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, Montana Jack’s is just as well-known for

Thank You for voting us Billings Gazette Best Children’s Consignment Store 2014!

There is a good reason that Grand Garden has been voted Billings’ Best Chinese Restaurant seven years in a row. “We offer fresh and delicious Chinese cuisine along with excellent service in an inviting, friendly atmosphere,” said Alice Li, general manager.

Thanks, Billings, for choosing us as your favoriTe.

Li’s father, Fanfu Li, and Li’s husband, Dave Parker, combined bring more than 30 years of restaurant experience to the family-owned and operated business. “They put a lot of time and energy into creating wonderful recipes for our guests, they take pride in customers’ satisfaction of their dining experiences at our restaurant” Alice Li said. Grand Garden’s loyal customers and hardworking staff are especially appreciated. “I want to thank our customers for voting us the best Chinese restaurant and supporting us for all of these years. Thanks also, to all of our wonderful employees for helping to provide the best dining experience. It wouldn’t be possible without your continued support,” said Parker. The restaurant offers a daily lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a dinner buffet from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. In addition, patrons can order off the large menu or order from the full takeout menu. “Our food is very fresh and tasteful; once you try us you’ll come back,” added Alice Li.

Coffee Shop

City Brew 710 Main St. #100 1131 N. 27th St. 1640 Grand Ave. 802 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. 2415 King Ave. W 100 24th St. W. #3 401 S. 1st Ave., Laurel I need a coffee! It is unanimous. The voters have spoken. City Brew was once again named “Best Coffee Shop” for the 13th year in a row. With seven convenient locations across the area, each featuring a drive-thru for the ultra-busy, City Brew is indeed Billings’ locally-owned neighborhood coffee shop. Perhaps it is that they do their best to source their food offers from local vendors? Or, it might be that they carefully select their beans and roast them right here in the Magic City? Maybe it is the friendly greeting upon arrival and the sincere thank you when departing that makes City Brew a favorite. This regional icon will celebrate its 15th year in business starting in 2014, so be on the look-out for some extra special touches, above and beyond the City Brew signature.

Thank Yo You from all of us at

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

Colleen Rooke - Proprietor

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Antonia Craighill is shown at Velvet Cravings in downtown Billings. Velvet is winner of best cupcake, a new Readers’ Choice category.

readers #1 choice

for Hair salon 2013 & 2014 9 years in Business

Kara Berumen & Kelsie Grayson

Cupcakes

Velvet Cravings 225 N. Broadway “This is my calling,” says Velvet Cravings owner, Antonia Craighill, “baking is what I was born to do.” As owner of the two-year-old downtown bakery store, Craighill offers delicacies for walk-in customers along with custom orders for weddings, birthdays and other personal celebrations or business gatherings along with catering services. Cake pops—a rounded bite of cake on a popsicle stick—are increasingly popular, especially for weddings, she noted. Plus, they can be in fun, whimsical arrangements. In addition, during the holiday season, Craighill will offer pies, among other custom orders. “I’m willing to try any type of baked good,” she said. Customer favorites include caramel coconut (she sells out almost every day) and snickerdoodle cupcakes. The white-chocolate cinnamon cake has caramel frosting filling and milk chocolate-cinnamon icing. No matter what the occasion—there’s no better way to celebrate by satisfying those velvet cravings.

Doughnuts

Heiko’s Bakery 3429 Central Ave.  #C

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3189 King ave West #3, Billings, Mt 38

Heiko’s Bakery is honored to receive the Billings Gazette Readers’ Choice Award for Best Donuts once again. Heiko and his wife Susan Kaas opened their doors in April 2007 and have been winning ever since. “Thank you to our great customers, staff, family and friends for continuing to help make us a success,” Susan said. Heiko has been baking for over 37 years, and his passion and love for baking are obvious in the delicious donuts and pastries available in the bakery. If you are

looking for the best apple fritter, maple bar, sprinkle donut, cake donut, scone, muffin, caramel roll, cinnamon roll, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, or any mouth-watering treat, be sure to visit and discover for yourself why Heiko’s continues to be voted the best!

French Fries

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews 1595 Grand Ave. You can taste it now…the distinctive, salty goodness of Red Robin’s bottomless steak fries. {smack!} Red Robin first opened their doors in Billings in 1986. They have been operating with the same “customers come first” premise ever since. “We work hard to accommodate each and every guest,” said manager Alexis Richards. “Whether it is a seating preference, or a quick in-out lunch or just visiting all afternoon in the same booth, we value our customers.” The new location, just west of Sears in West Park Promenade mixes the best of the former location, yet mixes with new in a fresh way. The lounge-style bar, which is separate from the family dining area, offers large screen TVs for sport aficionados or even news junkies. It is the perfect place for kids, families and couples (think: Date Night). Yum!

Fried Chicken

Sud’s Hut 1110 Broadwater Ave. The words have been synonymous since 1976: broasted chicken and Sud’s Hut. Using a pressure cooker, the chicken is quickly cooked

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


in oil, sealing in the juices and flavor. A mid-town mainstay, Sud’s Hut also offers ribs, seafood, steaks, sandwiches and burgers along with lunch and breakfast specials. Long-time manager, Tricia Donaldson believes the homey, family atmosphere, decent prices and friendly service have contributed to Sud’s Huts nearly 30-years in Billings. “We thank our many multi-generational customers,” said Donaldson, “for being with us all these years. And, if you have never been to Sud’s Hut—come on out, give us a try!”

Frozen Yogurt Shop Spinners 3031 Grand Ave. #200

It’s a frozen treat that can’t be beat! And, for the second year in a row, Readers’ Choice voters agree. Imagine more than 50 types of toppings for your 24 different flavors of frozen yogurt, sorbet and always vanilla and chocolate ice cream available. The “Spinner cup” allows you create your own blended flavors in a flurry of flavor. Cones, waffle cones and waffle bowls, are also available. Spinners even has three-compartment cup dividers for those who like a variety of flavors in one cup—the possibilities are truly endless! “You can be as creative as you want,” said business co-owner Dave Diehl. From gummie bears to Oreo crumbles to fresh fruit, cut daily, to chopped nuts, Spinners has enough topping options that you head really will spin. Yum! Co-owner Julie Diehl, who is often on-site, remarked that families, kids, sports teams and grandparents all love the clean, fun atmosphere of Spinners and notes that gift cards make the perfect reward or stocking-stuffer.

Hot Dogs

Costco Wholesale 2290 King Ave. W. It is potentially, one of the best deals going—at least in the hot dog world. Costco Wholesale has been pleasing Readers’ Choice winners since the awards began in 2000. “It’s a great deal. Costco has never raised the price of our combo deal. It has been $1.50 for over 20 years,” said marketing manager Deborah Thorson. The ¼-pound Kirkland signature brand hot dogs are cooked—never boiled—in 165-degree water and placed in steamed buns. Customers also receive a 20-ounce soda and choice of relish, onions, ketchup and mustard toppings—the perfect fuel before a zealous shopping trip!

Ice Cream

Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream 114 N. 19th St. One scoop or two? Better make it three. Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream has been synonymous with Montana-made, all-natural flavor and creamy goodness for the last 100 years. In fact, this year, the company celebrates its centennial. Superior customer service and a wide variety of flavors like Moose Tracks, Stuck in a Rut and Chocolate Runs Through It keep customers coming back for more. Matt Schaeffer, president of Wilcoxson’s, enjoys producing a product that kids of all ages are so fond of. He credits his tremendous work force and following of loyal customers for the company’s success. “As we end our 102nd year in Montana, I want to thank all our loyal fans,” said Schaeffer. “We will continue with the quality that we are known for, unless we can make it better!”

Thank You for Voting Us Best Cowgirl/ Cowboy Boot Store

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CLOTHING

BOOTS

• Wrangler • Pendleton

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• Schaefer • Acorn Shirts

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JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff

Capture the spirit of

Pictured is Spinners co-owner Julie Diehl. Julie along with her husband Dave own Spinners, this year’s choice for best frozen yogurt.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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Italian Food

Ciao Mambo 2301 Montana Ave. Hungry for Italian? Head on down to Ciao Mambo on Montana Avenue for some scratch-made, authentic dishes. Jeff Schlenker, general manager, is proud to note that he and his hard-working staff never use food out of a package, nor do they use pre-made items. In fact, Ciao Mambo, a Montana-born company, uses Montana-made pasta for the ultimate in flavor and freshness. “We don’t even have a microwave in this kitchen,” Schlenker said. “Everything we make happens on the gas range or in the brick oven.” And who knew that eating out could be so amusing? Pull up a stool at the kitchen-side countertop for some “reality entertainment,” Billings-style. Schlenker barks out orders to his expert staff and, in-between tossing pizza pies, they banter back. It must be seen to be believed. In January, Ciao Mambo will celebrate its fifth year in Billings. With space for 150 guests, there are always seats available.

Japanese Food

Asian Sea Grill & Sushi Bar 1911 King Ave West, Suites 3 & 4 There’s a very good reason why Asian cuisine lovers flock to Asian Sea Grill & Sushi Bar. Famous for their appetizers, sushi, special rolls and signature combinations, the restaurant recently expanded to offer Teppanyaki-style Japanese cooking. Dinner guests can watch as skilled chefs grill and serve signature Japanese dishes. For sushi fans, the restaurant features a sushi bar with a wide variety of items always made with top-of-the-line fish and other fresh ingredients. If traditional Japanese fare is more to your liking, the diverse menu ensures guests have a wide variety of delicious options to satisfy their hunger. There are also daily specials and happy hour prices. The staff of Asian Sea Grill & Sushi Bar invites you to come in and enjoy delicious Japanese food served by friendly people. Don’t forget they offer take-out, too.

Lunch

Montana Brewing Co. 113 N. Broadway It’s noon. Where are you having lunch? The vast majority of Billings has spoken and said they’d like to spend their lunch hour dining at Billings historic Montana Brewing Company—or the Brew Pub, as it’s known to locals. Gourmet mac & cheeses, always-delicious burgers, tasty salads and curious extras like enchilada bites and flatbread pizza highlight the restaurant’s lunch menu. “Our menu is very diverse and unique to our restaurant,” said owner Sean Graves. “We try to be inventive, innovative and always offer superior customer service.” With lunchtime time constraints, customers can rest easy knowing they’ll get their dish on time at the Brew Pub.

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HANNAH POTES/Gazette Staff

Uberbrew is this year’s Readers’ Choice selection for best micro brewery.

“We strive every day to make sure that lunch service is prompt,” Graves said. “It is a rare day when you have to wait for food at The Brew Pub.” And while the service is speedy, quality is never compromised. Burgers made-to-order, exclusions and items on-the-side are always welcomed. To their loyal following of customers, Graves would like to extend his warm thanks, and to those yet to try a bite at the Brew Pub, Graves says “you’re missing out. We do so much more than just brew beer.” Always a delightful pairing with any lunch item, patrons can come back after work to enjoy some of the craft brews that the Pub has to offer—with a plate of nachos, of course.

“At our restaurant, we make it a family affair and everyone is involved in cooking, serving and running the restaurant,” Juan said. Juan credits his dedicated staff and loyal following of customers for the restaurant’s continued success. Juan shoulders much of the cooking and food prep responsibilities. “Our food comes from our family, to your family,” he said. One of Juan’s favorite dishes to make is carne asada tacos, but each of Guadalajara’s menu items is cooked to perfection and comprised of delicious, fresh ingredients.

Microbrewery Überbrew 2305 Montana Ave.

Mexican Food

Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant 17 N. 29th St. 1403 Main St. 927 S. 32nd St. W. 216 1st St. Ave. S., Laurel 335 1st St., Havre There is nothing cookie-cutter or pre-packaged about Guadalajara’s Mexican food. Their from-scratch approach might time some extra time, but your taste buds are sure to notice the difference. A family-owned and operated business since 1995, owners Juan and Nelly Nuno said that customers are often surprised to find out they are not a chain restaurant.

Serving up a superlative pint. That is the philosophy of one of Billings’ newest microbreweries—Überbrew. With a vast array of options when it comes to the local microbrew aficionado, the staff at Überbrew recognizes that it’s not just the pint, it’s the environment that makes the glass special. “The friends you’re with, the people you meet, the laughs you have, all of these elements help enhance the experience,” said Paul Morup, sales representative for Überbrew. One of the brewery’s most notable brews, White Noise Hefeweizen, is the reigning silver medalist in the World Beer Cup—voted the second best microbrew in its category in the WORLD. “We’re very proud of that—it’s our flagship beer,” Morup said. Another must-try is Black Hops Tactical IPA, Morup’s

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


favorite and silver medalist in the Great American Beerfest held in Denver. A 10-barrell brew house, Überbrew always has a wide variety of beer on tap. Their friendly servers and bartenders are happy to make recommends for your taste and texture preferences. In addition to the local foot traffic, Morup said Überbrew has been enjoying business from a healthy sampling of out-of-state guests. “We want to thank them—regulars and new customers—for the support they’ve shown us,” Morup said. “It’s always nerve-wracking starting a business, but the outpouring of support and positive feedback have fueled the fire, and we thank you.”

Romantic Dinner Bistro Enzo 1502 Rehberg Lane

Wedding proposals, anniversaries, first dates and fine dining—Bistro Enzo is sure to put the je ne sais quoi into your next dining experience. And while the restaurant celebrates several of these special occasions with its guests, owner James Honaker is quick to point out that Bistro Enzo is the perfect choice for any casual dining experience. An expansive selection of Mediterranean-inspired food and a rustic farmhouse ambiance creates a romantic and relaxed atmosphere. Guests at Bistro Enzo are sure to find something on the menu to please their palate. Village Inn Pizza “I’ve been in this profession for 33 years,” Honaker said. “I love to cook and I enjoy sharing that experience 2048 Grand Ave. with our guests.” In addition to seafood, Bistro Enzo offers a wide selecAmber Andersen and the staff at Village Inn Pizza have tion of grilled steaks, chicken, pastas, flatbreads and has a dedicated following of customers. a delightful sampling of beer and wine options. Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, Village Inn Split into two levels—the upstairs is more quaint and brims with nostalgia. secluded…perfect for popping the big question or simply Andersen said she loves hearing stories about when having an intimate conversation. customers first dined at the restaurant. “There are more first-dates and marriage proposals that have happened here than you’d ever guess,” she said. “People call us their family tradition.” The Windmill Andersen and her mother and father-in-law, Joyce and Floyd Andersen, co-own the restaurant and love seeing 3429 TransTech Way familiar faces walk through the door. “We have customers who came in when they went to Jumbo prawns. high school here, and they still come in for our pizza,” These two words have become synonymous with the Amber Andersen said. Windmill Restaurant, which offers a wide variety of speEven more surprising is that Village Inn has not devicialty seafood. ated from their successful and delicious recipe for pizza Breaded or sautéed, the Windmill’s jumbo prawns have crust and sauce. won the hearts and stomachs of Billings diners for years. “We have been using the same recipe for our pizza Wild-caught and never farm-raised, kitchen manager Elias all these years with a focus on quality and freshness,” Banderas says the restaurant takes special time and care Amber Andersen said. “Our customers love us and we in purchasing its seafood. love them.” “We fly it in fresh, two times a week,” he said, adding Situated in their alpine lodge-inspired A-frame, Village that he likes to infuse the menu with exotic choices like Inn features a quaint ambiance, can’t-miss lunch buffet Mahi Mahi and shark when possible. and made-to-order pizzas. Whether taking out or dining Other options like the Windmill’s salmon, scallops, king in, Village Inn pizza pie is a one-of-a-kind cheezy-licious crab legs and lobster round out the rest of the seafood experience. menu. “We only cook with cold-water Australian—not Alaskan—lobster,” Banderas said. “It’s quite a delicacy.” The warm and rustic ambiance and cheerful wait staff Blue’s BBQ enhance the dining experience, Banderas said. 523 Hilltop Rd. “I continually strive to put exciting and interesting combinations together, so come and enjoy,” he said. Take a left onto Hilltop Drive in Billings Heights and a mouth-watering, smoky smell permeates the air. Nestled at the corner of Hilltop and Main is one of Billings’ bestkept secrets—Blue’s BBQ. Montana’s Rib and Chop House Fall-off-the bone, finger-lickin’, smoked tender and 1849 Majestic Lane always satisfying—Blue’s BBQ’s world-famous ribs never disappoint. High quality food at a competitive price plus excellent Made from tender baby back ribs, each order is seacustomer service – that’s the secret to the success of soned just right with a special spiced mixture and your Montana’s Rib and Chop House, according to Rory Sandochoice of wet BBQ sauce if desired. val, Director of Operations. In addition to their delicious ribs, Blue’s BBQ features “We call it Rocky Mountain hospitality; it’s more than fantastic pulled pork sandwiches, sides and service. our brand, it’s a promise,” Sandoval said. Dedicated and friendly staff, from the front door to the Renowned for their ribs and seafood, this year the kitchen, add to the dining experience. Montana-based restaurant won the Readers’ Choice Don’t have time to dine in? Don’t forget about Blue’s drive-thru window with ribs to order just moments away. Award for their succulent steaks – another house favorite.

You Billin k n a g h T for voting u s s

Pizza

Seafood

Ribs

re s s i T sed ervice U & tive s r i a w p e e N mo tire r o t u a le l i l b u o F ur m o h 24

Steak

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

edam’s/staley’s

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“We use only Certified Angus Beef produced by ranchers in Montana and Wyoming,” noted Sandoval. “And we cut our steaks in-house.” Those melt-in-your-mouth cuts of meat are served on a plate that’s heated to 450 degrees, keeping them sizzling hot and full of flavor. In business for 13 years, and open in Billings for the past seven, Montana’s Rib and Chop House has garnered a loyal clientele. “You would be surprised how many people eat here twice a day, five days a week,” Sandoval said. “And we love to serve them.” Sandoval and the entire Rib and Chop team are excited to be this year’s winners for best steak. “We want to thank the voters and our customers, we are truly grateful and honored.”

Sub Sandwich Pickle Barrel 3225 Rosebud Dr.

When Daniel McComish and Chelsey Pirtz, co-owners of the Pickle Barrel, reopened their doors in July at their new location, the response was colossal. “We initially just wanted a few guests at our soft opening to get a feel for the new space, but before we knew it, people were stopping by and the restaurant was wall-to-wall people,” McComish said. “We just went with it.” A dedicated following of Billings sandwich lovers were overjoyed with the re-opening of the restaurant, which temporarily closed its doors in 2012. As new franchisees, McComish and Pirtz are pleased to offer some of the tried and beloved sandwich options like the Blue Streak—a steak sandwich complemented by blue cheese crumbles, grilled onions and all the fixin’s. “The menu very much mirrors the store in Bozeman,” McComish said, “but we’re always happy to customize your sandwich.” With everything made-from-scratch and sliced fresh daily, McComish said his customers get exceptional freshness and value. McComish wants to thank his customers for their patience and their vote. “We are so happy to be back open and look forward to serving you,” he said.

w w w.ac tionelec tric inc.com 42

Sushi

Fancy Sushi Asian Fusion 1313 Grand Ave. # 3 Featuring dozens of savory sauces and unique pairings, Billings’ Fancy Sushi Asian Fusion has been reinventing the traditional take on sushi. Owner Jimmy Li ensures freshness in all his fare, shipping in fresh fish daily from Hawaii and Seattle. One of Fancy Sushi’s most popular menu items continues to be the spicy roll, Li said, adding that customers are constantly experimenting with exciting and savory pairings. “I have to thank our regular customer base,” Li said. “I have some customers who come in two and three times a week.” Li also wants to remind customers that the restaurant serves much more than just sushi. The expansive menu features Chinese, Thai and Japanese influences— hence the “fusion” portion in the businesses’ moniker. A delectable hybrid—guests can enjoy pad Thai, curried chicken and various teriyaki dishes in addition to a wide range of sushi rolls. Looking toward the future, Li hopes his guests will continue their great wordof-mouth advertising and send in their friends. “We treat our guests like family,” he said.

Wings

Tiny’s Tavern 323 N. 24th St. Curtis Grimm’s wings always taste better with a side of football. “We definitely see an increase in our wing orders during football season,” the Tiny’s Tavern owner said, noting that the popularity of their wings has grown exponentially in recent years. During the Superbowl last year, Grimm said that Tiny’s sold more than 500 pounds of chicken wings. That’s poultry power. Crafted from a special Cajun dry rub, Tiny’s wings are cooked to perfection and are available for dining in, take-out or for catered events. “I think they really hit the mark because they’re tasty and flavorful without being too spicy,” Grimm said. Dining in at Tiny’s, customers have the option of the Cajun wings or plain broasted wings. As part of their catering service, Tiny’s expands their wing offerings to include BBQ, Sweet and Sour and Wings on Fire. Grimm credits his dedicated and supportive staff with much of the restaurant’s success the past 32 years. “Most of my team has been here a long time, and I couldn’t do it without them,” he said.

Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Entertainment Casino

Alpine Casino 1116 16th St. W.

Swain also urges customers to consider renting out the its Student Matinee Series and off the stage, taking probanquet room for your next party or get-together. grams into our schools and community. Grant extends her thanks to the community for embracing ABT and for filling the seats. “We are nothing without an audience,” she said. Alberta Bair Theater She credits the theater’s dedicated staff and volunteers with their continued success. 2801 3rd Ave. N. “They are the ones working tirelessly behind the scenes, quietly creating the magic of every performance,” The curtain calls, and we answer, on the edge of our Grant said. seats with smiles and electric anticipation. For a few hours, a few moments, we forget our troubles, our worries and are simply entertained. Offering performances ranging from touring BroadZooMontana way musicals to world renowned ballet and everything in between, Alberta Bair Theater schedules its calendar with 2100 S. Shiloh Rd. can’t-miss, unique events. And what’s more, the sheer variety of the bookings ensures that there’s something Jeff Ewelt is wild about animals. for everyone, exactly the mission of ABT director of marHe’s even more enthused about cultivating a fun and keting, Jody Grant. enriching experience for children who attend the Zoo. In addition to ABT’s entertainment lineup, the Theater Since Ewelt took the helm of as executive director of has a strong educational outreach mission, oohing and ZooMontana, he and his team have made it their mission aweing 22,000 schoolchildren a year—on the stage with

Live Entertainment

Cha-Ching! Customers to the Alpine Casino are winners two-fold. They can enjoy an expansive, comfortable gaming area just feet away from delicious, family-friendly dining. “Most of the customers at the Alpine are like family to us,” said assistant manager Jessica Bruce. The family-friendly restaurant and full casino offers live-action keno (one of just two in Billings), a full menu with breakfast, lunch and dinner options, and regular gaming promotions. Offering keno, poker and line games—the casino is a clean, comfortable and a laid-back environment, Bruce said. Bruce and the Alpine staff want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for them. Be sure to check out their website at alpinecasinobillings.com for casino details and promotions.

Place to go with Kids

Cats or Griz? Fans of both Montana State University and the University of Montana came out in droves to vote for their favorite school. When the votes were finally tallied, the 2014 Readers’ Choice winner for favorite university is…. University of Montana! First down….MONTANA! Congratulations, Griz fans! (Cat fans – there’s always next year…)

K ar aoke

The Red Door Lounge 3875 Grand Ave. Whether you’re an American Idol protégé or totally tone deaf, you’ll have equal amounts of fun belting out tunes with Tommy J and the Red Door karaoke sound crew. Featuring a diverse catalog of the newest tunes mixed in with old favorites, you’ll be sure to find the perfect song to wow the crowd. Red Door owner/manager Aaron Swain says patrons can enjoy karaoke every night except for Sunday, starting around 9:30 p.m. depending on sports programming. While there, sample from their delicious menu and choose from signature dishes like Italian Nachos or shrimp wontons. This fall, customers will have the chance to win a an eight-night stay in Mexico through the Red Door’s Player’s Club in the casino, so be sure to pop over after your rendition of “Friends in Low Places.” Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

Hannah Potes/Gazette Staff

Gather the family and head to ZooMontana, this year’s Readers’ Choice winner for best place to go with kids.

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to ignite community support and continue to make the Zoo one of the best places in Billings for children and families. “Absolutely nothing beats the smile on a child’s face when they run through the gates of the Zoo to see the animals,” Ewelt said. In the main building, Ewelt and his staff have been busy completing the Living Wall, adding a Laughing Kookaburra, Opossums and soon, an Armadillo. “These are all animals that kids love and have even requested,” Ewelt said. Also new to the Zoo this year are two young and active Siberian Tigers. Looking ahead, Ewelt said he hopes to implement a new “Birds of Prey” exhibit and continue to improve on the amenities for children’s birthday parties. Through this transition and period of continued growth, Ewelt said he thanks the community for its continued support and patience. “We’re making strides, largely in part to committed community members and our incredible, dedicated staff,” Ewelt said. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping us every step of the way.”

1110 Broadwater • 259-5675

Place to play Billiards Bullwhackers 1520 Wyoming Ave.

Eight ball, side pocket. For the billiard enthusiast, there is no better place to “rack ‘em and crack ‘em” than Bullwhackers. Featuring more than 20 tables in a comfortable and spacious environment, you’ll find yourself putting up quarters again, and again, and again.

Sports Bar

Hooligan’s Sports Bar 109 N. Broadway Hooligan’s Sports Bar scores extra points with its customers by featuring a trifecta of sports-related amenities: expansive sports programming on the biggest flat screen in Montana, finger-licking food and snacks and fast, friendly service on the double. Owner Sean Graves says he and his staff strive to continue improving his guests’ experience by adding special

See our menu SudsHutBillings.com

you’re Simply the beSt. congratulationS to all readerS’ choice winnerS.

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


features like on-table speaker boxes, food and drink specials and free peanuts. And whether you’re there to take in an NFL game, college football game, hockey

game or anything in between, Hooligans is sure to have a TV tuned to your station. If not, just ask Sean or someone from the Hooligans team—they’re happy to help.

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice


Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

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Billings Gazette 2014 Readers’ Choice

Readers' Choice 2014  

The 2014 Readers' Choice Winners' Guide features the best people & places, business & shopping, food & drink and entertainment voted by the...

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