BILLINGS — From daily, fresh tortillas to a gourmet cheese island with hand-pulled mozzarella,Billings' newest grocery storeis boasting a lot of fresh ideas.
“There’s lots of things in this store that we just haven’t seen in the Billings community or in the state of Montana here," Store Director Chris Harmon said Tuesday.
The newest location on Grand Avenue and 54th Street West is the seventh Albertsons in Billings, and Harmon is bringing 19 years of experience built in six Billings Albertsons to the West End store.
“As everybody from Billings knows, this community is really growing and in the West End very rapidly, so there’s kind of a food desert if you will out in this side of town. So really glad to get something out there," Harmon said.
Donna Mann lives in the neighborhood with her dog, Dot, and is excited for the store's opening. It will save her a trip to the closest grocery store, also an Albertsons, three miles away.
“On a snowy day, it’s hard to do those roundabouts and get there and there’s a lot of people that have to shop that one," Mann said.
Crews broke ground on the new store last February and Harmon says 200 people were hired within the Billings community to staff it.
“We’re working on produce today as our big focus. Produce and deli are going in," Harmon said. "We're getting things ramped up and really looking good.”
The store also has a Starbucks, a walk-up and drive-thru pharmacy, and drive-up grocery options.
Kathy Holland, who works at Albertsons headquarters in Boise, said the design of the store is unique compared to other stores in Montana.
“Once you come inside you will notice it is very light, bright and airy," Holland said. "We've got some local touches throughout the store talking about how we love our Billings community."
The new Albertsons grand opening starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 5317 Grand Ave.
The new store offers Billings shoppers a new selection of options as the West End continues to expand.
“Now I can walk Dot there," Mann said.