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Neighborhood Billings coffee shop closing its doors after over a decade

Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 19:11:49-04

BILLINGS — Harper & Madison is a coffee shop that has been in Downtown Billings for over a decade, but now, they’ve decided to close their doors for good.

“I’m just sort of retiring. I’ll be moving to The Netherlands in January. My daughter and her husband live there, and they’re going to have a child, so I want to be near my grandchild,” says Harper & Madison Owner, Joanie Swords.

Swords opened the shop over 10 years ago to help pay for her children’s college education. Swords said she knew the success rate for opening your own business was low but decided to give it a go anyway.

“It was an experiment to see if we could build a business that was based on love, rather than money. Even though I needed to fund college I was like ‘I think this can work if the focus is not on money’ and this seemed to be the perfect place for that, and I can tell you it worked. It works,” said Swords.

Swords says that over the years, Harper & Madison has had many loyal customers and that the business could not have worked without them.

The customers had good things of their own to say about Harper & Madison.

“It’s going to leave a real void in my day. Its great coffee, great ambiance, great people. I’ll really miss the people. The neighborhood isn’t going to be the same without it. It’s too bad,” said Jerry Kessler, a customer who says he has been almost every day for the last 10 years.

“The pastries and quiche have been delicious,” said one regular, a retired teacher.

Another added, “Don’t forget the carmel rolls.”

“Or the coconut cake that made me who I am today,” a third chimed in.

Swords said, “It’s a community that’s been built here. It has gained strength, and perseverance and joy and love, all of those things from each other. They just needed a place to come together and feel some love through food, and service. It’s all good, it’s just all good."

Swords says owning the shop has been a dream come true.

“I just want to say thank you, because I got to live my dream for over a decade. Thank you to everyone who came here,” said Swords.

Swords is planning on selling the shop and hopes that it can make somebody else as happy as it made her.

Harper & Madison’s last day is this Saturday.