It’s an exciting time for Billings shoppers, as several nationally recognized franchises head to the Magic Town.
After months of construction, the old Big Bear building will be operational again in the spring of 2023, but it will look different. HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post and Petco will move in, and there will eventually be two other new businesses in the area.
Construction will be complete by December, and project superintendent Ken Chouinard said the new venture would be great for the town of Billings.
“I think it will be great, especially for this neighborhood,” Chouinard told the site. “The more people living here, the more amenities you’ll need, the more stores you’ll need.”
Chouinard said construction has been going on for months, but when renovating an old building, it usually comes with challenges.
“Any time you’re dealing with structural steel, it has to be designed and brought up to code,” Chouinard said.
Just around the corner from 24th Street, construction of the new Chick-fil-A is also nearing completion. The store is located in the same parking lot as Planet Fitness, and the contractor says their construction will be complete by December 3, but company policy is not to open between Thanksgiving and New Years.
Across the street, in the old Pier 1 building, Skechers, the famous shoe brand, is also in the process of opening an outlet store. Chick-fil-A and Skechers are considering mid-January as potential opening dates.
The additions of well-known businesses are generating a lot of excitement for local Billings stores, as it will hopefully bring them more customers.
Cajun Phatty’s is a restaurant located in the same parking lot as the old Big Bear building. Meadoe Beaulieu is one of the servers there and she said they hope the new businesses will also increase their sales.
“We’re super excited,” Beaulieu said. “All business is good, so we’re excited to have new stores.”
Beaulieu has lived in Billings for 22 years. As a resident, she looks forward to the arrival of some of the national retail stores in her hometown.
“It’s pretty cool to have it accessible to everyone, and the more stores the better,” Beaulieu said. “Growing up in Billings, I always wanted to have some of these stores here.”