By the end of this year, Aldrich Lumber will follow the traditional trail of urban lumber yards: close the yard that’s been swallowed up by the city, move to the new edge of town and start over.
In 1917, Greg Aldrich’s grandfather bought lumber companies in Wyoming and then in Montana in 1937.
Now his kin are selling and moving.
On Sept. 23, the federal General Services Administration chose the Aldrich Lumber site from three bids as the location for its $30 million, five-story government office building. The building will be a companion to the downtown federal courthouse now under construction.
So, it’s moving time for part of Aldrich Lumber and nine employees.
Greg Aldrich and his wife, Thora, and other family owners are starting the inventory sale on Oct. 20 and expect to close their doors around Dec. 10.
“As soon as we close, the buildings will be ripped down in days and they’ll be pushing hard to get foundations in as fast as they can,” he said.
The Boyer Co. of Salt Lake City won the GSA bid and, just like the federal courthouse, the workers it hires will be building like mad this winter, Aldrich said.
Boyer Co. will lease the building to the GSA to house some 400 federal employees who now work at the James F. Battin Courthouse, which has asbestos problems.
Jones Construction of Billings and local developer Aaron Sparboe, bought options on the Aldrich property. But before the sale papers can be signed, GSA must complete an archaeological study by mid-December, Aldrich said.
The family business name will survive.
Rather than close for good, Greg, an architect, is moving to 10 acres at 1600 Shiloh Road near the overpass. He’ll build a smaller business specializing in riding arenas and pole barns. The cow business has record prices, sheep and grain prices are good and producers need storage space, he said.
“And it just keeps getting more expensive, so you’re going to put that expensive equipment in a barn,” he said.
South Plaza 24 popular
Four leases are signed, one is pending and the last store remains available at the new South Plaza 24 mini-mall by Old Chicago Restaurant.
As reported before in this column, a Colorado restaurant franchise called the Spicy Pickle has signed a lease and will open in early November. Other tenants include a Weight Watchers regional office, an Asian restaurant and a massage business. The mini-mall is a twin of developer Mike Stock’s previous Plaza 24 project on 24th Street West.
One of the country’s largest restaurant supply companies, Bargreen Ellingson, has posted a sign along First Avenue North by the railroad tracks and North 22nd Street saying the company is moving one block south in 2012.
The company is looking for more display space and what its sign calls an “adaptive showroom.”
In 2003, Bargreen Ellingson opened a Billings store at 2102 Second Ave. N. and now employs 13 people.
The family-owned company, started in Tacoma, Wash. in 1960, and sells to restaurants and homeowners alike.
Red Oxx brand boost
Bestselling authors James Patterson and Marshall Karp’s latest suspense story “Kill Me If You Can” mentions Billings’ foremost luggage company, Red Oxx.
In the novel, a student discovers “a duffel bag full of smuggled diamonds” and the Ghost, an assassin, is chasing him to get the jewels back.
While he’s packing, the student says, “My one bag was a well-traveled Red Oxx Sky Train, the world’s most efficient carry-on.”
The novel made the No. 1 slot on the New York Times Best Seller list of hardcover fiction. That’s not a rare feat for Patterson, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most bestselling fiction titles by a single author on the Times list. The world’s top selling author has written more than 60 books that have made the list.
On a blustery day that brought on a million-dollar rain, Rita Clippinger, who owns Broadway Deli & Café at 313 N. Broadway Ave., made a killer wild rice soup. The hot soup brought back memories for me of watching Lake Superior’s winter waves crash against the sea wall in Grand Marias, Minn.
The restaurant that shares space with Travel Café also serves sandwiches, entrées like curried chicken, homemade scones and baked goodies.
Out and about
Workers started framing in an enclosed sidewalk last week along First Avenue North in front of the Northern Hotel. The owners are waiting to finalize a financing package to complete renovating of the historic hotel. In the meantime, the city is requiring owners Mike and Chris Nelson to cover the temporary sidewalk that juts out into the street in order to make room on the sidewalk for work crews and equipment.
The Subway restaurant at 1020 Central Ave. is remodeling.
And two foundations supporting Yellowstone National Park have teamed up to open Destination Yellowstone at the Bozeman airport. The display funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Yellowstone Association includes exhibits of park features and an 800-square-foot store that sells educational materials about the country’s first national park.
Scams du jour
The Beartooth Electric Cooperative in Red Lodge is warning that someone is calling members and falsely claiming to represent the co-op. A man named “Thomas” told one member that her payment didn’t go through and tried to get her banking information over the telephone. Beartooth doesn’t contact members by telephone to obtain personal information.
Nick Yenko of Billings has been received “phishing” emails purportedly from the IRS saying he made an error on his 2010 tax return and that he owes more money.
When checking his spam folder, Yenko saw three messages, each one a little more urgent than the last one.
“I just deleted them. Then another came saying I had until Dec. 17th to get this paid up,” he said.
The email instructed him to open a download link, which he refused to do since that could give the scammers access to his computer. Remember, the real IRS doesn’t use email to contact taxpayers.
The chief executive told a young employee, “This is a very sensitive and important document and my secretary left. Can you make this thing work?”
The ambitious worker said, “Certainly.”
He turned on the machine, inserted the paper and pushed a button.
“Excellent,” said the CEO, as his paper disappeared inside the shredder. “I just need one copy.”
Source: Pretty Good Jokes on Garrison Keillor’s
“A Prairie Home Companion.”