Business reporter for The Billings Gazette.

After 23 years, Rebecca Feyk is saying a “bittersweet” goodbye to her Bead Depot shop in downtown Billings.

Feyk, 57 of Billings, has started a going-out-of-business sale for the shop at 2717 First Ave. N. She said she’s aiming for the end of August to close the shop but has until Sept. 27 to liquidate inventory.

“I’ll miss my customers so much. I made really good friends, I’ll miss them,” Feyk said Thursday.

Feyk and her husband, Ric Feyk, launched the Bead Depot in 1993 on a shoestring budget, financed by remortgaging their home and obtaining a loan from a friend, according to Gazette archives.

The Feyks sold beads they acquired at trade shows in Tucson, Ariz., Las Vegas and Denver, and they held bead-making classes inside. Feyk said her husband designed most of the interior, building the display tables and other items inside.

Feyk expanded in the mid-2000s when her neighbor moved out, boosting the area to about 1,300 square feet.

She said the bead business wasn’t always easy, but she was emboldened by the 2013 reopening of the Northern Hotel on the other side of First Avenue North. Hotel guests were big customers at the Bead Depot, such as airline stewardesses looking to browse during their stop in Billings.

One regular stewardess lamented the closing of the shop during a recent visit, Feyk said.

“She said, ‘What are we going to do during our layover?’” Feyk said.

The rise in online sales cut into the Bead Depot’s bottom line, she said. Plus, the loss of three downtown women’s clothing retailers to the West End within the last two years – Bottega, Meridian and Neecee’s – cut a hole in the area as a destination shopping place, Feyk said.

The Bead Depot remains profitable, and Feyk said she didn’t consider selling the business. She said she’s planning to train her poodle as a therapy dog after the store closes.

The Bead Depot is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Call 254-1117 for more information.

New Domino's 

Domino's Pizza is moving into Shiloh Crossing on Billings West End.

Franchise owners of the Michigan-based chain are spending about $100,000 to remodel the spot at 851 Shiloh Crossing Blvd., according to a Billings city permit. An opening date has not been announced. 

Domino's recently closed its Billings Heights at 520 Wicks Lane. The company has three restaurants in Billings. 

Sports Authority out soon

The Billings Sports Authority store will close July 17 at 100 S. 24th St. W, a store representative says.

The Colorado-based company announced in May that it was closing all stores and liquidating assets to pay off debt. In Billings, a liquidation sale is taking place until the closing date.

According to The Wall Street Journal, an auction for all of Sports Authority’s store leases will take place at a later date. A liquidation group won a May 16 auction for the company’s assets, according to the paper.

In June, Sports Authority’s chief competitor, Dick’s Sporting Goods, announced it had won an auction for the rights to the intellectual property of its rival.

Gas stations gone

Two shuttered gas stations have been taken down in Billings, but the future of the two sites remains unclear.

A former Stockton Oil Co. station has been razed at 1239 S. 27th St., and work continues at the site. The site was apparently sold, but information about plans for the spot wasn’t immediately available.

Also, the gas pumps at the 3G’s station at the corner of Monad Road and 24th Street West have been removed, and the property is vacant. A 3G’s representative said the property has been sold but had no additional information.

New Laurel branch

Western Security Bank is building a new Laurel branch across the street from its current location at 20 Montana Ave.

Mike Seppala, president of Western Security Bank, said the new branch will be about 7,400 square feet, or about double the size of the current branch. It will give the 14 employees and customers more space to operate, he added.

“We’re always looking to make life easier on our customers. We’ve got a full array of mobile banking, Internet banking. It’s our commitment to the community of Laurel that drives us to build the building,” he said.

The new branch will open in the beginning of 2017, Seppala said.

Billings-based Dick Anderson Construction is building the new branch on the vacant lot behind New Life Foursquare Ministries. The site was the former home of Merchant Apartments, which were torn down after a fire about two decades ago.

Western Security first opened its Laurel branch in 1995. The bank will look to lease the current building.

Western Security Bank has seven branches in Billings and Laurel. The bank is a division of Kalispell-based Glacier Bancorp, one of Montana’s two largest banking companies.

Hastings gift cards expiring

Remember Hastings customers: Use your gift cards before they expire Wednesday. 

The Texas-based retailer announced the plan last month as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy announcement. All Hastings stores, including the one at 1603 Grand Ave. in West Park Promenade in Billings, remain open.

Company officials say they are seeking a buyer for their stores.  

Warrant scam

The Billings Police Department is warning area residents of a warrant scam coming over the phone.

The scammers contact people saying they have a warrant for their arrest, then insist they can “fix” the situation with a debit card, according to police.

The callers will provide the addresses of local law enforcement office to try to convince people they are legitimate, police say.

Authorities add that police may contact people over the phone to alert them of a warrant, but officers will never ask for any payment over the phone.

Law enforcement advises people to never provide credit or debit card information, Social Security numbers or date of birth information over the phone.

Haikus from the valley

Some Uber good news

For riders in Montana

Less so for taxis

Editor's note (July 12): A previous version of this column misstated the contractor building the new Western Security Bank in Laurel. Dick Anderson Construction is the contractor.

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