Amanda Reichelt stops at Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas every day, sometimes every four hours.

It’s been the routine for the last four months for the 25-year-old paint specialist at S-bar-S Supply Co. in Lockwood. Reichelt first learned of the new shop, whose walls are covered with oil paintings, when owner Valerie Gilbertson came to her for supplies last fall to prepare to open.

“It’s really awesome because we don’t have to go to town to go to a coffee shop. If you have a meeting, you have it here,” Reichelt said Wednesday after ordering her favorite drink, a Lockwood Latte, mixed with sweet wisps of caramel and toasted marshmallows.

Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas opened Nov. 1 in at 2860 Old Hardin Road suite E in Lockwood, bringing a unique destination for locals to enjoy. The shop combines coffee from Big Sky Roasters with the growing concept of sip-and-paint, where groups come in for sessions to create their own paintings.

Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas is atypical for a Lockwood storefront. The walls are covered with dozens of bright, fresh paintings. On the left wall, two dandelions stand in front of a red and purple background in a painting titled “Wishes for Weeds.” A rainbow canvas painting hangs from a wall about 10 feet away, and the bathroom is adorned with another dozen pieces of work.

They’re all the work of Gilbertson, who said she only picked up painting last Mother’s Day while attending a session at another sip and paint.

“I became crazy after that. I’d never painted before,” said Gilbertson, who now instructs people on how to replicate her work.

Lockwood residents Gilbertson and her husband, Paul, have owned Yellowstone Lawn Services since 2002. Gilbertson said she was ready for a change.

“We’ve had the lawn business for 14 years, and I’m tired of bouncing around on mowers,” she said.

While unincorporated, rural Lockwood seems an unusual place for an art business, Gilbertson says it’s working in the spot behind First Interstate Bank.

Some have suggested Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas would work better in downtown Billings or the West End, but Gilbertson is having none of that.

“I’m like, ‘I don’t live in downtown, though.’ I’ve been embraced by the (Lockwood) community,” Gilbertson said.

Sip-and-paint wine shops have sprouted up in recent years nationwide aimed at attracting primarily young professionals for a relaxing night out. The idea is growing in Yellowstone County.

Last year, Buffalo Jump Sip and Paint opened on Billings West End, providing libations from a Wyoming winery and step-by-step instruction from local artists. The downtown Yellowstone Art Museum also hosts similar sip and paint events.

Other places in Billings, such as In Good Glazes and Crooked Line Studio, have open studios for rent with instructors in painting and glassware.

Gilbertson, who doesn’t drink, wanted to put her own spin on the idea. With coffee, the shop is open to a wider market, and she’s spared the cost of a pricey liquor license. She installed a drive-through to encourage more people to grab cups of coffee on the go.

Gilbertson said she spent about $60,000 to open the shop at the former home of the Sweetheart bread store. She financed the business through First Interstate Bank.

Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas has five employees. Prices range from $10 for groups larger than 20 painting an 8-by-10 canvas, up to $35 for small groups for a 16-by-20 painting.

Gilbertson keeps a schedule on her Facebook page.

Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas has also served as a meeting place for community groups, including a Lockwood parent-teacher association and other service groups.

Customers say they enjoy the atmosphere at Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas.

During the Wednesday noon hour, Olivia Dolan, 20, was at the shop working on a painting of yellow sunflower. A Billings Heights resident, Dolan came to Yellowstone Coffee and Canvas with friends who work there.

The business is a nice addition to the community, said Dolan, a phlebotomist at BioLife Plasma in Billings.

“This is fun. It’s a nice, relaxing environment. No pressure on you,” she said.


Business reporter for The Billings Gazette.