Montana’ first Phillips 66 brand convenience store is coming to Billings' West End.

Renovations are underway to convert the former Liberty gas station at the corner of Central Avenue and 24th Street West into a Don’s Xpress store, owner Gene Carlson said last week.

Carlson, a Billings resident, also owns the Don’s Car Wash and Conoco station on the other side of Central Avenue, and he said he saw a good opportunity when the property became available.

The Liberty station, 2344 Central Ave., was previously a Soco Express store owned by Billings-based Stockton Oil.

Carlson said he closed on the deal Oct. 1 before other competitors could snap up the prime location.

“We decided to pick it up before somebody else did. We’re not a big operator, and we wanted it before a bigger operator got it,” he said.

Carlson and his brother, Gary Carlson, own the Don’s family of seven auto service stations, which includes car washes, lube shops and now two convenience stores.

Carlson is gutting his new store, which will be called Don’s Central Xpress Center. A Subway restaurant inside has moved out, and contractors were working on the floors last week. Carlson estimated the renovations will cost six figures and be completed mid-January.

Through his Conoco contacts at his other station, Carlson said he learned of the opportunity to launch the Phillips 66 brand and the iconic highway sign logo.

Phillips 66 is the refining arm of ConocoPhillips, which also operates a refinery on the South Side.

The Carlsons have been involved in Don’s Xpress for 35 years, when they started working for their late father, Alvin Carlson, when he owned the business.

Don’t Central Xpress Center will have 10 employees when it opens.

“It’s a good location. We’re excited,” Carlson said.

Family Promise center

Renovations at the historic Galles Building on the Minnesota Avenue corridor should be completed at the end of January for a new home for a nonprofit center.

Jeff Kanning, of Family Promise of Billings, said workers have removed paint on the outside of the building at 10 S. 26th St.

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“A lot of it is framed up and sheet-rocked,” said Kanning, a board member for the nonprofit and principal architect for Billings-based Collaborative Designs.

The building will serve as a day center for Family Promise, which works with homeless families. There will be administrative offices for staff and office space for families to complete paper work and other tasks, he said.

The renovations should be completed in advance of the nonprofit’s big fundraiser, Beach Blizzard, on Feb. 13, Kanning said.

Out and about

  • The Cherry Berry frozen yogurt shop has apparently closed at 805 24th St. W. A sign on the outside is seeking a new tenant, and the phone number is disconnected.
  • WoodCo Custom Casework, a cabinet shop, has moved into a new spot at 4220 State Ave. The site was formerly home to South Side State Avenue IGA, which closed in 2013.
  • The new strip mall that houses Great Harvest Bread Co. at the corner of Central Avenue and 32nd Street West has another tenant. Petlantis, a day spa for animals, has moved in on the east end of the complex.

Haikus from the valley

Bye-bye Dakota

Your fleet feet, strong arm are gone

Good luck as a Duck

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