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Even though they’ve been open for months, four businesses in a remodeled strip mall at 2010 Grand Ave. are holding a party Sept. 29.

Cutie Patootie Boutique and Bridal, In Good Glazes, Blown Away Salon & Spa and Lê Fete are holding a joint grand opening.

“We’re having specials in each store. I’m having a clown and face painting, a circus atmosphere,” said Cutie Patootie owner Julie Marcovitz, who carries girls’ “princess” clothing, including dancewear, wedding and prom dresses, women’s jeans and more.

In Good Glazes is a ceramics and art store, and Blown Away Salon & Spa opened in May.

Lê Fete opened in March, and owner Kathleen Wagnild uses her own version of the French spelling for party.

“I’m a florist and an event planner: parties, graduations, weddings, baptisms, everything,” she said.

To encourage shopping at mom-and-pop businesses, Marcovitz will be selling some “Buy Local” and “Save the Hickonomy” T-shirts.

Dancing troubles away

The Stage Stop Café in Roundup opened in July.

Now, the 3,000-square-foot dance floor that owner Bert Holmes and friends have been building has opened.

“We’ve been working on this floor since August and September of last year,” he said.

The first dance was held Saturday night and featured local bands, including The Don Belcher Band. The dance floor was dedicated to the late Belcher.

The pine flooring came from

the Gephardt family sawmill in Roundup.

Local victims of the floods of 2011, including The Stage Stop, seem to be doing well, Holmes said, but folks hit by fire this year have a long recovery ahead.

“It’s crazy. You go from floods to fires. What’s next?” he said.

Out and about

Avitus Group, which handles human resources, payroll and benefits issues for companies, has moved from 550 S. 24th St. W. into the seventh and eighth floors of the Wells Fargo tower in downtown Billings.

“Our company is expanding and growing, and we needed a larger space,” said spokeswoman Dianne Parker.

Avitus, which started in 1996, employs more than 100 people, with 81 working out of Billings. The move added 6,000 square feet of office space.

By the numbers

28 percent: The percentage of U.S. households that either don’t use banks or are under-banked, meaning they rely on check cashing services or payday loans for liquidity. That’s according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Sept. 12 survey. The survey found that more than 8 percent of U.S. households, or 10 million, don’t use bank accounts.

$43.5 billion: The amount of credit card debt Americans are expected to rack up this year, according to

$6,700: The average U.S. household credit card debt.

2 years: The time it would take to pay off $6,700 in credit card debt at an average rate of 12.95 percent per year, available to people with excellent credit. That’s means paying $319 per month and a total of $946 in interest, CardHub said.

Scams du jour

Outsourcing jobs to India confused one Billings resident who almost turned over complete control of her home computer to a “computer tech,” who wanted to remotely fix viruses he claimed were taking over.

When Becky Wiehe received a call from First PC Solution in Santa Ana, Calif., she heard an Indian accent but let the caller log onto her computer anyway thinking, he was affiliated with her real tech support company, iYogi, which also works mostly out of India.

After the First PC guy had deleted her iYogi account, Wiehe realized that this probably was a scam and cut off access.

“It all got very strange and, at the end he was totally rude and wished me luck when my computer crashed,” she said, which never happened.

Her credit card accounts did not get hacked. But Wiehe is left wondering about international outsourcing. How does the customer know who she’s talking to, especially overseas?

“You need the technical assistance, but how much security do you have?” Wiehe asked. “Fortunately, I didn’t give up anything but my pride.”

Eight complaints were logged at Scambook LLC against First PC Solution, mostly about frequent and pushy calls. One customer said the company charged $99.49 to her checking account without her permission, a charge that triggered another $34 in late fees.

Laugh lines

“My fan club has finally disbanded. The guy died.” — Phyllis Diller

“People change and forget to tell each other.” — Lillian Hellman

Source: The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said.

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Business editor for the Billings Gazette.