A prominent Billings West End building is gaining two new tenants this summer.
Randy Swenson, who owns the Montana Cycling building at 824 Shiloh Crossing Blvd., said last week he’s signed lease agreements with Orange Theory Fitness, a gym, and Your Pie, a fast-casual pizzeria franchise co-owned by his son, Parker Swenson.
Your Pie is a unique concept that allows customers to pick their toppings and crust, pop it in the oven and be ready to eat in just over three minutes, franchise co-owner Robert Meyer said.
Meyer, 49 of Billings, said he discovered Your Pie while traveling for business during his previous stint in health care. The pizza was a higher quality than other franchises, and Meyer said he thought it would work in Billings.
The arrival of Your Pie comes at a busy time for the pizza business in Billings. Two other national franchises, Marco’s Pizza and The Pizza Factory, have announced in the last month they’re seeking franchisees.
Parker Swenson, 24, said he noticed both announcements and is confident that Your Pie will stand out.
“We feel that we’re far enough along in the process. We’re pretty confident that (we’ll be) well-established, and have a good customer base,” he said.
Pizzas will be under $9, and Your Pie will also sell paninis, gelato and beer, Meyer said.
Your Pie requires a minimum net worth of $500,000, with $150,000 liquid. Swenson and Meyer said they expect to invest $500,000 to start the business.
Your Pie will operate in a 2,500-square-foot space, and Orange Theory Fitness, a Boca Raton, Fla-based franchise, will take about 3,500 additional square feet. About 1,400 square feet are remaining, Randy Swenson said.
The new additions are bringing life to the rare dark spot at Shiloh Crossing. The owners of Montana Cycling and Ski built their own building at the high-traffic location along King Avenue West and closed in 2013. A few temporary tenants cycled through, but the building remained mostly vacant.
Swenson bought the building in 2015.
In July 2016, locally owned Rustic Nail Bar and Day Spa moved into the eastern wing of the building. Swenson said he’s planning to renovate the empty space for his new tenants.
Chicken to go
The old KFC chicken restaurant in Billings Heights is being torn down, and a Town Pump casino and liquor store is going in its place.
Workers for Cucanic Construction are demolishing the existing site at 1524 Main St.
According to city building permits, the new, one-story structure will be 6,760 square feet and cost $975,000.
Bob & Lu's named champs
Bob & Lu’s Thrift in Livingston was recently named winner of the Small Business Championship by SCORE, a nonprofit business advocacy group.
The shop at 219 S. Main St. was one of 102 entrepreneurs honored and will receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, a trip for training and networking and mentoring and marketing from SCORE.
The business submitted an online application describing the most unique aspect of the business, their positive impact on the community and plans to use the prize to grow the shop, according to SCORE.
Joe and Cassandra Weisgerber bought Bob & Lu’s in October 2016. They put in wider aisles and better lighting to improve the customer experience, and they moved their charity, 3S Gives, inside the store, according to a SCORE release.
SCORE is a comprised of retired business executives who volunteer as mentors to younger entrepreneurs.
Negotiation training offered
The American Association of University Women and the MSU Billings Women’s and Gender Studies Center are hosting salary negotiation training 10 a.m. April 22 at the MSUB and City College campuses.
The free training is aimed at women, who, on average, earn less than their male peers, according to MSUB history professor Emily Arendt, a training facilitator.
She will be joined by Joy Barber and Gillette Vaira, who have conducted the training since 2015.
It’s also available to men who wish to improve their salary negotiating skills, Barber said in a news release.
Register online at http://aauw-mt.aauw.net/tart-mart-2/start-smart-locations/billings/
Haikus from the valley
A lifeline for coal
from Trump this week. Big question:
Will it save jobs?