Evergreen King’s Ace Hardware store is open at 1540 13th St West.

Over the past few months, the 34,000 square foot building has been the site of a massive half-million dollar remodel, converting it from the former IGA Grocery Store, to the largest King’s Ace Hardware store in the region. It will be the sixth store in the area, owned by Skip King who has been in the hardware business since he was a boy working alongside his father.

L-R Skip King, Owner Ace Hardware; Tyler Powers, Assistant Manager, Mike Albertson, Manager

If the interest in the neighborhood about what’s going on is any indication, the store will be a welcomed addition. In visiting with Skip King at the front door, people kept pulling off the street and into the parking lot to ask questions about the opening and what the plans are. That’s been going on all during construction, said King — people in the neighborhood wandering in and taking a look around and asking questions.

“I think the store is going to impress people when they walk in,” he said.

It’s not the first time that there has been a hardware store at this location in mid-town Billings. In the early 60s, the Odegaard family operated, quite successfully, a hardware store at the same location. King believes a need for a hardware store to serve that neighborhood still exists, and he spent a lot of time looking for the perfect site. When he heard the news that the IGA store was closing, he wasted no time in striking a deal for the property.

The store will employ about 30 people, most of whom are already in training at other King Ace Hardware stores. Its manager will be Mike Albertson, and assistant manager is Tyler Powers.

King’s Ace Hardware also engages many high school students with their stores, giving them exposure to the retail business and on-hands experience, a program for which they are being recognized by the National Hardware Association.

King is especially excited, not only for the size of the new store, and the wide variety of wares that it can carry, but it has a large enough parking lot to allow for many activities that he’s always wanted to be able to do at his stores. Things like grilling demonstrations or pet grooming workshops, both of which are extensive departments in the new store. They have space enough that they may also be able to provide a community room.

The store will be the location of employee training, not just for King’s Ace Hardware stores but for Ace Hardware stores throughout Eastern Montana from Bozeman to Malta – events which often draw as many as 300 people to Billings. Ace Hardware is a buying group that serves a membership of store owners.

“It’s going to be a fun place,” said King. Adding to that mix will be something distinctively new for a King’s Ace Hardware, a soup and sandwich shop. To be operated by the Hoefle family — Stu, Cydney and Mitch — the shop will open sometime later than the hardware store. It will comprise about 2300 square feet of the same corner of the building in which IGA had a luncheon area.

Evergreen King’s Ace Hardware will be similar to the Zimmerman Trail store – a full service hardware store, but also featuring a Hallmark gift store and a Montana-made boutique.

The store will also have a large garden center with four green houses, to be open just in time for the spring gardening season.

A large grilling and patio section will feature a full line of Traeger grills. The store is one of only two sanctioned Traeger dealers in the state.

They will also feature a full line of Benjamin Moore Paints and offer basic lumber and building supplies. They will have the largest selection of fasteners in town.

King’s Ace Hardware is also a Honda dealer for power equipment.

Customers may also order on-line from the Ace Hardware website and have items shipped to the store postage free.


You must be logged in to post a comment.