One Stop Video

One Stop Video in Great Falls

One Stop Video — just a few blocks away from where I live — is going to close in a few weeks.

I had never been in there until last week, but occasionally when driving by over the last few years, my wife would mention that she wanted to stop in and rent a movie, primarily for nostalgic reasons.

And that’s what a video store is in the year 2016, pretty much, for a lot of people. Roku, Netflix, Hulu Youtube and other online/streaming services make it so easy to watch a movie without ever even getting up from your couch,

And if you actually want a physical DVD, there’s a Redbox vending machine in front of or inside several grocery stores in town.

The last time I went into a video store to actually rent a movie was (IIRC) 2003, when there were not one, not two, but THREE video stores clustered near each other in Great Falls: Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, and Hastings. If memory serves, it was an X-Men movie, and to be honest, I’m not even sure I ever returned it. If I didn’t – sorry Blockbuster!

All within a few hundred feet of each other near the intersection of 10th Avenue South and 9th Street. You know – the area now known as the “Mattress District:-) .

The Blockbuster spot turned into Salad Creations, and is now zPizza. Hollywood Video is now Cafe Rio. Hastings moved to a new location just down the road.

The good news is that Paul Dockter – the very nice man who owns One Stop Video – told me that it isn’t economics and competition from streaming services driving his decision: he simply is ready to retire and relax a bit, after 28 years of running the business.

He was really grateful for all of his customers over the years – he said that many of them became friends, and he really enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people.

A lot of people left fond memories of the store on the KRTV Facebook post about it.

If you want to add to your video collection, head on down there soon – he’s selling it all!

He owns the building, and has already lined up a new tenant for the spot. I’m not at liberty (yet) to say what the new business is, but just in case you’re wondering: no, it won’t be a casino.

Here’s my write-up at KRTV.com.

One Stop Video in Great Falls

One Stop Video in Great Falls

Category: around town | Tags: ,

“Eye On Great Falls”

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Here’s a look at some of the changes happening in Great Falls, including new/relocating businesses, construction in progress, and other tidbits.

I love the “dynamics” of seeing change in our community. Sometimes it’s tinged with sadness, such as when Goode’s Q & Bayou Grill closed, or a building filled with “memories” is torn down, but it’s exciting to see new things springing up.

The Great Falls offices of the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management will soon move to a new facility near the intersection of 38th Street North and River Drive North. It’s a pretty cool looking building, as far as government offices go.

The former Ryan’s Station restaurant is now home to several small businesses. Texture Salon & Spa recently opened in the west side of the building, and the Pay Station casino is open in the center area. It’s a nice shop – friendly people. The area on the east side of the building will soon be home to a new Amy’s Morning Perk location; it is expected to open on Friday, April 1st, and will feature both an indoor dining area and a drive-thru. I met Amy – she’s very excited about the new spot. She recently closed her location in the mall, but the original “log cabin” spot on Northwest Bypass is still going strong.

The west-side McDonald’s has been demolished, and construction of its replacement is underway.

Still no official word on if/what might go into the space in between TJ Maxx and Staples on the NW side. I’ve heard two persistent rumors: Ulta and Harbor Freight. But still nothing official. Until the rumors started a few months ago, I had never heard of either. But holy cow – some of my friends and co-workers get positively giddy at the mere thought of an Ulta store in Great Falls!

The Townhouse Inn on 10th Avenue South in Great Falls has closed its doors and the process of tearing down the building has begun. New convenience store and casino coming to that location, and I believe a new hotel will be built in between Dahlquist Realty and the Holiday convenience store on the far west end of 10th Avenue South, where a long time ago the Kanga Inn used to be.

The building that once housed TJ’s Lounge and Godfather’s Pizza in Great Falls is being torn down, and construction of the “Cash Out Casino” is underway at the corner of 10th Avenue South and 13th Street.

Crews are continuing work on the Voyageur Apartments building on Division Road, between 16th Avenue NW and Smelter Avenue. The Voyageur Apartments will be a multi-story complex designed for people age 55 and older. 

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will soon open a new location on the 400 block of Smelter Avenue NE on the lot that once housed Burger Master. I expect that traffic in and around this already-wonky intersection will be fairly intense, initially. Looking forward to it — I like their chicken, but having it so close instead of having to go on base (Malmstrom) will be pretty sweet!

Renovation and construction continues at the site that once was Vans grocery stores at 10th Avenue South and 32nd Street. The space is being turned into a Super 1 Foods grocery store. The project includes improvements to parking, landscaping, building facade, and expansion of the existing structure. I’ve heard lots of good things about Super 1 from folks who have shopped at their other locations.

Ground has been broken for the East End Retail Center near 10th Avenue South and 57th Street. The project will include a second Walmart for Great Falls. No idea yet what other shops will be in this space. I only hope that once it opens, traffic along Smelter in front of the existing Walmart will decrease!

The Sleep Number mattress store recently opened at 10th Avenue South and 9th Street. Just a few hundred feet away from the also recently-opened Mattress Firm. In the Great Falls Mattress District. Where people can buy mattresses.

I’m a little confused that both stores opened so close to each other in such a short amount of time, but other than that – more power to ’em. I’m very happy with the “Durango” bed that I sleep on every night – we bought it about five years ago at Denver Mattress. But when it comes time to buy a new bed, we likely will check out one or both of the new stores (prolly Mattress Firm first, because the manager is a nice guy). I appreciate having choices.

As for the casinos — I just don’t care. I’m fine with casinos, got no problem with them. I figure I spend about…maybe $50 a year or so playing games in a couple of restaurants after a meal. Other than that – I basically don’t think of them at all. But it always baffles me when I see SO MANY people complain about them and rant about there being too many casinos in Great Falls.

Seriously – why so upset? Why not rant about the number of retail locations that sell lottery tickets, too? Why get so worked up about something that not only probably doesn’t directly affect you negatively, but helps Montana retain its “no sales tax” status?

Category: around town

RIP, Hoagieville

Very sad news — Hoagieville has closed its Great Falls location. I saw an awful lot of hate on social media when it was announced — a lot of people didn’t like it, for some reason.

I did like Hoagieville — was rarely my first choice, primarily due to location, but the burgers, chicken, breakfast tacos, and fries were pretty darn good. And contrary to what I heard from so many people, the service was pretty awesome – super-friendly staff.

But I know the restaurant struggled during its 18 months in Great Falls — they tried advertising, they tinkered with the menu, they lowered some prices, but it just never worked.

Hoagieville was and is a big deal in Missoula, but just couldn’t catch fire here in Great Falls.

Thanks, Hoagieville – you tried, and I appreciated it!

So the next question is…what will move into the space? Before Hoagieville, it was a KFC. And given KFC’s summer-time re-opening on the west side (and much better than before!), could it once again be a KFC?

Hoagieville in Great Falls

Category: Great Falls Montana | Tags:

Dog Park!

Saturday was a good day for Ziggy and I to visit the dog park! Even pretty early in the morning, it was pretty packed full of pups!

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Category: Fluff

“Food with a side of Boobies!!!!”

So…if this post on Craiglist is legit, then things might get a little more interesting up in Carter: apparently the former Rocking K has a new owner who has turned it into a strip club.

New Club ParadiseLLC just opened we are a new club out in a remote location 23 miles away from great falls out on the old havre high way. We also serve food and were the only bar in the town so imagine the possibilities. We’re a hour and a half from Havre. We’re in farm land on a major highway, right by a fishing spot where there’s a lot of bored men just waiting to see you…….We have drinks and lap dances food, a DJ playing all the hottest tracks and taking request, and great environment…come check us out 23 miles from the city out in the cut can’t wait to see you all.

I don’t know why, but this sound like some sort of a prank. If it is true, then I’m sad — it’s been a while, but we really enjoyed our few visits to the Rocking K.

"New strip club open in Carter, Mt" (click for full size)

“New strip club open in Carter, Mt” (click for full size)

Category: Chouteau County | Tags: ,

Cold-Calling Mourners Via Snail Mail?

In the wake of the passing of my mother-in-law, everything seemed surreal for several days — time had little meaning, food had no flavor, and the memories of the first few days seem very fuzzy now.

We were, of course, overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and kindness from family members, friends, co-workers, and others.

Flowers, cards, meals — the kindness has been a beacon of happiness, and we are so grateful for the compassion from so many wonderful people.

But today brought us arguably the most unusual response to Carole’s passing: a letter from “J. Musanto.” Yes, an actual USPS-delivered letter.

Inside the envelope was a hand-written letter from J. Musanto offering condolences on our loss, along with some Bible passages meant to provide comfort.

The letter also recommended that we visit the website JW.org — the website for the Christian group known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The envelope also contained a mini-pamphlet extolling the virtues of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

And where did this letter come from? Toledo, Ohio. The return address on the envelope is 3725 W. Alexis Road, which according to Google Maps is the address for the Jehovah’s Witnesses temple (church?) in Toledo.

And my wife’s sister received a nearly identical letter today.

In case you’re wondering: no, we have never heard of J. Musanto, have never visited Toledo, and have had zero dealings with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So either this is a sincere letter from a long-lost friend of the family that my wife and her sister don’t remember — doubtful! — or the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Toledo HQ are so desperate to recruit new members that they apparently go trolling through online obituary notices and send cold-call letters to grieving family members in hopes of getting new blood.

Seriously – WTF?

Jehovah's Witnesses are sending "cold-calling" condolence letters...?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are sending “cold-calling” condolence letters…?

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