Maybe you missed the news earlier this summer that downtown Billings has a cool little grocery & convenience store called Lil Market. It's right next to the Valley Federal Credit Building on Broadway, just a few steps north of Skypoint.

I always thought it would be cool to have a bodega in Billings, mainly because I like the word "bodega". These smallish, neighborhood stores can often be found in bigger metropolis cities, serving the needs of residents and workers in high-density areas.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

The Lil Market is owned by Larry Mathew, the guy that owns the Mr Thrifty stores. I stopped by this week to check things out, and was generally impressed.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

For it's small size, the store has a surprisingly large selection of items. Basic grocery staples, frozen entrees, chips, crackers, a simple selection of fruit, laundry soap, personal products, etc.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

I didn't see a beer & wine section (that would be nice), and they don't have a butcher shop (like Poly Market), but otherwise they seem to carry just about anything you'd need in a pinch. Or for simple, after-work shopping when you'd really like to prevent a stop at the big grocery.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM

Since I work downtown, I love having this shopping option just a few minutes walk from our office. I don't have to get my car out of the parking garage, drive to the sketchy grocery store down the street (then reverse the process on the way back), just to grab a candy bar, a bag of chips, a frozen pot pie or a stick of deodorant.

I think Lil Market will be a great option for tourists visiting Billings and staying in the downtown hotels. My wife always needs something when we travel and it's usually a pain to find items near whatever hotel we're staying at.

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