Chalet Market, a long-standing Billings deli and gift shop, is changing hands this month, as owners Dean and Callie Cromwell prepare to retire from the business that Dean’s family started in 1981. New owners Julie and Ryan Johnson, also a husband-and-wife team, are relocating from Fort Collins, Colorado, to take over the reins.
The Johnsons have an extensive small-business background in the restaurant and catering industries. Ryan, a Billings native who grew up two blocks from Chalet Market, was excited for the opportunity to move back to Montana and be closer to family.
Their purchase of Chalet Market was made possible with the help of Yellowstone Bank and Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit that specializes in financing “nearly bankable” businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Johnsons saw a great opportunity in purchasing the Chalet Market because of its stellar reputation in the Billings community. Over the last 36 years, the market has become a destination for its selection of gourmet sandwiches, soups and homemade desserts, along with a wide selection of Made- in -Montana products and specialty seasonal items. The market has also become known for its elaborate holiday gift baskets, which the Johnsons are once again offering this year, both at their location at 327 N. 24th St. W., as well as at a kiosk at Rimrock Mall.
“December historically has been a bustling time at the market, and we are confident this year will be no exception,” Julie said. “People have already been coming in and purchasing our gift baskets and they can also order them directly through our website.”
“We’re inheriting a legacy – Chalet Market is known and loved by so many people here in Billings and everyone we’ve talked to tells us not to mess with their certain sandwich they order,” Ryan said, laughing. “We are excited to build on its tradition as a family-owned local business, and eventually we want to expand on some new concepts.”
Chalet Market has historically offered catering and is still licensed to do so. The Johnsons are excited to reintroduce this service to the Billings community. In addition, long-term plans are to add some specialty items and increase the selection of Montana-made gifts.
“Small businesses like Chalet Market are the backbones of strong, vibrant local economies, and we’re thrilled to support the Johnsons as they embark on this new adventure,” said Dave Glaser, President and CEO of Montana & Idaho CDC.
“The Billings community is lucky to have hard-working small-business owners like Julie and Ryan,” added Yellowstone Bank’s Vice President, Garrett Scott. “Yellowstone Bank is excited to help them get their start and can’t wait to see the business continue to grow and carry on the legacy that the Cromwells started.”