In June 2019 a hailstorm “the likes of which we haven’t seen in 50 years” cut a destructive path through town. As a result, several properties have been under repair with some receiving additional upgrades that bring a freshness to the area.
Curry’s Market is one such business. While hail damage created a need, owner Wendy Judisch used the opportunity to make some needed improvements to the nearly 70-year-old store. New roofing, siding, decorative stone on the storefront, and a refurbished sign have given the store a fresh but classic look.
“Most of the recent updates came about as a result of the hailstorm. The existing metal roof and siding was not able to be insured for replacement value, but did suffer damage and needed to be replaced. The window trim, sign and air conditioning units were also damaged. Parts were unavailable for the air conditioning units, so a new HVAC system had to be installed. We also spray foam insulated the exterior and blew in insulation in the attic,” explained Wendy.
The new look is one of many changes that have been made to Curry’s Market over the years. Originally built by Jim and Dorothy Curry in 1951-52, it was known as the Valier Co-op. Previously, the Valier Co-op where Jim worked was located on the current site of the U.S. Post Office. The building was condemned by the state, and the business was given one year to move. Jim, with the help from some of the co-op board members, built the new building.
According to Marie Offerdahl, “Either they (the co-op) would buy the building or Dad would buy the business. After one year the board of directors decided to get out of the grocery business. It has been Curry’s Market ever since.”
“In the beginning there was only one little ice chest in the store. I believe my grandma said it held ice cream. My grandfather custom butchered and in those days, he could sell his custom butchered meat through the store. They also carried clothing and ranch supplies I believe,” said Marie.
“In the beginning, there was also lots of trading that was done. Many people had chickens so they would trade their eggs for groceries. My grandparents would candle (use a light to check for embryos) all the eggs in the backroom, box them up and travel to Helena, Butte and Billings to sell the eggs. Another part of their business was the renting of meat lockers in the walk-in freezer. Many people did not have freezers like many of us do now so they would rent lockers from the store to keep their meat and other frozen goods in. We still have lockers that we rent.”
The old neon sign advertised Groceries, Meats, Lockers.”
Marie (Curry) and Kenny purchased the market from her parents in 1977 and owned it for 40 years.
“We purchased the store in June of 1977.....we were one month short of 40 years when we sold to Wendy,” shared Marie.
She and Kenny started the deli in the store. Original owner, Dorothy Curry, helped by making rolls from frozen Hoagie dough. The deli is still a unique part of Curry’s Market.
“We offer a wide variety of sandwiches in our deli - Hoagies, sandwiches, wraps and a wide selection of meats and cheeses. The meats and cheeses are also available for our shoppers to purchase as fresh deli meat,” reported Wendy. Included in the wide variety of sandwich ingredients is horseradish cheese and almost any vegetable available.
Wendy continued, “During that time, there were also many changes made to the building–new flooring, new shelving, new point of sale system, store front changes etc. While owned by Kenny and Marie, Curry’s also became a member of Associated Foods.”
Marie noted, “We did at least two facelifts to the store in those years and refurbished the same sign that Wendy just had done.”
You may have noticed the new sign looks vaguely familiar.
The refurbished sign is a reflection of what Curry’s Market offers today–Groceries, Meats, Deli.
“We felt like the old sign was iconic and wanted to make sure that it was a part of the store for years to come. The sign has new paint, new words and LED neon,” said Wendy.
This reporter noticed the new sign from the top of the hill at East Lake Road, a welcome beacon on a cold evening.
The upgrades are not complete. Wendy explained there is more work to do in the interior.
Due to the removal of the old heat/A/C systems, walls and ceilings need to be repaired and painted along with some flooring repairs, and a possible update to the checkout area.
Wendy concluded, “We love and appreciate our community and our customers. Many main street businesses have done beautiful upgrades over the past couple of years. We wanted to do our part to keep our main street looking beautiful and uniform. We want our customers to have a positive experience from the time they pull up to the store. We feel we offer great customer service, extremely competitive prices and ads. We have a great selection of groceries, meats, produce and deli and are always willing to bring in something that is requested from our customers. We also offer a large variety of gluten free items. We are considering offering a soup/sandwich combo through the winter.”
With a history like Curry’s Market, you can expect this business to be around for years to come.