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Buttrey’s Department Store

By | Last Modified: November 14, 2017

Buttrey’s was a regional retail chain based in Great Falls, Montana that had operated two separate retail divisions: a grocery store division (Buttrey Food & Drug) and a department store division that primarily focused on ladies fashions (Buttrey Suburban).

Company History

The company was founded in Havre, Montana in 1896. It opened its first grocery store in 1935 and sold off its department store division following a 1966 acquisition by The Jewel Companies, which only included the grocery division.

Department Store Division

In September 1979, Minneapolis firm Schottenstein Stores bought controlling interest in the Buttrey’s department store division, then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Bismarck’s store closed soon after. At the time of bankruptcy, Buttrey’s operated department stores in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Kansas in addition to Bismarck and Minot, North Dakota.

Grocery Store Division

Its grocery division was sold again, as a separate company, in 1990 before Albertsons acquired it in 1998. At the time of its Albertsons purchase, Buttrey’s operated 44 stores in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

Local History

Buttrey’s established one of its department stores in Bismarck at 404 E Main Avenue in 1931. The store moved to the corner of 4th Street and Broadway Avenue in 1941, where it remained until 1974 when local competitor A.W. Lucas purchased the building for expansion. Buttrey’s then relocated to 218 N 4th Street.

While not confirmed, it’s like Buttrey’s closed its Bismarck store when the remnants of the department division closed in 1976.

Records indicate that Buttrey’s at one time also had a store in Mandan. In addition, Buttrey’s once operated department stores in Minot, Grand Forks, Dickinson, and Fargo.

In another local connection, Dan’s Supermarket sold off its Wyoming store to Buttrey’s Food & Drug in 1996.

I have been unable to confirm a lot of information regarding the store’s history, including when it officially closed. If you have any information regarding this matter, please contact me.

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