Back in 1904, cowboys, farmers, ranch hands and others gathered at the Lake Creek General Store, backed up to the pot bellied stove, warmed their back sides, swapped stories, grabbed some grub and headed back out to the range. It was then as it is today, a gathering place for the community.
Back then, as today, you were likely to serve a customer wearing spurs and covered with range dust. But some things haven’t changed during that century of serving customers. At the top of the list is customer service, because, then as now, management wanted a customer to come back.
Today, the clientele is slightly different, but there are still those ranch hands that stop by for breakfast, lunch and the occasional ice cream soda. And management is different too. And the looks of the building has changed, some because of necessity, some because the old building needed major work. Long time customers will recall the wood floors, with the slope toward the south, the old windows and broken down porch. Today, after major renovation, the floor is level, the doors and windows insulated and the ice cream parlor is bright and very welcoming.
The Lake Creek General Store and Ice Cream Parlor is celebrating four years since the remodel and they are doing it in a special way. They will be cutting a cake and serving their customers on July 27. A slice of cake will be accompanied by a chance to win some fabulous prizes which include Montana Silver Smith Jewelry, a unique and expensive purse, and Montana Mike horn mounting kit.
For those that have not set foot inside the store since the remodel, there is a surprise waiting. Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say there are several surprises. The store is clean and bright with neatly stocked shelves for those there to shop for groceries. There are racks featuring the exquisite art of Theresa Schleigh in one corner of the building and a new rack of hunting optics with such names as Kowa and Leica; names that most sportsmen know and trust.
Unusual for a store of its size is a rack featuring some of the more unique purses available in the valley. Silver is also a big thing at the Lake Creek General Store and shoppers can find unique gifts and other items ranging watches to earrings. The shopper will find these items at a very reasonable price, another to drive just a few miles to visit the store—that and the wide range of gift items available there.
Since the re-opening, the ice cream parlor has been expanded and features real antique stools that could have been found in a real 1904 parlor. But the food is the draw, and the menu now features those large hot dogs that the staff says guys love and the fresh sandwiches. Of course, biscuits and gravy is on the menu as well as a large number of menu items that are seasonal. One of the larger groups frequenting the place, especially in the fall is the hunters, who love their chili. Donuts are a specialty on Fridays.
The store is open 7 a. m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a. m. to 7 p. m. on Sundays. Mondays they are closed. Those are the summer hours, winter hours are slightly different.
The Lake Creek General Store and Ice Cream Parlor is special. In a sense, it is a throwback to a bygone era, and that’s not a bad thing, it is refreshing. It is a place to pause and reflect, to allow life to catch up to you, to catch up with old friends. In just a few words, it is comfortable. And as they like to say there, “It is the home of unique gifts and old fashioned hospitality.