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Remembering the Cart Wheel as it prepares to close

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Posted at 11:02 AM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 13:19:01-04

GREAT FALLS — The Cart Wheel Casino & Liquor Store in Great Falls is closing its doors permanently after 59 years in business.

It temporarily closed on March 19th due to COVID-19 restrictions, and reopened for business on May 4th as restrictions were loosened.

Owner Joe McKenney says the COVID-19 pandemic is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

He will be working to reduce inventory over the next few days before closing the doors.

McKenney thanked employees and customers for their support over the years and said it's the relationships he will miss the most.

He noted, "It isn't so much about gambling, it isn't so much about winning money. It's a place to sit next to a friend and be served by people you know. We become friends."

People have been sharing memories of the Cart Wheel on the KRTV Facebook page; here are a few:

  • Patricia Scheifley: Met my husband there 56 years ago. Fun place
  • Brenda Kukay: Many many memories at the CW. A bit bittersweet
  • Pegi Rambo: Had a few there back when I was under age with a couple of great friends
  • RaNae Mitchell: Ah man! So much fun there!! Remember SawMill Creek band?
  • Vicki Forslund Bordieri: Oh boy, the trouble I got into in the 70's. Great fun.
  • Chris Blanchard: Sad, I had my first beer in that place like 18 years ago
  • Morgan Jules: Oh man! The end of an era! I grew up in this bar!
  • Mary M Duede: This is the first bar I ever went to in college😊
  • Sue Belote: Great memories, early 70's.....Applejack!

Customers who stop by before it closes will find a commemorative sticker on each bottle highlighting the store's 59 years in business.

The casino has already closed; the store hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. The business is at 1900 10th Avenue South.