For Bill Fiegel, it is a bright orange ‘pumpkin’ with four-wheel drive and room for six.
It also is one of the latest changes that the owner of the Silver Dollar Bar and Grill has made since he purchased the business more than a year ago.
He used some of the time when the pandemic forced bars to close throughout the state as an opportunity to revamp the interior, with new signs, new heating and air conditioning, along with a new roof.
He also opened up a drive-up window on the north wall of the business during the summer, also for people to drive up and pick up meals.
He purchased the business in November 2019. “I knew the previous two owners. It was a business that I enjoyed,” he explained. “The oil business is slowing down, so I decided to buy it.”
He knew going into the purchase that he wanted to make some changes. “The bar needed remodeling. They (the state) did shut us down for about two months and one week. That gave me an opportunity to remodel while we were shut down.... I mean everything.”
He said he has gotten a good response with the changes he has made to the bar. “It has been very well received by the community.
“Now, it is a nice, cozy, clean bar. It is a safe environment,” he said.
During the COVID situation, the new drive up window has helped with business a lot, he said. “We it is cold, people can stay in their cars and pick up their food. With the social distancing, they can order their food, then drive by and pick it up … never get out of their vehicle. That is pretty nice.”
His idea for a courtesy car came on a trip to Billings. He said he saw a car dealership vehicle with it being labeled as a courtesy vehicle that would take people home or pick them up.
He had already talked with people about having a taxi, but Fiegel said that he found that a taxi would not be able to focus on downtown. “In a taxi market, you are obligated to haul everybody.
“People like to come out and not worry about it (driving). It takes a lot of stress off your evening knowing that you have a safe free ride home.
“They can call here and we’ll go pick them up. When we have done a special event, we’ll go to their house and pick them up, bring them here and then bring them home,” he explained.
It is not just serving Bowman. “We have delivered guests to Rhame and to Scranton.” he said.
The courtesy service started shortly after Halloween, Fiegel explained.
“People know when they want a ride home. They’ll let us know about an hour ahead of time. We’ll make arrangements to take them home.”
The courtesy service has been pretty well accepted. “We pick people up at the motels and the truck stop because the truckers have no way to get downtown. They can’t drive because they are timed out on their miles and hours. We will pick them up and they can come down here and have dinner, some drinks and take them back to their truck,” he said. “Every motel in town has called up to pick people up.”
One thing that Fiegel has done is started working together with Darrell Mathews, the owner of Smokehouse 85. “Darrell has a unique product which I think is a good asset to Bowman. And I think businesses that work together grow together,” he explained.
In fact, the two businesses combined forces for a “Kitchen Takeover” about a week ago. We are going to work together and put a big band out here for the firemen (later this year). Darrell is going to do all the smoking and I will provide the land right here next to the building,” he said. “We are going to do some major events together.
Looking ahead, Fiegel said that he would soon build a deck along the northwestern edge of his property that can be used in a variety of way, including for live music. He also said that soon he will have a large digital LED message board which will help advertise the bar’s local just a block of Highway 85. “When they come over the overpass, they’ll see the sign and know that we a just a block away,” he said.
“Our whole goal is trying to pull people off Highway 85,” Fiegel said. “Highway 85 is an oilfield corridor with a lot of traffic.”
The new courtesy car will be like a proverbial pumpkin, taking people home when the evening is done, he added with a chuckle.