Red Lodge’s Gary Robson to Head Billings Bookstore Co-operative

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Longtime indie bookstore owner Gary Robson has been selected to lead the new Billings Bookstore Co-operative in Billings, Montana. Set to open this summer, the co-operative will acquire the assets of Robson’s nearby independent bookstore, Red Lodge Books & Tea, which will close next month.

“We’ve been working on the bookstore co-op for over a year,” said co-op board president Carrie La Seur, a local attorney and author of The Home Place (William Morrow). “All of the pieces are falling into place. We have a great location downtown and Gary is the perfect general manager to bring all of our plans to life. Hiring him and buying the assets of Red Lodge Books & Tea significantly reduces the time it will take to get the Billings bookstore up and running.”

La Seur and Robson are among a number of authors who have signed on as co-op shareholders. Co-op membership is open to anyone; voting shares are available for $100 and preferred shares can be purchased for $500.

“I’m looking forward to an exciting new challenge in Billings,” said Robson, author of the Who Pooped in the Park children’s book series, which has sold more than 400,000 copies. “Being a part of a larger community — and being located just down the street from Montana State University Billings, Rocky Mountain College, and the Billings Library — gives us a whole new set of opportunities that don’t exist in a small town like Red Lodge.”

The full-service bookstore, designed to be a destination for book-lovers, will offer an inventory of books by regional authors, educational books, classics, and children’s books. Free events will include author appearances, educational seminars, poetry readings, game nights, children’s book readings, and tea tastings, and a meeting space will host writing groups and other community organizations.

Red Lodge Books & Tea opened as the Broadway Bookstore in 1986 and was purchased in 2001 by Gary and Kathy Robson, who renamed and expanded the store and redirected its focus to books, games, and tea. Its inventory will be moved to the new bookstore in Billings and its tea bar will serve as the new store’s café.