Gary Robson

Recent Posts

Bookstore board has good news, but struggles lie ahead


Owner-members of a cooperative bookstore in downtown Billings heard a bit of good news at the store’s annual meeting Wednesday night, but also some sobering statements about what might lie ahead. Carrie La Seur, board president for This House of Books, said that after months of losing money, the store had enough money last month to pay the rent and meet payroll without borrowing money, for the first time in three months. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Robson out as manager of This House of Books


Gary Robson is no longer the CEO and general manager of This House of Books in downtown Billings. Details are scarce, but apparently the independent cooperative bookstore has been struggling financially since it opened Oct. 1, and with the departure of Robson and the manager of the store’s new tea bar, there are only two full-time employees. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Downtown bookstore, still gearing up, hosts open house


Potential customers of and investors in a downtown Billings cooperative bookstore got a sneak peek at the space Thursday night. The two-hour open house at This House of Books, in the old Wendy’s at Second Avenue North and North 29th Street, attracted a steady flow of people. The event no doubt got a bit of a boost from the Pita Pit-hosted Alive After 5 concert, which drew hundreds of people to the stretch of Second Avenue between North 29th and Broadway. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bookstore video explains ‘cooperative’ concept


If you’re wondering exactly what a cooperative is, specifically as it relates to This House of Books, a cooperative bookstore that is hoping to open by Sept. 1 in downtown Billings, here’s a video you’ll enjoy. It is a conversation between Gary Robson, who will be managing the store, and Precious McKenzie, vice president of the bookstore board of directors. They talk about why the cooperative model was chosen and what it means for potential investors and customers, and they also talk about how the store was named, among other topics. Continue Reading →

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Downtown co-op bookstore plans open house June 30

An open house for This House of Books, a community-owned bookstore going into downtown Billings, is scheduled for Thursday, June 30. The event will run from 5 to 7 p.m. in the old Wendy’s restaurant at Second Avenue North and North 29th Street. Local residents and potential members of the cooperative bookstore will be able to have a look at the building, meet people involved in the project and sample some of the teas that will be featured in the store’s tea bar. Light snacks will also be served. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Red Lodge Books owner to run new Billings co-op bookstore


The longtime owner of a popular bookstore in Red Lodge has been hired to manage a cooperative bookstore that supporters hope to open this summer in downtown Billings. The Billings Bookstore Cooperative is also buying the entire inventory of Gary Robson’s Red Lodge Books & Tea, which should greatly accelerate plans for the Billings store. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘Cranktown U.S.A.’—the myth that won’t die


This morning on Facebook, Gary Robson, the owner of Red Lodge Books & Tea, shared a link to my latest story on the Red Lodge police drug raid in Bearcreek. Gary had some interesting things to say, as always, but what really caught my eye was the ensuing discussion of how the perception of crime in a given community affects tourism. One commenter said there was no effect on visitation after “Billings was called ‘Cranktown USA’ on the cover of TIME magazine.” I already added my two cents on that page, but allow me to elaborate here, because this was, for me, a fascinating experience in charting the invention and cultivation of myths. Way back in 2005, I did a multiple-day series of stories on the so-called meth epidemic in Billings. Continue Reading →

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