Red Lodge’s iconic bookshop to close

Photo by Alastair Baker Kathy and Gary Robson of Red Lodge Books & Teas will be moving the business to Billings later this year.

The closing of Red Lodge Books & Teas has finished a 30-year chapter with the town. Owners Gary and Kathy Robson will be moving the business to downtown Billings in June and will open later this year.

The business, which has been in Red Lodge since 1986, was recently purchased by a new bookstore co-op in Billings. Gary Robson has been hired as its general manager.

Also going with the book inventory will be the large selections of teas that will continue to be run by their son Doug. The tea bar will continue online and some teas will be available to purchase in Red Lodge stores.

The new store will be larger but the focus will remain similar: regional authors and topics, educational books, nature and science, classics and a children’s section. The couple plans to open up the upstairs floor space to local artists and to convert the kitchen on the premises into a working one with a small café area.

“We’ve been working on the bookstore co-op for over a year,” said co-op board president Carrie La Sur., “and it’s all finally coming together. We have a great location downtown and Gary is the perfect general manager to bring all of our plans to life.”

“Red Lodge has been my life for the last 15 tears,” said Gary Robson, “and I intend to continue to support Red Lodge authors and readers from the new store in Billings.”

Gary Robson’s book company Proseyr Publishing will continue as usual.

The couple will still reside in Red Lodge and continue to support the local business community, events and work on the Chamber of Commerce.

For those Red Lodge Books customers with Frequent Reader Credits there will be plenty of time to use them before the store moves in June.

“We're going to miss Red Lodge a lot,” said the Robsons’. “Fifteen years is a long time to run a store. Red Lodge has treated us well, and we love being involved in everything going on downtown.”

The tobacco products are being discontinued. The Robsons’ are planning to hold a closeout deal on cigars, pipes, hookahs, and vape liquids.

The co-op is open to anyone who wishes to become a member, with voting shares selling for $100 and dividend shares for $500. For more information about joining, call Gary Robson at (406) 446-2742 or email BillingsBookstore@gmail.com.