Hangin’ it up: Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters to close Billings location
After 38 years in business, Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters in Billings, Montana, is closing its doors sometime this summer. It’s not the end for Lou Taubert’s legacy, nor was it the beginning.
In 1919, C.W. Taubert created a mercantile in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, selling turpentine, gloves, horseshoe nails and things ranchers may need, C.W.’s grandson Louis said. Prior to opening the mercantile, C.W. had quite a journey that began as a teenager in Germany. He was one of the lucky to witness Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. From that show, he decided he wanted to become a cowboy.
“He came over from Germany by himself as a young man—he might have been 15 years old. He stowed away on a ship and came over to Staten Island. He didn’t speak any English. Then he got on a prairie spooner to go to Wyoming,” Louis said.
In 1947, C.W.’s son Lou plugged in the distinctive Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters neon sign and swung open the doors to the new location in downtown Casper, Wyoming. Carlene, within the third generation of Tauberts, opened the location in Billing in 1979. Her sister Anita has primarily operated the Billings location for three decades.
Both stores are currently operated by five of the six siblings that make up the third generation of Tauberts: Louis, Carlene, Anita, Frieda, and Robert. The eldest, Kurt, doesn’t work in the storefront.
“My daddy always said, ‘If you take care of the business, the business will take care of you,’” Anita said. “We have worked very hard, loved our work passionately, the business has been very successful, and it’s time now to enjoy a bit more of life.”
The store is still currently successful, so closing its doors is bittersweet for the family.
“It’s hard to close down a business that is doing well. We’re going out on top; it’s kind of our exit plan,” Louis said. “There has not been another store like that in any other part of the country. You could pick that store up and sit it down in New York City, Rodeo Drive, or any part of California, and it would do well. It was pretty classy; she’s quite a merchandiser, which will help down here.”
By closing only the Montana store, more focus and energy can be put into the Wyoming store allowing herself and her five siblings “more free time to go to the ranch, ride, be with family, enjoy the great outdoors, and enjoy a few more sunsets.” The ranch is located in Ft. Laramie and operated by the same generation that runs the stores.
“With Anita coming down here, we’ll all have a little more time off. We all work six to seven days a week,” Louis said. “We like to go to the ranch and ride horses, and in the retail business, you don’t have much time off. This will free up a little time for me and my other sisters and brother down here. It’s going to be a good process.”
The storefront in Casper will remain open for many years, celebrating 100 years in 2019. None of the fourth generation of Tauberts have expressed interest in the business, each blazing their own trail in respective fields.
“They’ve found other passions. They’re probably smarter than we are; they want to enjoy life a little more. They all enjoy what they do, and they’re doing well at what they do,” Louis said of his children and nieces and nephews. “They did grow up working in the stores and learned how to work; that’s one of the reasons they’re probably successful in what they do. They’re not afraid.”
Both Anita and Louis expressed gratitude to customers of many years. They both hope to see many Big Sky Country folks in the Casper Lou Taubert location.
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