History of Gusts


The doors to the present day location of Gusts of Big Timber opened in 1947 under the name Robbins & Gusts. After World War II, Mr. Robbins bought the location in Big Timber and sought out the help of Virgil Gust, whom had worked for him in South Dakota. In 1947, after serving in the Navy during World War II, Virgil came to Big Timber and partnered with Mr. Robbins. The partners named the store Robbins & Gusts. During Mr. Robbins and Virgil’s partnership the two acquired other stores in Manhattan, Livingston, and Conrad. In the late sixties Virgil took over sole ownership of the Big Timber and Manhattan locations. During the seventies, Virgil parted with the Manhattan and Laurel stores focusing his time and effort on the store in Big Timber, Montana, where his family resided.


Virgil and his wife Jane became embedded within the community, where the couple raised three beautiful children who attended Sweet Grass County High School. Virgil's two daughters, Susan and Sara, became Grizzlies at University of Montana and his son Ed became a Bobcat at Montana State University. As the years went by others began to fade into retirement and Virgil would have done the same if not for his love for the customers. Over 70 years of service and to this day Virgil is still going strong.  He just celebrated his 95th birthday and is still coming into work everyday with the same passion as when he served his country during World War II. During February of 2014 the ownership of the store was entrusted into the hands of Virgil’s two daughters Susan St. Germain and Sara McFarland who have children of their own, each of whom has taken an interest in helping shape the store of today. Gusts of Big Timber truly is a family affair!


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