BILLINGS – An era came to a close Wednesday as Big Bear Sports Center hosted its last sale in Billings.
The sale will run through May 5, or until everything is sold. The owners look to sale all of their fixtures, including display cases, mannequins and office supplies after more than a half-century of business.
“It’s an emotional time because we’ve been in Billings as long as we have,” said Bob Taylor, owner of Big Bear.
Taylor and his son, co-owner Brett Taylor, made the decision to close the doors for good after a standoff five months ago left both their building, and much of their merchandise, damaged.
This last sale is bittersweet, they said.
"It’s going to be a real adjustment because I’ve been with Big Bear for 52 years,” said Taylor. “Started in college and started sweeping the floors."
The Taylors plan to lease the building. It will be listed next week.
Taylor said that was something that set Big Bear apart, many loyal and long term employees.
“We’ve had a lot of long-term employees,” said Taylor. “I’m going to say that 40-plus years, we’ve probably had five. Thirty-plus years, probably eight or nine.”
As an employer, Taylor said employees were one of the biggest concerns, but he is happy to see so many moving on to new jobs in the area.
After so many years serving the community, Taylor said saying goodbye to their customers is difficult, and they are thankful for their support over the years.
“It’s just hard to call it an end but there is good in everything that is bad,” said Taylor. “I hope the community misses us…We really enjoyed how they’ve always supported us.”
Taylor doesn’t want anyone feeling sorry for them, because it’s just time to move on to the next phase of life. Taylor plans to retire, and spend more time with his sons and grandson.