Riggs Camera and Gifts
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Posted by Gene Larson (+271) 11 years ago
As I was walking around town today I was dismayed to hear that Riggs Camera and Gifts is going out of business. Details should be in tonight's Miles City Star.
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Posted by David Schott (+18059) 11 years ago
That stinks.
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Posted by julieinmc (+517) 11 years ago
The Hallmark store near my Dad's home in Lake San Marcos, CA is also closing. My guess is this has more to do with Hallmark than Riggs.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 11 years ago
No, no, no!
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Posted by Stacie Miller (+242) 11 years ago
Are you kidding me?! I love their store!
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Posted by Julie (+419) 11 years ago
Among reasons for their demise.....Walmart.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15310) 11 years ago
Among reasons for their demise.....Walmart.


It is sad to see them go. However, they were partially responsible for the demise of Western Pharmacy. Just sayin'.
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Posted by Gomer (+44) 11 years ago
You beat me to it Julie.
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Posted by ocne (+477) 11 years ago
I too was very bummed to hear this!!!

They are the only place in town I go to to purchase my photo mats, plus John has been great help & proved to be a good eye with my own photos. Its also the place I go for greeting cards the most--they have the best selection in town!

This stinks....
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 11 years ago
Something I was recently made aware of is that their greeting cards are actually less expensive than Walmart's. Walmart has good prices on a lot of things but they raise the prices on things that you don't normally compare prices on.
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Posted by Shu (+1794) 11 years ago
This news bums me out, as well. Riggs is one of the icons of Miles City, to me. I grew up going there with my folks or by myself. I loved seeing the "museum" of classic photos they had on display whenever I went in there to do business in my youger days (mostly photo developing). Photos of: David Rivenes doing his KYUS work, Coach Glenn Hagemann being carried by his players while holding the Sacred Heart football state championship trophy aloft, CW Wilcox calling a ballgame, and a few others. Much like the recent closing of Miles City Laundry and the further-back closing of Thompson Rexall Drug store, this one hurts.
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Posted by Kacey (+3159) 11 years ago
I wonder if they can remain a store but not a Hallmark store. I know Hallmark has closed many stores.
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Posted by minime (+143) 11 years ago
well the empty building would be a great place for a new casino. seems like we need a couple more anyway.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 11 years ago
Nevermind.

[This message has been edited by Wendy Wilson (8/31/2011)]
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Posted by David Schott (+18059) 11 years ago
It's in the Star:

Miles City Star: "Riggs: End of an era; Main Street store closing doors after 42 years"

Riggs: End of an era; Main Street store closing doors after 42 years

By Elaine Forman
After 42 years as a Main Street fixture, John and Pam Riggs have decided to close Riggs Camera and Gifts.
"Our business model is gone," John said, referring to the store's original focus of collectibles, photography and a wedding registry with their china and crystal lines.
Riggs carried many lines of collectibles like Hummels, Precious Moments and Fenton Art Glass, but the collectible market died, he said.
People aren't buying or using formal dinnerware anymore, and digital photography wiped out the photography business.
"At our high point, we developed 16,000 rolls of film a year. Last year we did 800," John said.
He guesses it took 30 years or so for cars to replace horses, but it only took four years for digital photography to wipe out the film industry.
He said they started a website so people could order their prints online, but many people are no longer printing their digital images, he said.
Also, what John called "the Wal-Mart Syndrome," happened.
"It's happened to every small town in America," he said.
They tried making changes to the business.
"We tried to address everyone's needs. ... We made all the necessary adjustments to keep the business going," Pam said.
Still, they could not generate the business traffic.
Of the development, John said society changes in time. "It's progress."
"In all roads there is a turn," Pam said.
The tuxedo rentals are no longer done except for two weddings that are already booked.
There will be no more passport pictures taken and no more camera lessons given.
But the Riggs family has enjoyed the privilege of serving Miles City and the surrounding area.
"We are so thankful for our loyal customers," Pam said. "We helped celebrate all the milestones in people's lives. Every time you had a birthday, we were there. Every time you had a marriage, we were there with either a card or by developing the film. Every time there was a new baby or a death in the family, we were there," Pam said.
"It's been a hard business, but it's a good business," John said. We've hired lots of people over the years," John said. At their peak, they employed 11 people.


HISTORY
Bob and Margaret Riggs started the camera, Hallmark and gift store in May 1969 with their sons, John and Larry.
For a time, they also operated a store in Glendive.
In about 1982 they expanded west into the former Sweetbriar's building, doubling the size of their store.
The Riggs own both buildings.
The western half is possibly the oldest wooden building left on Main Street. John believes the building was made from the keel of a wrecked paddleboat.
It was Epsteins clothing store, then Sweetbriar's, then Riggs.
It has the first fur vault in the state of Montana. People from Billings used to bring their fur coats to store in the vault. It is made of concrete and remains in the basement.
Upstairs there are 32 small rooms with buzzers inside each one. It is believed to have been a brothel at one time. John thinks it may have been a boarding house and maybe a theater, too.
When combining the two buildings, they found a key ring between the walls that read "Johnson's Boarding House."
Margaret Riggs took some of the wood from the wall, where they cut through, to build the counters that they still use today.
The eastern half of the building is a four-course brick building. At one time it was the Friend's Shoe Shop.
Bob died in 1995. John and Pam bought the business in 1997. Margaret died this year.


LIQUIDATION
Riggs will have a progressive liquidation sale, starting with 20 percent off during the month of September.
"Everything's for sale, except for my wife .... and my daughter," John laughed.
They are guessing they will be closing around Christmas, but they aren't sure.
"This is the first time we've done this," he said.
John, Pam and their daughter, Angela, are focusing on the sale, then they will consider the next step. They don't have any future plans yet.
The Riggs family is grateful for the support they've received over the years.
"We are very appreciative. We have such wonderful, loyal customers," Pam said.
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Posted by Leann (+184) 11 years ago
Walmart has nothing to do with Main Street business closing. In case you haven't noticed lately Walmart is also not doing as great at is use to. It's been said many of times that if it wheren't for the grocery part of the store we wouldn't have a Walmart. There is a lot of things Miles City Walmart doesn't keep in stock and Billings Walmart does. Miles City is just starting to be a town where one has to do online shopping for everything but food.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12279) 11 years ago
Walmart does have a lot to do with Rigg's closing but not in the way you think. Hallmark has chosen for reasons of corporate profit--and the only reason for a corporation to exist is to make a profit so it is a perfectly logical reason--to favor their big box accounts over their traditional "Gold Crown" accounts.

There is much more money to be made providing a bazillion cards for Walmart than a few million for mom and pop stores. Especially since people are paying HIGHER prices at Walmart than at traditional Hallmark stores due to the perception that Walmart is always cheaper. (Hint: it isn't.)

Hallmark stores are closing all over the place because of this corporate decision. Rigg's is not alone. It makes me literally sick to my stomach to see Rigg's close but just as the buggy whip manufacturers went out of business, the gift and camera and card shops are shutting down.
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Posted by Forsyth Mike (+483) 11 years ago
This is sad news. My wife and I come to MC quite often and I liked to go into Riggs to browse around while she shopped at Maurice's. Now I guess I'll have to drive out to Steadman's. (Which is very dangerous....every time I go into that place I seem to come out with a TV or something!)

[This message has been edited by Forsyth Mike (8/31/2011)]
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Posted by Chris Gamrath (+385) 11 years ago
Like a lot of other businesses in Miles City, it will be very sad to see yet another one fall to the ever expanding corporate/online America. It would be different if there was at least a halfways decent chance of something new and exciting waiting to take Rigg's spot on Main Street, but call me skeptic. I know Miles City has been hit for a long time with the inability to grow and thrive like so many other small towns across America, but I do have to say that ThIS particular closing hits a little closer to home then others.

Thankyou to John and family for all your hard work over the years in bringing a high standard of quality to your patrons both in product AND service, and for being what I consider to be a landmark of my generation in Miles City.
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Posted by Maryann McDaniel (+249) 11 years ago
Yes, thank you to the Riggs family. Sorry to see you close. Very interesting history about the building. I remember the Sweetbriar and other stores and hate to hear of any demise....Lived in Miles City 1964-1970ish
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Posted by billiam79 (+21) 11 years ago
I hate to see Riggs close and I really hate Wal-mart making me shop there.
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Posted by Nancy Okerman (+223) 11 years ago
Me too!!
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