Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors in Missoula is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a feat accomplished by very few businesses in the state. Over the past century, a lot of workers have earned paychecks at the company.

“They have provided jobs for thousands of college students over the years,” said Keith Dustrud, a buyer at the company. “They are a great place for outdoor loving youth to get their first job experience. However, they also have many employees that have worked here for many years. Several of our buyers have been at Ward’s for well over 30 years.”

Dustrud said Bob Ward’s focuses on contributing to community events and groups.

“They provide gear and expert advice to help Montanans and tourists alike to make the most of our beautiful outdoors and the many recreation and sport opportunities we have here,” Dustrud said. “They try very hard to promote from within as upper level positions become available.”

The company is still owned by the fourth-generation of the original Ward family.

“So even though the business has grown, it still retains that family feeling” Dustrud said. “What could be more fun than to go to work and interact with outdoor gear and our wonderful, outdoor, sport-loving guests?”

Employee Jesse Schafer made it clear that the company accommodates those with complicated schedules.

“I started in high school and they worked with my schedule when I was going to school out of town for two years and welcomed me back like family on holiday breaks and during summers,” Schafer said. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere to come to everyday because you know you’ll get to work with the best crew in town.”

Manager Allen Cain said the fact that the company is still locally-owned makes all the difference.

“Bob Ward’s is still a Mom and Pop company at its core, not bogged down by corporate agendas,” he said.