HAMILTON, Mont. -

It's a landmark year for a family owned and operated department store in Hamilton. Fords has been a mainstay on Main Street for 65 years.

Four generations of Fords have called the Bitterroot home, and have been serving customers continuously since the day the store opened.

When John Ford built his store in 1947, the merchant already had 20 years experience as manager of J.C. Penney in Hamilton.

His son Tom started work in the family store in his twenties. Now at 87, Tom Ford is still there. "It's just going to business every day and paying attention to business," said Tom Ford.

His business philosophy is simple. "Good quality merchandise at a very competitive price," he said.

Ford's sells everything from Stetson hats and kids clothes, to dresses and bedding. "This has been most of my life," said Ford of the store. "But my family is the most important thing, and the store's the second most important thing."

Enter Ford's third generation, Tom's son and daughter, Alan and Julie. Julie started ironing blouses at the store when she was in high school.

"Finding what you want in life is being able to find a place that you enjoy and love and want to raise your family," said Julie Ford Walker. Julie took over women's wear. She's been at it 30 years.

Her brother Alan has been at it even longer. "I always wanted to help my dad," said Alan," and I wanted to live in western Montana."

Alan takes care of men's apparel, western and work wear, and the kids department.

To make a family owned business work in this ever growing mega-store world takes balance. "You're always fooling around with your markup to make some money," said Alan, "but also have a good buy."

In its 65-year history, Ford's Department Store has increased its square footage, and doubled its inventory to accommodate traditional and new tastes.

Ford's gets repeat customers over and over again. "I've shopped at Fords since I was a child," said Bob Pauley.

People have been coming here for generations. "Some of my earliest memories are coming to Ford's with my mother and grandmother," said Jeff Langton. Langton was looking for a Filson coat.

Alan was waiting on a man from Las Vegas. He comes in here every time he comes to town.

Julie's 17-year-old son, John Ford Walker, helps his grandfather sell footwear on weekends. He's the fourth generation of the Ford family to work here.

Wolfgang Kuhn tried on a pair of Tony Lama boots, and bought them The German native said, "Tom Ford just sold me a pair of cowboy boots."