How’s Business? Sunlight Ski & Bike Shop experiences spike as people rediscover passion for outdoors
The wave of interest in outdoor sports created during the height of the pandemic in 2020 is losing momentum, but a year later, sales remain strong at Sunlight Ski & Bike Shop, store Manager Russell Cabe said.
“Things aren’t quite what they were, but there is a steady demand, and our numbers are still higher than before the pandemic,” Cabe said. “Supply chains were a challenge last year. They’re improving, but not perfect, and that drives demand a little higher as well.”
Located at 309 Ninth St., the ski and bike shop was founded around 1989 by then-Sunlight Ski Resort as a way to strengthen the connection between Glenwood Springs and the resort, Cabe said. Although snowboards are not in the shop’s name, Cabe and his staff heavily emphasized that snowboards are a key component to the business model as well.
“The store was originally located in an A-frame building near where Jimmy John’s is now, but we moved to Ninth Street in the mid-late ’90s,” Cabe said. “We’ve been providing the same services ever since we opened: sales, service and rentals of skis, snowboards and bikes.”
In recent years, customer interest in bicycles, Alpine Touring (AT) skis and cross-country skis has grown significantly.
“They were getting big before last year, but I think a lot of people found them great during the pandemic, because you could ski or bike anywhere, and it was very easy to distance yourself from others,” Cabe said.
When COVID-19 hit, the resort was nearing the end of its winter season, but the ski and bike shop was ramping up for summer.
“We ended up doing a lot of business outside in the big parking lot east of us,” Cabe said.
While some industries were forced to furlough employees, increased sales allowed Cabe to keep most of his staff, and the shop hasn’t suffered from the same labor force shortages plaguing other businesses throughout the nation.
“We have an excellent staff, and we’ve been very lucky to retain them,” he said. “Our employees are great at pitching in ideas that we’ve been working on implementing this year.”
Both Sunlight Mountain Resort and the shop saw a boost in new customers to the area, and hopes remain high they will return for the 2021-22 winter season.
“There’s a lot of positive feelings that we’re looking at a good snow year,” Cabe said. “I believe a lot of people discovered what our hidden gem had to offer last year, and I think they’ll be coming back for more.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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