Retirement’s not on the horizon
RIFLE – When Gary Miller of Rifle first started working at the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool in Glenwood Springs, it was not a big tourist attraction.That was in 1967.Miller, 60, now owns and operates two successful clothing stores, one in Rifle and one in Glenwood Springs.He moved to the valley from Oklahoma, where he had been raised by his mother and step-father.”I came out to look for my father,” Miller said, honestly.His father, artist Jack Roberts, lived in Glenwoood Springs. In fact, some of Roberts’ paintings adorn the walls of the Buffalo Valley restaurant.”I came out to visit him and fell in love with the area,” Miller said.
He applied to the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool and was hired on as a room clerk, a position he worked during the summers and then would go home to college in Oklahoma. After graduating from college with a degree in personnel management in 1971, he was offered a permanent position at the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, which he held for the next 10 years.”Back then, it was very slow,” Miller said with a smile. “There was very little business and we didn’t even have a lifeguard on duty during the day.”But that all changed in the early 1970s when the pool became a popular tourist attraction.”It was a winter drought that ended up being very good for the Hot Springs pool,” Miller said. “There was no snow and there was nothing else to do.”Well, maybe not for the tourists, but Miller made out well in that he met his wife, Monica, who was working as a hostess at the pool’s restaurant.The couple were married in 1969 and bought Wilson’s Toggery on Third Street in Rifle in 1981.”They were selling discounted, inexpensive clothing,” Miller said.But Miller changed that, first by renaming the store Miller’s Dry Goods and by offering upgraded merchandise. The store now provides a wide variety of quality clothing.
Ten years ago, they also purchased what is now Anderson’s Clothing in Glenwood Springs. They partnered with the previous owners, Monica’s parents, Phil and Joan Anderson.”It was called Anderson’s Pants Pocket then,” Miller said. “And they continue to be our partners.”The two stores sell similar merchandise.”And we’re the only stores around, besides JC Penney’s, that sell Levi’s,” Miller smiled.The businesses have not been hurt by the great increase in retail stores in both Rifle and Glenwood Springs.”Business seems to attract business,” Miller said. “Both stores are very healthy.”Miller spends three to four days a week at the Rifle store, but goes into Glenwood about once a week. He’s thought about retirement, but decided his schedule wasn’t so bad.”I think I could work this schedule the rest of my life,” he said.
When he isn’t working, Miller is an avid mountain biker – a sport he’s enjoyed for the past 20 years.”I ride four or five days a week about nine months out of the year,” he said. “I just like outdoor fitness and I like the technical part of it.”Miller attributes it to his good health.”I guess you could say I became a borderline fitness nut once I started working at the Hot Springs,” he said.As for being 60?”Once I hit 60, I was very accepting of it,” he smiled “I’m very proud of it.”Then he leaned over, whispered and laughed.”And I just love to dust young people on my mountain bike.”
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