Cantaloupes and toys key to Summit Cove woman’s success
FRISCO – Mary Elaine Moore attributes much of her success to cantaloupes and gladiolas.
The Summit Cove woman was raised on a farm in New Castle, Del., where, if the crops weren’t planted, harvested and sold on time, there wouldn’t be money in the bank.
“It was a big influence in our lives,” she said. “We had a lot at risk. With a perishable product, it made things (planting, irrigating and harvesting schedules) that much more imperative. There are a lot of things I miss about that lifestyle.”
Other aspects of her childhood for which she still holds a passion include sewing and fabrics. Moore was a member of the local 4-H club, and always bringing home reams of material from which she’d fashion clothes.
But she got her start in the economic market down on the farm, where she grew gladiolas, selling them in bunches of six to the people who came to buy her parents’ vegetables. She and her sister and two brothers all started out with small-dollar crops and gradually advanced to those that brought in more money.
“Cantaloupes put me through college,” Moore said. “Cantaloupes, and later, tomatoes.”
She carried that initiative to the University of Delaware in Newark, where she intended to major in agriculture, but instead graduated in 1980 with a degree in business administration and marketing.
It was during college that she visited an aunt in Geneva, Ill., who introduced her to the vibrant life of the garment district of New York City – and to the beauty of the Colorado Rockies.
After college, Moore headed back to the farm, where she helped her parents expand their business.
“I kept thinking about Colorado,” she said. “It was breathtakingly beautiful. And such freedom. The turning point for me came when I said, “If I’m going to Colorado, I guess I’ll leave Monday.’ I just blurted it out. I had to get out of there.”
She packed her Camaro with her two most valuable possessions – her skis and her sewing machine – and headed west. She landed in Keystone, where she was asked if she wanted a fun job or a serious one.
Moore opted for fun.
“They asked me if I knew how to drive a stick shift,” Moore said with a laugh. “I said, “Only in a tractor.’ They said “We’ll teach you the rest.’ I drove a bus that season.”
She met her future husband, Bob “J.C.” Moore, at Keystone. He worked in the vehicle maintenance division. The two wed in 1983, back on Moore’s parents’ farm.
Later, Moore transferred within the company – at that time owned by Ralston Resorts – to sell “all the chows, the cereals and tuna” on the Front Range. Then, she moved into property management and then to Jones and Harris, a furniture store. In 1985, she gave birth to Glen, now 16. The couple also has another child, Kathleen, 9.
“And I had this idea of wanting a children’s store,” Moore said. “So I pursued it. I felt there was a need in the county.”
The couple’s son was three months old when she started making serious plans to open such a store – eight months later, Stork and Bear became a reality. She later added on with Around the World Toys, a separate business under the same roof.
Everything in the store – the kids’ clothes, toys, books and supplies – are brightly colored, luring kids and their parents into the store to play with plastic dinosaurs, wind-up toys and stuffed animals.
Moore likes that vibrancy best, saying it boosts her energy.
“When we hit that door – even if I’m dragging – I’m ready,” she said.
Yet, she’d like to have the time to do the things for which she moved here, primarily skiing, hiking and biking.
“Those things will turn my day around,” she said. “I can go out and ski, and it’s just so special.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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