Goods celebrates 30 years
BRECKENRIDGE – Stores on Main Street in Breckenridge are not known for their longevity. Downstairs at Eric’s, one success, has even decorated its walls with a multitude of colorful, old signs from failed businesses around Summit County. But one sign you won’t see on that wall is the sign for Goods clothing store, which has hung over the store’s Main Street front door since September 1974.Although Goods owners John and Carrie Balma never considered owning and operating a clothing store when the couple moved to Breckenridge, that’s what they have been doing for the last 30 years.”It’s the selection,” says employee Jude Maragliano. “It’s hip, not a regular T-shirt shop.”Simple enough.The secret to successCassie Breer, 20, grew up in Summit County and has shopped at Goods for more than eight years.
“The clothes are cool and stylish. I can’t get these brands anywhere else,” Breer said. “We try to have something that customers can’t find at a box store,” John said. “We buy in fashion at the front end, even though it is more expensive.”Goods sets its prices to be competitive with shopping mall stores. More importantly, it tries to have something in stock that fits anyone’s taste and price range.Since its first day of business, Goods has sold “a little bit of everything.” Today, that is John and Carrie’s real strategy. “There are a lot of reasons to come into the store,” the duo said.They consider that aspect important as they compete with chain stores.The Balmas said that to be a success, store owners must devote huge amounts of their own personal time and energy, especially at the beginning. At first, John virtually lived at the store, and Carrie helped her family and the business by teaching, something she continued for 22 years in Frisco. The couple also cites their employees, whom they consider loyal and “friends as much as employees.”
Goods can offer full-time, year-round employment and advancement potential, something most young Summit workers cherish. Another piece of advice is to “be flexible.” Goods was one of the first apparel stores to open early and close late, as late as 9 p.m. during the snow season.Another advantage for Goods has been Breckenridge’s size. The Balmas said this helped them to “better understand the community.” Besides the business and Carrie’s teaching, John and Carrie are involved in local religious and civic organizations.”You can’t just come into Breckenridge and take,” John said.For John and Carrie, giving is as much a part of business as taking.In the future, don’t expect flashy TV commercials or big marketing schemes from Goods. John and Carrie like things just the way they are.”We’re still having fun with it, just living in the present,” Carrie said.
History of GoodsWhen John and Carrie Balma first set up shop in Breckenridge, John said, “It was like driving into a town in Kansas with two buildings and starting a store.”They moved from the Midwest in late 1973 and partnered with a friend to open an antique store. In a fiasco, typical of the High Country, their partner borrowed John and Carrie’s car and damaged it. Unable to give cash for repairs, their partner gave John and Carrie his share of the store as compensation.John and Carrie changed the name to Cheap Jeans and Shirts and began selling just what the name implies, as well as the antique merchandise. When they opened in September of 1974, there were no clothing stores in Breckenridge. They changed the name to Goods soon after.Justin Epperly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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