Why not partner with us?
My wife and I came to Breckenridge almost 14 years ago. We own the snowboard shop, The Board Store at Beaver Run, Wintersport Clothing at Beaver Run, The Main Street Outlet on Main Street and The North Face, Breckenridge store on Main Street. To my knowledge, the Board Store is the only privately-owned, same-day ski and board tuning shop left on the mountain. (For what I’m about to tell you in the next few paragraphs, it’s important to note that Beaver Run is owned by a Canadian company, not Vail Resorts.) We strive to give our customers personal attention and a positive and memorable experience in all of our stores. We’ve always looked at ourselves and our employees as diplomats of our town. We’ve always looked at our comparable small business competitors as friendly and have been treated the same by them. About seven years ago, Vail Resorts retail division, Specialty Sports, took over the lease on the ski shop at Beaver Run. A few years later, a representative of Specialty Sports approached me and stated that they wanted our Beaver Run snowboard shop lease. They suggested that we sell to them or they’d take all of our business. Without going into specifics, they tried for a number of years and were almost successful in their claim. In the years since those incidents, we’ve found a way, with the help of my Beaver Run landlords, to work together for the benefit of our customers. We’ve worked together as an affiliate, allowing us to retain our individuality and uniqueness while still giving our guest a seamless experience.This year, all of the Beaver Run tenant leases, including Vail’s and Specialty Sports, are up. Unfortunately, they found a way to make the threat of obtaining our Beaver Run leases and our businesses a reality. They also took over the leases of most of the other Beaver Run tenants. I can’t speak for the other tenants who will lose their businesses, but I believe that one of the saddest parts of this situation is that we were the last privately-owned shops on the mountain. To my knowledge, they have taken over the rest. We believe that diversity in business ownership is good for the town and a customer’s experience. It keeps retail shops on their toes. It’s clear that they disagree. The vertical integration of this town by Vail Resorts is a part of their daily way of doing business. If you are in their way, you will eventually be run over. Our experience shows that it appears to be only a matter of time. Tell me Vail Resorts and Specialty Sports, why can’t you work with us instead of putting us out of business and taking our leases? Why not find ways to legitimately partner with us? You publicly say you’re our partners not competitors. Do partners take your lease or take your business ideas and use them for themselves? This scenario has played out numerous times over the years in Keystone, Vail and Breckenridge. Rec Sports was put out of business, Precision Ski lost a store in Keystone last year, Christy Sports was affected a few years back, and there are numerous others that have been similarly affected. Is this the kind of partner we want? These are sad days not only for the hard working, dedicated employees who will lose their jobs, but also for the town who will lose our two well-run, independently-owned stores and the others at Beaver Run. Most importantly, it disturbs me to know that our guests experience will be dulled by not getting an on-mountain choice. As our town continues to become more corporate, we just might find that tourists start looking for more diverse experiences and go elsewhere. That’s not what anyone wants. From almost 14 years of experience, we know that you can’t give customers the service they deserve without the personal attention offered by a well-run, privately owned storeThis is my home. Don’t ruin it! Small businesses: You need to be aware, because this could happen to you too! These are sad days for all involved, except of course for those that continue to want it all … they just got more.
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