Wilderness Sports is moving on up
DILLON – It’s not really a mid-life crisis, per se, but the locally-popular Wilderness Sports is trading up, so to speak. Uphill, actually.Wilderness has had a storefront in the aging Summit Place Shopping Center in Silverthorne since opening for business in 1976, offering outdoor gear specifically popular to locals – gear for climbing, touring the backcountry, and telemark skiing in particular.Now after 30 years, they’ve outgrown the place, and have opened up a spacious new store, just up the hill along Highway 6 in a brand new building in the Red Mountain Plaza.”This is like an automatic remodel,” said Tom Jones, Jr., co-owner of Wilderness Sports. “The old store was definitely starting to show its age.”
The new retail space is more than 4,400 square feet, is “super modern” as Jones says, and enjoys high ceilings and a lot more room for retail displays. Manager Heather Glyde did most of the design and layout work for the new space.The new location should also benefit from greater exposure to traffic along Highway 6. It’s higher up on the hill and has two faces featuring bright new signage to lure curious travelers.”It’s great exposure to the highway, compared to the old location (in Summit Place). As long as people don’t mind making a few left or right turns, we think we’ll get some good traffic,” Jones said.Among the new additions to the store is a new map making machine made by National Geographic, which uses USGS topographic data to crank out custom waterproof, tearproof maps. In addition to being able to create detailed maps of local hiking, biking and camping areas, users can actually get custom maps made for any area within all 50 states.”We essentially stock any (U.S.) map that was ever made,” Jones said.
He also said that having more space will allow them to stock more climbing equipment than ever before. There’s also room for a large practice wall to go in, but that won’t happen until the rest of the store takes final shape.Locals who know have always been able to find great deals on consignment climbing and outdoor equipment at the Summit Place store, which featured a cramped corner full of resale gear. Jones said the growth of the consignment side of their business led them to keep two-thirds of the old store open as a full-time resale shop. They’ll also have close-out type merchandise for sale at the old location as well.”(Consignment) is such a great part of the business. It keeps a bunch of junk out of the landfill, and I think everybody wins with it,” Jones said.The new (old) store will carry the name “Second Tracks,” a moniker devised via a naming contest featuring recommendations by Wilderness customers. Dillon’s Robin Robson came up with the winning name, and won a $200 gift certificate for the effort. Robson’s win was perhaps karmicallly timed – she had a bunch of ski equipment stolen just before winning the naming contest.Wilderness Sports also operates a store on Main Street in Frisco, but Jones says it will be status quo over there no matter what happens at the other end of the county.
“The Frisco shop won’t change. It’ll still be a good bike shop and outdoors store,” Jones said.There’s still some commercial vacancy in the Red Mountain Plaza, specifically in the building where Wilderness Sports now operates. Wilderness takes up the entire lower level of the new building, and the radio station Krystal 93 has taken up in a portion of the upper level. The other section on the upper level is vacant, and Jones Jr. has heard some interesting potential ideas for the space.He said that his employees are pressuring him to turn that upper floor into a “sweet, giant climbing wall,” but he humorously added, “That is not going to happen.”
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