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October 5, 2012

SIA Winning Retailer of the Year: East Coast Alpine

East Coast Alpine in Boston, MA was awarded the 2011 SIA SnowSports New England Retailer of the Year Award for their contribution and commitment to the growth of the snow sports industry.

East Coast Alpine is committed to providing top-of-the-line products and expert service to families of skiers, snowboarders and bikers in Boston, and the Massachusetts North Shore. The East Coast Alpine team is passionate about the outdoor lifestyles they live and bring that enthusiasm to their customers when finding the right equipment. With the support of the vendors and their representatives, East Coast Alpine is dedicated to keeping specialty shops the preferred retail spot for snow sports customers. John and Sarah Sullivan are the owners of East Coast Alpine.

John took some time out to give us some insight on being a successful retailer.

SIA: Words of Wisdom…
JS: “You’ll love the customers and the lifestyle. As a snow farmer to another, whether you sell skis, boards or snowshoes make sure your silo is big enough to cover a drought.”

SIA: Summer highlight?
JS: Summer of 2012, East Coast Alpine found itself again presented with an outstanding opportunity. In July, Sarah and I opened a new store on the access road to Nashoba Valley, in Westford, Massachusetts. This new store will be providing demos and tunes as well as the most sought after winter clothing and accessories.

SIA: Tell us about one of your top retail success stories?
JS: For Sarah, myself and the entire team at East Coast Alpine, the lifetime connections made with the customers and families are what keeps them coming to work every day. In an era of technology and online entertainment, East Coast Alpine is a conduit to keeping families connected outside…the drive up to the mountain, the first runs of the day, the lodge BBQ and then the drive back home are some of the most memorable moments families can make. We are proud to know so many kids who we met when they were 8 or 9 years old and are now going off to college and still have the ski shop connection with their parents.

SIA: How did you get started in the industry?
JS: In 1988, I began working in a New England shop where I stayed for 5 seasons. Then I went out west to pursue a degree in sales and marketing and eventually became an industry rep. I graduated in 1995 from Western State College of Colorado, where I spent most of my time skiing Crested Butte and where I met my wife Sarah. I returned to New England after graduation and found the industry in turmoil, so I decided to take my sales skills to Verizon.

In 2002, I became an owner of a ski and board shop and left the corporate desk behind for a retail lifestyle. As opportunities presented themselves, East Coast Alpine opened in Danvers, Massachusetts in 2008 and has since grown into two more legacy ski and board locations in Boston and Westford, Massachusetts.

SIA: Predictions for 2012.13 season?
JS: I am optimistic about the 2012/2013 season. So far, our customers are back and hopeful for a white winter. The early adapters are buying at a higher rate than anticipated as well are the junior lease sales.