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Newschooler's Doug Bishop & Slope Style Ski Shop's Chris Krance of Breckinridge Talk the Future of Retail in the Sessions @ SIA

March 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

“We’re not your mom and dad’s ski shop,” says Chris Krance, co-owner of Slope Style Ski Shop in Breckenridge, Colo. “We cater to that younger market.”

It’s no secret the state of retail is variable, but depending on how you play your cards, many shop owners are carving out a successful niche in their respective locations. Newschooler’s Doug Bishop sat down with Krance at SIA for The Sessions to discuss just that—how Slope Style, despite the odds, has won market share in a category that continues to grow. Bishop and Krance discuss how to successfully survive as a brick and mortar and talk trends in the market, including the ever-changing identity brands are making to stay alive.

“You don’t see a lot of other shops like that this that have managed to succeed,” says Krance, but the Breckenridge local contributes location, timing, and location as the three mainstay reasons Slope Style has succeeded in the ski town. “When Slopestyle Ski opened five years ago (2010), the freeskiing culture had started to really take off, and we were able to quickly absorb an increasing percentage of the market share.” Breckenridge, Colo. is home to a global offering of professional athletes and freeskiers that come to train and ride the world-class park. It’s only natural for the town to embrace a shop dedicated to the culture of park skiing. Krance admits when he was searching for a place to call home for Slope Style, he was adamant the location needed to be on Main Street in the center of town. “That’s something with brick and mortar that not everyone thinks about,” says Krance when discussing the importance of location. “If your priority is to find a cheaper location and cheaper rent, generally that means you’ll be farther away from the action.”

But just as brick and mortar occupies about 80% of the shops current sales, that additional 20% in e-commerce buys is equally as important for Krance. Everything a customer can find in the shop can also be found online, and with this, Krance points out: “You have to progress along with the industry and if you don’t do that, you’re going to die.” But he adds that price gouging and varying warranties on product is a lose-lose business model. “I’m a really big proponent of getting customers to buy skis for full price,” says Krance. “Every pair we give away on warranty is an opportunity lost. It’s not good business for any of us.”

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