Aspen Skiing Co. expanding retail operations to El Jebel |

Aspen Skiing Co. expanding retail operations to El Jebel

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL – The Aspen Skiing Co. is expanding its retail empire beyond its ski area bases for the first time this fall.A Four Mountain Sports/D&E outlet shop will open next week in a formerly vacant commercial space in Orchard Plaza, adjacent to the Basalt City Market. The space was attractive to the Skico because of the high foot traffic generated by the grocery store and other shops, said Jim Laing, Skico vice president of human resources and retail operations.The outlet store will sell skis, snowboards, boots, ski and street wear and some accessories.”It’s new product but predominantly from last year or prior to last year,” Laing said.Skico officials don’t want the outlet to directly compete with its Four Mountain Sports and D&E shops at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, so it won’t sell new equipment and clothing. Instead, much of the unsold inventory from the other stores is being moved downvalley. The store, which is approximately 1,700 square feet, will be open year-round, getting a steady diet of inventory from its sister stores.”A little extra inventory from lots of stores really adds up,” Laing said.The Skico studied a move to the lower Roaring Fork Valley for a couple of years, Laing said, and believes it found the perfect space. Officials aren’t interested in establishing retail and rental operations in other resorts, but they saw opportunity to expand within their home turf.The merchandise will be offered at a reduced price, just as it was at an outlet store in Aspen that was open for the summer. The Skico also holds an annual November sale at Bumps Restaurant at the base of Buttermilk to offer closeout merchandise at a discount. No used or consignment equipment will be sold at the Basalt shop, although some high-end demo skis will possibly be available.The Skico is working on a plan to offer ski tuning. Boards could be left at the Orchard Plaza store, tuned at Aspen Highlands, then sent back downvalley, Laing said. Rentals of ski and snowboard equipment aren’t being contemplated for this season, but that’s a possibility for the future, Laing said. The Skico could also offer services such as sales of extra days to holders of Classic Passes, so they can avoid upvalley ticket offices.In Aspen, Skico is taking additional commercial space in the building that houses its Four Mountain Sports shop so it can quadruple the size of its rental operation.”We were really, really limited in space,” Laing

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