We’re Open: Bristlecone Mountain Sports
In our continued effort to keep the local residents informed on which businesses remain open, The Aspen Times has started the “We’re Open” feature to profile local businesses working through the coronavirus crisis. We want to connect consumers with the work businesses are doing to stay open.
You can also find our continuously updated “What’s Open” list of businesses that are operating on our website at http://www.aspentimes.com/recent-stories/we-are-open
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Business name: Bristlecone Mountain Sports
Address: 781 E. Valley Road, Basalt, CO 81621
Aspen Times: How have you gotten creative during this time? What have you done to keep your customers engaged?
Bristlecone Mountain Sports: Prior to buying the store three years ago, Bristlecone didn’t really have an online presence nor did we actively communicate with our customers over the internet. We started that almost right away with a Facebook and Instagram presence and a monthly email newsletter for those customers who signed up with us to receive information. When the pandemic hit we really leaned in hard on using these platforms to engage with our customers on how we were doing, what was happening at the store and how they still could connect with us to get essential items they needed, like supporting the mad rush on AT supplies for uphilling when Skico was forced to close. I do have to give a huge shout-out to Skico for continuing to let us recreate on their mountains! These platforms really have become a vital link to our customers and how we communicate with them and I expect it will be one of the lasting changes we will see going forward.
AT: What’s the most important thing the community can do to support you?
BMS: Honestly, we have the best customers in the valley! All we can ask for is for people to continue to think of their local businesses first, before moving online. It’s the whole shop local mentality. Sure, shopping online is easy and we all do it, but I also think people really enjoy having a local shop to come into, to try things on, to see the color and fit in person or find that one thing you didn’t know you needed until you see it and then buy it locally. Primarily it helps keep locals employed so they can be locals, but it’s also a huge social experience that is sorely missing right now. Can you imagine a community without local shops? I can’t think of anything worse and more sterile.
AT: Where can we find your most current offerings and updates?
BMS: Thankfully right now we are open every day of the week so the best bet is to come on in and see all the new spring merchandise. We have daily Instagram and Facebook postings that highlight all our new products. Please follow us there @bristleconemountainsports and as I said we send out a monthly email highlighting what we are doing in a little more detail so let us know if you want to join that by calling the store at 970-927-1492 or come see us and sign up in person. As far as I know, spring and summer are still going to happen and we will have the gear and clothes to make it happen for you.
AT: What has been the best customer experience or comment you’ve had since the crisis started?
BMS: Our customers have been great throughout this experience. Genuinely concerned for our business. I had customers reach out to me individually and ask for a specific item they needed during the closure. They could have gone online but they didn’t. So we would make arrangements for them to come by for curbside delivery. I had a customer for instance that needed to buy camp fuel, a $12 purchase for a couple of canisters, but she handed me $100 and said “keep the change! We need you to be here when this thing passes!” Try as I might, she wouldn’t take the change or more product — she insisted on overpaying to do her part to help us through this dark time. My message to her is: you know who you are and your gesture was truly AMAZING! Thank you for supporting Bristlecone and we will continue to find ways to pay it forward, as well.
AT: Is there anything else you’d like to add regarding your business during the pandemic?
BMS: It’s been an interesting time for sure — business schools don’t teach you how to handle a retail store during a pandemic closure! I feel for all our business brethren out there, as I am sure they can relate. We have learned a lot more about our business than we knew before and we will be employing these learnings going forward that will make us better prepared for the next curveball that gets thrown our way.