Meet Your Merchant: Mountain Soles
A: The idea for Mountain Soles started when I was working at the Aspen Times as the business manager. As much as I loved the Times, I was tired of the commute and wanted to spend more time with my family. I wanted my own business and thought of many different ideas for businesses that would work in the mid-valley. The shoe store concept kept coming up. Eventually I decided that was it. It took me about a year to get the store up and running. I found a business partner to work with me. We had to overcome a lot of obstacles. We joined the National Shoe Retailers Association, attended seminars, regional shoe shows, and picked everyone’s brain that was already in the business. The biggest hurdle was financial! We were persistent and it finally all came together. We opened in May 1996.
A: We sell shoes for the entire family. We make every effort to carry brands that are comfortable, fashionable, fun and will appeal to the hard working, fun loving people of the valley. We are always adding new lines. We are one of the few places in the valley to carry children’s shoes. You’ll also find some great sock lines, handbags, and accessories.
A: The recession forced us to get our inventory under control. We had too much. These days our buys are a 3-step process that takes into consideration customer needs, style, and value. We have a budget and stick to it.
A: Mountain Soles is a family run business. My business partner left in 1999 and my daughter Jenna came on board. Jenna has a great sense of fashion and knows what people want. She has been a wonderful addition to the store. We have several others who help out part time. They are all long time, loyal customers who love the store as much as we do.
A: Keeping our inventory in check while meeting our customer’s needs truly is the key to success. In these times it’s more important than ever to keep a very close eye on the bottom line, stay on top of what’s new, and adjust the plan as often as needed. If we don’t have a style or color a customer is looking for, we will special order for them from one of our many vendors.
We also have a website, http://www.mountainsolesshoes.com, where we have a lot of our inventory listed. We plan on adding even more inventory to our website in the coming year.
A: We cater to locals and over the years, many of our customers have become our friends. We literally have had customers bring us in homemade bread and cookies! The best thing is working with my daughter. We make a great team. We’ve lived in this valley for 27 years. It’s home. It’s a part of us. We’re never going to leave.
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The Aspen School District’s budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year is shaping up stronger than the pandemic-bogged finances from last year, according to district Chief Financial Officer Linda Warhoe.“We’re getting our head above water and we’re coming up on shore,” Warhoe said in an interview last week.