Some say location is everything when it comes to retail, and for co-owner Tyler Conlin, he's hoping that is true following the move and name change of his Inland Sports retail store from Layton, Utah, to Ogden in May of this year.
Now called Summit Shop, Conlin told SNEWS® he decided on a name change to better represent the store's core expertise and image and to help customers better know what to expect. "Inland Sports really didn't tell the customer who we were at all," Conlin said.
For Conlin, who worked for Gart Sports and Ogden retailer Ski Mania for a time, running a retail business, with its ups and downs and certainly mistakes made, has been a learning experience he's mostly enjoyed.
"I started the business as a hobby selling on eBay and on my own website (GotYourGear.com) back in 2000. I was selling used gear from wherever I could get it. I was going to school at the time. After school, I decided to open a store, Inland Sports, which we opened in 2005 in Layton," said Conlin.
"I have always loved being in the industry and around the equipment and sports of skiing, snowboarding, backpacking and climbing. I have always liked retail sales. I like meeting with people. I love fitting backpacks and making sure my customers get the right skis for their next adventure," said Conlin. "To me it is fun -- yes, it's work, but I like it."
Conlin added, "The move to Ogden has been good. Our sales are up significantly over those we experienced in Layton for the same time period last year. We still have a long way to go, but we are enthused about the future."
His new location at 2236 S. Washington Blvd., sports 5,000 square feet of retail space, he said, with an additional 5,000 square feet of office and warehouse space on the second floor. In all, Summit Shop (www.summitshop.com) gained 6,000 square feet over the old Inland Sports location.
Some of that warehouse and office space is dedicated to Conlin's new retail partner, Adam Peak, owner of another Ogden retail shop, Decade Snow and Skate (www.decadesnow.com). The two companies merged earlier this year and share purchasing and warehousing space, but keep the retail operations completely separate.
"Decade is more youth oriented. It is a skate-inspired ski and snowboard shop in the winter and skate and wakeboard shop in the summer," said Conlin. "So we complement each other nicely without directly competing. It has been a good partnership."
Though Conlin has not yet re-launched his weekend hikes program that proved successful in Layton (he's hoping to get those going again in mid to late August), he's already feeling the vibe from residents that are active in the sports he sells and not just casual participants.
"Our store events have been much better attended in Ogden then in Layton. The people here don't just climb, they are climbers. Not just into skiing, but they are active skiers. It is a lifestyle for them, not just an activity," Conlin told us. "At every event, 25 percent of the people attending are first-timers to our store, so it is a great way for us to meet them and for them to learn about who we are."
Among some of the events, Summit Shop has hosted an evening with an adventure racing team, as well as an evening with a local climbing guru, Pete Lowe, related to Greg and Jeff Lowe, who spoke about local climbs and premiered his latest climbing video.
Not everything about the move has been roses and boxes of chocolates, though. One unforeseen impact on business is the economy that is affecting retail all over the country. Conlin acknowledged that since he's in a new location, it is hard to really gauge just how much of an impact the economic climate is having on business, but he's sure it has not been positive.
"We are still one of the first businesses in this rehabilitated part of town. Just the other day one big development company that was supposed to build a hotel next to us pulled out entirely," Conlin told SNEWS. "Several projects in the surrounding blocks have been put on hold indefinitely or cancelled altogether.
"I don't think this will affect the long-term plan for Ogden, but it will definitely hold back some things we were hoping to gain out of the move, namely being in the middle of a new development in an historic building," said Conlin. "Now we are just in the middle of empty buildings and vacant lots for another couple years it looks like."
Still, there is a bright spot. Summit Shop is located just a few blocks from the Salomon corporate offices and right across the street from the city of Ogden's new recreation center named, appropriately, the Salomon Center. Inside, there is a Gold's Gym, indoor skydiving, a climbing wall dubbed iRock, and an indoor surfing FlowRider.
"We have been doing some cross promotion with the Salomon center -- especially iRock. They always refer customers to us since we are so close and we send people over there," said Conlin. "We are planning all our demo days next spring, like the shoe and harness demo, to take place across the street at iRock. And, of course, we have iRock's fliers here and they have our store fliers over there."
Thinking out of the box a bit and seeing opportunity in fitness, Conlin told us that since Gold's Gym teaches a lot of yoga classes, he is planning to partner with them to provide mats and clothing to their customers.
When all is said and done, though, no matter what happens to the economy or the market, Conlin told us he is happy and his store is in the right place -- home.
"I decided to move to Ogden because of all that is going on here. There is a big push to be a city recognized globally for outdoor recreation. The city management is really doing some good things here to make the city great again," Conlin told SNEWS.
"A big reason I wanted to be in Ogden is to be a part of the community," he continued. "Ogden is attracting people with likeminded interests. I wanted to be a part of that. Obviously, I need to make a living, but I want to make a difference also. Ogden's downtown area has been pretty run down and I want to be part of the renovation. I like seeing the city come back to life. This is where my parents and grandparents are from. This is where I live."