SNEWS Qs, Retailer Edition: Tracy Wilson, Peak Performance Ski Shop

Periodically SNEWS chats with new outdoor retailers to ask a few questions about how business is going and what products are flying off the shelves. This SNEWS Qs features Tracy Wilson, soft goods buyer at Peak Performance Ski Shop, Killington, Vt.

Tracy Wilson

Soft goods buyer, Peak Performance Ski Shop, Killington, Vt.

What are some of the best-selling items at your store right now?

Goggles and also skis. But we’re not shipping skis domestically; we’re shipping them to New Zealand. We usually sell them to people in New Zealand and Australia. Their ski season starts in July, but we usually ship in May or June. This year they’ve started to buy ahead. It’s working out well for us.

What do you see as being some of the big trends for the upcoming season?

Certainly bright colors — purple especially is going to be another big color for next year again. Really, color is the big trend in the soft goods, and I think the hard goods end still carries through with the rocker becoming more and more important.

Of all the new technologies coming from the manufacturers, what are some of your favorites and why?

Polartec has put out their new active shell, and it will remain to be seen how it does in the market. We’ve brought it in a number of lines and I’m excited to see how it stands up to Gore-Tex in the market. The active shell technology is exciting to me.

How do you go about creating loyal customers?

We try to interact with the customer as much as possible with social media, customer emails and really make them feel like family. [We work to] treat them well. and just invite them in and really cultivate the relationship frequently.

What are some challenges your store has faced in the past year and how have you overcome them?

Certainly the biggest challenge this year has been weather and overcoming the media reports that there’s no snow at all and that nobody is skiing and the resorts are terrible. This year we’ve really had to ramp up our communication with the outside world that there is snow here, and you should come skiing. We’ve managed to do so successfully. But still we always say our core customers are from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and if there is no snow in any of those areas they think there’s no snow here either. They don’t think of going skiing if there’s no snow at their house, and it’s been exceptionally challenging to get them to come skiing.

--Compiled by Ana Trujillo