Bristlecone Mountain Sports
Bristlecone Mountain Sports, based in Basalt, CO, has been in business for 25 years, delivering premier outdoor gear, clothing and customer service to outdoor enthusiasts all year-round in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. From kayaks and SUP to backpacking and hiking to ski/snowsports, Bristlecone has seen strong consumer demand over the past year.
Dating back to last summer, super-hot sellers at the shop have included stand up paddleboards, tents, sleeping bags and pads, backpacking and car camping gear, water filtration and footwear.
But like every outdoor shop we spoke with, Bristlecone Mountain Sports is having trouble getting its hands on product. “We are not getting delivery on some preseason orders and the availability of any ASAP [product] has been limited pretty severely,” says Josh Streblow, GM and lead buyer at Bristlecone Mountain Sports, noting that items such as footwear and tents are particularly hard to get.
The shop is expecting an influx of tourists this summer — many come to the area from Aspen — and the expectation is that consumers will be seeking out similar outdoor products as last summer, including tents, paddleboards, packs and sleeping bags.
“Sometimes you just have to pivot to different selections.”
A key lesson Streblow says he learned this year was to have enough preseason orders in the books. “You are never 100% right,” he says, “but you need to make sure your plan is executed. You need to have the right inventory coming in and stay on top of your expected sales. Make sure you have enough inventory in the books and then a month out you can make some decisions [about canceling orders if needed].”
Streblow says he sees another year before supply issues are back under control.
Of the inventory challenges, he says possible “solutions” include going to the second or third color of your choice in footwear or apparel just to have specific styles in stock or looking at alternate brands for gear items such as tents. “You try to have that category covered, so rather than the specific brand or model you just try to have a product in stock to have your bases covered,” says Streblow. “Sometimes you just have to pivot to different selections.”
In general, Bristlecone has seen more and more of its customers in both summer and winter wanting to get outside and be active — and that’s a trend Streblow hopes to see continue. “Hopefully people continue to want to get outside after this [pandemic] passes and we don’t see all this equipment at the second hand stores,” he says.