Treads ‘n’ Threads

Gunnison, CO

The running category, especially trail, has been particularly strong at Treads 'n' Threads this year, owners Chris and Kelly Osness report.

Change has never been cumbersome to the founders of this ‘Sit and Fit’ business, located in a town of 6,400 some 200 miles southwest of Denver. Since its inception in 1998, Treads ‘n’ Threads has had three names, three locations and one shift from a singular focus on footwear to a balanced merchandise mix of apparel and footwear. The business began as Head Over Heels in a 1,500-sq. ft. location with only a few shoe brands and no apparel. In 2000, the business re-located twice. The second time was to its current 6,000-sq.-ft. space under the banner, The Perfect Blend. The store’s current nameplate was the winning entry in a local contest.

This past year, owners Chris and Kelly Osness report that they were more profitable then the previous year. “We are very optimistic about the future of the outdoor lifestyle category,” says Kelly Osness. “This year we are on pace to have our highest sales ever. You never know what summer brings, but it seems like we will be hopping.”  

The running category has been particularly strong at the shop, the Osness’s report. “It was through the roof. Especially trail. Traditional hiking boots were one of our slowest categories because most people are using lighter, faster shoes than in the past.”

“This year we are on pace to have our highest sales ever.  Never know what summer brings, but it seems like we will be hopping.”  

As for vendor relationships this year, the Treads ‘n’ Threads team says, “We have weathered well. We have not added any new brands or cancelled any brands. We have changed our mix to reflect the trend to lighter, faster hikers.”

Because inventory is hard to come by, Kelly Osness says, the shop is facing the  challenge of trying to get products in stock. “We have had record sales this spring and cannot get more of what has been selling.”

In summing up this past year, Kelly Osness says it was “very humbling to see how people came out to support us during pandemic… We had several thousand dollars of gift certificates purchased at the onset from a myriad of different people who said that they wanted to see us stay in business. They didn’t need anything at the moment but would shop later. Many nights, we would go home and just cry from the outpouring of compassion from our community for our small business… We had to let all of our employees go at the pandemic’s onset with no real money coming in. A couple of months later, we hired them all back, save one who had moved. Since then, we have hired several others.”

She adds, “We feel blessed to have such a good team, because finding good employees has been hard for so many of our local businesses. Our staff has been amazing, working with the protocols, offering great customer service, and happy to be back to ‘somewhat normal.’ I can’t say enough about how proud I am of their work ethic and perseverance.”