Steve Hitchcock’s career has been a whirlwind tour of jobs with some of the most respected outdoor apparel companies in the world. But Denise Hitchcock has a better job title.
The self-proclaimed “domestic coordinator and engineer” and her husband have spent the better part of the past 12 years carving out successful business niches in Steamboat Springs.
Steve’s story begins in the Midwest. He grew up in Illinois and attended college in St. Paul. But it was a retail job at Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis 25 years ago that launched him on a career path. He realized a passion for retail and launched a rep agency for outdoor apparel companies, including Marmot and Patagonia.
Denise’s story begins in Southern California, where she was raised. She attended Colorado State University and later lived in Nederland.
That’s where Steve and Denise’s paths crossed. She was advertising for a roommate on a liquor store bulletin. He was looking for a room. As they say, the rest is history.
Steve eventually sold his rep agency and was hired by Marmot as vice president of sales. That led to a promotion to senior vice president and a life of air travel.
It reached a point where the Hitchcocks, then living in California, were ready for a change. Steamboat was familiar to both. Steve’s family had often visited Routt County, and Denise had visited during her stint in Colorado.
“This is where we wanted to have a life and raise our kids,” Steve said.
Steve picked up consulting work and then worked for Patagonia, becoming head of retail site selection and leasing.
The couple also started Soda Creek Pizza, which they own and operate.
Eager to get back into retail business and to fill a niche, Steve and Denise opened Zirkel Trading downtown in 2008. The store specializes in upscale men’s mountain lifestyle apparel.
They have two children — Andrew, a rising freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, and Katie, a rising senior.
Steve is an active Rotarian and has served on boards for Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. Denise has been a master gardener but now spends much of her time juggling mom and store owner duties.
Despite a history of seeking out new opportunities, the Hitchcocks seem content with their Steamboat choice.
“I’ve moved to Colorado three times in my life. I think I’m going to stay this time,” Steve said.