Photo by John F. Russell
George Noyer and his son Gavin stand inside the new Gondola General location in Old Town Square. The longtime fixture at the base of the ski area is hoping to tap into a year-round market by moving to downtown Steamboat Springs.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Steamboat Springs When Gavin Noyer was 17 years old, he was stocking and selling merchandise on the weekends in his parents’ store, Gondola General at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
Now 29, the son of Gondola General owners George and Janis Noyer will be joining his family’s long legacy in local retail as the family expands to a downtown location.
Gavin Noyer will be taking on an operations role as a partner in the company as Gondola General opens a new location downtown in Old Town Square. The 1,700-square-foot space is upstairs in the shopping center, next door to the Steamboat Hat Shop with windows facing out to Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street.
“I’m very thankful to have this opportunity,” Gavin Noyer said Tuesday as he greeted customers in the new store with his father. “I’m going to give it my all.”
Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said this storefront was an important one to fill after Kookaburra Kidz left this summer.
“It’s a very visible space on that corner, and it wasn’t good to have it empty,” Barnett said. “It makes the whole square look empty.”
Although there still are five empty spaces in Old Town Square, Barnett said there are businesses looking at opening in several of those locations. Three doors down from the new Gondola General, Fleischer Sport owner Chad Fleischer will be opening a new snowboard shop. Another empty space is temporarily occupied by a pop-up art gallery.
“It’s starting to fill up,” Barnett said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction. People seem to be more optimistic.”
The Gondola General store has been open since Labor Day, and the Noyers are continuing to fill it with merchandise similar to their mountain location: apparel, gifts and ski wear including helmets, gloves and hats.
George Noyer said that while the mountain location’s hours will be limited to the days the gondola is open this fall (the gondola closes Sept. 30), the downtown location will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days each week.
Noyer worked at Sports Stalker at Steamboat Ski Area for 18 years before opening Gondola General in 1994. He also has owned businesses in Old Town Square before, including Chez Nous and the former Quiksilver location. He said that for the 12 years he owned businesses in Old Town Square, he always had an eye on the corner space.
“I always thought this was the prime spot downtown,” he said. “It’s the retail center at Seventh and Lincoln, and it has great neighbors.”
He said the store has received a warm welcome from the other businesses surrounding him such as Backcountry Provisions in Old Town Square and Quiksilver and Zirkel Trading across Seventh Street.
The new store, he said, will help the business weather mud seasons and give them space to sell last year’s gear at a discount. And although he’s seen many ups and downs in retail in his long career, Noyer said things are looking up.
“I’m encouraged by the retail environment downtown, and I’m encouraged by the retail environment nationwide,“ he said. “We had our best summer on the mountain since 2007.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com