New Chapter, Same Culture For BootDoctors

Earlier this month the beloved, family-owned Telluride (and Taos) gear shop, BootDoctors, put out the word it sold to Christy Sports LLC, one of the largest winter sport retailers in the nation. (Details here.) The Big Announcement led to a series of questions which BootDoc’s co-owner Bob Gleason puts to rest in his interview with Katie Klingsporn.

On November 2, BootDoctors announced it sold to Christy Sports, LLC, one of the largest winter sport retailers in the nation, monumental news for the family- owned gear shop.

The sale prompted a swarm of questions from patrons about the future of the funky ski town business: What does this mean, people wonder, for the BootDoctors’ staff, its service, its storefront, its name and its culture of mountain folks who know their stuff?

The answer, according to BootDoctors founder and owner Bob Gleason, is a resounding “not much.”

That’s because a top priority in the negotiations was retaining as much of BootDoctors’ status quo as possible.

BootDoctors’ Bob Gleason

“They bought us because we’re successful and we’re working well and their perspective is, they don’t want to change anything,” Gleason said. “We’ll have all the same people doing all the same things in the shop, just with a bigger umbrella supporting it.”

BootDoctors will continue in its role as an active community business, its employees are staying put and its culture will remain intact, Gleason said. The shop will retain its name, staff, and business operations at its three Telluride locations and two in Taos, New Mexico. Christy Sports will also retain its three Mountain Village locations: Core, Telski’s The Inn at Lost Creek and the Mountain Lodge

Gleason opened BootDoctors in 1986 in Taos after working in the ski industry for years. After 11 years, he decided to relocate to Telluride to give his daughter more opportunities in ski racing. Soon after, he opened a BootDoctors location in the Inn at Lost Creek.

Gleason, a self-described gear nerd, built the business around high-level gear expertise, particularly in the realm of boot-fitting. The model worked and BootDoctors grew. In 2010, the business acquired longtime Telluride gear shop Paragon, which expanded its local shop locations to three.

Today, BootDoctors is a multi-faceted gear shop offering everything from mountain bike rentals to Nordic gear to custom boot-fitting and fat-biking tours. It’s built a national reputation for its expertise in boot-fitting, and was ranked among the Top 60 ski shops in the country by Powder Magazine. During its busiest season, BootDoctors employs roughly 65 people, including Gleason’s wife Penelope and daughters Kelli and Galena.

Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado,Christy Sports LLC, meanwhile, was founded in 1958. The company now operates more than 50 locations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Washington.

Gleason said Christy Sports has a reputation in the industry for consistency, family values and treating its employees well. Plus, it’s a business run by skiers and lovers of the mountains.

“The more I get to know them, their culture and value system match so tremendously with ours,” Gleason said.

If anything, Gleason continued, the only notable difference will be a better situation for employees. Christy Sports has a larger infrastructure and more support for workers when it comes to benefits, growth potential and opportunities to relocate.

My number one motivation was that employees would have as good, if not better, situation, and I feel that has been accomplished,” Bob Gleason said, adding that after pouring himself into the company for three decades, he feels good about the succession plan.

Editor’s note: “The (Boot)Doctor is in the House” is a series from beloved family-owned and operated outdoor retailer BootDoctors all about sharing the power of mountain life: adventure, style, gear, and community in the Telluride region. Here the good guys always get to ski powder and bag summits – and sunsets are always spectacular. For more about BootDoctors Ski, Snowboard & Bike Shop, go here.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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