The Alpine Shop

St. Louis, MO

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St. Louis, MO

Founded in 1973, this mom and pop outdoor supplier has grown to three stores, all owned and operated by Holly and Lisa Hollenbeck, carrying everything from ski and snowboard equipment to bike and kayak goods. But no matter what their activity of choice, the store’s management, staff and customers are united by their passion for the great outdoors. “We all love to do things outside,” says Angie Bono, senior boot fitter and assistant footwear buyer. “You can call anyone you work with and say, ‘Do you want to go for a hike?’ It’s just really nice to share that with co-workers and customers.”

Top-selling brands: Merrell, Keen, Sorel, The North Face, Ugg and Vibram FiveFingers are all doing well.

What was the best-selling style in 2011? All of the Bailey Button products from Ugg have been really popular.

What were the most popular colors this fall? The red, hawk and buff colors by Sorel have been doing really well. We did the sparkle Uggs and those sold out pretty quickly, too.

Best new footwear brand added to the mix this year: We didn’t really add to it, but we made a bigger commitment to Salomon. They’re very supportive of us, and we do well with their cycling and trail running series.

What are you looking to add more of in your footwear selection this year? We’re going to bump up our Sorel and winter boot offerings in general. We’ll probably do a little bit more with Keen—their winter footwear has been doing really well for us.

Best-selling accessories in 2011: Hands down Superfeet and Smartwool socks. We do pretty much the entire Superfeet line, including all of the custom products available. What was the biggest surprise—good or bad— related to your business last year? Our minimalist running shoes were selling spectacularly in 2010, but it’s kind of fading a bit now. The people who are buying them are the ones who are truly committed to the movement.

In what ways has your customer changed as a result of the economy? They’re definitely spending less and trying to be thriftier.

What is your top New Year’s resolution for your store? We want to drive each one of our brands to work with us to make everything as profitable as possible. —Mary Avant

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