Weston Snowboards staying in Minturn
November 28, 2016
WESTON’S TINY HOME SHOWROOM
Find the solar-powered shop in Minturn near the Turntable restaurant Monday through Thursday throughout the winter season. Hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
EAGLE COUNTY — Weston Snowboards' new shop can operate anywhere, but for four days per week this season, it will stay right next to the company's former location in Minturn.
Owners Leo Tsuo and Mason Davey say keeping the shop in Minturn was important to them for the strong association locals have between the brand and the town. After the duo took over for former owner Barry Clark last season, much of the snowboard company's future has been in flux, and the building it has been occupying since 2012 is now for sale.
"We loved that building," said Davey, "but being new owners, we had to find a more cost effective solution for the time being."
Tsuo uses the same words to describe the young company's budget and product line – tight.
"We realized in the whole shop, our money maker was just the one wall where the boards were," he said. "So we got to work on re-creating that wall in a way that was more viable for us."
Davey had been following the tiny home trend for years and knew that a portable, log-cabin like retail solution might be a viable option for Weston. But creating a tiny home showroom that mirrored their shop would take time, money and ingenuity. He enlisted the help of his family and friends and got to work.
"A few summers ago I tried living off the grid, using Goal Zero solar panels to charge my phone, electric razor and the other things I needed, and I was surprised to find how well it worked," he said. "So I called Goal Zero to tell them my idea for Weston's Tiny Home Showroom, and they were super stoked on the concept. They sponsored the build, and through their solar panels we can now light the shop and operate the cash register. When fully charged, it can run for two days with nothing else needed."
If you're thinking that's incredible, you're not alone. The outdoor retail industry as a whole has taken notice. At the SnowSports Industries America expo in Denver in January, Weston's tiny home will be one of the first things you notice when you walk through the doors.
"They asked us if we wanted to come park the tiny home right in front when you walk in; needless to say we're really excited for the opportunity," Davey said.
Davey believes the mobile, solar-powered retail location will offer hope to other companies who have a great product, but can't manage the expense of a lease and everything that comes with it.
"In the changing retail environment I really believe this could be the solution the internet can't compete with," he said.
BEACH TO BEACH
The Weston tiny home will be parked in Minturn and open for business Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On the weekends, they plan on hitting the road to be on location at events and gatherings. Since completing the build, the Weston tiny home has visited surfers on the California coast, mountain bikers in the Utah desert, and snowboarders at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin.
"We took the tiny home from the beach in California to the beach at A-Basin," Davey said. "The surfers in California, many of whom are snowboarders themselves, were loving it. Nobody had ever seen a full-on snowboard shop in the heart of surf country."
Weston's boards have been making headlines in the industry. After receiving a glowing review on the Big Chief splitboard last season, Davey and Tsuo decided to make splitboards out of a couple of their popular solid boards as part of their new line this season. The gear testers at Transworld Snowboarding and Backcountry Magazine gave it glowing reviews.
Transworld said Weston Range splitboard was the board on which they "saw the most backflips last season," and pointed out that the board's early-rise rocker in the twin tips and a 20-millimeter setback stance handled being towed really well behind sleds on bumpy U.S. Forest Service roads.
The gear testers might not have realized it, but the association with Forest Service roads was something near and dear to the creators of the Weston Range splitboard. The art features a red outline of the Gore Range against a white backdrop of sky as an homage to the local trail called "Red and White," used to access backcountry terrain in Eagle County. The board was designed by local snowboarder Joe Otremba, who knows what it's like to get towed behind a sled on that road.
"Between the outline of the Gore Range and the subliminal shout out to Red and White, there has never been a board that praises Eagle County as much as the Range," Davey said.
In addition to the tiny home, Weston will also operate a small shop in Denver this season out of the Battery 621 building on 6th Avenue and Kalamath.
"We really feel like we've been warmly embraced by the Eagle County community, so now the goal is just to continue that small, community-minded growth to the east," Davey said. "This year you can find our boards at REI's Denver Flagship Store, at 621 Battery and anywhere we bring our tiny home showroom."