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The Vintage Contessa & Times Past host trunk show

Need a little retail therapy? View and purchase the authentic collections The Vintage Contessa and Times Past will be showcasing at a trunk show at Luca Bruno Due in Vail on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes handbags and accessories along with Rolex watches will be on display.

Husband and wife team, Rob and Donae Cangelosi Chramosta make up The Vintage Contessa and Times Past. Rob started collecting coins at age 5 and selling watches at age 15 and Donae has been a self-proclaimed “handbag addict” since her father brought her back a Gucci purse from Italy when she was 13 years old. Their passion goes beyond fashionable accessories. They truly search the globe to find authentic, timeless luxury pieces that become an heirloom that you can pass down from generation to generation.

Why buy pre-owned? “In a world filled with disposable fashion, choosing a piece that creates a lower carbon footprint and has a lasting value gives you a feeling of success,” Donae said. But there is also something about the story behind a pre-owned piece and the lasting craftsmanship that goes into making these timeless luxury goods. “It’s the intrigue of ‘where did this bag travel before?’ ‘Which party was it at?’ or ‘Who was there?’ that creates the allure of owning a statement piece that has a history behind it,” Donae said. 

One question the Chramostas get asked a lot is “How do you know it’s real?”

“We own everything in our inventory and therefore make more of a financial commitment to it,” Donae said. “When you’re around the real product all the time, you can tell the difference between if it is real or fake. The stitching, stamping, smell, style, watch dials and bezels, the movement of the second hand, you’ve touched them so many times, you are intimately familiar with each product.” The Chramostas unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of every piece they purchase and sell.

Like many other businesses, COVID-19 has affected this unique jewelry box of a boutique, but Donae and Rob, who hail from Houston but consider Vail their home away from home, took advantage of this time not on the road going to trade shows and created “Living the Authentic Life” podcast. This weekly show covers interesting and stylish personalities sharing authentic journeys of commitment, connection and authenticity. This week their podcast will be live from the Luca Bruno Due store at 10 a.m. with yours truly. I’ll be talking up Vail’s unique sense of style and some of the history behind this town and its authentic, pioneering spirit.

The Vintage Contessa and Times Past has paired up with the Vail Daily to do an Instagram giveaway. One lucky follower will win one vintage Louis Vuitton duffle bag valued at approximately $1000 from Vintage Contessa and Times Past.

Open for Business: Eye Pieces of Vail

Name of Business: Eye Pieces of Vail

Locations: Stores in Vail, Lionshead, Beaver Creek, Edwards and Snowmass

Email: CustomerService@EyePiecesofVail.com

Website: eyepiecesofvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

At Eye Pieces, we provide a world-class selection of sunglasses, glasses, and goggles all available in prescription. We also provide eye exams, telehealth eye exams, contact lenses, cleanings and repairs for eyewear.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times? 

The team at Eye Pieces can now bring the shopping experience to you! From the comfort of your home, our opticians can come to you with the latest styles in eyewear for the ultimate private shopping experience. In our stores, our staff is working diligently to sanitize our showrooms, medical equipment and all product. We are asking customers to also wear facemasks while in the store and practice social distancing.

How can the community support you?

Gift cards are a great option for customers that can’t visit us right now. We also love Google reviews.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Customers and the community can keep up to date with our offerings through Instagram (@eyepieces1984), Facebook (Eye Pieces of Vail and Snowmass) and our Website (EyePiecesofVail.com)

What’s the response been?

We have gotten a great response from the public and customers who are eager to get essential services and products for all their vision needs. We are so grateful for the support from all of our amazing customers, neighbors and community during this time.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? 

We are so excited to have all six of our stores back open and to have our wonderful team of opticians back. Moving forward, we want our customers to know that we are here for them in-store seven days a week and able to accommodate them through private appointments if needed.

Open for Business: Grey Salt

Name of business: Grey Salt

Physical address: 141 East Meadow Drive, Suite #205 Vail, CO 81657 (2nd level of Solaris)

Phone number: 970-763-5351

Email: info@greysaltvail.com

Website: www.greysaltvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

Men’s clothing and accessories, and birthday and Father’s Day gift items! 

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We offer all of our inventory online and we are doing personal shopping appointments outside of our regular hours. We are now open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Towards the end of June, we will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We also offer Salt Box, a custom-styled box service that can be shipped or delivered right to your door. 

How can the community support you?

Please support us by shopping locally at Grey Salt for summer styles and Father’s Day gifting! We are currently running a gift card promotion- we give a gift card back to you based on how much you spend! Use it anytime in 2020.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Follow us on Instagram: @greysaltvail.com or sign up for our newsletter by going to our website.

What’s the response been?

Our customers are thrilled we are open again! And we love seeing them back in the store. They missed Grey Salt! Everyone seems excited about shopping our amazing new men’s clothing brands in the safe context of a small local boutique.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

We are currently open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Starting in late June we will expand hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We will also be at the Vail Farmers Market this summer for the first time ever, right outside Solaris. We are closely following Eagle County Public Health orders and town of Vail guidelines to keep everyone safe during this time. We also validate one hour of free parking at Solaris.

Open for Business: Avalon Clothing Company

Name of business: Avalon Clothing Company

Physical address: Vail: 675 Lionshead Place, Vail CO 91657, Beaver Creek: 61 Avondale Lane C-2, Beaver Creek, CO 81620

Phone number: Vail 970-476-4112, Beaver Creek 970-845-9700

Email: info@avalonclothingcompany.com

 Website: www.avalonclothingcompany.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We have fresh spring collections available for both men and women in the store and online. Father’s Day is right around the corner and we have tons of great gift ideas ranging from colognes and handmade bracelets to shirts for every occasion. We also offer gift cards and now through June 21, we have a special deal for Father’s Day. We are offering a $500 gift card discounted to a purchase price of $450. Call us to purchase one now!

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We have added numerous shopping options, including no obligation shop at home gift baskets, free online delivery, curbside pickup, and contact-free local delivery to your doorstep. We are offering returns on all merchandise within our return window so that customers have the ease of trying on at home and deciding what they like. In addition to the above, we are happy to offer private shopping appointments. All you need to do is call or email us. Both our Vail and Beaver Creek locations are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and avalonclothingcompany.com is available 24/7. 

We offer a safe shopping environment and strictly follow all state and county guidelines. If you don’t have a mask to wear, we will provide you one for free. 

How can the community support you?

The community can help support us by shopping online, in store, and spreading the word about Avalon being open for business. In addition to the above we are offering discounted gift cards that do not expire for 12 months and can be used online or in store! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be eligible to win a $500 gift card at the end of each month. 

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

The best way to stay up to date with Avalon is to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and to subscribe to our website.

What has the response been?

The response has been extremely positive from customers and employees. Everyone is ready to be out, enjoying our beautiful valley. Locals have started trickling in and shopping now that we are open full time. As we have been reaching out to our clients during the lockdown, we have had unbelievable support as we have expanded our website and elevated our presence on social media. We expect many of our regular clients to be visiting the valley soon. We are grateful for everyone who has shown us such tremendous support.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

We are now open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through the summer and will continue to offer the Vail Valley’s best shopping experience while keeping our customers and staff safe. We expect Facebook and Instagram to be an extra tool to stay connected with our clients near and far as we experience the new normal together.   

Open for Business: Pepi Sports

Name of business: Pepi Sports

Physical address: 231 Bridge St. Vail, CO 81657 

Phone number: 970-476-5202

Email: pepisports@pepisports.comskishop@pepisports.com

What goods and services are you offering at this time? 

Pepi Sports is open downstairs offering all 2019-20 skis marked down 50%, as well as 40% off all ski boots, goggles and helmets. We have temporarily moved clothing, jewelry and furniture displays into Pepi’s Bar while our main showroom is renovated. In the bar, you can find 50-70% off all men’s and ladies’ skiwear. Bikes and e-bikes are available for half-day and full-day rentals. We are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We are taking advantage of the bar location to offer a more open-air shopping experience in addition to social distancing practices. We also use a spray hand sanitizer to ensure bikes and other rental equipment is clean after each use.

How can the community support you?

We are lucky to have an amazing community around us that can still call the store for personal shopping and questions on equipment and rentals. Our website is up to date with the latest discounts and super deals for at-home shopping. Pepi Sports Upstairs Ladies Boutique will be available for shopping on June 1.

What’s the source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Visit Pepisports.com, find us on Instagram or call the shop at 970-476-5202. The ski shop can be reached at 970-576-5206.

What’s the response been?

Everyone has been thrilled that we have been able to assist them with their Alpine touring gear as they try to get their last turns in before the snow melts.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

As things evolve, we will continue to evolve and adjust to the times so we can continue to serve the valley with the same great service they have become accustomed to over the last 50 years. As always, our goal is to keep the customers safe and healthy in both their adventures and beyond.

Open for Business: Well & Being Spa at Vail Marriott Mountain Resort

Name of business: Well & Being Spa at Vail Marriott Mountain Resort

Physical address: 715 W. Lio​nshead Circle, Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-479-5004

Email: reservations@wbvail.com

Website: www.wbvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

We are selling e-gift cards and have a limited time offer: Purchase an e-gift card for a 50-minute service and receive an instant upgrade to an 80-minute and a complimentary spa gift upon arrival when we open back up. Get something for mom for Mother’s Day and the e-gift card will be sent right to her inbox.  

How can the community support you?

Purchasing e-gift cards for a future spa appointment once the spa reopens. e-gift cards can be purchased here. (https://vmmr1657.na.book4time.com/spagift/)

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

www.Wbvail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wellandbeingvail

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wellandbeingvail/

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

Our spa will be taking an enhanced approach to safety and wellness to ensure every employee and guest feels safe. Stay tuned to our social media channels and www.wbvail.com for the full list of action items our team will be making.

Open for Business: Squash Blossom

Name of business: Squash Blossom 

Physical address: 198 Gore Creek Vail, CO 81657

Phone number: 970-476-3129

Email: shop@sbvail.com

Website: www.squashblossomvail.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time?

We are able to offer the same product before the pandemic and have added some new products called the Hope bracelet and bead kits.

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

We have been focused on giving hope to our customers and the community. We created the Hope bracelet and have been hand-making them and directly shipping them to customers or providing local drop-off service at their house. You can also purchase online or call. We want to give everyone a sense of hope and support our community by giving a percentage of the sales to the Eagle Valley Community Fund.

How can the community support you?

Purchase Hope bracelets to give everyone a sense of hope during these times. Visit our store and support local businesses. Buy gift cards.

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Our Instagram and Facebook accounts: @squashblossomvail or squash blossom on Facebook.

What’s the response been?

We have mostly been selling our Hope bracelets. I think everyone is nervous and unsure of the next steps. Just taking things one day at a time. 

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves? We are planning on opening later this week. All of our products will be available to purchase online or anyone can call and schedule a private appointment if they don’t feel comfortable getting out of the house yet.

POC introduces helmets that can communicate

This is part seven of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

The next time you are in the chair lift line, look around and see how many people are wearing helmets. Chances are, you’ll see a majority of skiers and snowboarders donning the brain bucket. Helmets are a common part of the winter sports equipment equation for all ages. POC Sports aims to develop products to possibly save lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for winter sports enthusiasts.

POC debuted its new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet for the 2019-2020 season at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. It contains a Near Field Communication (NFC) medical ID chip that can give rescuers the medical information they need at the scene of an injury in an instant, thereby assisting them in making the best judgments for treatment immediately after an accident.

When you get the helmet you also need to download the app that goes with the NFC chip. Medical information such as if you are on blood thinners or have epilepsy or allergies is stored in the app.

“Ski patrol or mountain rescue teams will have this app and be able to click “scan” on their phone, tap it on the helmet and it brings up all of your medical information,” said Kelley Fitzpatrick, territory manager in Colorado for POC.

The helmet also has POC’s patent-pending silicone pad technology system, SPIN (Shearing Pad INside). This allows the helmet to move relative to your head. “It’s kind of like the skin on the outside of your skull or the cerebral spinal fluid between your brain and your skull. It allows for shearing motion and by doing that it reduces the energy transfer to your brain after an impact,” Fitzpatrick said.

The new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet gained rave reviews from ski and snowboard shops at the Outdoor Retailer and SIA Snow Show and received the Best in Show award from “Freeskier” magazine and the Show Stopper award from “Skiing” magazine. To learn more about this technology from POC, visit www.pocsports.com.

Salomon S Pro ski boots a hit for consumers and boot fitters

Editor’s note: This is part six of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show, which took place in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

Ski boots are the most important part of the ski equipment equation, and the big buzz at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Snow in Denver among retailers earlier this year was the new Salomon S Pro ski boots.

Operating out of the French Alps, Salomon has been helping people get out on the slopes on the right equipment since 1947. The company is driven by innovation and craftsmanship, and Salomon is excited to release this new S Pro line of ski boots. More than 5,000 foot scans were involved in the development of this boot. “The goal here was to create the best-fitting initial out-of-the-box fit in the entire industry,” said Chris McKearin, country commercial manager at USA Salomon.

This has boot-fitters at ski shops extremely happy. You can still customize the boots by adding a footbed, heel lifts and punching out tight-fitting spots, but having a good foundation to start with is good for the boot fitter and the consumer. “It makes things a lot easier in the shop and it gives the consumer a much better first impression when they put the boot on.

“Many retailers who’ve stopped by today to see and try on the S Pro boot have said how comfortable it is; yet there’s still good compression around the heel and ankle,” McKearin said.

Salomon also made this boot easier to get into. “Making the boots easier to get on and off is always a hot topic in skiing. We redesigned the instep geometry with a softer insert over the instep. You just pull up on the tongue of the boot and slide the foot in and you’re ready to go,” McKearin said.

The Salomon S Pro boot is also lighter than ever before. “It’s about a half of a pound lighter per foot. It’s the most customizable boot we’ve ever made and the seamless liner and custom shell so if you do need to make adjustments it’s more efficient and accurate than ever before,” McKearin said. If you want to learn more, visit the website at www.salomon.com.

Squash Blossom jewelry boutique continues under new ownership

Sometimes the stars just align and things work out as they should. That’s the story behind the new owners of the Squash Blossom, Hilary and Kevin Magner.

The Squash Blossom was founded by John and Patty Cogswell and has been a landmark jewelry gallery for the past 46 years. Once the Cogswells decided to retire, they hoped what they had built would continue to live on in someone else’s caring hands.

The Magners are keeping that family-owned tradition going. In fact, the jewelry business runs in the family for Kevin Magner. His father was in that line of work for years and Kevin never really thought of following his dad’s profession until after college.

“I was introduced to some of my dad’s lifelong friends in the business and they were the most interesting people and I just kind of wanted to be part of that,” Kevin said.

Kevin cut his teeth while working for the Roberto Coin brand, traveling 50 out of the 52 weeks a year selling jewelry. About the time Kevin’s dad was going to retire from Neiman Marcus, he and Kevin thought about doing a venture together, so Kevin went to gemology school to learn more.

In 2013, Kevin’s father passed away. “That kind of made the jewelry industry rotten for me. I was sad, I was running into a lot of his old friends and I missed him,” Kevin said.  “That was kind of the reason we came out to Vail, to escape, get a change of pace in life.  But, the jewelry business was in my blood and it drew me back.”

Kevin got a call from John Cogswell saying they needed help because they were short-staffed. “In the first conversation, it went from ‘we need salespeople’ to ‘we need a manager’ to ‘we’re thinking about retiring, you ought to think about buying this store’ and that was October of 2018,” Kevin said.

The stars for Hilary were shifting as well. “I’d been in corporate jobs for a while and traveling all the time, which was hard to be away, especially with two young kids,” Hilary said. “I started retail when I was 16 and there’s always been a seed growing in the back of my mind to own my own store, but then life took me on a different path and it’s kind of jolted me back to be here and to be with my family and create something in Vail.”

Although the Magners will continue to carry artists like Todd Reed, Gurhan and Penny Preville at Squash Blossom, they also have many relationships in the jewelry business that will add something new to the store. “We’ve called in favors from designers that we know and everyone is just so excited for us. We’re doing this all on our own and we want to succeed at keeping this a family-owned business,” Kevin said.

“I just feel so honored, honestly, we were selected to continue the legacy of the Squash Blossom,” Hilary said. “It’s like the universe selected us out of all the people who could have gotten this store, it’s a dream come true.”