Bizwatch: The Kind Bikes and Skis
Vail, CO, Colorado
Business name: The Kind Bikes and Skis
Date opened: Originally opened as The Kind Cyclist in Vail Village in 1992. Moved to Edwards in 1996. We purchased the shop from Toph Leonard and Pete Mueller in November of 2006. We opened a second location in Eagle Ranch in December 2007.
Owners: Jamie and Kelly Malin
Contact info: Edwards: 34323 Highway 6 (Crystal Building in Riverwalk), 926-1260
Eagle Ranch: 55A Gambel, Eagle, 328-5005
Jamie Cell: 248-866-2457
Kelly Cell: 248-755-8127
What goods or services do you provide? We are a full service bike and ski shop offering retail sales, service and rentals. We also sell a wide range of clothing and accessories. Our bike lines include: Pinarello, Seven, Rocky Mountain, Eddy Merckx, Lemond, Gary Fisher and Electra. We carry a wide range of parts, supplements and clothing for cycling from numerous manufacturers. Our ski equipment lines include Nordica, Volkl, Dynastar, Salomon, Tecnica, Lange, Roxy, Gnu, Eider, Smith, Bern, Giro, Quicksilver and Scott.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? We were fortunate to have purchased a business that had a solid reputation for quality product and service with bikes and more recently, skis. Our diversity of product, being both a bike and ski shop, is one of the main things that differentiates us from our competition.
We earn our reputation 12 months a year by giving our customers quality service and product in both areas whenever they need it. We are also one of the few bike or ski shops with multiple locations away from the resort villages. What that provides locals, second homeowners and even tourists ” in addition to the quality ” is convenience for all of their bike and ski retail, service and rental needs.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? We have a goal of providing our customers with the product that is right for them. While it is hard to be all things to all people, we have a diverse product range on both sides of the house, which allows us to meet the needs of most customers.
A customer is not going to be happy if their equipment does not accurately match their skill level and physiology as well as their motivation and ambitions. We spend a lot of time with our customers understanding all of these things. This allows us to make a product recommendation that is right for them. Fit comes first. We understand this and that is why we have such a loyal customer base.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: We’re both college grads (Jamie: Brown University, Kelly: University of Detroit) who spent many years in service-based industries. Jamie previously owned a staffing company in Detroit and Kelly was an advertising executive, most recently as VP for Publicis Groupe Media working on the General Motors account.
After years of too many hours and too much travel (Kelly) and a lack of passion for his industry (Jamie) we both had a wake-up call after losing Jamie’s mom to cancer in 2002 and then his younger brother, Brett, to an accident while competing in Race Across America one year later. We decided that life was too short not to live where you want to live and do what you want to do. When our friend Toph decided to sell The Kind, we decided to buy it. We’re now lucky enough to live in paradise for an outdoor enthusiast, as well as being able to apply our business and people skills in a venture that also happens to be a passion of ours.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? Our dogs have always gone to work with Jamie, but in Detroit that meant commuting in the car. Out here Jamie bike commutes to work, and a day or two a week Cady gets to go with him. She rides in a Chariot Carrier that is attached to his bike. The smiles and thumbs Jamie gets is another reminder for us that we finally made the right choice in work and life.