Subtle change pays big dividends for Vail Valley store
Vail, CO, Colorado
EDWARDS ” Moving a pair of dressing rooms doesn’t seem like a big deal. But that simple move made a big difference at Brush Creek Dry Goods.
The dressing rooms take up just a few square feet of the store’s space. But the old location, along the east wall, basically cut that part of the store into two essentially unusable pieces.
So when Vail Mountain shut down this spring, owners Raymond and Faith Bleesz got to work, moved the dressing rooms and turned the east wall at the back of the store into space for women’s jeans.
Jeans, for both men and women, are the top sellers at the store, Raymond Bleesz said. Since women buy most of the clothes at the store, making more room for women’s jeans just made sense.
“It’s been very subtle,” Raymond Bleesz said of the move. “But women are lingering more and looking longer.”
That’s the kind of evolutionary thinking that’s kept Brush Creek Dry Goods in business since 1999. After picking a suitably Western name ” “dry goods” stores were a little more specialized than general stores in the rural West ” the Bleeszes also had a lot chosen and a plan to open a store in Eagle in the late 1990s, hence the “Brush Creek” part of the name.
The Bleeszes eventually changed their minds about opening in Eagle, and were instead among the first businesses to open at the Riverwalk Center. But while they switched locations, the couple had a firm idea of what they wanted to sell: casual and dress clothes and accessories for men and women. Shoppers looking for sporting goods have to go elsewhere.
Raymond’s experience in the retail business in Georgetown and the Vail Valley gave him the experience and vendor connections to pursue that idea.
“We look for fashionable vendors,” he said. “And the prices aren’t expensive, not really high-end.”
Faith Bleesz said she and her husband identify with the example set by Nordstrom’s, to sell well-designed, fashionable merchandise, with plenty of help available for customers.
“We try to help customers find things that really suit them,” she said.
While jeans are the best sellers, shoppers can find clothes suitable for work, a casual event or a dressed-up evening out.
While the store has always sold fashionable clothing, there’s more evolving to do.
“We’d like to attract younger customers,” Faith Bleesz said. “We don’t draw from that group as much as we’d like to.”
To draw in the younger shoppers, Faith Bleesz said there’s section of the store dedicated to sale items. Those sell fairly quickly, so there are always new items moving into the sale racks, she said.
“We think the store offers something the valley doesn’t have elsewhere,” Raymond Bleesz said. “There’s a need for everyday clothing, something you can keep in your wardrobe for a long time.”
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