Play Together, Stay Together
“The difference between a trip and an adventure? Reservations!” laughs Elorie Slater, owner and marketing director of Boulder’s exclusive off-road cycling shop. “On an adventure, you’re not exactly sure what comes next. This business is another adventure for us.”
Sports Garage has always been known for its exceptional product knowledge and service, but when Slater and her husband Brad James (co-owner and sales director) bought the business last year, they wanted to enrich that foundation with a fresh layer of soil.
In fact, dirt was exactly what they needed a little more of.
From the cactus-covered canyons of Arizona to the rocky ridges of the Continental Divide and beyond, Slater says, “When the weekend rolls around, we’re looking for new trails and new places to ride.”
“Sports Garage took a big leap to focus solely on mountain biking and gravel grinding in a community that identifies strongly with road cycling,” Slater explains. “[But] these are SG’s roots, and we feel strongly that in order to truly share passion and expertise with your clients, you have to be honest about who you are what you care about.”
Shifting gears on an upslope endeavor, Slater and James realized that their story could be a map to everyone’s outdoors.
“Our orientation is toward our personal adventure, so we’re very curious about what our customers are looking for,” Slater says of their consultative approach. “We want to know where you’ve been riding, where you want to ride, what your goals are and what limitations you perceive.”
Customers are encouraged to demo as many bikes as they need before dialing in on a single piece of equipment, but as Slater explains, the real magic is in the invitation customers receive to join a sincere community of experience-seekers. Whether it’s attending bike-packing clinics, gravel group rides or calling mountain bike gear heads out of the woodwork; it’s a part of the job that they take very seriously. Or, not so seriously…
Just ask the couple who traveled thousands of miles from Poland to buy mountain bikes from their shop in the middle of Boulder’s spring snowstorm. They’ll tell you about their weekend camping with the two owners and the thrill of cruising through Utah’s sandstone desert. They’ll tell you how two complete strangers welcomed them into their lives and became lifelong friends.
Ask the two women who stood on the steps of the Beti Bike Bash podium last month. Each will tell you it was her first mountain bike race and that she had spent weeks working with Sports Garage demoing bikes to find the ideal fit. They’ll tell you that they felt confident.
Sports Garage has opened up an authentic support system that has long been missing from the Boulder grid. So expect that when you step foot in their rugged, concrete shop, overwhelmed and uncertain, you’ll ride out on the right track.
Published in Boulder Lifestyle, July 2017