Road to Recovery: Longtime retail clothing store thankful for locals’ support
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — His family has been doing business in Steamboat Springs for four generations, and as Kris Allen opens a new chapter in these uncertain times, he remains positive about the future.
“I think we’ll bounce back,” said Kris, who purchased Allen’s Clothing from his family in January. “Steamboat is a pretty resilient community. I think it could be slower for a little bit, but I think we will come back strong. I don’t think it’s going to be much of an issue.”
However, he is preparing for the impacts of COVOD-19 and believes the pandemic and associated shutdowns and restrictions will affect the community for the next year or maybe even two.
“I think there’s going be an impact on the economy for quite awhile,” he said. “It’s going to depend on a lot of different factors, and it’s hard to predict where things are going — especially right now.”
On Tuesday, Kris’ father Tod Allen was in the store, located at 828 Lincoln Ave., helping his son wait on customers at the business his grandfather and father opened in 1949. He said the pandemic is something he never expected to see.
“We have never needed to be closed for six weeks,” Tod said.
The closure, due to a statewide stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Jared Polis, came at a busy time.
“The year started off good, and then the shutdown was pretty tough,” Kris said. “It was day to day for a long time, and we just didn’t know what was going to happen, and then when we got shut down. It was a bit of shock.”
Kris said he was busy working with vendors at the time, buying and receiving spring and summer merchandise.
“That’s right when all of our spring orders were coming in, and so we had to go in and kind of guess what summer was going to be like,” Kris said. “That was tricky. We slimmed all of our orders down quite a bit, planning for the worse and hoping for the best.”
Kris said the vendors worked with the store to make the best of a bad situation.
“One of the biggest challenges is trying to balance inventory, “ Kris said. “It’s going to be interesting because a lot of brands are limiting manufacturing or their plants got shut down.”
While some vendors stopped shipping orders and other orders came in late, Kris said he had a good selection of men’s and women’s clothing in the store when it reopened in May.
In addition to inventory challenges, Kris has adopted new cleaning procedures to help keep staff and customers safe and comfortable.
Evening hours have been reduced some, but Allen’s Clothing is always open until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. He said the store avoided layoffs by utilizing the Paycheck Protection Program during the shutdown.
“We are such a local-driven store, and they have really shown up and that has been felt,” Kris said. “People are coming in and trying to support local businesses, which is really cool.
“Everybody in this community made the effort to try to shop local, which is why we’re still doing what we’re doing,” Kris added. “It’s great when you are supported by everybody around you, and we’ve seen a lot of that, which has been really cool.”
The Road to Recovery series is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing efforts to report on how COVID-19 is impacting Steamboat Springs and Routt County. This series is supported in part by a grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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