Small businesses across the nation faced a roller coaster of challenges in the past two years, but on the cusp of 2022, TreadZ is going strong, Co-owner Erin Zalinski said.
Zalinski’s recipe for success?
Resourcefulness and commitment to the community.
“We’ve been able to use what we have to share with others,” she said, explaining the store space is often used for product launches, fundraisers and other community events. “Supply chains have been an issue, but I’ve been resourceful, bringing in other brands and finding new product lines to fill the gaps caused by those supply shortages.”
As the Omicron variant races through the country, a new wave of uncertainty hovers over economies near and far, increasing consumer demand.
“We’ve had several customers coming in for items they might not typically buy for months, yet,” Zalinski said. “A lot of people are purchasing in advance, right now.”
While specializing in outdoor footwear, TreadZ, 812 Grand Ave., also offers customers a variety of clothing and accessory options, including warm winter gear to stave off the frigid temperatures accompanying ample snowfall in recent weeks.
“Business has been good,” Zalinski said. “We have a long tradition of strong local support, and I believe we owe that to our consistency over the years.”
Founded in 2007, TreadZ was a chance for Zalinski and her husband, Jon, to break away from the 9-5, take what they learned from years working in outdoor retail and make something their own.
“We started just as a shoe store,” Zalinski recalled. “Jon wanted his own business, and we saw an opportunity in the market after Dragon’s Boot and Shoe closed shop.”
About five years ago, the couple took their entrepreneurial ambitions a step further, opening Toad & Co. at 816 Grand Ave., next to TreadZ.
“We really needed the space next door for logistics, and we’d done a good bit of business with Toad & Co. prior to that,” Zalinski explained.
The couple partnered with the clothing company, which has roots in Telluride, opening its Glenwood Springs location in 2017.
“We really care about having a high level of customer service and providing the community with quality products,” Zalinski said.
Despite the stores’ success, entrepreneur is a niche career Zalinski said she didn’t anticipate. After discovering Glenwood Springs while on break from college, she fell in love with the Roaring Fork Valley and decided to stay.
A couple years later, Zalinski met her husband, another transplant drawn in by the area’s idyllic landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
But when it came to work, Zalinski said she experienced restlessness before opening TreadZ.
“I’m more of jobs person than a career person,” she said. “I never really liked the idea of settling into something before. I’ve now done this, TreadZ, longer than I’ve done anything else.”
In the face of a pandemic, wildfires, rock slides and whatever comes next, Zalinski’s passion for her business remains strong.
“I don’t see TreadZ going away anytime soon,” she said.
As the ball drops on the new year, the Zalinskis and their staff are keeping a weather eye on the horizon, hoping for calm winds and smoother sailing.
“Right now, we’ve just been reacting to one crisis after the other for the last two years,” Zalinski said. “We’re looking forward to the potential of some stabilization in 2022.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.