The Story of Us:
The story of Dodge City Ski Shop begins in 1974, when the owner Steve Gilbert got married and went to Aspen, Colorado on his honeymoon. Steve fell in love with snowskiing.
By 1982, Steve had four children, and found it extremely hard to find snow ski equipment and proper snow ski clothing for them. He knew there was a market and thought: “Why not open a snow ski shop and specialize in children’s clothing and equipment?” He knew many families from the Chattanooga area that were like his family– who love to take their children on ski trips.
Steve thought that he already had a building picked out. He ran power and a phone to an old train caboose that he had purchased a couple of years before. He then purchased ski clothing, ski equipment and had it shipped to the store. The day that 40 cases of ski boots came in, he learned that the very old caboose (7 feet wide and 35 feet long) may not be quite large enough for his business venture.
For the next two years, he managed to make it work, until purchasing an old mobile home. He tore out all the partitions to make a large showroom, which would house the store for the next 10 years. The next move would decide if he was to go heavily in debt and build a permanent building.
In May 1996, Steve contracted to purchase a permanent, steel building. After signing the contract, Steve was told by the sales guy, it would be about 6 months before the building would be delivered. They had a huge backlog on their buildings. Steve replied, “Six months? I can’t wait 6 weeks!”; and made a trip to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to see the president of the company.
He arrived in Muscle Shoals with “gifts” and met with the president of the steel company, where his youngest son, Donny, presented the gifts. Actually, Donny got the ice, cocktail glasses, Jack Daniels and Crown Royal and bar-tended for us! Mr. Bigbee (the President of the steel company) said: “Beth, my secretary, will call you tomorrow morning.” Beth did call, and his steel building arrived 5 days later!
Unfortunately getting the building constructed was another story. Nevertheless, we finally opened for business on the 13th of December in 1996. We feared that we had lost the October, November, and half of December sales due to construction. Although from the day we opened our doors, we soared through the last half of December, and January through March of 1997. Overall, we had a great ski season! Our very dedicated customers waited, waited, and waited on Dodge City Ski Shop to reopen rather than make their purchase elsewhere.
Why have we been so successful?
First, our very dedicated customers.
Second, our very dedicated customers.
Third, our very dedicated customers.
Fourth, we carry a very large inventory, with a great selection and variety of ski clothing, equipment and accessories. Our staff is very knowledgeable about our products. We hire snow skiers and snowboarders to identify with the problems that our skiers/boarders maybe having. In 30 years of business, we have had only two or three non-skiing employees.
Fifth, our tune up/waxing shop. We have some of the best equipment made; the same equipment that you would purchase at such ski areas in Vail, Aspen, and Jackson Hole.We have over $100,000.00 of tune equipment to always tune a pair of skis or one’s board to its precise specifications.
Last, but not least, the four Gilbert children. Many of our customers have been coming since one or two Gilberts were young and in diapers. Steve’s children came to work with him whenever they had free time. They all wanted to learn to tune, wax skis and boards.Growing up in the shop, they learned about all of the technical aspects of ski apparel.They grew up on skis and working in their dad’s shop. They never complained about it being work. They all worked for a family ski trip somewhere out west come March! The“child labor agents” never caught up with Steve, so hopefully, the statute of limitations is up on that.
Hours of Operation
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Payment Methods Accepted: Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.
Address: 7968 East Brainerd Road | Chattanooga, TN 37421 | United States