It’s been a busy few years for Lolli Gagnon, co-owner of Higher Ground Mountain Sports with her husband David.
The couple took over the store in the fall of 2013, recently moving across the street to their current, much larger location, where they also live.
If all of that wasn’t enough, the couple’s family also grew to five with the arrival of Benedict, now five weeks.
“There’s never a dull moment,” she laughed when asked about owning a business as a mother of three.
“There’s never a moment of peace, it’s very busy.”
Growing up in Manchester, Gagnon’s first experience on the slopes happened indoors. She quickly developed a love of the sport and later took an instructor’s course in Andorra.
And who happened to be her teacher in that course? David.
“(David) was my evaluator…My friends thought I passed just because I was smooching with the evaluator but that happened afterwards,” she said, laughing.
Gagnon was looking for a change of pace from her life in Manchester and decided to give Golden a try, where David was working at the Kicking Horse Gear Exchange (later to become Higher Ground).
Gagnon worked under owners Charlotte and Trevor Gavura until one day they made an interesting proposal.
“Those guys said ‘when are you going to buy the place?’ over dinner one night,” Gagnon recalled.
Business is going well following their relocation/expansion. The short commute – the Gagnons have a large apartment upstairs that they are continuing to renovate – is certainly a nice perk, although Gagnon admits it has its downside as well.
“It’s definitely easy to put the children to bed and do an hour downstairs…it gives you a lot of flexibility but at the same time it can be a bit of a curse because you can end up working too much,” she said.
The idea of a woman owning a sporting goods story shouldn’t come as a shock in the 21st century, but Gagnon recalls a few occasions where it has surprised their customers and hopes that her knowledge and helpfulness has changed a few opinions over the years.
“I think my training and my knowledge of the products is good enough that once I start speaking they realize ‘oh yeah she does know a lot,’”
As for her advice to young entrepreneurs, especially females, it’s fairly simple.
“Go for it. I think if you find a niche in Golden it’s definitely a good town to raise a family and own a business in. It’s such a nice town, everybody’s really helpful.”