On a snowy night around 2 a.m., at a Park-n-Ride off I-70’s Lookout Mountain exit, Julie Petty loads duffle bags stuffed with ski clothes into a van. She does this dozens of times a year. When she finishes, the courier hauls the bags up the hill, bound for ski resorts across the state from Winter Park to Telluride. Petty heads down a winding back road to her Golden home, which doubles as headquarters for her burgeoning startup, Mountain Threads.
In 2009, Petty launched her business after nearly a decade as a vice president at Western Union; the company had just laid off a chunk of its workforce, Petty among them. “That was the nudge I needed to do the entrepreneurship thing,” she says. Her boyfriend suggested she rent out ski jackets, hats, gloves, and pants—a concept common in his native Britain, but nonexistent in Colorado.
Petty tapped the tourist market by striking a deal with DIA baggage workers who were happy to mention Mountain Threads to angry travelers whose luggage had been lost. She had 63 orders that first year. Two seasons later, thanks to customer referrals and relationships with resort concierges, demand has more than tripled. In addition to couriers, Petty uses UPS and occasionally delivers the orders—placed online or by phone—herself.
Mountain Threads is close to outgrowing the storage-room-turned-warehouse in Petty’s basement, which houses hundreds of winter clothing items. But that’s fine with her; she doesn’t miss corporate life. Although, like all entrepreneurs, sometimes she catches herself thinking: I can’t believe this is working. But then again, this is Colorado, the number one ski destination in North America. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner? mountainthreads.com