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Rocky Mountain Underground, or RMU, is not your standard retail store. Aside from the gear shop–which sells its own line of high-end ski gear and apparel–there’s a full-fledged bar, complete with near-daily live music and specialty cocktails. And instead of hiring someone to build it, this employee-owned shop brought all hands on deck to build it themselves.
Retail operations manager Becca Paiz is no ordinary shop employee, either. The 30-year-old is one of many rising stars nominated for our Shop Star contest. In partnership with The North Face, SNEWS is bringing one retail employee to the next Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, all-expenses-paid.
Paiz formerly managed a restaurant in Breckenridge, where the store is based, but came on board when RMU opened its first retail shop late last year. And she shaped the vision for the bar: Instead of just having a few beers on tap, she steered the company to create a unique tavern with an old-timey feel, thanks to whiskey barrels sourced from Breckenridge Distillery and an 1800s-era beer engine, which uses gravity to pull beer out of kegs.
“If we’re selling these high-end, hand-crafted skis that are winning awards at ISPO, we should be selling cocktails that will be winning awards around here,” Paiz says.
Is there a young person in your shop with passion, leadership potential, and a desire to grow? Nominate him or her as a Shop Star today! It takes 5 minutes to fill out the form. We’ll be selecting someone for an all expense paid trip to Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show this January. There, the winner will enjoy an immersive experience that shows them all aspects of the outdoor industry. Plus, they’ll get a big ole’ swag bag from The North Face.
Aside from selling gear, working with customers, planning and hosting shop events, and overseeing the bar, Paiz is also starting a business plan for a new non-profit side of the business RMU wants to create. Most of the events they hold already benefit non-profits like search and rescue organizations, and they’ve raised more than $250,000 for charity to day. Paiz is also on the team working to open two new stores, in Whistler, BC, and Austria.
“We always say to work for RMU, you have to be a Swiss army knife,” Paiz says.
Paiz helps the RMU brand to be far more than just a retail shop, says RMU CEO Mike Waesche.
“She’s a natural leader,” he says. “Becca has a way to influence staff and even just the community around her in a positive way. It’s cool to see.”
Even though she’s fairly new to the outdoor industry, Paiz says she knows she wants to stick with it. She wants to watch the company grow and ultimately help lay the bricks for even more stores throughout the world.
“For me, RMU is a lifestyle, not just a career. It’ll be forever for me.”
Know a rising Shop Star who might want to win a free trip to Outdoor Retailer and a sweet prize pack from The North Face? We’d love to hear about them. Nominate them here.
Cover image by Eli Epste