Bob's Sports Chalet expanding, selling online

Published on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:29
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - To survive as a local business, it’s necessary to find a balance between online and in-store sales, explained Bill Gonsalves, owner of Bob’s Sports Chalet.

As his wife Belinda and son Brendan organized new inventory, he explained that he grew up on a Chippens Hill in Bristol.

The business was originally founded by Bob Abrams in 1964, and he named it Bob’s Chalet Ski and Snow, said Gonsalves, adding that the store was located on Route 6 until November of last year when they moved to Pine Street.

“This is a 52-year-old family-owned business and when my son hits 30 years old, my wife and I will turn it over to him,” Gonsalves said.

“We still own the old building on Route 6 and don’t know what do with it, so we use it as a warehouse. The move was a big jump in size, but we’ve already outgrown this building, because we changed the name to Bob’s Sports Chalet a while ago and there’s a lot more than just ski and snowboard products now. We even rent out ski and snowboard equipment now.”

“The business is adapting,” explained Gonsalves, adding that the business became a “four-season operations” about seven years ago.

It used to close from May to July during the off-season, but now the business is open throughout the year with nine employees handling the day-to-day operations of the store and online orders.

Gonsalves explained that the store is in a “full transition period” to not only be a ski and snowboard shop, but to offer more year-around products to adapt with changing consumer trends in store and online.

“We are still a specialty shop and do fittings, bindings and a lot of things that can’t be done on the internet,” Gonsalves said.

“There are a lot of online sales because that’s how things sell now, and upstairs is where we package and ship online orders,” he said. “However, people over the age of 30 still like to touch, feel and try something on before buying it, so they come into the store.”

Gonsalves noted that even though millennials are online shippers, he has put his efforts into both online and retail sales because specialty shops and boutiques provide a more personal experience.

“I think boutiques and specialty shops could flourish again. They have the ability to offer products not commonly found other places, which is what makes a boutique a boutique,” Gonsalves said. “The shopping local movement helps with in-store sales. We see a lot of local customers, but also a lot of customers from all around Connecticut.”

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at .

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Business, General News, on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:29. Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2017 21:31.