If you’re a skier or snowboarder living in the Lubbock area, chances are you’ve been to Troy’s Ski Lubbock. Chances are also that you absolutely loved it. Troy’s Ski Lubbock is the ultimate hub for skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and skateboarding gear + clothing. This shop has been around Lubbock since 1989, and it’s had its permanent location in the community since owner Phillip Howard purchased the business from founder Troy Teague.
After a brief but fun conversation with Phillip, it’s crystal clear why people who love to hit the slopes also love to hit Troy’s Ski Lubbock.
“When I bought Troy’s Ski, I had only skied maybe two or three times. I actually wasn’t a huge skier coming into this business – it’s something I sort of fell into. As I was finishing up graduate school at Texas Tech back in 2003, the main thing I learned is that I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I wanted to own my own company.
One day I was out getting my oil changed, and as I was flipping through ads at the auto shop I saw that Troy was selling his store. Having skied a few times, I was familiar with Troy’s Ski and I was immediately interested. I called him up, and a few weeks later we sealed the deal and bought Troy’s Ski.
Prior to me purchasing the shop, Troy’s had always been sort of a vagabond store. If you’re familiar with those Halloween shops that pop up seasonally for three months or so, that’s sort of what Troy’s was. He bounced all around Lubbock for about 14 years. He would rent out a spot starting around Thanksgiving and until spring break time. The rest of the year, his inventory stayed at a warehouse.
When I bought the store in 2003, I decided to transform Troy’s Ski into a permanent store. The first change I made was signing a lease and opening a full store. We were still a seasonal store, but we stayed open a little longer than Troy did.
We basically took Troy’s business model and just extended it a bit. We stuck with apparel and accessories and the basics. Troy was always known for being a low-cost provider of basic skiwear. The families love it especially because you don’t want to spend a ton of money if your kids are just going to outgrow their gear. When I made the shop a permanent location, I was able to grow the business even more instead of starting over from scratch each year. We were able to build a little momentum going into each season just by not moving.
Having a permanent location also allowed me to introduce some national brands to the shop such as Columbia, Under Armour, and other recognizable brands. Those brands wouldn’t allow a pop up shop to carry their products, so having the permanent store has allowed us to expand our selection.
In 2011, I moved to our current location because we outgrew our previous spot. Within a few months of moving, we heard that Ski Lubbock was for sale. Since I had this newer and bigger location, I was able to go out and make the offer to purchase Ski Lubbock. Ski Lubbock was a smaller boutique shop that focused on gear rather than the accessories. We merged Ski Lubbock with Troy’s to be what Troy’s Ski Lubbock is today.”
The People Who Shop at Troy’s Ski Lubbock
“We’ve got a good mixture of newbies and pros. We get the customers who walk in with the ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ sort of look, and we’ve learned to identify that. Those customers we give the red carpet treatment because they’re afraid to walk in here to begin with. Often they’ve never skied before and coming into a speciality ski shop can be overwhelming. A lot of people assume that everything will be out of their price range. However, one thing that makes us unique is that even though we are a speciality store, we have something in every price range.
We’ve also got a well-trained staff who can walk new customers through the entire process. As a new person who has never been up in the mountains before, it can be a daunting task to try an outfit a family with everything they’re going to need for something they’ve never done before. That’s definitely a scary proposition. Once customers come in here and see that we’re nice folks with reasonably priced items, we can watch them start to relax.
While we get a lot of new customers, we’ve also got a lot of die-hard skiers who swing in just to walk in and look around because it gets them excited about their upcoming ski trips.”
The Benefit of Shopping Local
“The biggest difference between us – a local speciality shop – and a chain store really comes down to the training. Typically, a big box store isn’t going to just sell skis. They’re going to have ski and bike and golf and other sporting things. You’ll run into an instance where you might be talking to a staff members who is actually a golfer but just got thrown into the ski section of the store.
Whereas being a local dedicated ski shop, our guys are fully trained on everything from start to finish when it comes to outfitting customers for snowboarding or skiing. So, that’s the biggest difference between us and the chain stores.
The internet is our biggest competitor. We can’t compete with the internet, but what we can do is offer great customer service at the end of the day. You can come in here and know you’re getting great advice and proper information, versus pointing and clicking on a random picture you see online.”
“One of the neat things about being here in Lubbock is that we actually have a commerce population of well over 400,000. We’re called the “Hub City” – so all of eastern New Mexico and these communities around west Texas travel to Lubbock to do their shopping.
I was just talking to a man on the phone who lives an hour and a half away from here, but he’s in our shop all the time. One time, I had a family come in and they had never skied before so they were a little skittish. We spent about an hour with them and got them fully outfitted. At the end of the process she said, ‘We drove all the way from Midland just see you guys because we heard about you down there.’ So they made an almost two-hour drive to shop with us.
We get several customers who have had good experiences with us, so they make a point to come out of their way to come back and visit us. Or, we have people just traveling through Lubbock from the Dallas area and other places that are headed to the mountains. At some point in time they found us, and now they’ve become our local customers.
I think it’s really special that we get customers from all over. Part of the reason we get so many repeat customers coming through is that we’re super nice and make sure people are taken care of. One thing I impress upon my staff is that we’re not selling anything. We’re educating customers and helping them make a decision. If they choose the least expensive option, great. Let’s have a good option for them. If they choose something super nice, that’s great too. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to make sure the customers get their needs fulfilled.”
It’s official. Troy’s Ski is THE place to shop whether you’re a pro at skiing or just starting out. You can find Troy’s Ski Lubbock on Towny – the app that helps you explore Lubbock, support your neighbors, and get rewarded for doing so. Don’t like apps? No problemo; go here instead. Happy trails!