New surplus store to open in part of old store’s site
Tafoya had worked for Surplus City for 36 years
Surplus City is gone, but a similar store is about to open in part of the old location in the 2700 block of Colorado Avenue.
Old Colorado City Surplus will be a family-run store, led by Tim Tafoya, who had been with Surplus City for 36 years. It won't look large to customers, only taking up about 2,700 square feet. But together with rear warehouse space and a wholesale business that Tafoya originally started for Surplus City, the whole operation will take up the eastern half of the former store's footprint (about 12,000 square feet).
“It will be an old-time mom and pop,” he said, listing the key individuals as his wife, his two sons and a daughter-in-law, “We hope to be a vital part of the Westside. I think it's a good fit for me and my family.”
The tentative opening date is Nov. 1.
Tafoya started at Surplus City in 1970, when the store was still owned by its founder, Clarion Chambon. He continued as a manager for Dave Lippincott, who had the store from 1985 until he closed it for financial reasons several months ago. Now, Tafoya said, “It's time for me to do my own thing.”
He thinks he can succeed by using what worked best for Surplus City. The store had expanded in recent years to compete with major outdoor companies in the camping equipment and clothing market. Tafoya plans to “go back to the roots,” as he phrased it, by focusing on surplus supplies, which generally sold well.
“Through the years I learned the business and made contacts around the world,” he said. “I know suppliers across the country.”
The operation will be bolstered by HQ Company, the wholesale business he started 10 years ago as a subsidiary of Surplus City. “We had accumulated so much stuff, we couldn't sell it all through retail,” Tafoya said. Through the wholesale business, the company was able to move such products at trade shows or to other surplus stores. In addition, he started creating new products that have the olive-drab surplus look, primarily first-aid kits.
Lippincott wishes his former employee well. “He knows the business backwards and forwards,” he said. “I expect he will do very well.”
Still the building's owner, Lippincott said he is now looking for a tenant to rent the western half of the building. “I'm hoping to get a business that's complimentary to what Tim is doing,” he said.
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