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Sat, Dec. 14

Resort wear for less at the Sample Store

Loretta Jane Hido and Kelly O’Connor

Loretta Jane Hido and Kelly O’Connor

Conceived by long-time Villager, Kelly O'Connor, the Sample Store in the Oak Creek Factory Outlets offers a vast selection of resort logo apparel for less than the resort shops pay for the same merchandise.

Kelly is an avid outdoorsman from the Colorado Rockies. He worked eight years as a Royal Gorge river raft company manager and whitewater guide before opening a ski shop in the mountain town of Salida. It was as a ski shop owner that Kelly first became associated with the resort wear business.

Kelly's father, Gene had moved to the VOC in the 60's, and during his visits, Kelly developed a love for the area.

In 1989, he decided to make the Village his home and resort wear his game.

Using his old contacts, Kelly began work representing the same national resort wear manufacturers from whom he formerly bought apparel for his ski shop.

His success was stunning, but during his 23 years in the business, huge stockpiles of clothing samples began overtaking his living space.

He gave them to the troops overseas, the Navajo Nation and any good cause he could think of, but samples continued to mount up. He finally decided to offer them to the public at wholesale prices, and The Sample Store was born.

Shortly after opening, another Villager named Loretta Jane Hido walked into the store to see what there was to sample. Her vibrant personality and communication skills caused Kelly to think she might be an asset to the business.

When he learned that Loretta Jane also had a 25-year history in retail management he immediately hired her as shop manager. Loretta Jane is now the energy that keeps things going.

The Sample Store features quality t-shirts, sweats, fleece-wear, hats, jackets and more with logos representing everyplace from Grand Canyon to Grand Cayman. I want one from the Bahamas to impress my friends. They don't need to know I haven't been east of Albuquerque in 10 years.

The Sample Store is loads of fun with prices less than wholesale making it a great source for unique gifts.

Stop in as a Villager and come out as a jet-setter or at least looking like one.

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