By Eva Potter
Although they had a low-key opening during Winter Carnival Weekend back in March, do-op (yes, it’s all lower case) Gear Shop is still one of the new kids in town.
The shop’s high-end products are geared to help you — as their tagline reads — “See the Future” with their specialized sunglasses, helmets, hats, clothing and other sports accessories.
“Growing up in the Ellicottville area, I became a big fan of skiing and outdoor sports. I always wanted to open a shop that supported those activities. The Ellicottville area has some of the best skiing, hiking, biking, golfing and outdoor activity opportunities for everyone,” said Bill Stoll, owner of do-op. “The goal of do-op is to bring more advanced gear to Ellicottville for outdoor activities.”
While Stoll is the owner of the business, he also has the support of a silent partner who resides in Austin, Texas.
“The idea for do-op originally came from some research and development that I was working on for bio-sensors in sunglasses,” Stoll explained. “The name do-op came from a software program I was working on long ago. It represents the shape of glasses [o-o] and is a palindrome [do-op], which means it is the same flipped upside down.”
Like the average Joe, Stoll works weekdays in medical research development, but unlike most Joes, he has developed his own bio-sensor, a medical device that uses infrared technology to monitor pulse, blood glucose and other bodily functions. Someday, he hopes to place bio-sensors into the arms and/or nose pads of his fashionable sunglasses to track these vital signs. Google and Apple have already begun incorporating wearable technology into their product lines.
Stoll said he has a published his bio-sensor patent and will now need to defend his claim.
While he perfects his design, he is committed to educating the public about protecting their eyes from sun damage with his vast sunglass line including Revo, Bolle, Switch and Serengeti, to name only a few. One sunglass line, Switch, even offers the consumer the option of changing lenses based on lighting conditions.
But do-op Gear Shop isn’t just about glasses. They also offer Italian-made Kask sports helmets, which can be special ordered, Outdoor Research and Bench brand apparel for men and women, hats and other fun accessories.
According to Stoll, “The biggest movers this summer have been sunglasses, and lots of
them, though the past several weeks people have been showing a lot of interest in goggles, helmets and clothing.”
You can even buy KanJam, invented by Buffalo entrepreneurs who spend a lot of time in Ellicottville. Stoll said getting this product in the store is the “craziest thing to have happened since we opened. We have sold almost all of our KanJam inventory and we are planning a do-op KanJam tournament for next summer.”
Stoll said, “Our clientele is everyone who walks down the street in Ellicottville on any given weekend. We sell $9 sunglasses and $900 watches. Now that we have been open a few months, the traffic is really starting to pick-up!”
Visit do-op Gear Shop at 34 Washington St. in the heart of the village, call them at 1-888-867-2545 or visit www.doop.com. The store is open Friday noon to 7 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Fall Festival, when they will be open daily for the winter shopping season.