By Rich Place
Familiar faces to the ski and snowboard community in Ellicottville are opening a second location in East Aurora in the longtime home of an established ski shop.
The husband-and-wife team of Miguel Azcarate and Kimberly Reading, owners of Mud Sweat ‘n’ Gears on Monroe Street in Ellicottville, recently purchased the former Aurora Action Sports/The Ski Rack on Main Street in East Aurora and plan to open the location at the end of this month.
The purchase came following the retirement of Aurora Action Sports’ previous owner, Dale Schaefer.
“We really looked at the East Aurora community and the southtowns and thought it was kind of a no-brainer,” Reading said about purchasing the store. “We just saw huge potential. I think the demographics seem to fit well with our business model.
“There are lots of streets lined with independent local businesses that seem to be thriving,” she continued. “The demographic is very intriguing to us.”
The couple officially took ownership of the East Aurora store, located at 669 Main St. next to the Aurora Theater building that also houses Fowler’s Chocolates, in early July. The past several weeks have been spent completely gutting the building, including tearing up the carpet and ripping out the ceiling.
“It’s been a work in progress,” Reading said from inside the store on Monday. A lot of the detail and finishing work still needs to be completed, but Reading said much of the major construction is finished.
The two Mud Sweat ‘n’ Gear locations will be similar in terms of branding, product selection and service, Reading noted, although they won’t be exact replicas of each other. The product mix will be different, she said.
However, like the Ellicottville location, the store in East Aurora will be a full-service ski and snowboard shop with specialty gear and accessories. They also plan to offer seasonal and daily rentals, tuning services and boot fitting.
Azcarate and Reading will oversee the operations at both locations with the help of general manager Pat Wallace. Page Nowicki, who has been full-time in the Ellicottville location since 2013, will manage the East Aurora store.
Azcarate said he expects the store will have 7 or 8 seasonal employees, with some of them previously employed with Aurora Action Sports.
Opening during Labor Day weekend will give the Mud Sweat ‘n’ Gears location in East Aurora great timing to enter the upcoming ski and snowboard season, Reading said.
“In Ellicottville, we really start gaining traction around Labor Day and then from there it just keeps building until the season starts,” she said.
The store plans to host special sales from Sept. 6 to 9 — including during Taste of East Aurora on Saturday, Sept. 8 — as a way to introduce themselves to the East Aurora community. No date has been set for a grand opening celebration, but one could come closer to the ski season.
Reading said the store’s fall hours will likely be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I just see tons of potential and lots of opportunities for us,” Reading said. “We are excited. We want to hit the ground running and do the best we can.”
Those interested in checking out Mud Sweat ‘n’ Gears on social media can find them on the business’ existing social media platforms and at mudsweatgears.com. The phone number at the East Aurora location is (716) 652-7180.