The North Face has a new home on Park City’s Main Street
Kat Jobanputra, executive vice president and COO for Vail Resorts Retail, knew he was undertaking an important task when the company announced it was opening The North Face on Park City’s Main Street: The store, he knew, had to fit seamlessly into the town’s well-known historic district.
Now, a few months after customers got their first glimpses of the store, he’s checking off that box. Jobanputra said that everything, from the exterior look of store to the North Face brand, aligns with what Park City is all about.
"I think it’s the perfect marriage, for the brand as well as Park City," he said, noting that several athletes with ties to the town, such as skier Tom Wallisch, are ambassadors for The North Face. "And that’s what we’re excited about. The North Face represents, in our viewpoint, all things Park City — the outdoor lifestyle, etcetera.
"That Main Street atmosphere is phenomenal," he added. "I was there during the Olympics, and I just loved Park City’s Main Street and all the things it stands for. And I think The North Face embodies all of that."
Part of the strong connection The North Face has to the town is in the building itself. The building, at 515 Main St., was built in the 1800s as a grocery store, Jobanputra said, and most recently housed the Talisker on Main restaurant. Vail Resorts went to great lengths to retain historic elements of the interior, such as the tin ceiling tiles, in an effort to keep the building’s mining-era allure.
"We wanted to make sure we could preserve as many of the elements and make sure it was still authentic in the community," he said. "The last thing I wanted to have was somebody to get irritated at us because we didn’t preserve what Park City is about. That was important to us."
The Main Street location is the 12th The North Face store Vail Resorts owns in its ski towns through a partnership agreement spanning nearly two decades. Jobanputra said the arrangement has been beneficial for both brands — as well as customers.
"We both promised each other that we’re going to honor the way The North Face wants to present its products and honor the way Vail Resorts wants to take care of its customers, which is high service and high touch," he said. "We want that concierge service for our guests — when you walk in, we want to help solve whatever problem you have."
While the new store isn’t Vail Resorts’s first, its location is unique. It’s the only one in a downtown-type area, and Jobanputra noted the proximity of the store to the Town Lift on Lower Main. He said that’s a quirk that will excite residents and tourists alike.
"How cool is it that you can be at the lift in town, ride that back and forth, as well as be part of this historic Main Street, which has just got a great feel to it?" Jobanputra said. "You can do all that in the course of a day. That’s why we love that piece of it. A lot of our stores are at the base of the mountain, but we think the tie in with Main Street and the lift makes a lot of sense. It’s more about the consumer experience of being able to do that. I don’t know of anywhere else in the world that you can do things like that — or there are very few places in the world where you can."
On top of the unique location of the store and its mining-era charm, shoppers will be pleased by the wide-ranging selection of the products, Jobanputra said. Other retailers who offer The North Face brand typically only devote a small section of their space to the products, but the Main Street store will carry an array of items, from ski jackets to shoes to mountain biking pants.
To top it off, he said, most of the products are moderately priced.
"The North Face is a good mainstream product," he said. "It’s not this crazy extreme — it’s more of a mainstream brand, and we think it ties in quite well."
The North Face
515 Main St.
11 Hauz, which opened last summer, serves traditional Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and shrimp, beef patties and fried plantains.