As the mother of two young children, Chatowsky said she didn’t want to rush into anything and considered different business models that would allow her to balance the various aspects of her life. High Tor was her first choice to partner with, Chatowsky said, and she was thrilled when James agreed.
The skate shop is set up in a back portion of the High Tor store formerly used for storage. Founded in 2017 by James and her husband, Seth, High Tor specializes in outdoor equipment, especially high-quality used outdoor gear and clothing.
Like many business owners, James said the last year and a half has been difficult. After closing for about three months at the start of the pandemic, James said she reopened the store to a supportive community that very much wanted to get outside and needed High Tor’s products to do so.
“Everybody had been home, cleaning out their closets, and wanted to bring us stuff to consign,” she said. “Everybody wanted to get gear to go outside … and do things since there wasn’t much else to do.”
With the help of two Paycheck Protection Plan loans and support from the Community Investment Collaborative, James said they have been able to keep two employees on staff for the majority of the pandemic.
“We are now thinking a little less about survival, though it’s always on our minds, but we now have time to think more about growth and opportunity,” James said.