Although his name seems created for a shopkeeper, John Schopbach never intended a career in retail. A pre-med major at Colorado State, he ultimately switched to fashion merchandising and accepted a position at Robinsons department store in L.A. There he learned the numbers side of the business, but also that fashion retailing involves instinct as well as numbers. In 1990, he opened a men’s store in Fort Collins, ultimately buying out his partner and launching Weekends Boulder, now one of America’s top contemporary stores. With a roster of the best brands in the business, a good handle on elevated streetwear, and a strategy for rotating pop-up shops, Schopbach is enticing young customers to spend big bucks for cool contemporary clothes.
For this, he takes little credit, expressing gratitude for his college clientele and for a great location that encourages walk-in traffic.
“We had to re-train our staff to understand this new generation,” Schopbach explains. “These kids follow fashion on social media and gravitate toward key brands. We don’t sell suits or dress pants so we can devote our space to upscale contemporary sportswear (APC, Stone Island) at retails in the $300 to $400 range. Our designated shop for pop-ups is also working well. Although it’s tough to bridge that gap between classic and contemporary, we introduce new brands gradually and much of our customer base is receptive.”
Observes industry analyst Marc Weiss from Management One, “Great retailers have great people or great product. John has both. Weekends is part of the fabric of the community of Boulder because John has kept the store as relevant and fresh today as when he opened 29 years ago.”