For Lolli Gagnon, owning and operating Higher Ground Sports wasn’t the end goal when she first came to Golden with her husband David.
Originally, the lifestyle of living in a mountain town is what attracted the pair to Golden, after looking at other similar communities such as Revelstoke and Fernie.
They finally settled on Golden, with the idea of settling a family in a tight-knit active community.
“It’s such a welcoming community, it’s an awesome place to meet people,” said Gagnon.
“It’s great to challenge yourself with other athletes while being in this nice community.”
Gagnon and her husband first took over Higher Ground in 2013, when they purchased the Golden Gear Exchange from its previous owners and rebranded.
While becoming business owners wasn’t in the original plan for Gagnon, it seemed like a natural evolution.
Her husband had experience in various outdoor sports, working in the snowboard and bike industry, while Gagnon herself has a background in retail and managing ski wear stores in England.
Having known the previous owners beforehand, their first experience at Higher Ground came with managing the store for a day, which eventually led to full-time work.
Gagnon then took over the store on a semi-permanent basis when the owners left for South America for two years, before taking over the business herself in 2013.
“It definitely evolved over time,” said Gagnon.
“We just came for a season and then we ended up working it all out.”
While her husband was initially involved in the business, it’s now run by Gagnon, as he was offered a new role as the executive director of the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association.
“He had to step down and has been traveling a lot,” said Gagnon.
“Definitely a juggle with four kids, but a fun challenge.”
For Gagnon, running her business isn’t just about the profits.
Higher Ground emphasizes service as she tries to make sure she’s constantly stocking products that are in demand.
The business has also created multiple community initiatives, such as a non-profit that helps provide low cost bike, skateboarding and stand-up paddle boarding lessons.
“We try and keep them as cost effective as possible for the community,” said Gagnon.
“Just to get kids and people out there with the proper skills and things like that, we wanted to offer that to Golden and it’s something that we felt passionate about.”
Higher Ground will be making some new additions as well, with a gelato and coffee bar Gagnon hopes to have open by spring break in March.