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Superior 14-year-old enjoys being his own boss

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Superior 14-year-old enjoys being his own boss Sam Gambee started accessories company, opened storefront next to Safeway By John Aguilar Camera Staff Writer Posted:
12/12/2013 06:09:01 PM MST Updated:
12/12/2013 06:52:07 PM MST Sam Gambee looks over belts he has for sale in his store. Sam Gambee, a 14-year-old Monarch High School student, had trouble finding a job so he and his dad, Tony, opened up their own store called Slam Gear in Superior.
Cliff Grassmick / December 12, 2013 (CLIFF GRASSMICK) watches SUPERIOR -- If you see Sam Gambee walking the halls at Monarch High School, ask him for a business card. replica watches Sure, he's 14 and only a freshman, but he already owns his own business, Slam-Gear, which offers wooden sunglasses and an assortment of belts, watches, dog collars and wallets made from brightly colored silicone rubber. disocunt watches Oh, and he just opened a storefront for Slam-Gear next to the Safeway in Superior. disocunt watches "I've been a pretty hard worker and always worked hard at school," Gambee said, sitting at his shop's simple counter and snapping on to his wrist one of the watches he sells. "I've always wanted a job." watches sale Gambee at first followed the traditional labor-seeking route for a teen, trying to land a gig at a restaurant or retail store. watches "But no one wanted to let a 14-year-old work because of the labor laws that come with it," he said. So with the help of his parents, Gambee formed his own company. Through connections at his church back in Michigan, where his family lived before moving to Superior in August, he landed Woody's sunglasses as a product line to sell. And after meeting an Aspen entrepreneur at the Taste of Colorado who was looking to unload her line of silicone-based clothing accessories, Gambee amassed enough inventory to go off on his own. He built a website at slam-gear.com and took a bunch of belts ($25), sunglasses ($50 to $100), wallets ($15), and watches ($15) to last month's Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo to see how they'd do. In less than three days, Gambee sold $3,000 worth of product. "People think it's cool," Gambee said of his company, which pays homage to his nickname, Slam. "I wear most of the stuff to school and kids will say 'sweet belt' or 'sweet sunglasses.'" The silicone rubber material makes for head-turning snap-on wristwatches, easily adjustable belts -- which come with a choice of interchangeable buckles -- and water-repellent dog collars that don't smell like wet canine as soon as Rufus hits the creek. Gambee said the rubber wallets are particularly popular with cyclists, who often find themselves bagging their leather money carriers so as not to drench them in sweat. The sunglasses are made of bamboo and layered maple and are surprisingly strong for being so light. While he has been selling some Slam-Gear items online, Gambee and his father felt the best way to get the word out about the company, especially during the holiday season, was to open a local bricks-and-mortar outlet. They tried for a kiosk at FlatIron Crossing but needed an arrangement where they could better manage their hours. After all, the contact page on slam-gear.com states: "If you want to talk to Slam... Just let us know what's up and he will call you after school." Sam Gambee's father, Tony, found a vacant space in the Safeway-anchored shopping center in Superior that used to house a Baskin-Robbins, and with a couple of fences from Lowe's and a hand-made table made from sawhorses and fence pickets, they set up their display cases. Last week, they threw open the doors to the public. Sam Gambee runs over to the store after Monarch lets out in the afternoons and works the counter on weekends as well. "He was just telling me he isn't getting the chance to ski, and that's what he was excited about doing when we moved out here," Tony Gambee said. "But he's a kid that would rather be doing something than not doing something." Slam-Gear will only occupy the space through the end of the month, in hopes of capturing some of the holiday traffic circulating through the shopping center. "We're hoping to do enough sales to be able to do a re-order of the stuff and start to put our own ideas into what the product looks like," Tony Gambee said. Heather Cracraft, executive director of the Superior Chamber of Commerce, said she is happy that such a young person is taking an interest in business and occupying an empty retail space in town, for however short a period of time. "It's very exciting to see the younger generation get involved with business," she said. "I think it's a great use of that space for the time of the season." Gambee said running his own company beats sitting around watching TV or playing videogames. And it gives him a chance to spend quality time with his father. "Me and my Dad were looking for a hobby," he said. Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389, aguilarj@ or twitter.com/abuvthefold .
Sam Gambee and his father, Tony, open their store Thursday afternoon. Sam Gambee, a 14-year-old Monarch High School student, had trouble finding a job so he and his dad, Tony, opened up their own store called Slam Gear in Superior.
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