AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A new retail store opened Tuesday inside the Stanley Marketplace in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The Colorado couple who started Aktiv Style as an online business believe now is the right time to add a physical location despite concerns related to COVID-19.

(credit: CBS)

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“We were ready to take this step as the pandemic hit and I don’t know if that’s good luck or bad luck,” said Nate Axvig, co-owner. “I feel that in Colorado we’ve done a really good job in responding to the virus.”

He and his wife lived in Norway for more than a year. The two lawyers loved the clothing they saw in that part of Europe but were disappointed they could not easily purchase those brands back in the U.S. The Axvigs felt the lifestyle in Norway and Colorado were similar- a love of the outdoors with the need for layers.

“Because our weather is inconsistent and ever changing, you need to be ready for a 20-degree dip,” he said. “Sustainability is a big part of pretty much every one of the brands that we have.”

(credit: Nate Axvig)

Aktiv is the way to spell the word that means “active” in multiple Scandinavian languages. It helps to demonstrate the unique and foreign take on outdoor clothing they’re bringing to Colorado and the U.S. While they successfully launched a website selling these products, the plan to open a physical store began last fall. The space they believed would be right for their vision only became available after the pandemic began. The support of Stanley Marketplace, a hub for dozens of small businesses, felt like the right place to open their first location.

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“In many instances, the items that we were looking for weren’t available, if they were available, it was out several weeks,” Axvig told CBS4 from inside the store. “That has been a little bit more difficult due to the virus.”

It is a soft open as they work to complete the store but the extra space actually encourages social distancing. Axvig knows it is a risk to start a new endeavor like this in the current economy. But he believes you’re always taking a chance when entering the retail industry, the hope is their online clientele who have stayed quarantined for months will be eager to see the products in person.

(credit: CBS)

“We felt at home here, it’s 50-some businesses that are small business and you don’t get any smaller than two owners, and that’s us,” he said. “To touch and feel these clothes, that’s the important part.”

Axvig says they have come up with a way to help anyone more susceptible to COVID-19. Private shopping will let someone visit the store alone and the couple can pull any sizes they’re interested in before the customer arrives, limit contact and surfaces touched. The challenges and the risk haven’t prevented the couple from achieving their goal.

“It feels like the shops we went to in Norway, in Sweden,” Axvig said.

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LINK: Aktiv Style