Burned out but bouncing back

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:16

New store up, running, By Nick Troiano MILFORD - For Shawn Hamilton and Clay Harper of Action Outfitters, nothing could stand in the way of their entrepreneurial ambitions. An electrical fire claimed their business at Route 6 & 209 in early October, less than a year after both partners purchased the store. But out of its ashes and only a few weeks later, the store reopened a few miles down the road, next to Milford Chrysler. Hamilton has been working for Action Outfitters since 1994, reaching the level of manager, before partnering with Harper to buy it. Harper used to shop at the store as a kid and a mountain bike racing enthusiast. The business itself has been around for 13 years, building what Hamilton described as a reliable reputation as a local bike, snowboard, and skate shop. The two purchased the business last November. Everything was going well until Monday evening, Oct. 2. Hamilton explained that the store was locked up around 7 p.m., and around 8 p.m. a fire broke out, originating from the front register area. Hamilton and his partner were at home when they received the news. “I was shocked and devastated; it was tough,” Hamilton said. He explained that their great insurance, the hospitality of Milford Chrysler in providing a temporary place, and an immense amount of dedication among employees allowed them to reopen so soon. “People just can’t believe we were able to open this quickly,” he said. Hamilton said his message to people is to buy as much insurance as possible because it certainly pays off. He also told of the 7 a.m. to midnight hours he and his partner put in throughout the last month to make their Oct. 28 grand re-opening possible. “We’re all just workaholics,” he said. Though the store is only operating on a temporary lease, the owners is happy with it. As he screwed in another rack of snow boarding boots, Hamilton commented that they may have even done too good a job, considering they will only be at their new location for a couple months. Their future plans include finding a permanent location in the local area. “We are weighing all sorts of options... it’s going to be interesting,” Harper said. As for their customers, Harper explained that their loyal customer base is still with them, but it has been very hard to get the word out that they have reopened. For Hamilton and Harper, Action Outfitters is more than just a store; it’s one of their favorite hobbies, something they have been familiar with for decades now. When people come in, Hamilton explained, they aren’t greeted by some phony salesman. “This is our pride and joy,” he said.