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A Never Ending Vacation: Taos Mountain Outfitters

The Gaydosh Family Buy Taos Mountain Outfitters In Hopes Of Inspiring Others To Go Outdoors

Inside Taos Mountain Outfitters Store [Courtesy/TMO]

Bill Gaydosh spent 25 years cleaning up hazardous waste and nuclear sites, but he had a dream of moving back to Taos, New Mexico to be in the outdoor industry. When the store, Taos Mountain Outfitters became available, he and his wife Karen bought it and moved to the laid-back mountain town.

“The store originally carried a lot of nice women’s shoes, but we have a vision of making this truly an outdoor store,” Gaydosh said. “People don’t really come to Taos to buy women’s shoes. They want backpacks and water filters and occasionally shoes.”

Gaydosh said he and his wife Karen fell in love with Taos- where the high desert meets the Rockies- originally a decade ago when they lived there for a short time.  The store was an idea that was peculating while the couple used their college degrees and work experience to assist in cleaning up the most toxic and voluminous nuclear waste in the U.S. at the Hanford Site in Washington State.

“We were looking to make a change in a very big way,” Gaydosh said. “Now, at the end of the day I can look outside at 2 million acres of National Forest which is now essentially my backyard.”

Taos Mountain Outfitters has a lot of history and the couple plan to continue the operation while improving it.

Bill And Karen Gaydosh Out In The Snowy Mountains [Courtesy/TMO]
The Beautiful Nature In Taos [Courtesy/TMO]

 The store opened in 1969 and is one of the longest operating businesses on the Taos Plaza. In the late 1970’s TMO became the first store in New Mexico to carry products from a small company called Chouinard Equipment, which was named for its founder, Yvon Chouinard. Today Chouinard Equipment is better known as Patagonia.

“Taos is warm and welcoming and we’re not the only transplants,” Gaydosh said. “I think people like the changes that we’ve made. We have couches and chairs and invite people in to bring in their laptops and just sit and talk. They might not buy something that day, but because they feel comfortable hanging in the store they will probably come back when they need something for a hike or skiing.” Gaydosh appreciates his local customers so much that he makes sure to give them a special discount.

The 4,000 square-foot store in located in the historic Taos Plaza which has been the center of life in Taos for over 300 years and according to their website, the Spanish designed it to be a square with windows and doors facing inward and just a few entry points for protection. In later centuries, protection became less critical and the Plaza became the center of commerce and government with a more open and welcoming feel.

The store carries brands such as Patagonia, Marmot, Merrell, Osprey, Keen, Columbia and Gaydosh has already formed a great relationship with the outdoor brands. When the couple held a fundraiser for Taos Search and Rescue the companies donated more than $2500 in merchandise.

Taos Mountain Outfitters Merchandise [Courtesy/TMO]

“The brands want to see us be successful and so they reach out to us and the community,” Gaydosh said. “This place is so eclectic and magical. We have a great relationship with them (the brands) and we in turn can pass the deals on to our customers.”

The store’s new look includes more outdoor products from Jetboil stoves to North Face winter coats. Large Native American Indian rugs cover the floor and the aforementioned couches sit in the middle of the store for people to catch up on stories of adventure. This is the store that Bill and Karen Gaydosh were planning to own when they were devising ways to clean up and dispose of 208 million liters of waste that were stores in underground tanks at the Hanford Site.

“This is what we were dreaming of in our former careers,” said Gaydosh, 52. “I was sick of the rat race. What I really wanted to do was create a life I didn’t have to take a vacation from and I’ve found it.”

The Gaydoshs had no previous experience in retail, but they love the outdoors and they are listening to their customers.

“We’re figuring it out,” he said. “It’s not all about the sales goals, it’s about the experience. We’re concerned about making this a better place and teaching people who don’t have a lot of experience with the outdoors that it needs to be not only enjoyed, but also protected. We’re more than a store, we’re a community.”

The store will also still carry a selection of ladies shoes for the women who find themselves in need of more than hiking boots.


Candice Reed

A graduate of Kelsey-Jenny College in Communications as well as a certified grant writer, Candice has written for The Los Angeles Times & The New York Times. She loves entertaining and all things French.

Taos Mountain Outfitters

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Taos Mountain Outfitters, the only store needed when looking for adventure in Taos! They've got all you need for Taos hiking, camping, running and rafting, along with winter items such as snowshoes, apparel, boots and accessories.

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