My Life, My Words: Rodney Klimper — Providing all the pieces for a home
“I’ve been working at Furniture Gallery for four years. I do just about everything: books, ordering, delivering, sales. I fell into it, I just went to work for the owner and as the business expanded and changed direction, it’s where I ended up. Before that, I kind of bounced around, I did some landscaping, different seasonal jobs in Steamboat, some retail.
“I like dealing with the people who want to improve what they have, whether they’re looking to get something more value-priced or real fine furniture. We do deliveries all over the region, so we get to deal with all that — houses, people’s different decors. We deal with 120 different companies, we get stuff from all over. We try to run the gamut as far as price, quality, selection. You see furniture stores that have a lot of real high-end stuff, like most Steamboat stores have. We try to give everybody a choice so that they know what they’re doing.
“The area we’re in is very lodge-oriented with tourism. People in Steamboat who have their second home don’t want this real contemporary type, they want a rustic lodge retreat. (The store’s front display) draws people in. It has that nice, calm thing with the waterfall and the animals, it’s just real calm and relaxed when you’re coming in. We try to set up all the store in room settings so that it gives you a better idea of how it’s going to look in a room, like whether you’ll have a rug with it or a table. It’ll show how it’ll look in a home instead of the warehouse style shopping that so many places do where they just say, ‘There’s a line of recliners. Let’s go.’
“Furniture in itself doesn’t really lend itself to (Christmas shopping) because it’s not something that somebody wants to pick out on their own. Most husbands aren’t comfortable going in and saying, ‘Hey, look at what I got you for Christmas.’ We really don’t see a lot of that. It’s more people trying to make their homes nicer going into the winter season. This year, with it being such a late start to winter before it started getting cold, we didn’t see that upswing in business until it got cold. Then people are forced to be inside and they say, ‘Oh, this old ratty sofa’s got to go.’
“We’re just going to have some family in for Christmas, and then have a couple nice days and then it’s back to work. As we get into the new year, that’s when I get back with (Bad Dogs youth) wrestling. We have a national tournament that we take our wrestlers to down in Pueblo on New Year’s Day. Lots of traveling in January.
“I got started working in wrestling with my son, Mikinzie, in the Moffat County youth wrestling program. It was a spring program. My oldest son, Zack, he’s 21 now, and he was a wrestler in middle school and high school, and he got hurt in a tournament when he was a sophomore. When the spring league came around, we thought, ‘Let’s put Mikinzie in,’ he was 5 or 6 at the time and (Zack) was helping coach and kind of got it and he was just so good at it, and Mikinzie just tore it up. And then, the next year they told us, you’ve really got to wrestle for the Bad Dogs.
“My daughter is 13. She’s on the basketball team at the middle school. She played volleyball, she’s going to run track, she really enjoys it. Miki’s playing football and then there’s wrestling, so that’s about 11 months out of the year. I let him take the summers off and not do anything.
“Sports is a big part of my family. When I was growing up, I played a little bit, but I was never really pushed. Now I look back on it and I think, ‘Gosh, I missed out on a lot,’ just the camaraderie that you see.
“You’ll see 50-year-old people getting together with people that they played football or baseball with. I wanted to make sure my kids all got involved in that up through high school and then they can decide if they want to be part of that or not. I don’t want them to regret not doing that. That, and it keeps them out of trouble, it keeps them busy and active, so it’s not just them doing ‘thumb pushups’ on a (video game) controller.”
— Interview and photo by Andy Bockelman