Back in the Utah retail business scene is Red Oelerich, who will open Mother Karen's, a ski apparel and casual wear store, at 745 E. Fort Union Boulevard, Friday.
Oelerich, who had five Mother Karen's stores at one time in Utah, said most stores have a Labor Day ski sale and his store won't be an exception. Mother Karen's opening is designed to coincide with the coming ski season.Although ski apparel will be the basic line for the store, he also will display and sell photographs.
Oelerich started Mother Karen's, named after his wife, 15 years ago along with his wife and Marjorie Trulock, who designed the clothes. Eventually, the company expanded to five stores in the Crossroads Plaza, 5130 S. State, Park City, Orem and Ogden.
Eight years ago, when the company had $6 million in annual sales, the three people sold their company and worked for the new owners for five years. Three years ago, Oelerich quit when the operation was moved out of state and the stores closed.
Since then he has been dabbling in real estate. "We are starting the corporation all over again," he said, while setting up displays for the new store. He has a contract with a Midvale sewing company to make clothes that feature tactel nylon outers and polar fleece for insulation.
A native of Chicago, Oelerich was stationed at Fort Douglas for two years in the early 1960s and skied all of the local ski areas. He liked it so well that after returning to Chicago and eventually getting married, he moved to Salt Lake City in 1972 and started Mother Karen's as a second income.
But as the business grew, Oelerich devoted all of his attention to it. Because he and his family love skiing so much, the revived business also will serve as a hobby, he said.