For 40 years, Dugins West has been a go-to shop for souvenirs in Park City, Utah.

July 3, 2024

Skiers and snowboarders alike enjoy visiting Park City, Utah, for the destination’s ski resorts and Utah Olympic Park just northwest of the city. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts also like to visit the city in warmer summer months to hike and bike trails around the area.

Park City also features a vibrant shopping scene. Dozens of shops line the city’s Historic Main Street for tourists to browse and find the perfect keepsake to bring home with them.

One such shop, centered along Main Street, is Dugins West. Although Owner Robert Dugins initially started the store focused on selling name-dropped apparel in 1984, his wife Linda Dugins says the store now sells a wide variety of Park City-themed souvenirs in addition to T-shirts and sweatshirts.

“T-shirts sell great, and then we also sell ornaments, stickers and mugs,” says Linda. “There’s truly something here for everybody who visits Park City.”

Roots in retail

Robert Dugins comes from a long line of retailers — his father, grandfather and great-grandfather once operated Dugins Shoes in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Robert enjoyed growing up around the family store, but he didn’t plan on staying in the family business. Upon graduating from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in business, Robert decided to follow his dreams and move out west to South Lake Tahoe to work at a ski shop.

While living in South Lake Tahoe, some of Robert’s friends started a screen-printing business with a focus on making souvenir T-shirts.

Dugins West carries plenty of items for kids visiting Park City, including plush, apparel, stickers and other toys.
Photos: Kevin Winzeler

Robert was intrigued by his friend’s T-shirt business, so he decided to move to Park City to open his own souvenir T-shirt shop in 1984. The original store was located at the city’s Park City Ski Resort. He named the store Dugins West to pay homage to his family’s Tuscaloosa store.

For the first few years, Robert only sold short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts and crew-neck sweatshirts. But as Park City’s tourism increased in the 1990s, Robert recognized a need to bring other add-on souvenirs into the mix at his store. Dugins West began selling a wide variety of name-dropped souvenirs, including magnets, shot glasses and mugs.

“All resort towns thrive on T-shirt and souvenir business today,” adds Linda. “So Robert landing here when he did and with the product that he had was a true recipe for success.”

Tourism increased in Utah after the state hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. To accommodate the growing tourism, Robert opened two other locations along Main Street in Park City. Linda joined Robert in the business about 10 years ago after retiring from a 23-year career as an elementary school teacher. Her primary responsibilities are hiring, training and buying for the store.

In more recent years, the Dugins have downsized their business to just one storefront on Main Street to keep things simple. The store’s General Manager Desiree Thoma handles much of the store’s buying today as well.

“Working for Dugins West is like working with an amazing family,” Thoma says. “I have been with the company for almost two years. I would say the thing I love most about Dugins West is the atmosphere, and of course, the merchandise!”

Shirts and souvenirs

Having started as a T-shirt shop, apparel has always been a top-selling category at Dugins West. Linda says customers enjoy all the options of name-dropped T-shirts and sweatshirts at the store. She notes that tourists often like to collect shirts from their visits, and it’s not unusual to see a family come to the store and buy everyone matching name-dropped shirts.

“On vacation, most people want to go home with a T-shirt or sweatshirt,” she says. “Having the Park City name drop on a T-shirt or sweatshirt is key.”

Ornaments are popular year-round at Dugins West.

Ball caps are also popular souvenirs at Dugins West. “Everybody these days wears a ball cap, be it men, women or children. So we have a lot of ball caps,” says Linda.

Outside of apparel, Thoma notes that the retailer stocks a great selection of mugs, blankets, puzzles and more. “We have done really well with some of the newer tumblers and mugs from Techstyles,” says Thoma.
The destination retailer also makes sure to carry ornaments regardless of the season.

“Ornaments sell all year-round here — it’s a hot item,” Thoma says, adding that customers really love the store’s selection of ornaments from the companies Rocky Mountain Treasures and Kurt S. Adler.

Stickers are another collectible souvenir that seems to be trending for Dugins West. “Stickers have just become crazy,” says Linda. “In the past, people would occasionally buy bumper stickers. But now, souvenir stickers are everywhere, from phones to laptops to water bottles.”

Regardless of the souvenir category, Linda says the store ensures most souvenirs feature either a Park City logo or name drop on it.

Skiing themes and moose are also popular on the store’s souvenirs.

“All year, ski and moose themes do well,” says Thoma. “Even though you can’t ski here in summer, people still come and buy ski-themed T-shirts and ornaments!”

Location is everything

Although Dugins West customers are mostly tourists, Linda explains that quite a few of those tourists come back to Park City year after year to vacation at a ski resort. Some of those recurring visitors have a tradition of stopping at Dugins West for their T-shirt or souvenir.

“When they come into the store and say that this store is always their first stop, that always feels good,” says Linda.

Name-dropped sweatshirts are also a hit with people visiting Park City.

She adds that Dugins West updates its souvenir selection and merchandise displays at least four times a year.

Being on Main Street has also been the key to success at Dugins West.

“If you think about when you’re traveling on vacation and you go to a shopping district, you don’t always know the name of the store you’re in until you look at the bag or receipt,” says Linda. “It’s not so much the name, but the location is important. I feel like our location, dead center of the historic downtown area with a large front door, that makes a difference.”

The sweet location helps to get tourists in the door, and the store’s eye-catching souvenirs ensure strong sales. Linda says she’s hopeful the location and souvenirs will keep Dugins West in business for a long time.

She concludes, “We hope tourists keep coming and finding their way in Dugins West to take home souvenirs from their trip to Park City.”