Bob Corman’s first job was as a bagger at an Albertson’s grocery store; today, customers may find him bagging healthy pet foods—but now he’s the owner of his own store in Park Hill. In May, the Colorado native and longtime Stapleton resident purchased the neighborhood institution—Ciji’s pet store—from Bonnie Simpson. Simpson, who opened Ciji’s two decades ago when natural pet foods were relatively new, says she only ever considered selling to Bob, convinced of their shared vision.
After working as Purchasing Director for the State of Colorado Department of Transportation for close to a decade, Bob sought a career change—he jokes “In what other job can you spend the day petting dogs?” Though Bob’s previous retail background includes years with some very big names—Albertson’s and Bed Bath & Beyond—he is committed to continuing not only the Ciji’s name but Bonnie’s concept of a small neighborhood store. “Our push is to be more inclusive of Colorado products and thereby support other small businesses,” he says. This commitment to local and small businesses may be a family theme; Bob’s father, Lee Corman, founded Lee’s Appliance in Denver in 1955.