Long before the “big boxes” began sprouting up across the country, before the ascension of international brands – there were specialty outdoor stores. They built the industry by serving hard-core niches of outdoorsmen and women cross the country. The growth in this industry’s popularity in recent years has been welcome as it has made great strides in environmental protection and advocacy, advances in product quality and innovation and it has improved access to wilderness areas for outdoor lovers everywhere.
Today, these stores serve the same role they always have. These specialty retailers connect local sport and outdoor enthusiasts to the best products and brands relevant to their regional market. What they do best is connect customers to the best local experiences and events and the most beneficial environmental initiatives. These retailers really drive home the “leave nothing but footprints; take nothing but memories” mantra.
Though the practices have remained the same, the markets have become oversaturated by mega-retailers. Consumers are now able to shop globally to get the product at the price they want. What is lost in that movement is the ability for a consumer to help his own local retailer and his own community by shopping locally. That’s where Grassroots Outdoor Alliance comes into play – we are an organization that unites independent outdoor retailers as a strong, unified voice to connect outdoor enthusiasts to the right product, educate them on how to use it, be there for any follow-up service and promote the outdoor experience across the United States.
Local retailers are friends and neighbors – support them and they will support you. Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. More independents means more choice, more diversity and a truly unique community.
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance members are experts, and local experts at that. Not only can they help customers determine the best products and services to help them enjoy their outdoor activities, they can provide consumers with the best “local” knowledge about the nature in their own backyard and across the country.
To learn more about Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please visit www.grassrootsoutdoors.com
Roanne Miller is the President of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member, Rock/Creek