During an awards celebration on Jan. 20, 2011, at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, SNEWS®, Backpacker and program sponsor Horny Toad announced the 2011 Retailer of the Year award winners. The awards, this year presented before a standing-room-only house at the Red Door in Salt Lake City, Utah, represent a recognition given annually since 2009 to outdoor retailers who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship, serve as visionaries for the outdoor market and are leaders in the communities they serve.
Beezer Molten (pictured accepting his award below), president of Half-Moon Outfitters, an eight-store specialty retailer headquartered in Charleston, S.C., was all smiles as he accepted the award for being the overall 2011 Retailer of the Year.
Molten and his team also garnered a best-in-class award for Best in Sustainability. As the overall winner, Molten wins an all-expense-paid trip to Munich, Germany, to attend ispo 2012.
As a special recognition, first-time overall Retailer of the Year winner Norm Cavallaro of North Cove Outfitters was provided with an all-expense-paid trip to attend winter ispo 2011 -- Dieter Tremp of ispo was on hand to present the VERY large award to the winners as evidenced by the photo to the right.
For Half-Moon, this is the second time the retailer has been honored with an award. In 2009, the store took home recognition for being best-in-class in the category of Best in Sustainability.
Five other retailers were honored as best-in-class in the following categories:
- Best Online Retailer – REI.com (two-time finalist).
- Best in Community – Appalachian Outdoors (winner of the Growth of Outdoor Sports category in 2010)
- Best in Conservation – Summit Hut (three-time finalist).
- Best in Growth of Outdoor Sports – Tooth of Time Traders (first-time finalist).
- Best in Youth Involvement – Boy Scouts of America retail stores (first-time finalist).
SNEWS and Backpacker magazine congratulate all of these winners, as well as all those nominated. Eight other stores -- Backcountry.com, Moosejaw, Mountain Crossings, Outdoors Inc., Outdoor Source, Rock/Creek, Santa Barbara Outfitters and Midwest Mountaineering (winner of the 2010 Retailer of the Year award) -- made the finals in the rounds of judging and will, along with the six award winners, be honored with feature stories over the next few months in SNEWS.
In March 2010, SNEWS and Backpacker magazine put out a call for nominations seeking the best retailers in the United States. The responses poured in, with hundreds of votes coming from reps, retailers themselves (naturally) and customers.
The slate of finalists was determined by a panel of judges -- which included Backpacker magazine and SNEWS editors -- who evaluated each store based on personal and customer experience, reputation in the outdoor community, quality of customer feedback from the nomination forms received, and overall store excellence based on demonstrated excellence in community involvement, sustainability efforts, store training levels and more.
The Retailer of the Year overall winner and best-in-class category winners were presented with a plaque suitable for public display in a store, honoring the accomplishment. In addition, each retailer will receive:
- A store profile in a Retailer of the Year showcase on SNEWSnet.com.
- Prominent mention in a Retailer of the Year ad in an upcoming issue of Backpacker magazine.
- A digital image of the SNEWS/Backpacker Retailer of the Year logo suitable for use as a window decal, award recognition on all letterhead, brochures and other store publications, and display on a website.
The goal of these awards is to recognize exemplary retailers, and provide a platform that all specialty outdoor retailers will want to stand on. Nominations for the 2012 SNEWS/Backpacker Retailer of the Year award will be accepted beginning in May at snewsnet.com/roty. Get your customers, reps, vendors and employees ready to tell their stories as to why your store deserves the next Retailer of the Year award.