From cyberspace to storefront: Cotopaxi opens retail store

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Salt Lake City e-tail brand Cotopaxi opens its doors to real-time customers in a new store on Main Street.

Salt Lake City local and Cotopaxi co-founder Davis Smith first came to Outdoor Retailer in 2014 with a selection of packs and a few llamas parked out on the sidewalk in front of the South Pavilion. Fast-forward to 2016. Not only has Reese Witherspoon been spotted wearing her Cotopaxi T-shirt in Hollywood, but the brand also celebrated the grand opening of its new brick-and-mortar store right next to the Salt Palace at 74 Main St. (Yes, the llamas were there, too.)

Cotopaxi_storefront_salt_lake_city

Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi.

The new digs in a former bank building mark the next chapter for a brand that has strong roots in the e-commerce world. After all, Davis had already found success as the force behind PoolTables.com and Baby.com.br, one of the most successful baby sites in Brazil.

Cotopaxi has already excelled at broadcasting both its products (high-end packs, sleeping bags and travel gear with bold color patterns) and philosophy (it’s a B Corp, legally bound to do good rather than simply turn a profit) online. The retail store is an attempt not just to show off the brand’s goods to the diverse, international crowd rolling through Salt Lake for everything from Sundance to Mormon missions, but even more so to connect the brand directly to potential customers.

“We wanted to facilitate a connection between our employees and the people who buy our gear,” said Jay Hampton, VP of marketing, who came to Cotopaxi last year from wildly successful retailers Backcountry.com and Bodybuilding.com. To that end, the 2,000 square feet of retail space occupies the same building as Cotopaxi’s 2,000-square-foot corporate office, located on the mezzanine overlooking the store. The brand is even using the old bank vaults as meeting rooms.

“People are coming up to us who know and love our product,” said Hampton, who pointed out that Cotopaxi has also had a pop-in shop in Nordstrom and will be in REI this year. “Millennials are our target market since they love our colors and mission, but we are seeing a wide assortment of people learning about the brand. This is our initial foray into vertical retail, but we may grow to other cities, since communities that learn about our brand mission immediately want to align with us.”

This story first appeared in the Day 4 issue of Outdoor Retailer Daily.

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