In an April 9, 2006, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story, "Stepping outside the big box," by Lynda Edwards, George Whalin, president of California-based Retail Management Consultants, was quoted as stating that outdoor sports sales are "doing very well, but it's a sector on the verge of being over-stored. The danger in this sector is an attitude of haughtiness; specialty-store staff and owners know so much about the sports and equipment, they can be arrogant, overlook potential customers and competition. The only philosophy that will keep them alive is to be welcoming and patient toward newcomers."
This is certainly not the first time such accusations and observations have been leveled about outdoor specialty stores. But seeing it in print, in bold black and white, sure does hit home just a bit harder. It's a good time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, is Whalin right? What do we need to do to change that very damaging perception? Or does it even matter?
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