Dear friends and colleagues,
As we enter an uncertain period for our families, businesses, and country, I first want to express concern for your safety and health. There’s nothing more important at the moment, and while we go forward with our mission to inform, educate, and connect the outdoor industry, my thoughts are with every member of my beloved outdoor community.
Our specialty retail community right now is hurting. They’re scared, they’re stressed about how they will pay their employees, manage their bills, and forge a long-term path back to health.
Let’s all band together today to help ensure that our specialty retail shops can weather the storm. I will be enlisting my fellow editors at Active Interest Media (including Backpacker, SKI, Climbing, and National Park Trips) to join me in promoting a #SaveYourLocalGearShop campaign.
In this campaign, we’ll be asking outdoor enthusiasts everywhere to contact their favorite local gear shop to buy a gift certificate that can be used at a future date, when things get back to normal.
I’ve spoken to many retailers over the last few days, and some say they have about two weeks of cash reserves in the bank before things get really dire. Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance agrees: "We just jumped off a series of conference calls with our 70 retailers, and it is inspiring to see everyone work together as they navigate the challenges COVID-19 is throwing at them. Every retailer is acting in ways that best support their local communities. Some are closed, others are implementing shopping by appointment, curbside pick-up, or are fully open, with strict rules around deep cleaning and limiting traffic."
The resilience and creativity of these shops and their dedication to their local communities blows me away. Let’s all use our platforms to help them get through this immediate crisis.
I invite every one of you reading this to share this campaign on all your social media platforms. (Here is a simple, consumer-facing page to share.) Brands, PR agencies, media outlets, and of course retailers: Please push this message out and keep pushing it out in the weeks to come. and don't forget to use the hashtag #SaveYourLocalGearShop.
Retailers: Consider offering your customers who do buy gift cards something in return. Maybe a T-shirt, a hat, or a $25 bonus when the card is redeemed.
I also want to thank you all for your support of SNEWS and The Voice as we strive to cover—among other things—the coronavirus impacts to our industry in the most thorough, accurate, and compassionate way possible. The news cycle has ramped up in an unprecedented way and our small, two-person editorial team is grinding to keep you informed and up to date.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or story ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please stay healthy, be safe, and take care of each other. #SaveYourLocalGearShop