Grassroots Outdoor Alliance hires Roanne Miller as president

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, a national collective of 32 locally focused, independently minded, environmentally passionate, entrepreneurial outdoor specialty retailers, has hired Roanne Miller as the organization’s new president and CEO. Read the story to get insight beyond the press release, only on SNEWS.
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Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, a national collective of 32 locally focused, independently minded, environmentally passionate, entrepreneurial outdoor specialty retailers, has hired Roanne Miller as the organization’s new president and CEO. Miller replaces David Matz, who served as president of the organization until his departure Sept. 30 to take another job outside of the outdoor industry.

Miller, who has more than 20 years of outdoor industry experience, assumes the leadership role effective immediately. Most recently, Miller was vice president of sales at Marmot, overseeing the North American and international sales channels for the company. Her outdoor experience spans the gamut from outdoor guide and retail shop owner to company merchandising director and director of business development.

“In this challenging retail climate where value, differentiation and service are paramount, I look forward to using my experience and perspective to build programs and provide assistance to the Grassroots membership that strengthens their businesses and in addition enhances access to the outdoors for their customers,” Miller said in an official statement.

Miller will lead the organization from her Park City, Utah, home office, SNEWS® was told, while Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will continue to maintain its Asheville, N.C., office staffed by Hope Buttitta, the organization’s operations manager.

“I have known Roanne since Marmot joined us well over a decade ago,” Mike Massey, owner of Massey's Outfitters in New Orleans and a Grassroots Outdoor Alliance board member, told SNEWS. “She will bring the drive, leadership, and focus that any group of 32 hardheaded, ruggedly independent entrepreneurs needs to stay on target and succeed in this business climate. Her resume makes her a great candidate, but it is her relationships with our members that make her a perfect fit.”

For Grassroots, Miller becomes its fourth president. Dave Baker, owner of The Summit Hut, served as the organization’s first leader from 1995 to 1998 following its incorporation in 1994 as a formal group, then known at ROI (Retailers of the Outdoor Industry). Click here to read a more detailed backgrounder on ROI from our June 2006 story, “Retailers of the Outdoor Industry: Not your typical buying group.”

Neco Villella took over in 1998 and then left to purchase the Seattle-based SunDog company in 2000. Matz assumed leadership of the organization in March of 2000, and served as its president until September 2009. Under Matz’s watch, it is worth noting that the organization expanded from 22 to 32 retailers, launched the Early Show (in 2001), and also changed its name to Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, effectively also redefining the organization’s mission. Click here to read our Nov. 13, 2006 story, “ROI becomes Grassroots Outdoor Alliance with expanded, clearer mission.”

As an interesting and related factoid, according to SNEWS Early Show attendance records, Miller was at every Early Show since it began, until this year when she departed Marmot. Other than Grassroots members and Matz, only one person we know of (Peter Sachs of Lowa Boots) has been at every Early Show.

Miller currently serves on the board of directors for the American Alpine Club, and she is an Advisory Board Member to The Summit Huts Association. She is an avid climber, skier and cyclist and enjoys travel, motorcycles, reading and spending time with her husband and family.

--Michael Hodgson

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