The recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was a treasure-trove of nifty gift ideas for the holidays. Our merchandising editor, Sharon Leicham, made it a point to find a few items that will create interest and increase sales for outdoor retailers. Keep in mind that gifts items these tend to be impulse buys so place them in prominent positions throughout your store to capture customer attention.
Vertical Frontier by Peloton Productions
"From John Muir in the 1860s to the free soloists of today, Vertical Frontier tells the saga of the daring climbers who ascend the legendary big walls of Yosemite," reads the promotional material for this newly released feature-length documentary available in VHS and DVD formats. Winner of "Best Film on Climbing" at the Banff Mountain Film Festival 2002 and narrated by Tom Brokaw, this film is a great gift for anyone interested in climbing. All proceeds from the sale of the film go to non-profit groups that support the mountain environment. The cost: $20 for either format, plus $5.95 shipping and handling (CA residents add 7.25 percent sales tax). To order, go to www.pelotonproductions.com.
Snow Angel Gift Set
The Snow Angel Company produces a line of stylish base layers designed for women who desire feminine fit and detailing. For holiday gift-giving, the company is offering a Gift Set consisting of a Cybersilk tank and matching short wrapped in a gold-trimmed black velvet zip pouch -- no additional wrapping needed. Very classy and comfortable, this set is the perfect women's gift. It wholesales for $29.50. For information about ordering the Holiday Gift Set, call 650-728-1566 or go to www.snow-angel.com.
The Squid Flexible LED Light
"Try a little entertainment," says the Squid hype. Our editor tried it and loved the idea. Depending on how you bend its light tentacles, it can sit on a table, hang from a tent pole or become a handheld flashlight. It measures 4.5 inches tall, weighs just 4 ounces, and is water- and impact-resistant. It comes in six great colors and retails for $29.95. It's a lot of fun and a great gift idea (and very popular with kids we're told). For information, call 877-MONTANE or go to www.squidlight.com.
SunUV Personal UV Monitor
Everywhere you look these days, there are warnings about the dangers of UV exposure. But, until now, it was hard to tell how much UV you were getting. So the SunUV Monitor is a welcome addition to the list of equipment needed for outdoor activities. The product is available in a metal clip-on style at $99 retail and a sport model watch and clip-on for $89. With some simple data entering (even our intrepid merchandising editor could do it), the monitor will measure the amount of UV you are getting and alert you when you've had enough. Check it out at http://www.apaoptics.com or call 763-784-4995.
The Outside Inside Company offers a dazzling array of cool gift ideas making it a one-stop shop for the holidays. The birdhouses in the shape of a domed tent and a backpack are winners. The company also offers magnets in the form of hiking boots, tents, packs, kayaks, canoes and bike helmets. Check out its collection of Christmas ornaments depicting Santa participating in all sorts of outdoor activities, as well as the paddling and fishing equipment ornaments. Inside Outside also stocks an impressive collection of stationery, notebooks and picture frames. Swivel POP stands are available as is a crab pot to help display the magnets. Call the company at 800-704-4474 or click on www.gsioutdoors.com.
Have you seen or tried the Rolla Roaster, the "original" telescoping hot dog/marshmallow fork? It's a marvel and quirky enough to win The Wall Street Journal's "Best Overall Marshmallow Roaster" award. The company sells two models: a model that telescopes from 12 inches to 42 inches and features a rotisserie turning knob, heat-resistant wooden handle and stainless-steel fork; and the folding camping fork with similar features that telescopes from 7.5 inches to 48 inches and folds down to fit easily into a pocket or pack. Both come with a vinyl case. Call Rolla Roaster at 800-480-4308 or go to www.rollaroaster.com.
The Fisher Space Pen
This pen went to the moon with the Apollo astronauts and 100 years from now it will still be writing thanks to a revolutionary pressurized cartridge developed by inventor Paul Fisher. The pen, available in a multitude of styles (including the Astronaut model), features nitrogen and oxygen gases pressurized in the pen's cartridge. The pen's ink is a thixotropic visco-elastic material developed by Fisher and guaranteed to last 85 years without a refill. The pen will write upside down and sideways, in zero gravity, under water and at extreme temperatures. The story alone will sell this pen. The popular Bullet model sells for $20 and the Astronaut pen for $50. You can find more information about the Space Pen on the company's website at http://www.spacepen.com or call 702-293-3011.
Who doesn't love a picnic? Think about how much easier it would be for your customers if they had everything they needed for picnicking in an easy-to-carry backpack. Picnic Time has both. Its extensive line of backpacks, constructed of tough 600-denier ripstop polyester canvas, are insulated and come with settings for two or four that include glasses, silverware, napkins, plates, bottle openers and a detachable wine duffel. The company also sells rolling picnic sets and coffee/tea baskets. Take a look at its new Platinum line of aluminum clad insulated wine carriers and picnic cases. Picnic Time can be reached at 805-529-7400 or at www.picnictime.com.