As the clock begins on yet another year, SNEWS® thought we'd all enjoy a look back at what you, our readers, found to be the most compelling stories of 2010 -- the ones you clicked to read in the highest numbers. Some of the results may surprise you -- they did us. Certainly, we expected to see our eye-opening investigative coverage of sunscreens from May 2010 near the top, but who could have imagined our investigative story on BPA from 2009 would also continue to be one of the most read stories in 2010? We’re very proud of our investigative efforts, and reader interest in our stories is proof you expect this type of reporting from us. We promise to keep delivering.
These are overall reader favorites by black-and-white numbers, but are your favorite reads on the top 25 list? If not, use our "Chat" function at the end of this report to let us and your colleagues know which stories moved, inspired or simply had you talking the most in 2010.
And, heck, maybe you missed a couple! Now’s the time to catch-up; just click the link (as an All Access Subscriber) to get shot directly to the story.
Among outdoor subscribers, the top 25 most read stories for 2010 were (in descending order):
- Rethinking Retail: Stand-up paddleboarding a means to retail, gym partnerships
(June 23, 2010) The buzz over stand-up paddleboarding has grown louder over the past three years, and
Rutabaga, an outdoor specialty store in Monona, Wis., has found that the sport especially appeals to fitness-oriented consumers -- and could be a path to partnerships with gyms and fitness retailers….
- Mike Garcia buys back Northern Lights, prevents store from being liquidated
(July 26, 2010) After nearly two years operating under a new owner, Northern Lights Trading Co. in Bozeman, Mont., was days away from being liquidated this July, until former owner Mike Garcia stepped in and bought the business on July 15….
- Black Diamond, Gregory acquired by Clarus Corp.
(May 10, 2010) Clarus Corp. http://www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/OTC: CLRS announced it is acquiring Black Diamond Equipment and Gregory Mountain Products in two separate but related transactions. Under the terms of the agreements, Clarus will pay $90 million in cash for Black Diamond and $45 million for Gregory, both subject to adjustments….
- Getting burned - Part 1: SNEWS uncovers sunscreen confusion, misinformation and FDA inaction
(May 26, 2010) Over the last eight months, SNEWS® has dug deep into many hundreds of pages of FDA documents, sorted through chemical names, poured over spreadsheets and databases, sifted through court documents, spoken to manufacturers, advocates, non-profits and scientists, and read reports and surveys. And we have found that the concoctions we ourselves squirt on our exposed skin to protect ourselves from burns and, we hope, cancer, may not be worth the plastic they come in….
- PFD makers address rising issues with life jacket laws and stand-up paddleboarding
(Aug. 27, 2010) As the popularity of stand-up paddling has grown, so has the number of people being ticketed for not carrying or wearing a flotation device. “I hear that more people are getting stopped and ticketed, because they’re calling us and asking us for product,” said Lili Colby, marketing director of PFD manufacturer MTI Adventurewear….
- Three studies reveal surprising shift in social media use patterns
(March 8, 2010) Three studies, released March 2-3, indicate that Facebook continues to dominate and increase its place of importance among those who favor social media….
- The SNEWS View: Photos, espionage and more at our industry trade shows
(Feb. 12, 2010) It is perfectly normal for anyone doing business in today’s competitive environment to want to know what competitors are doing. At the very least, knowing or trying to find out reflects natural curiosity. More than likely, though, obtaining knowledge about a competitor is a result of trying to gain an edge in business. In corporate America, tales of industrial espionage are legendary. But for goodness sakes, folks, in both the comparatively small outdoor and fitness industries, it is getting out of hand. People are on edge, and unless we collectively focus on this challenge, things could go from bad to worse in a hurry…to the point of someone even getting physically hurt….
- Getting burned: Which sunscreens are best?
(June 14, 2010) Since we ran our three-part investigation in late May on sunscreens detailing the risk we all face due to FDA inaction and marketing hyperbole, we have been asked the simplest question over and over by retailers and consumers: Which sunscreens are best?...
- 2009 Annual SNEWS® Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: The best and worst
(Feb. 15, 2010) The overall number of retailers responding to our survey actually doubled this year, but the number of paddlesports-only stores remained the same. Interestingly, though, the number of paddlesports companies near the top of the list increased this year. For the stores that sell both outdoor camping equipment and paddlesport products, could it be that paddlesports companies are shining a bit more in the service category than their outdoor brethren? It will definitely be something to watch in next year’s survey results. A round of applause for two companies this year: First, we salute The North Face for locking down the top spot for the second year running. A nice change of pace for a company that until a few years back couldn’t buy its way onto the top list and seemed destined to languish on the list of those “most difficult to do business with.” Secondly, we commend Confluence….
- Racks4cheap.com owned by Thule, but selling Yakima?
(March 18, 2010) Thule selling Yakima product on the web, at a deep discount? Really? Believe it. Several weeks ago, a website suddenly appeared, www.racks4cheap.com, and began selling deeply discounted Yakima product. Retailers began to wonder who was behind this mysterious website, since there was no contact information listed on it at all, and absolutely no indication of who owned the site….
- Think About It: OIWC asks, what do you need to know about finances to advance your career?
(July 23, 2010) Breaking into the outdoor industry doesn’t usually have much to do with good financial management. Sure, many of us may have put off a “real job” to hike the AT or risked a raise rather than losing out on the first chair on powder days. But even if numbers are not your area of expertise, growing your understanding of finance basics demonstrates your commitment to professional development and an interest in your company’s well-being -- two traits that are key to advancing your career….
- Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: SNEWS BOB Awards
(Aug. 16, 2010) Before each Outdoor Retailer show, we’re always filled with expectation and eagerness to see how companies have chosen to present their products. Some of the SNEWS® BOB (Best of Booth) Award winners may surprise you, but each showed a combination of innovation, creativity, and inspiration. And, new for this year, we asked the inaugural SNEWS Youth Reporting Team what booths they thought were best -- see their picks at the end….
- SNEWS Reader Poll: Do pro deal programs help or hurt business?
(Sept. 20, 2010) Everyone loves a pro deal, right? Well, not so fast. In a recent Reader Poll, SNEWS® asked whether or not pro deals help or hurt business for retailers. And, we also wondered about abuse. Boy, did we hit a nerve as the response was overwhelming. Interestingly, a significant number of retailers and other readers felt pro deals hurt business for retailers, though the vast majority of our respondents felt they help. As for the answers to our question of pro deals being abused…whoa!...
- GE’s B2B expansion unveiled with Mountain Hardwear’s DryQ launch
(Nov. 15, 2010) GE will announce Nov. 16 details of an expanded B2B model for its membrane collection, most widely recognized for the Event fabric. That announcement coincides with a related unveiling of a new direction by Mountain Hardwear with the company’s DryQ collection using GE technology. In exclusive interviews with SNEWS®, both Glenn Crowther, product line leader for GE’s performance fabrics, and Topher Gaylord, president of Mountain Hardwear, provided a more in-depth look at what the announcements will mean in innovation and business direction….
- The SNEWS View: Bitter employees post-company acquisition share woes with customers
(Jan. 29, 2010) It’s one thing when customers rip on a store, but, boy, you just know it’s bad when the store’s employees and managers are ripping on the store -- with and in front of customers….
- Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’10: Hydration category turns into ‘Bottle Battle’
(Aug. 20, 2010) Quenching your thirst for many years meant carrying a pack and sucking on a tube or sipping out of a (clear) screw-top, plastic bottle that you carried by a plastic loop on your finger. The types, designs and materials have changed dramatically with yet a few more game-changers hitting the market at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010. New shapes, new features on reservoirs, new types of packs, and all that other jazz. Not to belittle the pack products (we’ll look at a few highlights in a forthcoming SNEWS® story), the real story in hydration this year was what we started calling “The Battle of the Bottle.”…
- Congratulations to the new class of SNEWS Power Players 2010!
(Jan. 20, 2010) Insight and inspiration provide an edge that everybody can use in today’s business climate. Both can be found by listening to people who have become business leaders. That is the driving force behind the SNEWS Power Players -- an honor that acknowledges outdoor industry leaders for varied accomplishments in different industry sectors. Contemplate their words to discover useful advice, tap into your own motivation, or find humorous and wise ways to overcome challenges….
- Announcing: 2010 SNEWS/Backpacker Retailer of the Year winners
(Jan. 29, 2010) The 2010 SNEWS®/Backpacker Retailer of the Year awards were presented at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market during an after-show gathering at the Red Door on Jan. 21. Rod Johnson, president of Midwest Mountaineering, in Minneapolis, Minn., was all smiles as he accepted the award for the overall 2010 Retailer of the Year. Johnson and his team also garnered a best-in-class award for community involvement….
- Aluminum bottles you are selling may NOT be BPA-free
(Aug. 19, 2009) True or false: All aluminum bottles are BPA-free. The answer would be false. When concern over BPA in polycarbonate bottles reached a feverish pitch in late 2007 and early 2008 (click here to read the May 5, 2008, SNEWS® editorial, “SNEWS® View: BPA reaction driven by the power of consumer perception, right or wrong.”), those selling aluminum bottles benefited greatly as retailers and consumers scrambled for water-carrying alternatives….
- Getting burned - Part 2: SNEWS reveals how sunscreen chemical ingredients really work -- or don't
(May 28, 2010) We at SNEWS® have heard the warnings about too much sun exposure and the risk of cancer so you’ll find bottles, tubes and sticks of sun-protection concoctions all over at the home and office -- in the car, at the front door, on the deck, in the office, in workout bags, and on the bathroom vanity. But what we found in our exclusive, in-depth, three-part investigation that kicked off May 26 stunned us: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees over-the-counter drugs including sunscreen, has been unable to pass some of the most basic regulations for 32 years since it first broached the topic….
- 2009 Annual SNEWS Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: Top selling brands for camping and backpacking
(Feb. 22, 2010) This week we're focusing on best-selling outdoor hardgoods, as well as underwear and sock brands, in the camping and backpacking categories. If you missed last week, click here to read Part 1 of our annual survey, the "2009 Annual SNEWS® Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: The best and worst."…
- Eagle Creek renews brand image on heels of leadership, headquarters changes
(July 5, 2010) Sometimes, all an older house needs is a little freshening up and a bit of remodeling to make it seem new and inspiring again. Such is the case with Eagle Creek, a solid house of travel goods built in 1975. In January 2010, company founders Steve Barker, Ricky Schlesinger and Nona Barker announced they were stepping away. With new leadership in place, the remodeling the Barkers and Schlesinger had envisioned years ago is now underway….
- Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’10: Products that are The New, The Cool, The Quirky too, Pt. 2
(Aug. 30, 2010) There was so much New, Cool and Quirky at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market we broke our story into two parts this year. Click here to see our first part that covered all the cool stuff we saw to carry or otherwise transport your stuff -- bags, packs, cases, car racks. You may ask, what qualifies as New and Cool, let alone Quirky? Every show we spread out to find great, new stuff to tell you about….
- Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’10: New, cool, sometimes quirky, always interesting
(Feb. 1, 2010) With the economic tunnel beginning to show some light, consumers are reported to be suffering from “savings fatigue” and may be releasing their pent-up desires to spend a little green, especially if the merchandise really catches their fancy. That’s one reason retailers ventured to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, of course, to search for off-best, interesting, fun, unique, odd and eye-catching products. And a few vendors we saw showcased those very items….
- Interbike 2010: Crossover the buzzword for outdoor brands at the annual bike show
(Oct. 4, 2010) The line between the outdoor and cycling industries continues to blur. Dozens of brands that attend Outdoor Retailer also exhibited at Interbike in Las Vegas, Sept. 22-24. And OR continues to be more cycle-centric with a bike share program spearheaded by core cycle-cool brand Swobo outside the Salt Palace at the summer ’09 show and a the presence of the International Mountain Biking Alliance (IMBA) at this year’s show….