Outdoor Real Estate: Brand retail stores, and expanded HQs blooming this spring

Relocations, expansions, store openings — the outdoor industry remained busy this early spring with real estate moves that signal growth.
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Relocations, expansions, store openings — the outdoor industry remained busy this early spring with real estate moves that signal growth.

Continuing to dominate the new properties list is a rise in direct-to-consumer brick-and-mortar stores as individual brands look to complement their growing e-commerce presence.

That isn’t exactly music to the ears of specialty outdoor retailers, as brands walk a fine line between product promotion and sales competition. Click here to read SNEWS’ in-depth look at outdoor brands’ growing direct-to-consumer business online.

Here are some of the latest moves in the physical world:

  • ExOfficio opened a new retail location at 105 Fillmore St., Suite 107, in Denver’s Cherry Creek North shopping district on May 10. It's the company’s fifth location. More locations are on the way, said ExOfficio General Manager Steve Bendzak.
  • OverLand Equipment opened its first retail store on May 2, at 926 NW 13th Ave., Suite 160, in Portland, Ore.’s Pearl District. “Now is the right time, and Portland is the right place, to showcase the style and function of our bags and accessories in a storefront operation,” OverLand General Manager Dave Bartels said.
  • Also in Portland’s Pearl District, Snow Peak opened its first U.S. retail store in March at 410 NW 14th Ave. While focusing on Snow Peak’s camping gear, the 1,500 square-foot location will in addition carry a selection of brands that “complement an outdoor-inspired lifestyle … with an elevated design aesthetic,” said store manager Katie Kaiel.
  • Australia-based 2XU opened its first North American retail store on April 20, at 1512 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, Calif. The new 1,400-square-foot location will showcase brand initiatives “lined up to support sales growth through all retail channels including wholesale and online,” said 2XU Co-Founder and Director of Sales and Marketing Aidan Clarke. “Following an initial focus on the southern California region, 2XU will set its eyes on additional retail locations across the nation.”
  • Patagonia also opened a new retail location in Santa Monica at 1344 4th St. "Customers from the Los Angeles area have expressed the need for a Patagonia location near Santa Monica surf spots, so we're thrilled to have found a location that lets us carry the right assortment of boards, wetsuits and accessories for local active outdoor enthusiasts," said Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia's director of surf.

There are real estate moves in the outdoor retailer world, too. Sport Chalet is nearing the summer opening of its “next-generation” store in Downtown Los Angeles. The 27,300-square-foot location at the new FIGat7th retail center at the intersection of Figueroa and 7th streets was built to better showcase the retailer’s collection of technical gear and customer service, officials said. In the meantime, Sport Chalet plans to close two of its stores this year, one in Antioch, Calif., and another in Phoenix, Ariz.

Outdoor manufactures also are taking the opportunity to grow as the economy inches back to life. Activity includes:

  • SmartWool, which a year ago became part of V.F. Corp as part of the Timberland acquisition, announced the completion in April of a four-year, $2.2 million renovation of its global headquarters in Steamboat Springs, Colo., its design center in Boulder, Colo. and its development center in Tennessee. “The spaces are open, modern and energizing,” including floor-to-ceiling windows, said SmartWool President Mark Satkiewicz. “The net result has been phenomenal in terms of invigorating the team while elevating our ability to do more innovative work and giving us room to grow.” In particular, at the HQ in Steamboat, the company will be able to increase its employee base by 30 percent, which is in line with SmartWool’s target growth plan for the next decade, Satkiewicz said.
  • Skins Compression relocated its North American headquarters from Portland, Ore. to Encinitas, Calif. in mid April. The move to 364 Second Street, Suite 6, is intended to help the Australian brand better tap one of its top markets and athlete sources in California. “The wide array of thriving sport disciplines, businesses and active individuals within the North County San Diego area allow us to bring the Skins brand to the consumers who use the product the most and keep a close watch on the trends that drive the industry,” said Skins North American General Manager Johnny West.
  • Deuter USA and Ortovox USA, now sister brands, relocated their U.S. headquarters in Longmont, Colo. to a larger facility to accommodate growth. The new 17,000-square-foot space at 1200 South Fordham St., Suite C, includes 5,000 more square feet of office and warehouse space than the previous location.
  • Outdoor distributor Liberty Mountain relocated its Utah headquarters and expanded its Pennsylvania warehouse to make room for more brands. The new larger main office and warehouse in Sandy, Utah, at 9816 South Jordan Gateway is located off Interstate 15, 20 miles south of Salt Lake City’s airport.
  • We’re sure to see more moves like this one. Shanghai, China-based Ace Camp opened its new U.S. headquarters in Salt Lake City, at 2275 S West Temple. Michael Beverly, formerly with The North Face and Easton Mountain Products, is leading the U.S. division that sells camping emergency essentials, cookware and outdoor tools.
  • By the end of 2013, Petzl plans to move into its new 80,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters and warehouse in West Valley City, Utah, southwest of Salt Lake City. The French company will invest $20 million in the new location, which will host 50-70 employees and feature 24,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of warehouse space and a 15,000-square-foot training area, including a 60-foot indoor structure for product testing and climber training.

 Are you opening, closing or moving your outdoor store or office? Email at news@snewsnet.com with the details.

--David Clucas

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