Outdoor Trails, Lynchburg, Va.
What are the most popular items in your store?
What are some trends you’re noticing among new equipment and apparel?
The weight issue is great. They’re making things lighter and lighter, which is awesome for people. The thing we like out here, with the tick problem, is more and more apparel coming out with Insect Shield — that’s helping a lot. I sell just as much gear to elderly people working in the garden as people on the trail; it’s a mixed market, and that clothing is good for both.
Out of all the new technology coming out, which is your favorite and why?
Vibram FiveFingers. If I could rep for any company, it would be Vibram. I got them as soon as they came out. I’ve had four knee surgeries and wore regular shoes the whole time, and didn’t realize why my knees were still hurting. Since I’ve gone barefoot my knee pain has all but gone away.
How do you go about creating loyal customers?
You know, we’ve been here for 17 years and our owner [John Futrell] is obviously still building clientele, but within the first five years he had his regulars, if you will. The locals come in to see the new things we have each season. They like seeing the technology.
What is your favorite thing about working in the outdoor industry?
Really, all the new stuff is one thing. Every time a new shipment comes in, something is made out of a different material — it’s nice to learn about, use and sell. I like the people, [and] I know it’s a completely different retail crowd than it is in any other business. It’s more of a laid-back environment working in an outdoor store than a big box store.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo