Are you a #CoolShop?

Original ideas, different business plans, interesting histories and unique traits litter specialty outdoor retail. Tell your #CoolShop story.
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Next Adventure wins the retailer growth category at Grassroots Connect 2018

Next Adventure in Portland, Oregon, is one cool shop! Owners Bryan Knudsen and Deek Heykamp pose here in front of their flagship store in downtown Portland. 

With four generations of local shop owners before her, Patty Boydstun-Hovdey was destined to open Hometown Sports in McCall, Idaho. For Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport, a 35,000 square foot retail space is eclipsed by the outdoor playground of their guide service. Onion River Sports in Montpelier, Vermont thrives in a town of just 8,000. The owners of Le Québec Hors Circuits in Quebec fought to bring outdoor gear to their off-the-beaten-path locale.

Specialty outdoor retail is full of unique people, shops and stories keeping the industry vibrant and fresh. The #CoolShop series shares profiles of those specialty retail innovators and pioneers, spreading their insight and experience to the rest of the industry.

Read more of these stories here. Do you think you’re a #CoolShop? Fill out the questionnaire here with as much detail as possible to be considered. 


Kip Roberts, General Manager of Onion River

#CoolShop | Onion River Sports in Montpelier, Vermont

Some high schools have sports to keep kids busy after school. But for some kids in Montpelier, Vermont, working at Onion River Sports was their extracurricular. And then they never left. More than half of the store’s staff are neighborhood folks who grew up shopping there and more

Snow on Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild, California

Nomad Ventures is a small, but mighty #CoolShop

Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild, California, was supposed to be a short-term, weekend gig for founder Bruce Damon. At the time, the then-26-year-old had a good, full-time job as a production manager at a local machine shop. But his passion for backpacking and paddling piqued his more

Wilcox of IME

How this New Hampshire #CoolShop fights internet discounts

After leaving a management position at a mountain sports store in 1979, Rick Wilcox was looking for a new mission—and he didn’t have to look far.  Right down the street in North Conway, New Hampshire, was the small International Mountain Equipment (IME), started five years more


Tahoe Mountain Sports is a #CoolShop

For a lot of Dave Polivy’s friends in outdoor specialty retail, online juggernauts like Amazon are seen as a hulking behemoth steamrolling the industry. Many of his contempoaries are reluctant to go anywhere near the e-commerce giant, let alone do business with them. But Polivy more

#CoolShop Maine Sport Outfitter

#CoolShop | Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport, Maine

Noticing a need for local outdoor retail in Rockport, Maine, Stewart and Marianne Smith opened Maine Sport Outfitters in 1976 as a small neighborhood outdoor shop. Today, their massive store caters to fisherman, hikers and campers, skiers and bikers (with full tech services) more

Dannwolf and Jones recently instituted a policy that entitles employees after 5 years to a paid "sabbatical" to use on something like a ski trip. // Image: Courtesy

#CoolShop | Powder7 in Golden, Co

In 2007, new business owners Jordan Jones and Amy Dannwolf still had a lot to learn, including when to NOT go on vacation. Thinking their online ski business would slow down for the holiday, Jones and Dannwolf (now husband and wife) decided to spend their long Thanksgiving more

Next Adventure wins the retailer growth category at Grassroots Connect 2018

#CoolShop | Next Adventure in Portland, OR

Next Adventure was founded in 1997 in Portland, Oregon with two truckloads of used gear in a 1600-square foot storefront on Grand Avenue. Like all the greatest specialty outdoor shops, the business was founded because owners (and life-long besties) Deek Heykamp and Bryan more

Half-Moon Outfitters

Find out why Half-Moon Outfitters is a #CoolShop

Half-Moon Outfitters doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to being an environmental steward in the outdoor industry. The chain’s owner, Beezer Molten, walks the walk by incorporating eco-friendly initiatives in eight stores scattered across Georgia and South Carolina. He more

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 12.30.13 PM

Best of 2017: #CoolShop

The SNEWS team was so impressed this year by the number of outdoor retailers thinking outside the box, showing devotion to their community, and simply put, giving customers a cool shop to gear up for the great outdoors. Here are a few of our favorites:  Hometown Sports in McCall, more