Celebrating 35 years this year, Great Outdoor Store is the only locally owned specialty outdoor store in Sioux Falls. Within the store—housed in an old train depot from the 1880s—you’ll find gear for rock climbing and backpacking, but DeAnn Echols describes the product selection as more “boutique outdoor,” with travel being one of the largest categories.
“Because we live in the middle of the prairie, you have to travel to do and see things,” Echols said.
In the last few years, Echols and her husband, James, have hired people to fill management-level positions to take over staff training, flowing in products, and marketing and event coordination. A recent event brought customers to the store for bourbon and bison tastings, and a new biweekly hiking and adventure club allows participants to accumulate points in exchange for swag. They also host movie nights and five larger events throughout the year.
“All those things I was doing myself for a long time, and now I have a team in place that is doing it for me,” Echols said. “It’s been awesome to watch them grow and have fun with new ideas.”
What gear are you most excited about so far?
1. Chaco Banded Z sandal
“An extra strap will add more stability for the shoe. And any time Chaco comes out with something new, our customers love it.”
2. Cotopaxi Del Dia packs
“We just crank it with this series. Customers go nuts for these. Cotopaxi has new colors and a new 42L travel bag, which we’re excited to offer to people who want a little bit more room.”
3. Fjällräven Norrvåge packs
“This three-piece set of bags is made of recycled wool fabric and has beautiful detailing. They’re cute and have a great sustainability story.”
This article was originally published in Day 2 of The Daily (Winter Market 2018).