Our unofficial National Small Business Week awards

Five #CoolShops that deserve some credit.
Publish date:

In recognition of National Small Business Week, we want to acknowledge some of the independent specialty #CoolShops working hard to keep the outdoor industry ticking. From coast to coast, here are five of our favorites from each region in the U.S.

Did you see our Instagram series naming a few of our other favorite #CoolShops? Find it here and click the "follow" button, if you haven't already.

Northwest: Crazy Mountain Outdoor Company in Bozeman, Montana

It’s cool because: Even though it’s not even a year old, owner Sam Valone—son of Great Outdoor Gear Provision Co-Founder Tom Valone—uses old-school marketing through radio and newspaper ads to reach his customers.

Crazy Mountain #CoolShop

Crazy Mountain Outdoor Company Owner Sam Valone is a fly fisherman and therefore, the store is anchored by modern bamboo rods made by real craftsmen.

Midwest: KAMP in St. Louis, Missouri

It’s cool because: It’s built on a foundation of inclusion and diversity. Through kids’ story times and guided nature walks geared toward low-income families, owners Jason and Mandi Gray want the outdoors to be welcoming for all.

Southwest: Taos Mountain Outfitters in Taos, New Mexico

It’s cool because: The store wasn’t always popular with locals, but ever since Bill Gaydock took over, that has reversed. He’s stocked the shelves with leading outdoor brands and he offers sweet perks to his employees, including 401K matching up to 5 percent.

Taos Mountain Outfitters UVP

Taos Mountain Outfitters Owner Bill Gaydosh poses with Daisy, who is always willing to engage with customers.

Northeast: Adventure Bound onthefly in Elicotteville, New York

It’s cool because: You can pay in Bitcoin, if you want. Owner John Rounds started accepting cryptocurrency a few years ago, illustrating how retailers need to be creative, flexible, and willing to try new things.

Southeast: Survive Anything in Sarasota, Florida

It’s cool because: This isn’t your typical outdoor store. Sure, you can buy pocketknives, bug spray, and survival guides. But you can also pick up gas masks and bulletproof vests, and get a tattoo or piercing next door from shop owner Michael Crea.

Survive Anything

Survive Anything stocks an eclectic mix of survival gear and outdoor essentials.


Sleeping bags, Topo Designs bags, and shirts on display in Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. in Brooklyn, New York.

Choose the winner of the #CoolShop Awards

In 2019, we shone the spotlight on 12 standout specialty outdoor stores across the country in our #CoolShops column. From matching prices online to offering free drinking water to preserving their town's history, these shops are seriously killing it at retail. And through our ...read more

Adventure Bound Bitcoin #CoolShop

Will Bitcoin take off among outdoor retailers?

Adventure Bound onthefly Owner John Rounds became the first specialty shop in Ellicotteville, New York, and the first outdoor retailer SNEWS has heard of so far to embrace cryptocurrency as a means of staying alive in the competitive market. “Specialty retail is not easy, and in ...read more

Interior of High Country Outfitters

#CoolShop Awards Finalist | High Country Outfitters in Georgia

When a climber, a whitewater paddler, an insurance guy, and a guy with a little bit of money got together in 1975, they started High Country Outfitters along the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, Georgia. As the only outdoor shop in the area at the time, business boomed and ...read more

The bike department at The Gear Fix in Bend Oregon

#CoolShop | The Gear Fix in Bend, Oregon

It's a regular Sunday morning in Bend, Oregon's old Box Factory building: pairs eat sweet and savory treats at Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen, men sit still as hairdressers trim around their ears at West Side Barber Shop, and groups of people sift through consignment backpacks, kayak ...read more

Crazy Mountain #CoolShop

#CoolShop | Crazy Mountain Outdoor Company in Bozeman, Montana

Once Sam Valone turned 13, he could expect to be woken up at least one morning every summer to tag shipments of Patagonia merchandise for the North Carolina Great Outdoor Provision Co., founded by his father and two others in 1972. “I would spend the whole day down in the ...read more

buffalo peak outfitters storefront

#CoolShop | Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Jackson, Mississippi

In 1986, Bob McCain thought Jackson, Mississippi, ought to have its own outdoor equipment shop. His home state might not have massive mountains, but trails, waterways, hill, and views are plentiful. Buffalo Peak Outfitters is now in its 33rd year, as a Grassroots Outdoor Alliance ...read more

Shopping online on cell phone

Questions linger around Supreme Court online sales tax ruling

Brick-and-mortar retail might have scored a point over mega online retailers stores today, thanks to a new Supreme Court ruling that gives states the authority to require sales tax, even if the sellers don't have a physical location in that state. But some specialty retailers ...read more

exterior shot of GearHeads at night. Blue and red neon sign says GearHeads Free Filtered Water, Hike, Bike, Camp, Climb

Podcast: A very special gear shop

Aside form world-class mountain biking trails and spectacular scenery, Moab, Utah, has another gem: GearHeads Outdoor Store. Founded 22 years ago by Doug and Greg Kennedy, and now run by younger brother Steve, this quirky shop has become a Moab institution thanks to its vast ...read more

Powder7 staff shot

Contest: Design a logo for Colorado #CoolShop Powder7

Having just turned 10 years old, ski shop and online retailer Powder7 is ready for a logo makeover. The Golden, Colorado, shop launched the “Powder7 to the People” contest earlier this month with a heady grand prize: free skis and bindings every year for seven years. “For ...read more