Walkabout Outfitter’s origin story is one of love. A hiker and retail shop owner fell for each other in 2004 and decided to open up their own outfitter in Lexington, Virginia. Five other locations have opened since then, and this year, the store decided it was time to attend Outdoor Retailer.
Show first-timer and avid backpacker Suz Mayerchak started as the manager of the Roanoke shop eight years ago, and in her current role as district manager (as well as footwear and equipment buyer), she travels between all the sites.
“I think like other retailers, we’ve had to shift our focus a little bit, so our marketing is not as product driven and is more cause driven,” she says. “As much as we can engage our customers in the experience, the better. We’ve been doing that all along in bits and pieces, but now it’s a huge focus.”
Recently, Walkabout hosted Sherpa Adventure Gear night, where they served Nepalese food, put on a fashion show, and told the brand’s story built around empowering women in Nepal.
“People like to know that their purchase is going to something good and impactful,” Mayerchak says.
What gear excites you most so far?
1. Deuter Aviant Pro Carry On
“Backpack sales have gone down, and travel is definitely going up. This particular bag looks really nice and it’s carry-on, so it’s great for airport travel and/or car travel.”
2. Pocket Cocktails
“It’s great for travel, camping, and backpacking. You bring your alcohol and the packet, and you shake it up. It really tastes like a good cocktail. It’s a sure-seller, especially around the holidays.”
3. Sherpa Adventure Gear
“It’s very sleek. You can dress it up with some nice black pants or you can wear it with jeans. We brought Sherpa in this past season and it’s flying off the shelves.”
This article was originally published in Day 3 of The Daily (Winter Market 2018).