Backwoods Recognized as Best Place to Work

Backwoods is proud to announce the recognition as one of the top ten Best Places to Work in Wichita, KS.
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Wichita, KS – Backwoods is proud to announce the recognition as one of the top ten Best Places to Work in Wichita, KS. This recognition was bestowed upon us by the Wichita Business Journal in March 2007, below is a copy of the article that was published highlighting Backwoods as One of the Best Places to Work in Wichita, KS.

Workers at Backwoods understand they are in the business of selling fun. Outdoor fun. And that understanding creates a fun work environment that fosters creativity and rewards passionate employees.

Founded in 1973, Backwoods is an outdoor retailer specialized in outdoor products like clothing, backpacks, tents and other outdoor equipment. Another aspect of the company is its travel branch that organizes and leads excursions.

“First off, I think our business is fun in general – I guess we sell fun,” said Backwoods president and CEO Jennifer Mull. “But we also try to inspire our employees to live their lives boldly, to travel, and really experience life to its fullest.”

Mull says the company encourages teamwork and listens to ideas from all levels.

In addition to a fun, creative environment, the company offers a formal incentive-compensation program that can result in monetary rewards or rewards in the form of vacation trips.

“We've broadened the incentive programs that we have offered over the years,” says Mull, daughter of Backwoods founder Lewis Mull. “We've listened to employee's comments and tried to tailor some of our programs based on those comments.”

Backwoods has seven stores in four states. The entire company has three summit meetings a year. Two of the summit meetings are business-oriented, while the third is a trip – it could be skiing or rock climbing – where recreational activity is the main objective. It's on the recreational trips when team building blossoms.

Mull says leaders encourage communication between co-workers with each store and from state to state.

“Our company is small enough that they really do feed off each other and get ideas from other stores,” says Mull. “We have a monthly conference call and all the stores participate.”

It also succeeds by hiring employees who truly support Backwoods' philosophy on business and the environment and has resulted in little turnover at the company, Mull adds. There are several employees who have been at the company for more than 20 years.

“This industry is really neat,” says Suzanne Wilson-Miller, a senior buyer with Backwoods who has been with the company for 26 years. “It is always changing. And there is a sense of caring about people, the universe, business ethics and the environment, not just making a dollar.”

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