Costa Mesa, CA - March 16, 2018
For true outdoor enthusiasts, sitting still is simply not an option and they expect nothing less from the companies that they turn to for the gear, advice and lifestyle attitude that gets them out into their next adventure.
For Southern California-based Gear Coop, one of the country's most respected outdoor gear retailers, that meant not only "gearing up" for an expected surge in 2018 sales but adding one of the best-known names in the sporting goods retail industry to their executive team.
Craig Levra has been named president and, together with Gear Coop founder and CEO Terry Lee, will be responsible for driving the nine year-old outdoor gear retailer forward as a leading supplier of high-end technical brands to outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.
Levra, perhaps best known for his tenure as chairman and CEO at Sport Chalet, grew the outdoor recreation retailer from 18 to 55 full-service stores serving four states and ultimately brought the company to over $400 million in annual revenue. Sport Chalet was twice named one of Forbes Magazine's "America's Best 200 Small Companies" and Levra sees even more strategic growth opportunities for Gear Coop.
"Under Terry Lee's remarkable vision, Gear Coop has, in nine years, grown to over $22 million in sales by creating a sales model that smartly embraces e-commerce while also acknowledging the needs of brick-and-mortar customers," says Levra. "Gear Coop has just been named Retailer of the Year at the Outdoor Inspiration Awards and the company is strategically poised for smartly executed, extraordinary growth in the next few years. I am very excited to be part of that forward-thinking plan and truly believe that as the retail landscape continues to change and evolve, Gear Coop will lead the way within our unique sector."
After leaving Sport Chalet, Levra specialized as a consulting expert and board member advising preeminent US and international companies to improve company value and efficiency. It was Levra's ability to see technology and analytics as a critical jump-start to retail that prompted Lee to choose Levra as a strategic addition to Gear Coop's team.
"Within Gear Coop we think that disruption can be a really good thing," laughs Lee, "and especially when it involves changing old business models. By embracing a multi-pronged sales and distribution strategy - our own website, a brick-and-mortar store and serving as the leading outdoor gear portal on the Amazon ecommerce platform - Gear Coop had already created a uniquely successful model that has served our customer base well. With the addition of Craig to our team we are looking towards further enhancing our ability to reach and serve our incredibly loyal customer base."
Already recognized within the industry for having a corporate culture and mission statement that embraces diversity and encourages education about the environment through special events and community action, Gear Coop is poised to turn the role of being an outdoor retailer on its head.
"To be successful in getting people outdoors and understanding the importance and necessity of having access to the outdoors as part of a healthy, productive lifestyle we have to simultaneously be a healthy company," says Lee. "Craig not only brings his own love and commitment to the outdoors to the Gear Coop table but also the skill set to make us stronger, faster, leaner."