Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of independent specialty retail, this week welcomes five new members to their retailer network.
The new Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retail members include J.L. Waters & Company (Bloomington, Ind.); Outdoor Sports Center (Wilton, Conn.); Ozark Outdoor Supply (Little Rock, Ark.); Up & Running (Dayton, Ohio); and Sheridan Sport Stop (Sheridan, Wyo.).
The additions elevate Grassroots Outdoor Alliance membership to 70 members and 132 doors, marking the largest size ever for the organization.
The new retailers first event as members will be at the Grassroots Connect show (Nov. 4-7, 2018) in Denver, Colo. -- the outdoor industry’s best buying experience held immediately prior to its biggest national trade show.
“Each and every Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member retailer is truly an individual business with specific local needs, opportunities and challenges. But as part of our retailer network, they’re joining a national collaborative that’s aligned on cultural and strategic goals, one that can provide key assistance when it’s needed and can listen and learn from key learnings whenever they’re offered,” said Dana Howe, Retailer Relations Manager for Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.
J.L. Waters & Company is Indiana's oldest and most complete outdoor specialty retailer. Serving the Bloomington outdoor community since 1973, the store is a traditional outdoor store that carries apparel, footwear, fly fishing, paddlesport, and camping / backpacking hardgoods, and was founded by long-time industry veteran and former sales rep Mike Gostola.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity to join the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Their collective depth of knowledge, experience, and information will allow us to share experiences about consumer trends as well as challenges associated with vendors, technology and day to day issues. In today’s hyper competitive market place this information is essential to effectively take care of our customers,” said Gostola.
Outdoor Sports Center is a family owned retailer in Wilton, Conn., with numerous long-term staff -- and long-term customers -- that have been committed to the store for decades. Outdoor Sports Center provides and promotes a friendly and knowledgeable community, the best gear and service, and specific awareness of outdoor resources through their use as a playground.
“There is so much that others in our industry have to offer and share, including us. Being a part of Grassroots gives us a chance to improve ourselves, and also help others who may take interest in the way we do things here at the Outdoor Sports Center. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate and communicate,” said Scott Maxwell of Outdoor Sports Center.
Ozark Outdoor Supply is a “quaint” outdoor specialty retailer in Little Rock, Arkansas, providing Arkansans with high quality outdoor clothing and equipment for over 40 years. A traditional outdoor specialty shop with a strong focus on gear, hardgoods, footwear, technical apparel and outerwear, Ozark Outdoor Supply’s philosophy is to provide the products, services and knowledge to help customers get the most out of their outdoor adventures.
“Having seen many different approaches to the buying cycle through the years, I feel that Grassroots Outdoor Alliance understands the difficulty and expense retailers face and have set up a format that drastically simplifies this process,” said Jim Frank of Ozark Outdoor Supply. “I believe in efficiency and I feel this approach maximizes that.”
Sheridan Sport Stop was established in 1978 as a family owned and run business. Originally started as a sporting good store, the retailer later expanded into running, cycling and outdoor. The store supports the local outdoor community through local school sports clubs, 5k race sponsorships, partnerships with local climbing clubs, cycling clubs, and local ski areas. They are also in process of developing a local outdoor education program matching outdoor enthusiasts with “newbies” to outdoor adventures.
“Networking with other non-competing retailers will be enlightening and show us ways to improve our business, and keep the excitement for the industry exciting for us as business owners,” said Michelle Maneval of Sheridan Sport Stop.
Up and Running was established in 2005 as a women’s-specific store, but expanded in 2006 to serve the needs of all outdoors people. The store emphasizes lifestyle and travel apparel, but their running roots are strong, as seen by their recent accolades as one of the Competitor Group’s 50 best running stores in America.
“The best ideas and connections are made in groups like Grassroots,” said Susie Stein of Up and Running. “I want to contribute and learn from both these vendors and retailers so we can create and enhance our industry.”
ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active network of 70 independent retailers working together for the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail. With 132 storefronts across 37 states, Grassroots member retailers currently total approximately $325 million in annual sales. Through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events and deep vendor partnerships, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retail. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.
ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Efficient, affordable and effective for every attendee, Grassroots
Outdoor Alliance Connect is the only national show designed specifically to improve retail buying results. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, the growing Grassroots Connect show is now in its 20th year, and attracts nearly 1,000 independent specialty retailers, vendor brands, media, and members of the outdoor industry community to each show. Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Future dates for Connect include Denver, Colorado (Nov. 4-7, 2018) and Knoxville, Tennessee (June 10-13, 2019). For more information on Grassroots Connect, please go to https://connect.grassrootsoutdoors.com