Grassroots Outdoor Alliance announces large membership spike - SNEWS

Grassroots increases membership by 14 percent overnight

The addition of 10 new members brings the organization to a count of 83 retailers in 45 states.

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance added 10 new members in one fell swoop this month.

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance dropped some big news this week. The specialty retailer advocacy group added 10 new member companies to its nationwide roster in a single stroke, one of the biggest spikes since the organization's founding in 1994.

According to the association's leadership, the move was not a concerted push to add numbers, but rather the natural result of a new system implemented to make onboarding faster and less labor-intensive.

"Last year, Dana Howe, our director of retail membership and education, put a goal in place to update the process of applying for membership status," Grassroots president Rich Hill told SNEWS this week. "We're not changing the requirements or metrics needed to become a member. But from now on, the process will be much easier."

The new onboarding process handles membership verification through Grassroots' main office on a rolling basis, rather than at board meetings, as in years past.

"Going to the board [to verify members] used to be a super slow process," said Hill. "Over the past few years, the board has been deliberate about putting in place strict metrics required for membership so that new requests can be handled by the office, which works much faster."

Hill joked that in recent years, the path to membership with Grassroots has been "somewhat mystical" and convoluted. Board meetings would occasionally devolve into what he called "new member exhaustion" after hours of vetting applicants.

No more, he said. "As an organization, we want to get to the size where our advocacy power is on par with anyone in the industry. Smoothing out the member onboarding process will help with that goal."

The ultimate plan, Hill said, is to widen Grassroots' reach until 100 percent of attendees at the Grassroots Connect show—cancelled this year due to the pandemic—are Grassroots members. Last year's attendance was made up of 65 percent members and 35 percent non-members.

Until that goal is reached, Grassroots plans to continue refining processes that make onboarding and serving members as scalable as possible. "We seem to have crossed some invisible threshold in terms of size," Hill said of the recent additions. "This latest round of additions is getting a lot of attention, but we can feel it inside the organization, too. Everyone is hopeful that we'll speed up even more."

The new Grassroots members include D.D. Bullwinkel’s of Brevard, North Carolina; Earth’s Edge of Grand Haven, Michigan; Gear for Adventure of Hamburg, New York; Great Miami Outfitters of Centerville, Ohio; High Mountain Sports of Oakland, Maryland; Nugget Alaskan Outfitter of Juneau, Alaska; Pine Needle Mountaineering & Pine Needle Dry Goods of Durango, Colorado; Rutabaga Paddlesports of Madison, Wisconsin; Walkabout Paddle & Apparel of Eagle River, Wisconsin; and Wanderlust Outfitters of St. Joseph, Michigan.



Ozark Outdoor Supply in Arkansas

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance adds five new members

Once again, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has expanded. This week, the group welcomes five new members to its retailer network: J.L. Waters & Company in Bloomington, Indiana; Outdoor Sports Center in Wilton, Connecticut; Ozark Outdoor Supply in Little Rock, Arkansas; Up & Running …read more

Neptune masked cashier and customer

As retailers open up, results are mostly positive, with some confusion over safety

After months of closures that spelled disaster for some and extreme hardship for many others, retailers both small and large have started reopening across the nation as states lift the stay-at-home mandates that have kept them closed. The results so far, according to multiple …read more

A laptop with four jackets illustrated on the screen.

Grassroots introduces a "super powerful" new retailer buying tool

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has suffered setbacks during the pandemic—most notably the cancellation of its spring and fall Connect shows—but it has also shown great resilience over the past several months, moving ahead with new initiatives despite dramatic changes in the retail …read more

filing cabinet

Save the trees: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance shifts toward paper-free future

At the end of any given trade show, outdoor retailers are left with stacks and stacks of paper catalogues from various brands. They have to make the choice to either ship them home to their store, pack them in their luggage, or toss them out. "The carbon footprint gets to be …read more


State of the industry: Three retailers discuss how the pandemic has hit them

In recent weeks, we’ve seen a lot of suffering among retailers, as news of closures, furloughs, and layoffs rolls in. We’ve also seen the best in people—customers banding together to support independent shops, vendors implementing programs to keep their dealers afloat, and brands …read more

Three generations of Rock and Snow owners: Andrew Zalewski, Rich Gottlieb, and Dick Williams.

A year-end update from Grassroots Outdoor Alliance

We’ve heard the storyline countless times throughout the pandemic: Outdoor sales have been a bright spot as people seek refuge outside. And while this dominant refrain is largely true, the real story for independent shops is more nuanced. “You can’t paint all retailers with the …read more

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 1.46.44 PM

A digital tool to make the spring buying cycle easier

The spring buying process is sure to be an interesting one this year, as retailers affected by the pandemic assess how much, if any, new product they can take on, and brands try to find ways to get their new offerings in front of buyers without the help of traditional trade …read more

Walkabout Outfitter interior with chandelier

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance adds six new retail members

Ahead of the annual Grassroots Connect buying show, the consortium of specialty retailers and vendors on Monday welcomed six new stores to its membership. The additions elevate Grassroots Outdoor Alliance to 74 members and 144 doors nationwide, marking the largest size ever for …read more

Grassroots cancels Connect Show

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance’s Connect Show will not go on as planned this spring, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show was scheduled to go down June 12-15 in Knoxville, Tennessee, one week ahead of Outdoor Retailer, which has not yet announced a cancellation. Should Outdoor …read more