Independent specialty retail association and advocates Grassroots Outdoor Alliance welcomed 10 new members this month, elevating the organization to 83 retailers with 187 total doors in 45 states nationwide. The mark is the largest ever for the organization, said the group, and parallels the steady progress of key organization initiatives such as the Switchback technology program focused on sales data management and trend analysis for independent specialty retailers.
New Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retail members include D.D. Bullwinkel’s (Brevard, N.C.), Earth’s Edge (Grand Haven, Mich.), Gear for Adventure (Hamburg, N.Y.), Great Miami Outfitters (Centerville, Ohio), High Mountain Sports (Oakland, Md.), Nugget Alaskan Outfitter, (Juneau, Alaska), Pine Needle Mountaineering & Pine Needle Dry Goods (Durango, Colo.), Rutabaga (Madison, Wisc.), Walkabout Paddle & Apparel (Eagle River, Wisc.) and Wanderlust Outfitters (St. Joseph, Mich.)
“At its most basic level, the reason retailers join Grassroots is because it helps them better understand their own business,” said Dana Howe, retailer relations manager for Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “As this group of independent business owners continues to grow, so does their ability to share, learn and hone in on what’s working and what’s not for specialty retailers.”
With the addition of new members, the total count of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance storefronts (187) now exceeds that of several national outdoor big box retailers including REI (164) and Bass Pro/Cabela’s (169).
“Combined with Grassroots’ growing capabilities in product trend forecasting, the growing geographic scope of Grassroots retail membership is a good sign for the overall economic health of the specialty outdoor industry,” added Howe.
Following are details on the newest GOA members as provided by the retailers:
D.D. Bullwinkel’s Outdoors (ddbullwinkels.com) specializes in outdoor apparel and gear for hiking, camping, backpacking, climbing, exploring and travel. Located near the entrance to Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, NC, the store is within minutes of 100,000 forested acres and premier regional trails. D.D. Bullwinkel’s also operates the “Map Room,” a beer and wine tap room inside the store.
Earth’s Edge (earthsedgeusa.com) is a destination outdoor store on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Founded as a basic camping outfitter with just 900 square feet of retail space, the current Earth’s Edge has grown to 18,000 square feet with a robust product assortment including a full range of camping equipment and apparel as well as footwear, canoes, kayaks, SUPs, racks and luggage.
Gear for Adventure (gearforadventure.com) was founded in 2004, inspired by a trip by the owners to Algonquin Park in Canada, a remote destination only accessible by hiking, canoeing or float plane. Gear for Adventure operates locations in Hamburg and Amherst, NY, providing exceptional support for adventures nationally, regionally and locally on nearby Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Allegheny National Forest.
Great Miami Outfitters (greatmiamioutfitters.com) is a family owned and operated small business located in Ohio between the Little Miami River and the Great Miami River, near Dayton just north of Cincinnati. Great Miami Outfitters specializes in backpacking, climbing, paddling, travel and more along with Outdoor Education courses and trips.
High Mountain Sports (highmountainsports.com/) caters to year-round outdoor enthusiasts on the shore of Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake and just down the road from Wisp Resort. Founded in 1987, High Mountain Sports carries a full line of hardgoods and softgoods to fully explore the mountains and lakes of Western Maryland.
Nugget Alaskan Outfitter (nuggetoutfitter.com) is the first Grassroots Outdoor Alliance retail member from Alaska. The Nugget Alaskan Outfitter, or “NAO” for short, is a descendant of the Nugget Department Store which opened in 1974 in Juneau, and has evolved over decades to become a premier outdoor retailer.
Pine Needle Mountaineering & Pine Needle Dry Goods (pineneedle.com) has been serving southwest Colorado since 1976 as a premier retailer of quality mountain equipment and apparel for active lifestyles. In addition to top brands, the retailer also operates a full-service ski shop with a master boot fitter.
Rutabaga Paddlesports (rutabagashop.com) is a Wisconsin“paddler-owned” specialty shop that features canoes, kayaks, SUP boards and water gear. Rutabaga is the host of Canoecopia, as well as the recipient of numerous awards including Paddlesports Retailer of the Year (Canoe and Kayak Magazine) and Top 50 Places to Work in the Outdoor Industry (Outside Magazine).
Walkabout Paddle & Apparel (facebook.com/WalkAboutPaddleAndApparel) is a leading Northwoods retailer specializing in “silent sports and outdoor living” including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and lifestyle apparel. Their destination location in northern Wisconsin is near the Eagle River/Three Lakes chain, which connects 28 lakes in an interconnected waterway.
Wanderlust Outfitters (wanderlustoutfitters.com) on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, blends a picturesque historic 1908 building with the modern twist of curated product selections ranging from the “Everyday Adventurer” to the “Weekend Warrior.”