Asheville, N.C.-grown Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) and Brevard-based SylvanSport have teamed up with economic development group AdvantageWest to present the inaugural Outdoor Gear Builders Village at the 13th annual Mountain Sports Festival. The first of its kind in Western North Carolina, the Outdoor Gear Builders Village is an eclectic gathering of 18 WNC gear-making companies producing outdoor accessories and products covering everything from kayak paddles to mountain bikes. The event will allow upwards of 15,000 festival goers to demo and discover local outdoor products manufactured in the region.
Gear manufacturers will include ENO, SylvanSport, Us, Fritz Orr Canoe, Tsuga Canopies, Astral and Bellyak in addition to several others.
“The idea for the Outdoor Gear Builders Village grew out of our desire to help Western North Carolina grow the outdoor manufacturing industry,” said Kyle Mundt, SylvanSport’s Director of Marketing. “We thought it would be cool to invite some other interesting bike and paddle companies, and exhibit together like the Open Air Demo at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City.”
Aside from an informational juncture aimed at meeting and greeting a potential new customer base, the Outdoor Gear Builders Village is also the inception for a new network of over 20 local gear-manufacturers in the area uniting to form the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC; a coalition similar to the Asheville Brewers Alliance.
“There are so many great outdoors companies literally in our backyards that no one knows about,” said Natalie DeRatt, Media Coordinator for ENO. “We really want to create a space for all of us to come together and share knowledge, support and awareness to really grow this community.”
The Outdoor Gear Builders Village will be open throughout the three-day event, with races and entertainment starting on Friday, May 24.