Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to independent specialty retail, awarded its annual honors at the Grassroots Connect show last month. Held on June 13, 2018, as the evening feature leading in to the Grassroots Connect trade show, the awards gathering delivered surprises, smiles and emotion from a long list of award winners.
In the top categories, Sunlight Sports (Cody, Wyo.) was honored as Grassroots Retailer of the Year and NEMO Equipment (Manchester, N.H.) was named Vendor of the Year.
Townsend Bertram & Co (Carrboro, N.C.) was named Rookie of the Year; Next Adventure (Portland, Ore.) was honored with the Retailer Growth Award; and Ryan Krusemark of Kuhl (Salt Lake City, Utah) was named Sales Manager of the Year.
“As with any specialty retailer that is finding success right now, Sunlight Sports’s biggest asset is its community … The community of employees who work so hard every day, the community in Northwest Wyoming whom we love — and who chooses to shop with us even though all of the online people would love to take their money — and the outdoor industry community,” said Wes Allen, owner of Sunlight Sports, winner of Grassroots Retailer of the Year award. ”We’re so fortunate to work with all of the folks at our partner brands, and our sales reps. Without all of their contributions, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
“We were honored and humbled to be recognized by such an outstanding group of retailers,” said Mike Welch, vice president of NEMO Equipment, winner of Grassroots Vendor of the Year award. “As NEMO is committed to bringing new and innovative products to market that have a unique story to tell, we know we need to work with the best retail partners to be successful, like those in the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. They have the knowledge, credibility, and passion to bring our stories to life.”
“To be recognized by the people we admire most in our industry means more to us than I can aptly express in words,” said Betsy Bertram of Townsend Bertram & Co., winner of the Grassroots Rookie of the Year award. “The best thing that came out of winning the award was the great conversations it sparked with other retailers and brands throughout the week of the show. A big thanks to Grassroots Outdoor Alliance for the recognition and support!”
In additional recognition categories at the Grassroots Connect awards, honorees included:
Retailer Recognition for Creative Advertising & Marketing: Mahoney’s Outfitters (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Retailer Recognition for Community & Events: Pack & Paddle (Lafayette, La.)
Retailer Recognition for Merchandising Magic: The Toggery (Whitefish, Mont.)
Grassroots Board Special Recognition: Emily White of Roads Rivers Trails (Milford, Ohio).
Grassroots Board Service Recognition: Dan Epstein of Champaign Surplus (Champaign, Ill.).
Grassroots Board Rep Recognitions: Vision Merchandising (David Olson); Adventure Marketing Group (Wendy Stanley); Powers Sales Group (Sam Powers); Outdoor Sports Marketing (Scott Eddins, Tony Turner, Cullen Mann); Caraway & Co. (Dana Caraway); and Mountain Trading (Corbin Biehler).