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These two people are the future of the outdoor industry

We’ve partnered with The North Face to reward retail floor employees with big passion and big potential. Meet the winners of our Shop Star program.

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Congratulations to Jackie Cianci from Tahoe Mountain Sports and Joe Brewer from Feral Mountain Co., the winners of our inaugural Shop Star program.

The goal of Shop Star is to identify young people working in specialty retail who will become the next generation of leaders in the outdoor industry, and to bring them to Outdoor Retailer for an immersive experience.

SNEWS partnered with The North Face in this exciting project, and dozens of retail shop owners nominated their best and brightest. Choosing a winner was not easy.

“The North Face is really excited to support Shop Stars,” says Steve Cuthbert, senior sales director at The North Face. “Our specialty partners have been with The North Face brand since our beginning and have been great ambassadors for us. We’re happy to support our specialty retail partners in this way, and to give Jackie and Joe an opportunity to experience the great community of the outdoor industry.”

Meet Jackie Cianci from Tahoe Mountain Sports

Jackie, Cianci, 33, was born and raised in Tahoe. “My parents always told me ‘you have no idea how lucky you are to grow up in such a pretty place,’ and they were right!” says Cianci. “That’s why I haven’t left.”

Shop Star
Jackie Cianci from Tahoe Mountain Sports \”gets up early before work every day to get her run in, no matter the weather and no matter the trail or road conditions,\” says her boss Dave Polivy.Courtesy

As far back as she can remember, Cianci was helping out at her family’s ski rental shop in South Lake Tahoe. She says that’s how she learned how important good customer service is, and where she became enamored with small, family run shops, like Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Cianci started at TMS only three years ago, but owner Dave Polivy says she has quickly become indispensable. Being an apparel buyer in this industry is daunting, and Jackie is the best I’ve ever worked with. Her style matches the shop, her merchandising skills are top notch, and she can seasonally swap the entire store in less than a week. She has quickly risen among her co-workers as the go-to person for everything.” 

Polivy calls her a wealth of information, adding that she knows the inseam of every bottom on the floor, the sleeve length on every top, and the precise fit of each brand, and is an expert at matching all that information to the customer in front of her. “It’s inspiring just watching her work with a customer,” he says.

Cianci says that the January show will be “new and exciting” for her, and she’s looking forward to meeting others in the industry, exploring every corner of the show, and getting new ideas on how to merchandise Tahoe Mountain Sports..

Meet Joe Brewer from Feral Mountain Co.

Joe Brewer, 29, moved to Denver two and a half years ago, right as Feral Outdoor Co. was opening its doors. Brewer, a passionate gearhead, backpacker and climber, had been running his own website and YouTube channel prior to his move, but his job at Feral was his first official foray into the outdoor industry. “I wasn’t really sure where it would go, but it was clear to me that I wanted to be in this industry,” he says. “I knew I wasn’t interested in working at a large or traditional outdoor store. I wanted something cozy and small, with room for creativity.”

Shop Star winner
Joe Brewer from Feral Mountain Co. is the ultimate gearhead who makes his own gear and has his own YouTube channel.Courtesy

Echoing what Cianci old us, he says it’s been fun to grow with Feral because of the small size of the staff, he has had the opportunity to wear many hats. I work the floor most days,” he says, “But I also help with the buying, I run the rental program, I repair gear for customers. I also do community outreach work and lead ‘meet ups’ where we take our customers camping and hike 14ers. I got to create the video for our Basecamp Journal product launch, and I was involved in the crowd-funding campaign, as well.”

Brewer is stoked to explore the media side of Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show. (We might even give him an assignment for SNEWS or OR Daily to tackle as a project.) And since he makes a lot of his own gear, he’s interested to learn more about all the ingredient brands that exhibit at the show to find out what on the horizon in terms of fabrics and materials.

As winners, Cianci and Brewer will receive a massive swag duffel brimming with gear from The North Face. Plus, we’re hosting them at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, where they will get to work in The North Face booth, meet the athletes, shadow other industry veterans who work in media and public relations, get to know other retailers, attend the seminars and parties, and have plenty of time to roam the floor and explore.

We’ll be checking in with Cianci and Brewer from the show floor: Watch for their reports in OR Daily.