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Happy New Year from SNEWS!

We're taking the day off to ring in the new year. While we're away, revisit some of our best reads from 2020.

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It’s time for a fresh start. The team at SNEWS is taking the day off to recharge, reset, and ready ourselves for a year that promises to be better than the last. 

Today, as we all look ahead, we’d like to thank you for your continued support of all that we do—our daily effort to tell the most important stories in the outdoor industry in a fair and balanced way.

Here’s a look back at some of the most fun and interesting content we published last year. There was a lot of big news in 2020, and this year will surely be the same. We hope these pieces bring you a little boost of good feeling today as we head into 2021 together.

Pandemic resilience

A complete transformation: This brand changed its entire business model—temporarily—to stop producing gear and start making protective items for front-line workers. Published May 26. Read the story here.

Keeping customers safe: As customers resumed in-person shopping this summer, two outdoor brands went above and beyond to help retailers deal with safety. Published July 10. Read the story here.

Coping with COVID: Staying true to its community-driven values, one Philadelphia-born brand transformed its flagship retail store into a mini market for fresh foods, household goods, and takeout meals. Published November 6. Read the story here.

Noteworthy events

OR went digital: Outdoor Retailer adapted to an all-virtual format for the first time in the show’s history. Published July 29. Read the story here.

Pioneering online connection: San Francisco-based PR agency JAM Collective was one of the first groups in the industry to embrace a new form of connection after the pandemic hit. Published May 21. Read the story here.

Perfecting the virtual line showing: Momentum Media PR and Akimbo Communications created a virtual presentation series widely praised for its utility and brevity. Published June 10. Read the story here.

Specialty retail

The history of a 101-year-old gear shop: The fourth-generation owner of one of the oldest retailers in the country tells the story of his family’s shop. Published August 28. Read the story here.

Founded in 1919, Brown’s Outdoor has gone through many changes in its century of existence, including a stint in the 80s when it sold stereos and TVs alongside its camping gear. Above, the storefront in 1983. Courtesy.

Google and Amazon’s rivalry helps small shops: In a rare twist, one of this years’s developments in the war between Google and Amazon may turn out to be a major boon for independent retail shops. Published May 6. Read the story here.

A beloved shop in Moab: This longstanding gear shop won our 2019 #CoolShop award and is well known in the Southwest for its deep selection of speciality gear and free drinking water available to anyone passing through town. Published April 2. Read the story here.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

A new anti-racism tool: Camber Outdoors released a tool this year to help companies create anti-racist workplaces. Best of all: It’s completely free. Published July 8. Read the story here.

The industry’s first plus-size backpacking line: The outdoor industry has a history of ignoring certain body types in gear design. This year, we took a step in the right direction. Published July 14. Read the story here.

Woman hiking with sunglasses and blue shirt along rocky coastline
Gregory’s new plus-size line, created in collaboration with Unlikely Hikers, is part of a brand initiative to promote inclusivity through nonprofit partnerships. Courtesy Gregory.

Hiring a DEI consultant: A comprehensive look at what you get when your company hires an outside diversity consultant. Published August 5. Read the story here.

Climate and environmentalism

Help your company kick plastic: These five packaging solutions can help your company significantly reduce shipping waste. Published October 21. Read the story here.

Man wrapping a product in sustainable packaging
New sustainable packaging solutions can help your company reduce waste in the shipping process.

REI holds vendors accountable: The industry’s most influential retailer updated its product standards this year, ensuring more responsible business practices among hundreds of its vendor companies. Published December 9. Read the story here.

Standing up to the banks: The Conservation Alliance took a stand against Bank of America this year, ditching the institution over concerns about the bank’s lack of environmental commitment. Published October 30. Read the story here.

Rad people

Five Hispanic gear designers you should know: Meet some of the industry’s gear designers who draw upon their heritage for inspiration. Published September 18. Read the story here.

The business case for inclusion: An interview with Earl B. Hunter Jr., the founder of marketing and consulting company Black Folks Camp Too. Published October 6. Read the story here.

How to do social media right: The mastermind behind a wildly popular, stereotype-busting Instagram account offers advice for companies hoping to diversify and deepen their influencer campaigns. Published September 24. Read the story here.

Young woman with a flower in her hair and arms crossed
Dr. Kiona has attracted more than 100,000 followers to her instagram account in less than five years. Courtesy.