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SNEWS/Backpacker Retailer of the Year Award finalists announced

The finalists in the running for receiving the prestigious Retailer of the Year award, presented by SNEWS, Backpacker and Horny Toad are announced. Outdoor Retailer Winter Market attendees are invited to the award ceremony celebrating retail excellence.

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On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, during an awards celebration at the Red Door in Salt Lake City, Utah, SNEWS®, Backpacker and program sponsor Horny Toad will honor six outdoor retailers as recipients of the 2012 Retailer of the Year Award, a recognition given annually to outdoor retailers who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and who serve as visionaries for the outdoor market and leaders of the communities they serve.


In addition to award recognition, the overall winner receives an all-expense paid trip to ispo in Munich, Germany in 2013 and an all-expense paid trip to attend a retail training weekend in May 2012 at the Lizard Lounge in Portland, Ore.

SNEWS President Michael Hodgson, Backpacker Editor in Chief Jonathan Dorn, and Horny Toad CEO Gordon Seabury will formally award one of the finalists named below with the title of “Retailer of the Year” and five other retailers will be honored as best-in-class in the following categories: Online Retailer, Community, Growth of Outdoor Sports, Sustainable Business and Youth Involvement.

“There is no question that specialty outdoor retailers continue to play a very significant and influential role in the growth and development of our outdoor community,” Hodgson said. “This award honors exemplary retailers and sets a bar for all other retailers to achieve, with the ultimate goal of establishing a standard for specialty retail excellence nationwide.”

“Specialty retailers are the gatekeepers to our industry and enable consumers to sort through the myriad of product choices available today,” Dorn added. “Because store owners and their retail sales employees have become extraordinarily educated about the products and technologies on the market and are highly skilled in being able to impart that knowledge in a meaningful and engaging way, we’re thrilled to celebrate and recognize their efforts by hosting this awards program.”

The finalists for the 2012 Retailer of the Year Award as decided by a panel of judges are:

  1. Alpine Shop, St. Louis, Mo.
  2. Apex Outdoor Gear, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  3. Appalachian Outdoors, State College, Pa.
  4. Appalachian Outfitters, Penninsula, Ohio
  5. Austin Canoe & Kayak, Austin, Texas
  6. Back Country Experience, Durango, Colo.
  7., Salt Lake City, Utah
  8. Backwoods, Norman, Okla.
  9. Canoe Kentucky, Frankfort, Ky.
  10. Eagle Eye Outfitters, Dothan, Ala.
  11. EMS, Peterborough, N.H.
  12. Epic Sports, Bangor, Maine
  13. Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  14. Great Miami Outfitters, Miamisburg, Ohio
  15. Massey’s Outfitters, New Orleans, La.
  16. Midwest Mountaineering, Minneapolis, Minn.
  17. Mountain Gear, Spokane Valley, Wash.
  18. Mountain High Outfitters, Birmingham, Ala.
  19. Outdoor Divas, Boulder, Colo.
  20. Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington, Vt.
  21. Paddle and Trail, Beloit, Wisc.
  22. Philmont Scout Ranch Tooth of Time Traders, Cimarron, N.M.
  23. REI, Englewood, Colo.
  24. River Sports Outfitters, Knoxville, Tenn.
  25. Rock/Creek, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  26. Rutabaga Paddlesports LLC, Madison, Wisc.
  27. Santa Barbara Outfitters, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  28. Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, Lawrence, Kan.
  29. Trailcreek Outfitters, Glen Mills, Penn.
  30. Travel Country Outdoors, Altamonte Springs, Fla.

All Outdoor Retailer Winter Market attendees are invited to celebrate excellence in retail along with SNEWS, Backpacker and Horny Toad, as well as a litany of industry leaders on Jan. 19 at the Red Door, 57 West 200 South, between 6-8 p.m. We expect to announce the winners beginning at 6:45 p.m.

“The Retailer of the Year awards provide a great opportunity to publicly thank our specialty partners,” said Gordon Seabury, CEO of Horny Toad, the lead sponsor of the ROTY awards. “The program recognizes leaders in the industry — those innovators who are evolving our industry’s retail sophistication, value sustainable business practices and give back to their communities. It feels great to reward those who make this such a special industry and blaze new trails.”

–SNEWS Editors