NEW SERIES: From the Trenches

You’ve asked for more retail-focused content, and we heard you. Introducing our new series, “From the Trenches,” with tips on how to sell more, better train your employees, get your customers engaged, and more. Look for the second part of this series after Thanksgiving, and subscribe to make sure you never miss anything.

Ryan Wichelns at the top of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet. Photo courtesy of Ryan Wichelns
Ryan Wichelns at the top of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet. Photo courtesy of Ryan Wichelns

Name: Ryan Wichelns

Age: 21

Sales associate at Eastern Mountain Sports in Saratoga Springs, NY

What do you love most about your job?

The best thing about my job is that I have so much in common with everyone who walks through the door. We all share a passion for hiking and the outdoors, and immediately, we have a connection. Not everyone working in retail can say that.

What is your greatest strength as part of the sales staff?

I’m really good at selling footwear.

What’s something you’ve come up with to boost your sales and make your job easier?

I started working for Eastern Mountain Sports with a basic knowledge of boots. I’ve always been a hiker and backpacker, and right from the beginning I could explain the benefits of high-cut or low-cut boots. I could look at the tag and tell you which were waterproof and which weren’t. But I also learned quickly that there’s a whole lot more to a boot than what you can read about on the hang or on retail training sites like

I decided to test drive all the boots we sell. It’s pretty obvious, right? It doesn’t take much; a little bit of walking around the store in every new pair that comes in is enough to discern the differences in fit, support, and weight. Now, when a customer describes what kind of boots they like, and what sort of trips they take, I can quickly identify a few pairs that they should try on. Nobody wants to spend two hours trying on 15 pairs of boots. When I do more of the legwork, they get a better fit faster, saving us all time and frustration.

Have a sales tactic or training method you want to share, or a question you want us to answer or an issue you need help with? Email Assistant Editor Kassondra Cloos at or call her at 303-253-6352, and you could see your shop or your employees featured here.