Press Releases

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Announces New President

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance today announced the appointment of Wes Allen as its new president. Allen will officially start September 1st.

“After an exhaustive search by our search committee, employing the help of the Mann Group, we had over 40 candidates, which speaks very well for our organization,” said Dawson Wheeler, Co-Owner of Rock/Creek. “The talent of the applicants was amazing. With the help of the Mann Group, we drilled it down to two days of interviews, and Wes Allen received our offer. His diverse skill set, coupled with his executive experience, gives us 100% confidence he can lead Grassroots Outdoor Alliance into the future.” 

Allen has a long and varied history over the last eighteen years in the outdoor industry. He was previously the national sales manager for Chaco – both before and after Wolverine World Wide’s acquisition of the brand. Prior to Chaco, Allen was the director of sales for Ulu Footwear, and prior to Ulu, he spent ten years working for REI in six different locations. During his time with REI, Allen was a store manager in multiple locations and managed the store opening processes in Fairfax, VA and Mountain View, CA. Currently, he is co-owner of Sunlight Sports – a premier outdoor retailer in Cody, WY.

Outgoing Grassroots president Roanne Miller said, “Wes Allen will be a great leader for Grassroots moving forward. Wes brings the rare combination of a background in both manufacturing and specialty retail, as well as a genuine passion for independent outdoor specialty. I have great confidence that by focusing on community, culture and sustainability, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will continue to provide a unified voice to keep independent outdoor specialty vibrant and strong.”

Initial reaction from the vendor community is very positive. “Wes will be a great leader for the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role that will serve him well. I personally have great respect for the high standards he sets for both retailers and brands. We’re looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with GOA and its amazing membership,” said Brian Thompson, General Manager of Ex Officio. Gordon Seabury, CEO of Toad & Co, added, “While we will all remember Roanne as the leader that helped transform Grassroots into an industry leader and establish key partnerships for the 21st Century, the decision to name Wes as her successor clearly demonstrates Grassroots’ Board’s vision to ensure a successful future for specialty outdoor retail. Wes’ dimensional industry experience provides the perfect foundation for a deep understanding of the evolutionary challenges specialty retailers face and a respect and appreciation for how brand partners can be supportive in that process. I look forward to this next and exciting chapter in our relationship and working closely with Wes and the GOA membership to establish another Century of leadership for local specialty outdoor retailers.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to move into this position,” Allen commented. “Grassroots is in a fantastic spot – strong retailers, industry-leading brands, and an exciting way forward. I believe strongly that independent, specialty retailers – and the brands that have the vision to partner with them in truly meaningful ways – have a bright future. Grassroots retailers have always set the benchmark when it comes to really connecting with core customers in a retail setting. The brands that are part of Grassroots are a who’s who of companies that care about our communities and focus on doing well by their customers. I’m excited to have the opportunity to partner with, and learn from, the leaders of the retailers and brands that form Grassroots.”

In conjunction with his new position, Allen will be relinquishing ownership interest and all management duties at Sunlight Sports. 

Now in its twentieth year, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance unites 51 independent outdoor retailers with over 100 doors in 28 states, as a strong voice to protect and promote the experience of outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. To learn more about Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, visit