Press Releases

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance wraps up ‘year of resilience’ with 10 new retail members and strong 3Q and 4Q sales


ASHEVILLE, NC (For immediate release / December 20, 2020) – Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of independent specialty retail, is announcing the addition of 10 new retail members as well as strong 3Q and 4Q results, as the group puts the final touches on a challenging and wildly unpredictable year.

The new additions elevate the organization to 94 retailers with 195 total doors in 42 states nationwide, and include The Bear Mountain (Waco, Texas); Canyon Pass Provisions (Fair Haven, N.J.); Footsloggers (Boone, N.C.); Lake Superior Trading Post (Grand Maris, Mich.); Little Forks Outfitters (Midland, Mich.); The Outfitter at Harbor Springs (Harbor Springs, Mich.); River Rock Outfitter (Fredericksburg, Virginia); Rock and Snow (New Paltz, N.Y.); Treads ‘n’ Threads (Gunnison, Colo); and Water Stone Outdoors (Fayetteville, W.V.).

As a group, preliminary year-end sales numbers reflect that Grassroots retailers will be down 2.75% year over year — a remarkably positive turn of events considering the near-complete stoppage of retail sales for more than a month last spring.

“For independent speciality retailers, ‘resilience’ was the word of the year,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Faced with a revolving door of challenges — shutdowns, landlord negotiations, reduced staffing, customer conflicts and more — they shared their challenges, learned from each other, and worked to find ways to control what they could control.”

From the perspective of Grassroots retailers during the spring of 2020, the prognosis for the remainder of the year was understandably dark. March sales had sagged 33%, and April sunk even deeper to a loss of nearly 60%. At the time, even optimistic year-end forecasts anticipated losses of 40%.

However, as Americans turned to the outdoors for many reasons during the late spring, May showed signs of retail life (down 9%, year to year), and June was a clear sign of an outdoor resurgence as Grassroots retailers rebounded to go up 20%. Since then, from July through November, the group has been more than 8% ahead, on average.

“The support from Grassroots brand partners was really the key to our strong finish. They’ve been incredible to work with, and we’re thankful for all their efforts,” said Hill. “Like many of them, we thought the bottom was dropping out last spring, and our forecasts were built by reacting to the best information we had at the time. We just ended up selling a very different product mix than expected, as we were all selling to demand.”

To continue the positive momentum of specialty retail sales into 2021, Hill stressed the need for open, transparent communication between vendors and retailers.

“We know that everyone is still adapting and adjusting to supply chain impacts and irregular inventories, and we need to work together to make sure that we’re moving the product that needs to be moved,” said Hill. “For our oldest retailers as well as our newest ones, building and maintaining strong relationships throughout the industry is as important as the strongest customer relationships.” 

NEW GRASSROOTS RETAILERS:

The Bear Mountain (shop.thebearmountain.com) has been the premier local destination for outdoor enthusiasts since 2007. The Bear Mountain is a true one-stop shop with apparel, footwear and gear for hiking, biking, travel, camping, fly fishing and more.

Canyon Pass Provisions (canyonpass.com) provides apparel, accessories, and hard goods for those connected to the outdoors and pursuing active lifestyles. Locally-owned and operated in Fair Haven, N.J., Canyon Pass carries only the highest quality products, presents them to our customers in a welcoming environment, and delivers an unsurpassed buying experience.

Footsloggers Outdoor and Travel Outfitters (footsloggersnc.com) was founded in 1971, and offers a wide variety of casual and technical clothing, footwear and equipment. With storefronts in Boone and Blowing Rock, N.C., Footsloggers prides themselves on having a friendly staff who are passionate about the outdoors and highly skilled at assisting customers to choose the right gear and clothing to meet
their needs.

Lake Superior Trading Post (lakesuperiortradingpost.com) was built by outfitters who grew up in the wilds of Grand Marais, and has grown with the community to include a broad selection of outdoor gear and unique gifts. Only 20 steps from Lake Superior, the Trading Post is a favored spot to find women’s and men’s clothing, outdoor gear, trail maps, camping supplies, and a nice gift to bring home.

Little Forks Outfitters (littleforks.com) is a fly-fishing and outdoor adventure store located in the Saginaw Bay region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Founded in 1995, the shop features a curated selection of fly-fishing tackle, outdoor apparel, footwear, and adventure travel gear.

The Outfitter of Harbor Springs (outfitterharborsprings.com) is a proud purveyor of silent-sport water and snow equipment, as well as running gear and outdoor lifestyle clothing and footwear. Located on Main Street in Harbor Springs since 1971, The Outfitter has 4,000 square feet of retail space for equipment, clothing and accessories for all seasons.

River Rock Outfitter (www.riverrockoutfitter.com) is a traditional, community-based specialty outfitter providing apparel and gear for paddling, hiking, camping, and rock climbing. Founded in 2014, River Rock Outfitter is dedicated to fostering community with in-store events, demo opportunities, local outdoor adventures and meetup activities.

Rock and Snow (rockandsnow.com) is an outdoor specialty store with a focus on rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking and nordic skiing. Established in 1970 by some of the pivotal figures in the Gunks’ rich climbing history, Rock and Snow has grown to include two locations in New Paltz and a new Rock and Snow Kids (Rosendale, NY) which opened in November, 2020.

Treads ‘n’ Threads (treadsnthreads.com) specializes in comfortable clothing for active lifestyles; exceptional footwear from quality brands; and head-to-toe outfitting for hiking, running, working and traveling. The store owners share their love for the outdoors by creating an exceptional retail experience rooted in the mountain lifestyle.

Water Stone Outdoors (waterstoneoutdoors.com) is beginning its 27th year on a street corner in the climbing and whitewater mecca of Fayetteville, W.V. “Quality gear and friendly advice” is their tagline, and their mission is to optimize their customer’s outdoor experience “by sharing info and stoke” in a quirky, unpretentious, and down to earth atmosphere.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE:

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is a national association working together for the health and growth of independent specialty outdoor retail. With 94 retailers and 195 doors in 42 states nationwide, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retailers, through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events, and deep vendor partnerships. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.