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Press Releases

NOC Opens Major Retail Attraction at Gateway to National Park

Small Business Bucks Recession, Opens Major Retail Attraction at Gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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WESSER, NC (March 19, 2010)—Nantahala Outdoor Center, a privately held, employee-owned company opens its brand-new experiential retail environment in Gatlinburg, TN Easter weekend, April 2–4. A $4 million project, NOC’s Great Outpost intends to increase participation in the outdoors while providing a new attraction centered around Gatlinburg’s prime location at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

NOC’s Great Outpost occupies an anchor position in Gatlinburg’s downtown strip, one of the most heavily visited destinations in the Southeast hosting an estimated 14 million visitors annually. Creating approximately 55 new jobs and sharing a border with the national park, the Great Outpost has applied for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), becoming the first of its kind in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.

“A downturn is a terrible thing to waste,” comments NOC’s 31-year-old CEO Sutton Bacon.

“This project exemplifies our company’s determination to adapt and innovate through the recession. We are creating new product offerings and refining operational infrastructure to gain strategic advantage in our marketplace.”

Aiming to become Gatlinburg’s outdoor activity access point, NOC’s Great Outpost offers a diverse range of family-oriented activities in and around the national park like whitewater rafting, kayaking, guided fishing, hiking and nature tours. Additionally, this outdoor concierge service also provides assistance and information for visitors planning their own adventures in the park. Interactive features on the region’s rich natural history connect guests not only with their mountain surroundings, but also with outdoor volunteer clubs and conservation groups that protect the Smokies. The Great Outpost also houses a 25- foot climbing wall, a swinging rope bridge and a “bear den” play area for kids. Stocked with a selection of top outdoor apparel and gear from The North Face, Columbia, Teva and more, the store also features the largest selection of souvenirs in town.

Each year, NOC is visited by more than half a million guests and contributes nearly $48 million to the economy of western NC—where the company is based—making it the nation’s largest outfitter. NOC plans a grand opening celebration on April 2, timed to coincide with the seasonal start-up of the company’s outdoor offerings. As early as the grand opening, guests will be able to raft the Smokies’ Class III-IV Pigeon River and embark on numerous adventures including hiking, fishing and more.

Quick Facts About NOC’s Great Outpost

Floor Space 18,000 square feet

General Manager Lori Ennis

Physical Address 1138 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN (adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance) New Employees 55 Parking Free Grand Opening April 2-4, 2010 (Easter weekend) Operating Hours 8am–10pm daily Brands Carried The North Face, Marmot, Patagonia, Columbia, Teva, Outdoor Research, Keen Footwear, Lafuma, Smartwool, Prana, Sierra Designs, Mountain Hardwear, Merrell, Life is Good and many more.

LEED Information NOC’s Great Outpost has applied for Silver LEED Certification status, which will be evaluated over a 1-year period. The measures taken to achieve LEED certification are as follows:

–use of an existing building, repurposing of existing structural materials –repurposing of materials salvaged from other area buildings –locally-sourcing other materials, reducing transportation impact –low-flow toilets and sinks that reduce water use by 30% –water efficient, low-erosion landscaping –use of low-VOC paints, sealants, coatings and floor systems –maximized natural light, cutting electricity use –premium parking for hybrid vehicles –location along public transit line, now an official stop –secure storage, changing rooms and showers for staff biking to work –70% of equipment and appliances are Energy Star approved Online Resources NOC’s Great Outpost

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala Outdoor Center is the nation’s largest outdoor recreation company. Over a half million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 80 different whitewater rafting and land-based itineraries and shop at its flagship retail stores or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as its four restaurants and multi-tiered lodging. A privately-held, employee-owned company, NOC is one of the largest employers in western North Carolina and 22 Olympians and Olympic coaches have called NOC home. NOC has been recently recognized by The New York Times as the “Nation’s Premiere Paddling School,” “The Best Place to Learn” by Outside, and as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic ADVENTURE. For more information, please visit, or call NOC’s Media Contact Barbra Rodichok @ (800) 232-7238 ext. 7185.