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Great Outdoor Provision Co. honored with 3 awards

The Virginia Beach location's most recent honor recognizes how even as a young store, the staff are working hard to serve the community and environment.

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Ray Mattes, President/CEO of Retail Alliance, with Zackary Roberts, Store Manager of Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Ray Mattes, president/CEO of Retail Alliance, with Zach Roberts, store manager of Great Outdoor Provision Co.Retail Alliance

Whenever Zach Roberts, manager of Great Outdoor Provision Company’s Virginia Beach store, hires a new employee, the first bit of encouragement he offers is this.

“Everyone who lives in this area can sit at home and buy what we have in the store online so why should they leave, drive through traffic and come here?” Roberts said. “The reason is going to be you. It’s going to be how you treat them and the relationship they develop with you. You become their expert on this stuff. They’re going to always want to come back and talk to you. If they know you by name, you’re doing your job.”

In the last month, the youngest Great Outdoor Provisions Company location has received three regional awards recognizing them for excellent customer service.

Last week, shop manager Zach Roberts accepted Retail Alliance’s Retailer of the Year Up and Comer award. The two other awards were from magazines: Coastal Virginia’s gold award for outdoor equipment retailer and Virginia Living’s award for best outdoor store in the state’s eastern region. 

Now that the Virginia Beach site is in the limelight, Roberts said their focus is to continue to meet the excellence expectation and strive to do even more.

“Our company culture is not really nebulous or confusing,” Roberts said. “We’re pretty adamant about our mission: We help others. We define that as broadly as possible. I like having a simple goal like that and so my focus has been to hire staff that accept that as their own personal goal and work toward that every single day.”

Retail Alliance’s Up and Comer awards were given to retailers who have been around for three years or less. Roberts has been the manager since the beginning, and before that, he was the paddlesports manager at the shop in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Kylie Ross Sibert, Retail Alliance’s vice president of corporate communications, said unbiased judges scored stores based on customer service, cleanliness of the store, aesthetic, and all things related to customers having a good experience in retail.

“In retail, if you get to three years, it’s very much is a sign of success and you’re doing pretty well,” Ross Sibert said.

As summer approaches, Roberts said they’re preparing for the influx of tourists from around the world. But equally important to them is Land Trust Day on Saturday, when 10 percent of the store’s profits will go to the Lynnhaven River Now program to restore and conserve waterways. They’re also a 1 percent for the Planet member.

“We’re a company who is locally invested in the well-being of our neighbors and the environment,” Roberts wrote in the nomination entry to Retail Alliance.