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Massey’s Professional Outfitters named Retailer of the Year

SNEWS, BACKPACKER and Horny Toad announce Retailer of the Year Award winners. Massey’s Professional Outfitters of New Orleans, La., took home the overall award.

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Since the days when his grandfather and father ran Massey’s Professional Outfitters, Mike Massey has lived the life of a retailer.

“When I was just little kid I’d spend my day care time organizing the products,” Massey said, as he proudly held his Retailer of the Year plaque presented to him by SNEWS, Backpacker magazine and Horny Toad at the awards ceremony, Jan. 19, Day 1 of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Massey won the coveted Retailer of the Year Award in the fourth annual contest, winning himself a trip to ISPO next year and a chance for some retail training in Horny Toad’s Lizard Lounge.

Outgoing SNEWS President Michael Hodgson got a bit emotional announcing Massey’s victory. “If I got emotional it’s because he’s a dear friend as well,” Hodgson said to the crowd.

Massey won the award on the day that marked 40 years since his grandfather and father started the New Orleans, La.-based business, and judges and nominators said Massey embodies the optimism, passion and vision of what makes the outdoor industry great, exemplified in his help with post-Hurricane Katrina clean-up and assistance to victims.

Although Massey entered a career in finance after college, when he saw his family’s retail store start to struggle, “I turned my back on finance,” he said, to help the store stay afloat and become successful again. “We always try to be a business that adapts to what our customers want and that helps people. We’re just doing what’s fun and what we want to be doing.”

Winners in the other Retailer of the Year categories were:

·The Alpine Shop, St. Louis, Mo., winner of Growth in Outdoor Sports

·Mountain Gear, Spokane Valley, Wash., winner of Sustainable Business

·Philmont Scout Ranch Tooth of Time Traders, Cimarron, N.M., winner of Youth Involvement

·Appalachian Outfitters, Peninsula, Ohio, winner of Community

·Austin Canoe and Kayak, Austin, Texas, winner of Best Online

“We’ve been at this for almost 34 years,” said Alpine Shop Owner Russell Hollenbeck (photo, right). “We didn’t set out to get rich and we didn’t, but this is the next best thing.”

Austin Canoe and Kayak upset for the win in the online category and impressed judges with its ability to rally fans in the social media round of voting, which tipped the award in its favor in a very close vote.

The awards, said organizers, is an opportunity to recognize and honor the specialty retailers. Backpacker Publisher Kent Ebersole encouraged the crowd to get into the stores and support the specialty retailers.

“I would encourage every, single one of you to go the retail store and actually purchase something – not at pro deal – but at retail,” he said, making those in the crowd laugh. “This is about recognizing retailers who do a fantastic job and keep us all employed and keep this show rolling.”

–Ana Trujillo