Todd Frank

Todd Frank, owner of The Trail Head in Missoula. Photo courtesy Todd Frank.Courtesy Todd Frank is the owner of specialty retail shop The Trail Head in Missoula, Montana. He purchased the business in 2000, after serving as its manager. The Trail Head’s mission is “to create a retail environment based on trust, and to enhance the opportunity for the community and the Trail Head team to pursue our passion for the outdoors. We strive to provide superior outdoor equipment, clothing, informational resources, and customer service in our region.” Frank serves on the board of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

The puzzle of inventory during the pandemic

2020 has been a year of supreme uncertainly for specialty retail. Empty shelves, cancelled orders, and lopsided demand have forced shop owners to get creative to meet customers' needs. Here's what several retail owners say about the challenges they've faced.

Opinion | Why direct-to-consumer sales are killing specialty retail

As gear companies increase their direct-to-consumer sales, “pro deals” and “friends and family" promotions, retailers protest that they can’t compete. They’re being undercut and left holding the bag on inventory they can’t possibly sell at the same discounts. Todd Frank, owner of The Trail Head, an independent Missoula, Montana-based specialty outdoor retailer, says enough is enough. If vendors continue to offer these discounts and lure his customers away, he’ll stop doing business with them—and he calls on other retailers to join him.