Before the internet, outdoor specialty retailer shops like Townsend Bertram & Company were the only local source of quality outdoor gear. This industry was built on independent adventure outfitters and their connection to communities. Despite the accessibility of our brands online today, stores like ours keep the essence of true outdoor retail alive. TB&C and many others offer customers quality choices from the top brands in the industry all in one place with knowledgeable teams of outdoor enthusiasts to help outfit you for your adventures.
Independently owned outdoor retailers like ours continue to thrive today thanks largely to the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA), an organization dedicated to the health and growth of the speciality outdoor retail industry. This October we were thrilled when accepted into this alliance of 65 amazing retailers, over 70 vendors, and countless influencers. We feel lucky to be part of an organization that is above all “a united voice of stewards of honorable business and preservation of the environment we all enjoy.”
The benefits of GOA are countless; an impact at once tangible and immeasurable. TB&C being in GOA will in turn benefit our entire community as we learn how to sustainably evolve and grow our 30 year old shop.
The five day show kicked off with a day of education. Erin, our Buyer, spent the day engaging in think tanks with other buyers sharing strategies for optimal product selection, merchandising, and more. Taylor, our General Manager, enjoyed think tanks on staff development and data sessions with The NPD group, “an organization that combines consumer and retail data with industry expertise and business solutions to help retailers like us make better business decisions.”
In my role as Marketing Manager, I benefited from classes on how to tell our retail stories in this wild world of social media that didn’t exist when TB&C was founded in 1988. One of my favorite education session was with the owner of Outside Hilton Head, Mike Overton, who gave a compelling presentation on how to engage the community through experiences. I also loved the session with Mark McKnight, co-founder of Roots Rated Media, on creating retail stories in a mobile and social world.
The four remaining days we selected product from our brands and discussed creative marketing opportunities for 2018 that support environmental causes we value. We cemented support for our non-profit partner events like Into the Wild: Stories of Outdoor Adventure, the annual Tree Lighting, community clean-ups of natural areas, Trail to Tavern nights, and our Adventure Film series, as well as new events including free yoga classes, a family camping event, and our 30th Anniversary Party! Buying is by far one of the hardest parts of running a specialty outdoor retailer as it is both an art and a science. Though it is only November of 2017, we are buying product for fall of 2018, projecting what will be optimal for the Carrboro community a year from now.
With input from our staff after the show, Taylor, Erin and I work together to create a curated, diverse selection of exciting new product for the seasons to come. We discover new products and brands at shows like GOA that strive to have innovative vendor partners. The best ideas of all come in conversations with teams from Rock/Creek, Half Moon Outfitters, Pack & Paddle, Roads Rivers and Trails, Pack Rat Outdoor Center, Next Adventure, Sunlight Sports, Summit Hut and many more influential retailers who openly share how they have innovated their customer experiences.
We can’t wait to share all that we learned from the impassioned GOA community. We are honored and humbled to be part of the organization affecting powerful positive change on our planet through a sustainable business community dedicated to doing business differently. Only through collaboration and a shared sense of trust can outdoor retailer shops and brands join together to show the world how businesses can elevate environmental standards, create community, and give back to the organizations that protect our planet. Thank you Grassroots Outdoor Alliance!
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