Expanding the Company’s Family of Destinations and Experiences in Utah
DENVER, CO, – Alterra Mountain Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah, which would bring the company’s total to 13 year-round mountain destinations throughout North America, including the world’s largest heli-skiing operation.
“With its close relationship with Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort is a natural fit for Alterra Mountain Company, and a tremendous addition to our family of destinations. We are especially excited to expand our reach within Utah and offer another ski and snowboard experience in a state known for its exceptional snow and mountain culture,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer, Alterra Mountain Company.
Solitude Mountain Resort is located just 34 miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and less than an hour from Deer Valley Resort, in the renowned Big Cottonwood Canyon. The mountain offers skiers and riders 77 runs, three bowls, and a vertical drop of 2,030 feet (619 meters) across 1,200 acres, plus some of the most impressive off-piste terrain in the country. The quaint base village offers ski-in/ski-out accommodations along with year-round activities for guests.
“Joining the impressive group of Alterra Mountain Company destinations places Solitude Mountain Resort in a strong position to continue to grow and enhance the brand and culture that is Solitude,” said Kim Mayhew, General Manager. “We are excited about the opportunities this transaction will create for our guests, our staff, and for our community in Big Cottonwood Canyon.”
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2018, and is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. More details will be released once the transaction has closed, including Ikon Pass inclusion details and more.
Alterra Mountain Company’s destinations offer premium ski, snowboard and all-season activities for those who seek adventure, freedom, and fun in the great outdoors. Current destinations that make up Alterra Mountain Company are spread throughout five states and three Canadian provinces: Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Deer Valley in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia. Alterra Mountain Company was created when affiliates of KSL Capital Partners, owners of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, and affiliates of Henry Crown and Company purchased Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts, and Deer Valley Resort in 2017.
At each destination, Alterra Mountain Company leaders are empowered to be decisive, creative, and bold in order to retain each mountain’s authentic character. Recognizing the innate value of the unique culture found at each of the mountain communities, Alterra Mountain Company’s goal is to preserve, sustain and support its two most important resources: the mountains and the people who live and play in them.
In January 2018, Alterra Mountain Company introduced the Ikon Pass for winter 2018-2019, the new standard in season passes. The Ikon Pass offers skiers and riders access to 26 mountain destinations throughout North America, including 12 Alterra Mountain Company destinations, plus 14 partner destinations.
About Alterra Mountain Company Alterra Mountain Company is a family of 12 iconic year-round destinations, including the world’s largest heli-ski operation, offering the Ikon Pass, the new standard in season passes. The company owns and operates a range of recreation, hospitality, real-estate development, food and beverage and retail businesses. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado with destinations across the continent, we are rooted in the spirit of the mountains and united by a passion for outdoor adventure. Alterra Mountain Company’s family of diverse playgrounds spans five U.S. states and three Canadian provinces: Steamboat and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Deer Valley Resort in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia. We honor each destination’s unique character and authenticity and celebrate the legendary adventures and enduring memories they bring to everyone. Alterra Mountain Company also owns Honua Kai Resort and Spa in Hawaii. For more information visit www.alterramtnco.com.
About Solitude Mountain Resort Solitude Mountain Resort is a pure, authentic and untarnished Utah territory. Serene or extreme, there’s nothing between you and the perfect mountain day. Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, the resort offers eight chairlifts, 77 runs, three bowls and 500 annual inches of snow spread over 1,200 acres for skiing and snowboarding.
About Ikon Pass The Ikon Pass is the new standard in season passes, connecting the most iconic mountains across North America, delivering authentic, memorable snow adventures. Brought to you by Alterra Mountain Company, the Ikon Pass unlocks access to a community of diverse destinations you want to ski and ride, including Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain and Eldora in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky in Montana; Stratton, Killington and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Deer Valley Resort, Alta and Snowbird in Utah. Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing operation. For more information on the Ikon Pass, visit www.ikonpass.com.
WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The U.S. bike industry has been drafted into the trade war between China and the U.S.
Chinese-made e-bikes, which include bikes sold by Trek, Giant, Raleigh Electric, Pedego and other brands, would be subject to a 25 percent tariff under a proposal released Friday. The tariff, which could take effect in a matter of months, would increase the retail price of the bikes by hundreds of dollars, perhaps enough to make them uncompetitive with e-bikes made elsewhere, and dampening interest in one of the bike industry’s most promising sectors.
The electric bikes are included in a list of 284 product codes, representing $16 billion in imports, released by the Trump administration. The list will go through a public comment process, including public hearings, before the U.S. Trade Representative decides whether each product code should be subject to the tariff. The process is likely to take several months.
Also on Friday, the USTR released a list of 818 product codes, representing $34 billion in imports, that it has already determined will be hit with the 25 percent tariff starting in July. That list includes at least some bike GPS units (see separate article on the GPS tariff).
The bike industry is developing a strategy to participate in the public comment process, while also lobbying the administration and Congress in hopes of getting e-bikes removed from the list.
“It’s certainly a significant cause for concern,” said Katy Hartnett, director of government relations for PeopleForBikes. “It’s going to be all hands on deck for the bike industry. We are going to need all the help we can get.”
PeopleForBikes is working with the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and other groups to develop a campaign to remove e-bikes from the list. The USTR announced details of the public comment process on Wednesday in the Federal Register. A public hearing is scheduled for July 24 in Washington, and the deadline for written comments is July 31.
E-bike brands are also looking at other options, including moving production and/or assembly from China to Taiwan, Europe or the U.S.
Impact on a developing market segment
E-bikes are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. bike industry, with some suppliers reporting double-digit — or even triple-digit — year-over-year sales increases the past few years. About 10 states have passed industry-proposed laws regulating the bikes, which has encouraged sales growth in those states.
Some bike brands say a 25 percent tariff on import cost would be multiplied roughly three times, in dollars, at retail price. So an e-bike valued at $1,000 at Customs would be slapped with a $250 tariff, resulting in a $750 increase on the sales floor. Brands with nontraditional distribution models would not increase retail prices as much.
Not all e-bikes come from China, of course. But Trek, Giant, Accell, Pedego and some smaller brands all manufacture at least some e-bikes there. Most of the sub-$1,000 e-bikes sold in urban markets like New York City are made in China.
It’s difficult to determine exactly how many e-bikes are imported from China, in part because there is not a specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule code for e-bikes. The codes included in the USTR list released Friday (8711.60.00 and 8711.90.01) also cover electric motorcycles.
The whole situation is “frustrating and distracting,” said Matt Moore, who chairs the legislative committee for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and is general counsel for Quality Bicycle Products.
“The frustration is that we all deal with a long horizon on product planning and sourcing and it’s not easy to just up and change your manufacturer or assembler at the drop of a hat. It just doesn’t work that way,” Moore said. “You’ve been planning for a product that’s not going to be available for nine months or a year, and now you don’t know if it’s going to have a price that’s competitive.”
Moore is working with the BPSA and PeopleForBikes on the subject. “This has the full attention of both organizations,” he said.
“What I would tell retailers is to be attentive and we’re going to have to wait and see how this plays out. And we are going to do our darndest to try to get e-bikes off that list,” Moore said.
Larry Pizzi, the president of Raleigh Electric and chair of the BPSA’s e-bike committee, said his company is looking at options to move e-bike assembly out of China. He said many companies were already looking to do that because of the EU’s proposed anti-dumping duties on China-made e-bikes. Those duties could be as high as 189 percent.
“The good news from my perspective is that all the producers were already taking action because of what’s happening in Europe. They are scrambling to solve that problem so this (the proposed U.S. tariff) is just additive,” Pizzi said. “No one can just eat a 25 percent duty.”
Don DiCostanzo, the founder and CEO of Pedego, said a tariff on Chinese e-bikes might slow growth in the segment, but wouldn’t be catastrophic. Pedego makes bikes in China and Taiwan.
“It would not price Chinese bikes out of the market, in my opinion,” he said. “I don’t think it will take effect, but if in the worst-case scenario it does, it is manageable from Pedego’s perspective.”
He said one option for the company would be to ship unassembled bikes from China to the U.S. to reduce the import value of the bikes.
Trek and Giant representatives did not respond to requests for comment on this article.
Strategy in the works
The USTR has shown that it’s willing to remove some product codes from its lists. After the public comment period on the list released in April, it removed more than 500 HTS codes, representing $16 billion in products. The new proposed list that came out Friday is to replace those products, so there is still a total of $50 billion in goods getting the 25 percent tariff.
The industry is likely to argue that the tariff does not serve to protect any U.S. manufacturing, because there is little or no domestic e-bike manufacturing. It also could point out the wide-ranging negative effects of the tariff — to suppliers, retailers and the public. While public comments go to the administration via the USTR, the industry also can lobby members of Congress who might be receptive and able to influence the administration.
The lack of a specific HTS code for e-bikes may work against the bike industry, putting up in conflcit with none other than Harley-Davidson.
Harley is gearing up to introduce an electric hog in 2019, and several U.S. companies are already making electric motorcycles here. Harley has been getting the brunt of the trade war recently, being slapped by increased tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and by retaliatory tariffs from the EU, China and India. The company might favor the proposed tariff to protect its forthcoming electric motorcycles from any future Chinese competition.
If the tariff does remain on the list and takes effect in a few months, all is not lost. Individual companies may be able to then request exemptions, which could be a tidy way to separate e-bikes from electric motorcycles. It would be similar to how beer makers and other companies have requested exemptions from the 10 percent aluminum tariff the Trump administration imposed earlier this year (So far, none of those exemptions have been granted).
Meanwhile, the larger picture is that all the tariffs, proposed and enacted, are weapons wielded in the trade negotiations between the President Donald Trump and China.
The war has already escalated, with China retaliating with its list of $50 billion in U.S.-made goods (mostly agricultural) that will be hit with a 25 percent tariff. Trump followed up Monday with a proposal for a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods (so far the administration has not released the list of products for that tariff). It’s entirely unpredictable, but if and when peace is declared, all of the new tariffs could go away quickly, regardless of the bike industry’s success or failure in its lobbying efforts.
DiCostanzo, for one, thinks the trade war will lead to a more balanced playing field in the long run. “It may be opening up Pandora’s box now, but a year from now I think we’ll all benefit. You have to take the long view.”
New research has been released, revealing that the European outdoor sector experienced significant growth in 2017. The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has published figures from its latest State of Trade report, which indicate that the wholesale outdoor market grew by 7.2% in value* and 6.7% in volume. The 2017 State of Trade results offer a contrast to the flat market of 2015 and modest growth (3% in value) in 2016. Last year, the wholesale outdoor market was worth €5.86bn. State of Trade uses data from 115 brands from across Europe, analysing sell-in information for seven main categories and 48 separate sub-categories.
Countries and regions
The largest three individual country markets are Germany, France and the UK, which together represent 50% of the sector. Germany grew by 3% in value, the same growth that was experienced in 2016. Conditions were more challenging in France with a dip in value of 2%. In contrast, the UK enjoyed a very good year, growing by 8%, above the average of 6.7%. Despite variations among individual countries such as those outlined above, all regions reported growth in value and volume.
All product categories experienced year on year growth, with the exception of tents. Footwear performed strongest, recovering well after a decline in 2016, with double digit growth in value. There was a similar story for sleeping bags, again following a decline in 2016. Apparel, the largest category, grew by 5% in value and 6.7% in volume, after a particularly strong autumn/winter season, helped by the good seasonal conditions. The decline of tent sales was underpinned by a difficult start to the spring/summer season in 2017, particularly in the UK, which is the biggest market for the category. Typically, spring/summer represents around 70% of tent sales.
Since its launch, State of Trade has developed into the most comprehensive and robust market data project for the European outdoor sector. As well as analysing the data that was submitted, the EOG also sought expert opinion from across the industry to peer review figures. That work helped to validate that the numbers and growth in 2017 was in line with the expectations of those who were consulted.
Pauline Shepherd, EOG head of market research, comments: “The 2017 State of Trade results are very encouraging and showcase a vibrant and successful sector. We are always exploring how we can improve the project and with EOG members, we are currently assessing how we can use technology to enhance data collection and continue to develop the product categories.
“In addition, as we now have a number of retail members, we are currently running a pilot project to develop sell through reporting. Any retailers who are interested should get in touch and as the project progresses, we will share more updates.”
To find out more about the EOG’s market research programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pauline Shepherd on +44 (0) 7798 668999.
For additional media information please contact Chris Lines on +44 (0)7971 868329, email@example.com or www.twitter.com/chrisjlines.
As part of a separate transaction, Vail Resorts will also purchase Stevens Pass Resort in Washington from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, who was advised on the sale by Houlihan Lokey, for a total purchase price of $67 million, subject to certain adjustments. Both transactions are subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
“Together, the acquisitions of Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, and Stevens Pass will significantly enhance the Vail Resorts’ network of resort experiences, adding even more variety and choice for all of our pass holders and guests. Okemo and Mount Sunapee are terrific complements to Stowe in the Northeast, as is Crested Butte to our four Colorado resorts, and Stevens Pass for our Whistler Blackcomb and Seattle guests,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “Additionally, each of these resorts will individually offer guests from around the world entirely new and distinctive experiences in extraordinary locations from coast to coast.”
“We know our guests and employees will benefit from Vail Resorts’ outstanding track record of resort and community investment, environmental stewardship, and employee development,” said Tim Mueller, president of Triple Peaks, LLC. “We care deeply about the legacy of these resorts, and have absolute confidence in Vail Resorts to celebrate what makes them so special, while also providing long-term stability for the communities.”
“Triple Peaks, LLC and the Mueller family and Karl Kapuscinski, the tenant and operator of Stevens Pass Resort, have been outstanding operators of these resorts and we have valued our association with them,” said Steven Orbuch, founder and president of Oz Real Estate. “We are excited for the opportunities that these transactions create for Vail Resorts and its guests while providing a beneficial outcome for our investors.”
When the transactions close, the 2018-19 Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Australia Pass, and Epic Military Pass will include unlimited and unrestricted access to all four resorts, with seven and four unrestricted days for the Epic 7 Day and Epic 4 Day passes, respectively. Whistler Blackcomb Edge Card holders will be able to use any of their U.S. days at Stevens Pass, subject to the restrictions on each card. “We are thrilled that the Epic Pass and our other season pass products will now provide our pass holders around the world with even more variety and unique experiences to choose from,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts.
After closing of the two transactions, Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million over the next two years across the four resorts to continue to elevate the guest experience. In addition, annual ongoing capital expenditures are expected to increase by $7 million to support the addition of these four resorts. Together, these acquisitions are expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $35 million in Vail Resorts’ fiscal year ending July 31, 2019.
Closing of Transactions
The transactions are expected to close this summer. Operations at the four resorts for the remainder of the 2018 summer season will continue in the ordinary course of business, as will future winter seasonal hiring. Upon closing, Vail Resorts plans to retain the vast majority of each resort’s employees and will be working with the local leadership teams in the coming months to determine the right long-term management structure for the resorts.
Vail Resorts will, subject to approval, assume the state land leases for Okemo Mountain Resort and Mount Sunapee Resort and will obtain new Special Use Permits from the U.S. Forest Service for Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Stevens Pass Resort. The state land lease transfers in Vermont and New Hampshire are subject to administrative review and consent from their respective states.
About the Resorts
Crested Butte Mountain Resort, located in southwest Colorado’s Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests, is known for the colorful and historic town of Crested Butte, renowned mountain peaks, and legendary skiing and riding terrain. The resort was established in 1961 and has since passed through three families. The Muellers added Crested Butte to their family of resorts in 2004, following their 1982 acquisition of Okemo Mountain and 1998 acquisition of Mount Sunapee.
Rising above the Vermont village of Ludlow, approximately three hours from Boston and four hours from New York City, Okemo Mountain Resort has developed a reputation for superior guest service, incredible snow quality, grooming, terrain parks, and family programs.
Mount Sunapee, the premier ski area in southern New Hampshire, is just a short 90-minute drive from Boston. The four-season, family-focused ski area has breathtaking views overlooking Lake Sunapee and consistently receives accolades for excellence in snowmaking and grooming.
On the other side of the United States, Stevens Pass, with its exciting terrain and plentiful snowfall, will be the Company’s second resort in the Pacific Northwest. The resort, less than 85 miles from Seattle, sits on the crest of Washington State’s Cascade Range within two national forests, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on the west side of the crest and the Wenatchee National Forest on the east.
Pass Access Details
Vail Resorts is offering the following benefits for 2018-19 Epic, Epic Local, Epic Australia, Epic 7-Day, Epic 4-Day, and Military Epic Pass holders, subject to closing of the transactions:
Vail Resorts’ 2018-19 season passes are on sale now at the lowest guaranteed prices. Visit www.epicpass.com for details and to purchase.
Vail Resorts will continue to honor previously sold 2018-19 season pass products for Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, and Stevens Pass.
About Oz Real Estate
Oz Real Estate, the real estate platform at Oz Management, was founded by Steven E. Orbuch in 2003 to make investments in real estate and real estate related assets across North America and Europe. The principals of Oz Real Estate have invested in over $9.0 billion of private real estate assets, including direct equity investments, preferred equity structures, mezzanine financing, and senior loans. Oz Real Estate’s portfolio has included over 20,000 hotel rooms, over 30,000 multifamily and residential units, and over 20 million square feet of retail and office properties. In addition, Oz Real Estate has developed expertise in certain niche real estate asset classes including gaming, healthcare, senior housing, cellular towers, ski resorts, and land development. For more information on Oz Real Estate, please see ozm.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release, other than statements of historical information, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including our expectations regarding fiscal 2019 incremental EBITDA these acquisitions are expected to generate, capital investments across the four resorts over the next two years, the expected increase in annual ongoing capital expenditures, and the expected timing for closing of the transactions. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries; unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters; willingness of our guests to travel due to terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts or outbreaks of contagious diseases, the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences; the seasonality of our business combined with adverse events that occur during our peak operating periods; competition in our mountain and lodging businesses; high fixed cost structure of our business; our ability to fund resort capital expenditures; our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of public land or to make operational and capital improvements; risks of delay associated with governmental and third party approvals of the transactions; risks related to a disruption in our water supply that would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations; risks related to federal, state, local and foreign government laws, rules and regulations; risks related to our reliance on information technology, including our failure to maintain the integrity of our customer or employee data; our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce; risks related to our workforce, including increased labor costs; loss of key personnel; adverse consequences of current or future legal claims; a deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands, including our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risk of accidents at our mountain resorts; our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe or future acquisitions; our ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with respect to acquired businesses; risks associated with international operations; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar; changes in accounting estimates and judgments, tax law, accounting principles, policies or guidelines or adverse determinations by taxing authorities; a materially adverse change in our financial condition; and other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017, which was filed on September 28, 2017, and the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2018, which was filed on March 8, 2018.
All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. All guidance and forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date hereof and we do not undertake any obligation to update any forecast or forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.
A Grassroots Outdoor Alliance award is a very big deal. The group, which is a consortium of 64 independent outdoor specialty retailers and 68 vendor partners, represents the best of specialty retail. The awards, which will be given out on June 13, 2018 on night one of the Grassroots Connect Show in Knoxville, Tennessee, are voted on by members in recognition of exceptional work and leadership.
Historically, four awards have been given out for Retailer of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Vendor of the Year, and Sales Manager of the Year. This year for the first time, Grassroots has added three new categories for retailers: Advertising, Community & Events, and Merchandising Magic.
“The scope of great work that’s going on at specialty retail is pretty amazing right now,” says Drew Simmons, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance communications manager. This year, Grassroots decided to announce the full roster of nominees in advance of the show, because, as Simmons says “It doesn’t tell the whole story to just highlight the winners. Plus, people are interested and want to know who the leaders are in specialty retail and how they’re pulling it all together.”
Here is the full roster of nominees:
Rock/Creek, which was recently purchased by Uncle Dan’s a subsidiary of publicly-traded behemouth, Camping World, was a pillar of the Grassroots community for years, winning Retailer of the Year four times. But Grassroots recently released Rock/Creek from the group because of their new status.
Check out our #CoolShop profile of The Mountaineer.
Watch our interview with Pack Rat owner Carolyn Crook, where she speaks passionately about her innovative solar project.
Check out our #CoolShop profile of Sunlight Sports.
Nominees for GRASSROOTS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (honoring a new Grassroots member)
- Cascades Outdoor Store in Winthrop, Washington “Cascades Outdoor Store tries to embody the spirit and practice of the model small town specialty retail store. This centers around two things: offering a hand-curated selection of clothing and gear crafted for the outdoors, and an enthusiastic staff that goes out of its way to engage with every customer, sharing their expertise in every department of the store.” (Owners: Brian & Amy Sweet. Established in 2014. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Member since 2017).
- Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, Vermont “The two things that really make OGE special is the breadth of product selection and the awesome staff. We stock gear for camping, hiking, biking, climbing, paddling, snow sliding and backyard adventures and do all with great breadth to try and address the needs of all users …. Our staff are all users and work to educate customers about the best choices they can make for their particular needs.” (Owners: Mike Donohue & Marc Sherman. Established in 1995. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Member since 2017).
Learn what makes OGE such a #CoolShop.
- Townsend Bertram & Co. in Carrboro, North Carolina “Our core values are adventure, community and passion, and guide our decision-making on every level. We take pride in making our shop inclusive and accessible for all types of adventurers. We’ve developed creative community partnerships with nonprofits and local businesses … Our community events always focus on accessibility and inclusion, like our free all levels monthly yoga, family camping trips, and community trash pick-ups.” (Owners: Audrey & the late Scott Bertram. Established in 1988. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Member since 2017).
Betsy Bertram wrote this op-ed for SNEWS, dropping some hiring wisdom and tips.
Nominees for GRASSROOTS VENDOR OF THE YEAR
- Astral “Astral’s roots run deep with outdoor specialty and we share similar DNA to many of our Grassroots retail partners … Our founder and many of our staff have worked in outdoor specialty retail, so our team truly knows the benefits of the specialty shopping experience.” (Owner & Sales Manager: Phillip Curry, Bryan Owen. Established 2002, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2010).
- EXPED “EXPED supports specialty retail because it represents the highest form of the art of salesmanship and our customers deserve nothing less. This is why EXPED only sells its gear through specialty retail stores.” (Owner/Sales Manager: Ted Steudel. Established 1997, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2016.)
- NEMO Equipment “We passionately support specialty retail because it is essential for a healthy outdoor industry, a vital component of the outdoor community, and because there is no future for specialty brands like NEMO without specialty retail.” (Owner/Sales Manager: Cam Brensinger. Established 2002, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2013.)
We asked NEMO founder Cam Brensinger what he does to be a good partner to his specialty retailers.
- Toad&Co. “For over 22 years Toad & Co has been steadfastly committed to Outdoor Specialty Retail …It is our belief that Outdoor Specialty Retailers unify and connect people around a common cause: the love for the outdoors.” (Owner & Sales Management: Gordon Seabury, Scott Whipps, & Nina Brito. Established 1991, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 1998).
Here’s just one way Toad&Co is an innovator.
Nominees for GRASSROOTS SALES MANAGER OF THE YEAR
- Andy Burke at prAna “Andy’s willingness to hear the good and the bad, stay in-tune with retailers and challenges in the market, show that Andy is dedicated to and passionate about being a part of Grassroots vendor community.” (Established 1992, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2010.)
- Todd Givnish at Smartwool “Todd is a thoughtful, strategic, and engaged sales manager …Todd takes initiative to gather feedback on retailer needs, get to know Grassroots, and continually strives to improve relationships and strengthen partnerships. Todd’s interesting blend of experience; industry and non-industry, vendor, retailer, and buyer, provides him unique perspective and knowledge that works to his benefit in his role at Smartwool.” (Established 1994, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 1998.)
- Ryan Krusemark at KÜHL “Ryan is very responsive to any issues or communication, positive or negative. He truly “gets specialty”, he aims to be a partner not just a vendor in our store”. Ryan’s work has elevated KÜHL from vendor to true partner to Grassroots member retailers … Ryan truly cares about keeping specialty retail healthy because it’s vital to the success of KÜHL and the future of specialty retail in our industry.” (Established 1993, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2011).
- Steve Talacki at Mountain Khakis “Steve is one of the more thoughtful, open minded sales managers we work with on the Grassroots side. Always open for a tough discussion, (Steve keeps) specialty retailers at the forefront of discussions at Mountain Khakis. Steve constantly asks for feedback on what retailers are feeling in the market and how MK can adjust to meet their needs. These are not easy things to ask for and show the true mark of an engaged member of our vendor community that values the opinion of specialty retailers.” (Established 2003, Grassroots Vendor Partner since 2016.)
Nominees for retailer CREATIVE MARKETING/ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
Mahoney’s Outfitters in Johnson City, Tennessee
(Owners: Dan & Sean Mahoney Established 1960. Grassroots Member since: 2014)
Eagle Eye Outfitters in Dothan, Alabama
(Owners: Mark & Susan Anderson. Established 1999, Grassroots Member since 2012).
Nominees for retailer COMMUNITY & EVENTS
- Pack & Paddle in Lafayette, Louisiana “We don’t view building community and hosting events as a way to draw a crowd or even as a direct way to sell products, but rather a way that we can bring authenticity to everything that we sell and a way to build a tribe of Pack & Paddle superfans.” (Owners: Becky and John Williams. Established 1974, Grassroots Member since 2010)
- Alpine Shop in St. Louis, Missouri ““Alpine Shop’s clinics and events program has been introducing customers to the great outdoors since the 1980s. But when it comes to a business’s impact on it’s community, there are stats and there are stories.” (Owners: Russell and Lisa Hollenbeck. Established 1973, Grassroots Member since 2002.)
- Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, Minnesota “We get people to get outdoors more by creating an outdoor community they can belong to. Many of our events are social gatherings with free beer, wine, other beverages, food and live music. Our annual attendance at these events at our store is an estimated 24,000 outdoor people.” (Owner: Rod Johnson. Established 1970, Grassroots Member since 2006.)
VIDEO: Founder of Midwest Mountaineering talks about his humble beginnings.
Nominees for retailer MERCHANDISING MAGIC
Denali in Guilford, Connecticut “Our goal is to make people relax and to highlight the items we sell in the best way possible …We want people to pick things up, hold them in their hands and try them on, and hope to transport our customers from the hectic, fast-paced northeast corridor to a place where poking around, taking your time and savoring the moment is important and encouraged.” (Owners: Chris Howe & Todd Raskin. Established 1994, Grassroots member since 2006).