Industry News 4/12/2011

B$Z: Outdoor Industry Specialty Retailer Moves Into Old Navy Location


Vermont's Outdoor Gear Exchane Moving to Over 44,000 Square-Foot Former Old Navy Location

The Gear Outfitter Will Feature More Products and Larger Inventory
 
The Outdoor Gear Exchange (OGE), an outdoor retailer that has been a part of Burlington, Vermont’s outdoor community for over 15 years, announced today that this May it will quadruple its overall space by moving to a high-traffic retail location on Church Street, Burlington’s busiest shopping avenue. The over 44,000-square-foot location will allow for expanded inventory and product selection, improved displays, more jobs and a dedicated area for the store’s national online retail business, GearX.com.
           
“The demand for quality outdoor products in this area continues to grow,” said Marc Sherman, OGE co-owner and visionary. “When we heard Old Navy was leaving its space in one of Burlington’s most sought-after locations, we jumped on the opportunity to sign the lease. It feels good to move our locally owned gear shop into the spot previously filled by a national retail chain.”  
           
OGE’s current retail location provides a total of 10,000 square feet of space, 3,000 of which is used for offices and warehousing. In their new location, OGE will have over 44,000 square feet spread over two floors. Retail displays will initially occupy over 15,000 square feet of that space with room to add additional retail space in the basement. The rest of the space will be used for offices, a warehouse, and GearX.com.
           
The growth of GearX.com, which now accounts for 25 percent of OGE’s revenue, was a large factor in their quest for a bigger location. Currently, online orders are often filled by pulling products off the retail floor, which is currently packed to capacity with racks full of gear. At its new location, OGE will have a dedicated warehouse and office for GearX.com, freeing up space on the retail floor for more products and a better overall shopping experience. 

In addition to more elbowroom, moving onto Burlington’s premier shopping avenue is expected to increase store traffic. “Our old location has served us well, but it has always been more of a destination spot,” explained Sherman. “The shopping crowds tend to stay on Church Street, and don’t venture down the side streets. This is why for the past four years we have opened a seasonal annex on Church Street to reach a larger audience. In our new space, we will remain a destination for core athletes seeking the best values on equipment, but also expect to attract more walk-by traffic.”
           
Along with new customers comes new gear. OGE plans to increase the selection of products for their core customers, as well as offer more gear for the person who enjoys getting outside every so often. “Family camping, or car camping, is one area in which we plan to offer more selection,” said co-owner Mike Donohue. “Plus, we’ll finally have room for things like open-tent displays and more paddling gear, from kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding.” Customers can also look forward to more kids clothing and gear, lifestyle clothing, travel equipment and better displays for products such as car roof racks. “While we are excited to be able to feature additional high-end products for those looking for the latest and greatest gadgets and apparel technologies, we will also be focusing on additional value-oriented products to make sure we stay true to our mission of making the outdoor lifestyle attainable for all budgets,” added Donohue.

The news about OGE’s relocation comes just after another outdoor retailer in Burlington, Climb High, announced it was closing its doors. According to Donohue, OGE will begin carrying some of the brands that were popular at Climb High so Vermont athletes can still purchase their favorite gear from a locally owned retailer. 
The move this May happens to occur around the store’s 16th anniversary. “This move marks a huge milestone for the growth of OGE,” added Sherman. “From more jobs to more products, we are looking forward to better serving the passionate outdoor community in Vermont, as well as our loyal online customers at GearX.com.”