Post originally appeared in The Observant Customer 1/9/2016
I was on the road for the company I worked for at the time and after several flight delays had finally landed in Atlanta. If all went well, I had just enough time to get to my appointment with the Atlanta store manager.
As I was stepping off the plane, I hit my arm against a cabinet near the plane’s doorway popping my watch off my wrist. The watch skidded across the floor and fell neatly between the plane and the gangway twenty feet to the tarmac below. In the post 9-11 era, I did not feel it would be worth the time and effort to try to get the inexpensive watch back.
Picking up my luggage and my rental car I quickly headed towards my appointment. Feeling lost without my watch, I checked the dashboard clock and calculated I had just enough time to buy a new watch at the store before my 5 o’clock meeting. I had actually been eyeing a specific watch for sometime.
Once in the store, I headed quickly towards the watch fixture grabbing a sales specialist along the way explaining that I was in a big hurry and asked if they could help me with watches. I once again I told him that my immediateneed was speed.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Colin Fletcher. Those outdoors people that came of age in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s probably came across some of his writings. The most notable of these was the how-to book, The Complete Walker.
I received this book as a Christmas present when I was 12 years old and it changed my life. I was in the Boy Scouts but only knew about backpacking very vaguely. This book opened a whole new world to me.
Two other books that deeply influenced me were The Appalachian Trail by Ronald Fisher and National Geographic and Home in Your Pack by Bradford Angier.
Post originally appeared in The Observant Customer 1/21/2016
As stores begin to make room for their summer assortment, they discount their winter outerwear making January a great time to buy. I decided to take advantage of this and headed to the mall to find my next winter jacket. (It did not hurt that holiday weekend sales events were in full swing.)
Walking towards the storefront of one of my favorite brands, I saw signs proclaiming “EVERYTHING UP TO 60% OFF!” The signs only served to feed my expectations as I entered the store and walked past a salesman posted just inside the front door. It was poor form of him to not greet me as I passed since he was not busy with anything. Continuing further into the store, I began checking out a rack of men’s winter jackets. The clerk finally called out a friendly greeting.
Post Covid, there are so many things to look for in the evolution of outdoor retailing. Will the shopping trends of the pandemic continue after the vaccine? Will there be a pent-up demand for outdoor gear and clothing? Will the digital transformation continue at an accelerated pace? Will adventure travel change?
One thing I am really curious about is the potential battle of outdoor retailing “category killers.”
Post originally appeared in The Observant Customer 8/8/2016
I stopped at the local Outlet Mall the other day to do some shopping and some observation. It was a warm and sunny day and may of the stores had their doors open to deal with the heat.
Being a fan of the brand and a citizen of the PNW, I stopped by the Columbia Sportswear Outlet where they had a great sale going on. I quickly found several items that I was shopping for so I headed to the registers where there were a number of waiting cashiers.
“I can help you right here,” came a greeting from the nearest cashier.
During the transaction, I noticed that a name tag affixed to his jacket. I thought it odd with the stores so warm that a cashier would be wearing outerwear. So, I asked him if he was warm.
“No, actually I am quite comfortable,” he replied as he handed me my change. I thought that would be the end of our conversation but he continued apparently excited to talk about the jacket. “The jacket is made of Omni-Shield™ and it is really comfortable,” he said as he carefully folded and bagged my purchases.