Several weeks ago, I posted How warm is that jacket? about a cold room I saw on my trip to Scandinavia. Canada Goose has been expanding their use of cold rooms in North America.
The photo above is from Canada Goose’s flagship store in the Mall of America in Minnesota that can produce temperature to -13f. At the time of the launch in 2019, Minnesotans commented that -13 is a start but not quite the Polar Vortex temps of -30 that they had been experiencing that winter. Even so, most Minnesotans do not need a cold room to test out new jackets given their life-long exposure to winter weather. (Full disclosure: I was born and raised in MN.)
Now, Canada Goose has announced the next generation of cold room opening at the South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa, CA. In addition to cold, this room will have a daily snowstorm for shoppers to test out the latest winter wear. A very useful tool for SoCal residents unaccustomed to harsh winter weather. Canada Goose said they are bringing the weather of Churchill, Manitoba to southern California.
Leafing through the circulars I received in the mail the other day, this montage of logos caught my eye. I thought that I had received the latest REI flyer until I looked a bit closer. It was a circular from Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Normally, Sportsman’s is associated with the hook & bullet crowd. But this flyer had no mention of hunting or firearms and only a small section on fishing. The main theme was about family; hiking together, camping together and fishing together.
They seem to be trying to attract a wider customer base than they have traditionally relied on. With their pending acquisition by Great American Outdoors Group (Bass Pro/Cabela’s), they will be part of a national chain of over 165 stores.
The company will be well positioned to carve off a significant junk of the outdoor dollars, particularly with smart marketing like this.
The outdoor industry has been working more in recent years to improve inclusion in the outdoors, sometimes more successfully than others.
Patagonia has truly gone beyond the typical efforts of hiring a more diverse looking sales team, adding persons of color to their catalog and supporting under-represented in outdoor endeavors. (All worthwhile attempts in themselves.) With their recent pledge of $1 million to promote voter access and to offset the regressive legislation recently passed in Georgia, Patagonia has broadened their inclusion work beyond retailing.
A great example of corporate responsibility, Mitch McConnell be damned.
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.”
I was traveling through Hood River OR recently and decided to check out the outdoor stores of their outdoor oriented town. One of the places I decided to check out was Mountain View Cycles.
As I was approaching the store, I noticed that it seemed remarkably dark inside. I was a bit disappointed since it was 11 a.m. and they should have been open by now. As I approached the front door I noticed this sign.
Well, I guess it is okay that they were closed. I wonder how often outdoor retailers close their shops and take their staff out for a trip like this? Well done Mountain View, I will certainly stop by another day.