Canada Goose brings Churchill to SoCal

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.

Nicely done, Canada Goose.

A healthy sign

Chain Store Age reported the expansion plans of L.L.Bean today. The plans include the opening of three new stores in the eastern United States this year along with four new stores in Canada. Another sign of retail health is the return to 24 hour operations’ hallmark of Bean that was suspended for Covid dating back to 1954. Leon Leonwood would be proud.

Interesting marketing

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.

How warm is this jacket?

Or sleeping bag? Or boots/hat/gloves? It is always a tough question to field from a customer. All of these items are insulation that have relative values. Different customers have different standards of what is warm. Most sales people try to dodge the question. But some retailers allow the customers to decide for themselves.

At Alewalds in Stockholm Sweden, they installed a cold room to allow customers to check the product out for themselves.

I have seen these in the US in the past, the REI Denver store used to have one as did the Eddie Bauer in Bellevue, WA.

Well done, Patagonia!

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.

Way ahead of us

I applaud the efforts of the outdoor retailers that are making an effort to encourage recycling, reselling and up cycling used outdoor gear. In particular, the work of Patagonia is truly commendable. But the Europeans are way ahead of us.

In 2018, I had the chance to visit Bergans of Norway in Oslo and in the back of the store, on the sales floor, was this repair/alteration/upcycle center.

Continue reading “Way ahead of us”

The Coming Battle of Category Killers?

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.”

Continue reading “The Coming Battle of Category Killers?”

Excusably Absent

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.