Blame it on Amazon. The online retail giant’s ubiquitous “smiling” boxes seem to be everywhere now. Granted, with much of the country under lockdown for the last year and a half, it makes sense that online shopping bloomed rapidly as it was one of the only ways American consumers could get anything from ski jackets to books to groceries.
This is why it seems odd that, while walking down Pearl Street in the outdoorsy city of Boulder, Colo., so many outdoor brands are popping up with their own retail storefronts. Helly Hanson, Nørrona, and Fjallraven have all opened up stores there over the past few years, and Black Diamond, Backcountry, and Stio recently opened their own shops as well.
And it’s not just in Boulder. Some brands, like Thule, are setting up shop in downtown Denver, Colo., and Rocky Mountain Underground is opening a new storefront location in Truckee, Calif.
After online retailers like Amazon just had an incredibly profitable year and more people are ordering things off the internet than ever before, it begs the question of why so many ski and outdoor brands are opening physical stores right now.
“While most of our business is driven through our focus on e-commerce, physical retail has been an integral part of our strategy from the beginning of Stio with our Jackson Mountain Studio opening for business on the same day [the brand launched] in the Fall of 2012,” says Megan Odom, Stio’s Retail Director.