Digital-first premium outdoor apparel and equipment retailer Backcountry has announced plans to open two physical locations this year, reiterating its commitment to brick-and-mortar expansion. Backcountry currently operates one physical store, which is adjacent to its fulfillment center in Salt Lake City. The two new stores will open in Park City, Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, starting May 2021.
The specialty retailer’s online platform offers personalized customer service led by expert associates known as Gearheads, a group that includes former pro athletes, industry gurus, and outdoor gear specialists. With the two upcoming openings, the company is hoping to expand this service into its brick-and-mortar stores, where customers will be able to consult with Gearheads about everything from gear and apparel purchases to trip planning.
“Backcountry has always sought to connect people with their passions through the best gear and expertise we have to offer,” explained Backcountry CEO Melanie Cox in a release. “With our retail locations, our goal is to equip our customers with the gear, knowledge, and the confidence they need to get outside by combining the expert guidance of our Gearheads with our expansive product assortment.”
As well as this personalized approach, the locations will offer an integrated online-offline retail model, allowing customers to browse products both in-store and online. If they cannot find what they are looking for at the location they are visiting, customers will be able to check what’s available on the online platform and benefit from free two-day delivery for orders over $50 anywhere in the country. Select Backcountry locations will offer a same-day delivery option.
The stores are also intended to be community hubs that will offer resources and host events, such as talks from guest speakers, “how-to” discussions with Gearheads, and film screenings, once it is safe to do so.
Backcountry’s expansion comes at a time when, unlike many retail categories, demand for outdoor apparel and equipment has remained strong. The sector has proved relatively resilient to the Covid-19 crisis, as consumers have increasingly looked to outdoor activities as a relatively safe way to keep active during the pandemic.