Bells on the door chime as you walk in while the shop dog lifts his head to acknowledge your presence before returning to napping. Aromas of burnt coffee and ski wax fill your nose while a Phish jam season plays through the speakers. Behind the sticker-plaster counter is the friendly face of your local shop employee, likely prematurely weathered due to countless hours out in the elements.
Local shops are often our portal into outdoor adventure. After dipping your toes into a new outdoor hobby with a buddy, you’ll likely swing by the shop to pick up essential gear for your own kit. Aside from local shop nostalgia as the gear gateway into new passions, they are also a hub of insider information.
Shop employees and owners often have years of experience on their outdoor resume. Their passion for gear bleeds into their days off. The result: a lifetime of expertise on equipment and outdoor pursuits. In addition, they are well versed in the local trails, terrain, and weather. And who better to tell you about the current conditions than someone who was out enjoying them that morning before their shift? An essential factor in choosing the right gear for your goals includes familiarity with the local environment. You won’t be surprised to find that some local shop employees are also guides. Guides are basically a walking outdoor adventure encyclopedia complete with dad jokes.
Hands-on Comparisons & Personal Experience
One of the perks of working at a local gear shop is access to gear. The sheer volume of gear out there can be overwhelming. Local shops have often used and compared products and can help you find the right fit for your need. Reading a description of a product doesn’t always compare to an in-person review. In addition to their own tricks of the trade, shops are constantly gathering feedback from customers and sharing the knowledge with others.
Insider Secrets & Tools
Shop employees interact with designers, engineers, and reps from companies gaining deeper insights about tech updates and new products. In addition, they are kitted with the necessary tools to adjust gear for the perfect fit and keep it tuned to optimal performance.
From their infectious stoke to admirable modesty, the folks at gear shops want to help you achieve the best experience in the store and out on your trip. They want to gain your trust so you’ll come to visit them again next time you need to fill a void in your gear closet. Because of this, you’re likely to get an honest opinion rather than pushing sales.
Try Before You Buy
Your bank account is well aware that outdoor gear is a hefty investment. One of the best perks of your local gear shop is the demos. If you think demos are for out of town tourists, think again. Local shops often offer a variety of the latest models to demo. If you fall in love with a product after a demo day, some shops even let you put the demo fee towards your purchase of the item.
When you support your local outdoor gear dealer, you are keeping your purchasing dollars in the local economy and investing in entrepreneurship. These shops provide jobs for locals, thus supporting community employment. Because small gear shops have a direct connection to the outdoors and community, they are often great stewards of both through events, fundraisers, and nonprofit partnership.
The outdoors have provided us with a healthy escape and solitude during these crazy times yet many small shops are feeling the effects of coronavirus. Realize the value local shops provide to you and your community and support your local outdoor gear dealer. Find the Voile dealer closest to you with our dealer locator.