how-to-support-local-retail-shops

Do You Have Your Local Retail Store’s Back?

Outdoor Prolink is a pro-purchase program that connects qualified outdoor industry professionals with discounts on outdoor gear. We believe our members have a responsibility to their support local retailers.

Outdoor Prolink was created in 2004 with three components in mind – the pro purchase program (you), the brands that offer discounted gear to pros, and specialty retailers. A responsible, well-executed pro purchase program fosters a relationship between local shops and pros, and educates pros on their responsibility to be an ambassador for the brands they buy as well as their local retail shop. Speciality retail is a critical channel for our brand partners, so supporting and growing that channel is central to our purpose.

As an Outdoor Prolink professional, we want to give you the tools to create the most out of your partnership with us and the local specialty stores in your area – as well as help you grow your reach! Below are a few ideas for ways to improve your relationship with your local retail stores.  

“Without outdoor retailers who will mount the bindings, sponsor the races, fix the bikes, host movie premiers and be that fountain of knowledge for people that are looking to take their sport to the next level?”

– Reid Pitman, Outdoor Prolink professional since 2016

Tips for How to Improve Your Retail Store Relationship

  • Recommend your clients, friends and family to your local retail store
  • Go to your local store to pay for tune ups and other services
  • Ask the store associates for advice and their expertise on products and gear
  • Be transparent and honest about who you are, what you do in your local outdoor community (guide at [name] raft company, etc.) and that because you’re in the industry you get gear discounts
  • If you’re going to go into your local store to try on sizes, check colors, etc. then go be respectful of their time (priorities) and go in during off hours (so as not to take their attention away from customers paying full price during peak shopping hours)
  • Bring a 6 pack of beer in for the staff to get to know them and as a thank you. Beer always helps. 
  • Buy stuff! A box of Clif Bars, a new outfit, some chapstick, cord, energy bars/gels, socks, gloves, local guidebooks, stickers, etc.

Bike Technician at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa, Colorado.
Photo by Roxy Harbitter.

Ways to go Above and Beyond

Social Media 

  • Tag your local retail store on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest) when you’re out in the field using gear, or help them promote an upcoming event. Find ways to use your social media reach to support driving people to their store. 
  • Work with your local retail store to do a social media takeover. Once a trust is established, you would get their social media login info to “take over” their channel throughout the day or weekend, especially if you have a cool event coming up. 

Events

  • Check with your local retailer to see upcoming events that you could help with. Examples include: 
    • Speaker Series: Many shops host Q&A’s with local authors, athletes, and experts in their field. Host a slideshow, film, presentation, or even just a conversation about your experience, an adventure you’ve had, or what you do as an Outdoor Pro.
    • Participating in more local activities such as beer meetups, group runs or hikes, or even a trash pickup or volunteer event. Attend events like these, or even offer to host your own from the shop! 
    • Host instructional nights (anchor building, packing a pack, bike maintenance, first aid, etc) at your local shop.
    • Find ways to give back to your community by hosting local events that start and finish at your local shop – such as local trail cleanup days or even coat/gear drives to  donate to a local organization.

Other things you can do!

  • Write a blog post for your local store (if applicable)
    • If you’re writing gear reviews for Outdoor Prolink or other websites / brands, share your reviews with the local store to repurpose for their channels. 
  • Volunteer at a local event your store is putting on
  • Donate old/used gear for a fundraiser your local store is putting together
  • Do a quick search to find out where you could leave a review for your local store. Ideas include:
    • Facebook Pages
    • Google
    • Yelp Reviews
    • Directly on their website

Have a favorite local gear shop you love? Or more suggestions on how to support them? We’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation in our Facebook Community Group or comment below.

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