Your Local Retail Shop: Outdoor Gear Exchange
Our Local Retail Shop Series highlights local gear shops and tells their stories. We chat with shop owners and staff to find out what makes their shop unique and how they serve their local communities.
Shop Name: Outdoor Gear Exchange
Location: Burlington, VT
Director of Marketing: Ethan Garceau
Outdoor Gear Exchange was founded around the idea that gear should be accessible to everyone, and has evolved into an amazing shop with all the gear you could ever dream of. This is a big gear shop, but it’s got those great small shop vibes. If you need a gear recommendation or local beta for a day of adventuring this is the spot in Burlington, VT!
What’s the story behind Outdoor Gear Exchange?
During a hiking trip in the Adirondacks, Marc, the founder of Outdoor Gear Exchange, saw all of his friends having to borrow gear in order to have the proper equipment. This sparked the idea of having a consignment shop focused on outdoor gear. The first store that opened on Main Street in Burlington was jam packed with closeout and used gear. Marc’s main goal with the store was to get people outside on the cheap.
The idea of offering affordable gear to get people doing outdoor activities has been a consistent theme throughout Outdoor Gear Exchange’s 27 years of being open. We’ve always made sure that we have used and discount options, and over the years our offering has expanded a lot. We make sure we have gear to outfit everyone, from the beginner hiker to someone wanting to be outfitted to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.
What are Outdoor Gear Exchange’s biggest outdoor categories?
Bike and ski are our most popular departments. We also offer tune-ups and services for bike and ski gear. Overall, we have the ability to have a large and diverse variety of gear because Burlington offers close proximity to a lot of different activities: canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, camping, skiing, and more!
What sets your shop apart/makes you unique?
Our level of customer service is something we take very seriously and put a lot of value in. We have a large staff on hand because we always want to be sure there is always the right person on the floor to help customers with specific questions or gear suggestions. For every one of our specific departments, we have staff that are specialized in that outdoor activity.
What are some of your most popular products?
Tell us a little more about your consignment program.
We have an awesome bargain basement where we sell and buy used gear. This goes hand-in-hand with our belief that gear should be accessible to everyone. We pride ourself on our environmental stewardship, and our consignment program is an integral part of that.
How can the outdoor industry best support your gear shop?
Come visit us in the store and shop us online! We ship all over the US, offer free shipping on orders over $49, and we have a generous return policy. We love shout outs on social media – give us a follow and tag us!
If a pro were to come into your shop, how would you prefer they shop?
We totally understand that pros might want to try on gear before they buy. We just ask that people be up front with us if they won’t be purchasing at the store and be respectful of our staff members and their time! If there’s a regular customer shopping and needing attention from our staff, we’d appreciate if you let the regular customer be helped first.
About the Gear Tester
Kelly Knauf is on the marketing team at Outdoor Prolink. When she’s not doing handstands, you’ll find Kelly camping, snowboarding, and grooving on the dance floor.