Backcountry.com

Outdoor enthusiasts spend somewhere around $300 million at Backcountry.com every year. (Joshua Earle)

Online retailer of a wide range of outdoor gear. As the company’s startup legend goes, Vermonters Jim Holland and John Bresee—both transplants to Park City, Utah—paid retail for an avalanche beacon and then sold it online for a little bit more.

The beacon-arbitrage scheme launched first at TheBackcountryStore.com and BCStore.com, before the two could afford to buy the Backcountry.com domain name in 2004. The company has since blossomed into an approximately $300-million-per-year empire that rivals REI (see Anderson, Lloyd and Mary) for online dominance among outdoor enthusiasts. 

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