Outside Business Journal

11 ways to “Alpenglow” your outdoor retail shop

Brendan Madigan, owner of Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, California, has the community aspect of brick and mortar specialty retail all figured out. Want to see similar success with your events? Heed this wise advice.

Brendan Madigan

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1-Give back to your base. 

If you’re a community-centric specialty retailer, you have a responsibility. Your fans are a passionate tribe that crave fun outlets for mountain recreation. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. If you give them an outlet, your mountain tribe will amaze you!

2-Create and foster events.

You’ll experience immense fulfillment and satisfaction, especially when the end user wins big.

3-Partner with likeminded local entities.

You need help to execute quality events. Partner with local guides, naturalists, craft beer makers, and others to add value. These individuals and groups gain marketing opportunities by aligning with your brand, thereby reaching a completely new and unique audience.

4-Align with your best brand partners, who understand and support your vision.

By doing so, you’ll strengthen an already healthy relationship for mutual benefit. Your believers understand unique activation, and have a marketing budget that needs spending. Give them a good pitch, and they’ll support you.

5-Make relationships two-way streets (i.e. don’t just ask for a handout).

Show supportive brands that you value their support by purchasing more from them on preseason orders, while actively giving them more marketshare on your wall.

6-Conversely, give non-supportive brands less traction within your four walls.

As a specialty retailer, you have a tremendous amount of buying power and local influence that brands can’t match. In this day and age, the retailer is the single strongest link in the chain of outdoor retail. Leverage this to your advantage and everyone wins, particularly the event participants.

7-Run event specials that get supporting brands; equipment in participants’ hands.

Ask for a one-time “on wheels” purchase order with a slight discount that you can then extend to the participant. You’ve done the hard work to get them to your event—why not soft-serve them an easy sale for equipment they need? Your margin might be a touch shorter than normal, but all parties win.

8-Collaborate with the marketing teams from your supporting brands.

They have deeper pockets and more expertise than you do. Have them geo-target their fan base to promote your event.

9-Integrate your staff.

As your single most vital resource, they’ll be stoked to lead trail runs, guide backcountry tours, give back. Along the way, they become even bigger cheerleaders and perpetuate the cause.

10-Invite brands to participate in the event.

When believers attend, they’ll see the magic you’ve created and become a key promoter.

11-Enjoy the ride!

Giving back feels good. When you do good in the world it has a way of coming back to you in spades.


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