Mass Shooting Hits Close to Home for the Outdoor Industry
Neptune Mountaineering, a gear shop just steps away from the site of Monday’s massacre in Boulder, Colorado, has confirmed that all its employees are safe
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
In the wake of Monday’s tragedy in Boulder, Colorado, in which a gunman opened fire at a grocery store, killing ten people, the outdoor industry has rushed to check in on one of its own: Neptune Mountaineering, which sits just a few steps away from the site of the massacre.
Boulder is home to numerous outdoor businesses, including apparel and equipment brands, gear shops, nonprofits, and the industry’s largest trade association. While everyone in the community has been deeply affected by the horrors of the week, Neptune Mountaineering found itself so close to the tragedy that the store’s sign and logo were visible in the background as news cameras panned across the scene unfolding Monday afternoon.
Neptune is located in the Table Mesa Shopping Center, a strip mall adjacent to the King Soopers grocery store where the shooting occurred. Monday afternoon, the shop posted on Facebook that it was on lockdown, as were all businesses in the immediate vicinity. Later that evening, shop owner Shelley Dunbar reported to Outside Business Journal that several employees were still “locked up in the store with a couple of customers,” but that no one on staff had been hurt.
By Monday night, when police gained control of the situation, the shop updated its concerned customers and vendors by posting to Facebook again: “All Neptune employees are safe and accounted for. Thank you for reaching out.” On Tuesday, the shop updated its page with another post, this time expressing support for the community with the trending hashtag #BoulderStrong.
Today our hearts go out to the entire Boulder community, especially the employees of the King Soopers, the friends and…
Later in the week, OBJ checked in with the shop to ensure its staff was coping after the ordeal.
“While we feel very fortunate that all of our staff are physically OK, considering that many on our team visit King Soopers on a daily basis, we are certainly experiencing an emotional toll and deeply appreciate the compassion and understanding of anyone visiting our store as we heal in the days and weeks to come,” Amy Wansing, Neptune’s marketing manager, told us.
“The outpouring of love from our community so far has been profoundly touching, and we are proud to be a place that people feel connected to on such a personal level. We also look forward to helping our friends and neighbors get outdoors for their own sense of peace and recovery. Beyond that, we’d prefer to keep the focus on the victims and first responders and encourage those who can to donate to the GoFundMe supporting families of the victims,” Wansing said.
Boulder is home to numerous other gear and cycle shops as well—many of which responded similarly to Neptune, with initial safety updates posted to social media channels, followed by expressions of support for the community and sympathy for the victims and their families.
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN), a sister publication to Outside Business Journal, published an update on Boulder Cycle Sport, whose South location is in the same shopping center as Neptune. That shop, like Neptune, reported that all its employees are safe.