Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 30

Feature .01

IT'S AN EARLY
OCTOBER night in
Boulder, Colorado,
and Neptune Mountaineering is bustling with
people milling about its racks of apparel, gear
displays, and glass cases full of curated climbing artifacts. A line of customers waits for
draft pints of Left Hand Brewing's Sawtooth
Ale from the store's new café, and a handful of
others are paying for socks, jackets, and guidebooks to local crags at the checkout counter. In
total, roughly 70 people are in the store, having
turned up for a last-minute slideshow presentation, and the man they're here to see introduces himself as only he can.
"Hi everyone, can you hear me?" he says.
"I'm so psyched to be here! I'm Hans Florine.
Or as I call myself these days, 'Hans Without
Crutches.'" Florine, perhaps Yosemite's most
devoted-some might say obsessive-climber
is only five months removed from a fall on El
Capitan that shattered bones in both his legs.
He's without crutches for one of the first times
since he underwent multiple surgeries, but he's
still walking with the aid of a cane, which he employs during the talk as an ad-hoc pointer for his
photos that are projected onto a giant screen
in the back of the store. During his presentation, he talks about his three expeditions with
blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, his accident, and, of course, his obsession with El Cap's
famed The Nose route.
"It's completely ridiculous that I've climbed
it 109 times," he says of his record. "Or 110 if you
count the help of Yosemite search and rescue."
When a twenty-something in a puffy Patagonia
jacket asks if he has a favorite route up the granite monolith, he pauses, then quips, "Well, it
changed on May 3."
After the presentation, Florine signs books
for a line of fans, and much of the conversation
revolves around Florine's talk, but also of the
store itself.
"I can't can't believe what they've done with
the store," says one woman. "I thought this

30 OUTDOOR RETAILER

/ Winter 2019

place was closed down.
"They must have added to it," says her companion. "It's much bigger."
"Whatever they did, it works."

"THEY" ARE SHELLEY AND ANDREW DUNBAR,
who run the North American distribution for gear maker Sea to Summit and
who purchased the struggling Neptune
Mountaineering store last year. At that point,
Neptune was on its last gasps. Shelves were
depleted of product. Venders weren't being
paid. And its parent company, Backwoods,
faced eviction after failing to pay $70,000
in rent. In 2016, the Austin-based retailer,
who bought Neptune in 2013, filed for bankruptcy. Most locals assumed the decadesold store was disappearing for good. "We
watched the Backwoods demise and it was
heartbreaking," says Shelley Dunbar. "It was
like, 'Wow, how did Boulder end up losing all
of its specialty independent retailers.'"
The Dunbars, Boulder locals for more than
20 years, decided to purchase the store and

CORE FLOOR
Neptune customers
have always trusted
the advice of shop
employees because
the people who work
here truly live the life .

completely overhaul it. The result is the transformation of one of Boulder's most iconic and
long-running institutions. The new store is at
once a totally modern retail experience-a coffee shop for lounging, a guide service for booking trips, and a climbing wall to test out shoes
and gear-and a throwback to Neptune's heyday as a specialty outdoors center. Many of the
long-term employees, with deep reserves of
firsthand insights about local climbing spots
and trails, still work at the shop. Gary Neptune,
who started the original store, is reinstalling
his museum-worthy collection of climbing artifacts. And the Dunbars have brought back
the weekly presentations that made the store
a central hangout for the outdoor community
in Boulder and a well-known destination for
climbers around the country.
"I was supposed to come through here for a
wedding, and I didn't really want to do it unless I could come to the store and talk," Florine
tells me after his event. "The crowd here is unlike anywhere else, because you know there are
a few badasses in the audience who are better
than you. Most of them probably work here."

WHEN GARY NEPTUNE OPENED THE FIRST
iteration of his namesake store in 1973, it was
mostly a boot repair shop that hawked some
gear and apparel. The store developed along
with Gary's various passions. As he became interested in cross-country skiing, he offered skituning services and specialty products for the
sport. When he decided to race in the American
Birkebeiner, one of the longest ski marathons
in North America, he stocked Neptune with a
few essentials you'd need on it. When he went
on climbing expeditions overseas, he picked up



Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019

OUTDOOR RETAILER - WINTER 2019
CONTENTS
THE PULSE
HEADLINES
MERCHANDISING
MARKETING
BIG PICTURE
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
CASE STUDY
IDEAS
WHITNEY CONNELL
SHERYL DEBOARD
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
RESEARCH
NEPTUNE’S REVIVAL
MOVING THE NEEDLE
SKI TRADITIONS
BREAD+BUTTER
KNOW YOUR WINTER SPORTS
MADE IN AMERICA
WORK WEAR
COUNTER CULTURE
THE VIEW
HOW I GOT HERE
#REPLIFE
FROM THE ROAD
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - OUTDOOR RETAILER - WINTER 2019
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 4
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 8
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - THE PULSE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - HEADLINES
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - MERCHANDISING
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - MARKETING
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - BIG PICTURE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - CASE STUDY
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 20
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - IDEAS
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - WHITNEY CONNELL
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - SHERYL DEBOARD
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - RESEARCH
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - NEPTUNE’S REVIVAL
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 32
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - MOVING THE NEEDLE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 36
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - SKI TRADITIONS
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 40
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 42
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - BREAD+BUTTER
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - KNOW YOUR WINTER SPORTS
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 45
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - MADE IN AMERICA
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 47
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - WORK WEAR
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 49
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - COUNTER CULTURE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 51
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - THE VIEW
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 53
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 54
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 55
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 56
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 57
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - HOW I GOT HERE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 59
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - #REPLIFE
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 61
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - FROM THE ROAD
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 63
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 64
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - Cover4
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