Outdoor Retailer - Winter 2019 - 35

want everyone who comes through our door
to feel like they just got a big hug," she says.
"It just kills me that she didn't get that."
Not long after Helen posted her comment,
Hollenbeck got her on the phone to apologize
and to better understand the circumstance. It
didn't take long for the two women to realize
what went wrong. "Ironically this whole thing
happened because of how we train our employees," Hollenbeck says. "This is a low-pressure sales environment. We teach our people to
back off once they give the customer the information they need to make a decision. 'Helen'
was upset that we didn't ask for the sale."

WHEN ITCOMESTO CUSTOMER SERVICE,
peception can very easily become reality. In
Helen's mind, she found it odd that the employee wouldn't just take her money. She believed in the moment that Alpine Shop didn't
want her business. But when Hollenbeck explained what had happened, Helen soon understood that her race had nothing to do with
it. "We had a great conversation regarding
the incident, which [I] was assured will never
happen again," she wrote on Facebook a few
days later. "As well [I] made a new friend."
Across the country, situations like this happen every day. Racially sensitive incidents
ranging from micro-aggressions to blatant
acts of discrimination occur at commercial
establishments from coast to coast. Most incidents go unreported and ignored. Few are
ever resolved. Outdoor specialty retail stores
are not immune. Despite their best efforts to
be welcoming to customers from all walks of
life, many shop owners and managers are left
to wonder, "Why aren't there more people of
color in my store?"
Let's just say it's complicated. Located traditionally in all-white suburban neighborhoods
throughout North America, outdoor retail
stores are a reflection of the communities they
serve. In 1934, the Federal Housing Authority
began to explicitly deny home loans in developments where most of the residents were
Black. It can be argued that the same policies of racial segregation, commonly known
as redlining, that restricted where Black and
brown people in the United States could live,
also confined the places where they could
work, do business, go to school, play, and even
shop. In some areas, these policies were in
place through the 1980s. Conversely, the concentration of personal wealth in the predomi-

IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG FOR THE TWO WOMEN TO REALIZE
WHAT WENT WRONG. "IRONICALLY THIS WHOLE
THING HAPPENED BECAUSE OF HOW WE TRAIN OUR
EMPLOYEES," HOLLENBECK SAID.

nantly white enclaves, generated by home
ownership and passed from one generation
to the next, created disposable income and
opportunities for leisurely pastimes like
camping, backpacking, and skiing that were
simply not available to people of color less
than 40 years ago.
Low rates of participation among Black and
brown people in outdoor recreation today can
certainly be attributed to the racial segregation of the past. Though a great many social
strides have been made to improve diversity,
equity, and inclusion in education, financial
prosperity, and political influence, people of
color still lag behind their white counterparts
in most realms of social progress. That includes outdoor recreation. However, as racial
disparities persist into the present, people
of good conscience should ask themselves,
"What can we do to correct them?"

Much has been reported lately on the increasing diversity of the outdoor industry.
Through social media, people of color are presenting themselves as avid users and buyers of
outdoor equipment, clothing, and footwear.
Major retailers like REI and high-profile
brands such as The North Face are working
to improve their representation of racial minorities among their advertising campaigns,
brand ambassadors, employees, and customers. But smaller independent retailers like
Alpine Shop continue to struggle with this
very complex dilemma. "I can count on one
hand the number of non-white employees
we've had in the 20-plus years that I've been
here," Hollenbeck says. "I mean if we were to
just hire a bunch of Black people to be more
diverse, isn't that just tokenism?"
Since its inception, the outdoor industry
has prided itself on authenticity. Shop employees, managers, and senior executives
have typically worked their way up through
the ranks after years and even decades of
personal experience in the outdoors. The
thought of hiring someone just for the sake of
appearances would be out of the question for
most. It's hard for many outdoor professionals to imagine having to work at recruiting
participants into an industry to which they
gravitated so naturally. But veteran retailers
like Chuck Millsaps, co-owner of the Great
Outdoor Provision Co., believe that diversity
and inclusion are priorities worth achieving.
"And we're failing miserably!" he says. "But I
am so enriched personally by doing it that I
am committed to not giving up."
With seven locations in North Carolina and
two in Virginia, the Great Outdoor Provision
Co. is an outdoor industry leader in the
Southeast. Having spent much of his early career as a guide in Yellowstone National Park,
Millsaps understands the value of transformative experiences in nature and the importance
of environmental preservation. As a retailer,
he takes community engagement very seriously and does what he can to connect with
every segment of the population his business serves. But when it comes to reaching a

Winter 2019

/ OUTDOOR RETAILER 35



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
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day2
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow_summer2019
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