The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 23

Field Notes
S A R A H

S C H U S T E R

Schuster is
an outdoor
multitasker
at heart.

Something Constructive
Sarah Schuster gets it. She spent over 30 years working in the trenches
of outdoor retail, and she wants to draw on that experience to help you
through this difficult time. By Sarah Schuster

CO U R T E SY SA R A S C H U S T E R

I GREW UP IN LAKE GENEVA,

Wisconsin, on a 1,000-acre family
farm, and I was hooked on the
outdoors from birth. My childhood consisted of keeping up with
my four older brothers and 19
cousins. My dad was a traveling
salesman (you know, a rep). My
mother put on Doncaster clothing
trunk showings out of the house,
turning our living room into a
showroom each season. I would
wander in and dream, putting
outfits together in my head. Mom
regularly told me to "go outside
and do something constructive!"
So, I did.
While attending Northern
Arizona University, I landed my
first real job at Mountain Sports.
I worked in a variety of stores,
from small shops to national and

regional multidoor stores, selling
everything from technical backpacks to bikes to ammo. I moved
from sales manager to buyer. I
learned merchandising and marketing, and served as paddlesports
instructor. I spent 25 years attending Outdoor Retailer and other
trade shows. I kept notes because
I knew I wanted my own store.
My husband and I came back
to Wisconsin to raise our kids in
the same house I grew up in, and,
a few months after we settled in,
my dream came true: Clear Water
Outdoor was open for business.
Buying, merchandising, and
making the stores look enticing
and beautiful was my passion.
I hoped, in turn, customers
would be encouraged to enjoy the
beauty of parks, open spaces, and

clean water. We hosted races, an
adventure club, and film festivals.
I joined several regional nonprofit boards and helped establish
the Hackmatack NWR on the
Wisconsin-Illinois border, the first
bistate national wildlife refuge.
Of course, there were growing
pains and stress and cash flow
challenges, staffing and inventory
issues, pop-up shops, and events
on top of events. There were investor meetings, the business plans,
and the addition of multiple doors
and an online business. It was a
whirlwind of design, construction, city approvals, and landlords
resulting in the final masterpiece
of a retail store, which began the
cycle of hiring, training, hanging,
and steaming.
When our newest store in

Milwaukee closed in 2016, I was
reeling. It was painful to pour so
much energy and passion into
a project and have it not succeed. We cut back to two stores
and three paddlesports rental
locations. Stepping down was the
best decision for my health and
mindset. I truly believe there is a
plan for us if we just listen to the
wind and breathe the fresh air for
a while-my remedy for anything
when I feel unsure.
A few months later, my father
hit his head and his Alzheimer's
set in deeper. Then my mother
became ill with stage 4 cancer. In
less than a year, they were both
gone-within six days of each
other. Once again, I turned to
nature for solace.
Southern California called my
daughter to school, and I drove her
out with no real plan other than to
heal. Basking in the sun and ocean
water was just the right medicine. I
remained a consultant and continued to attend the Show, and I got to
know the Outdoor Retailer team,
with whom I now work.
I believe my life experiences
brought me here to be a part of
something bigger in the outdoor
industry. I am proud to be a voice
here for you. I know many have
stories similar to mine. I feel your
pain and concern for the future
of the businesses you love and the
profound responsibility you feel
toward your staff and communities. The stress of this current time
is deep; be sure to pause and take
a moment to check on your health.
Stay strong because the outdoors
needs all of you.
Sarah Schuster is Outdoor
Retailer's attendee relations manager. You can contact her at sarah.
schuster@outdoorretailer.com.

OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2020 / THE WEEKLY 23


https://www.clearwateroutdoor.com https://www.clearwateroutdoor.com

The Weekly - May 12, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Weekly - May 12, 2020

Contents
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Cover1
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Cover2
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Contents
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 4
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 5
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 6
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 7
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 8
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 9
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 10
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 11
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 12
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 13
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 14
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 15
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 16
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 17
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 18
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 19
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 20
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 21
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 22
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 23
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 24
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
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
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-june-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day2_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day1_summer2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018winter
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