The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 7


With sales of shelf-stable
backpacking food skyrocketing during the pandemic,
Backpacker's Pantry is
prepping for the long term.

Supply Co.'s
N99 mask


F R O M TO P : CO U R T E SY C H R I S T I A N S H AU F, A N D R E W KO R N Y L A K , CO U R T E SY 6 86

Challenged in their own ways by the pandemic, two Utah brands
banded together to keep their businesses rolling.
One of the bright spots of the COVID-19 crisis is seeing outdoor
companies coming together. As the situation ramped up this
spring, Park City-based Uncharted Supply and Salt Lake's Cotopaxi mobilized a creative partnership that would support each
company and its workforce.
Uncharted Supply, a startup that makes preparedness products, had recently moved its operations to a small space in Park
City. Having gained exposure on the premiere episode of Shark
Tank, the brand was growing. "When the coronavirus hit, things
got really wild," says Christian Schauf, Uncharted's CEO and
founder. "We knew we had to get more warehouse space and
bring more inventory in." The company was quickly selling out
of its stock of survival packs (which are filled with emergency
essentials from tri-band radios and multitools to first-aid kits and
food rations). Sales were even outpacing the fateful Shark Tank
month, he says, yet, at the same time, it was a challenge to get
inventory from overseas with factories in China idle. "It's a tough
time to navigate for a small business," Schauf says.
When Park City announced on March 25 that it was shutting
down nonessential businesses the next day, the Uncharted operation was in sudden peril. Schauf happened to be talking with
Davis Smith, CEO of Cotopaxi (which is a BCorp with a history
of doing good), and Smith offered his Salt Lake City warehouse.
In 12 short hours, the Uncharted team packed up its inventory in
Park City, loaded it into a rented U-Haul ("We loaded it up like
the house was on fire," Schauf says), and drove it to Cotopaxi-in
the middle of a blizzard. "It was a complete whiteout going over
the pass," he says. "We were in first gear going 10 miles an hour.
It was an adventure for sure."
As of last week, Uncharted brought on some of Cotopaxi's
staffers who have been unable to work with retail stores shuttered to help build and ship the company's survival kits and
help with customer service. "These are exceptional times,"
says Smith. "This partnership of neighbors was a no-brainer
for our brand." -H.O.

As of late April, Backpacker's
Pantry's sales were up 500%
over last year. While trying to
get a handle on the numbers-
what percent are backpacking
customers and what percent
are preppers?-the company
has been working furiously
to meet this surge in demand
while keeping the team safe.
"I can't speak more highly
of our team. In March and
April, it was all hands on
deck," says Chris Devlin, the
brand's VP of sales and marketing. "We are looking at this

686 pivots its photoshoots.
California apparel brand 686
didn't feel right about launch-

from the long-haul perspective. Right off the bat, we
instilled practices to keep the
team safe." These measures
include masks, staggered
break times, and paid quarantine leave for anyone who
feels sick or thinks they might
have been exposed to the
virus. "We didn't want anyone
to have to make the tough
choice to stay home and not
get paid," Devlin says. The
company was also able to hire
at least six local restaurant
workers who'd been laid off.
"We don't want to capitalize on something like this,
but we do want to be able
to support demand," Devlin
says. New product offerings
such as bulk packaging and
emergency kits are in the
works. -Bevin Wallace

ing its new Everywhere Snap-Up
Shirt along with images of its
snowboard team and employees
out in the wild during pandemic
shelter-in-place orders. Instead,
the brand ambassadors shot
themselves wearing the shirt responsibly while they quarantined
at home. "Everyone was adjusting
their lifestyle to a new norm, and
we thought it would be very fitting
to provide a peek into our new athome lifestyles, as well as some of
our spaces," says Brent Sandor, 686
head of marketing.
-Doug Schnitzspahn


The Weekly - May 12, 2020

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