New Hours starting Jan 15th
New Adventures Await!
When the store was opened in July of 2007, it was founded on a love for the outdoors, a love of community, and other than Outdoor Source and Sabo's, a lack of quality outdoor gear and knowledge in Columbus. Galyan’s was gone and the big box stores that took their place focused more on basketballs and lower end car camping equipment than climbing gear, specialty brands, or ultralight backpacking gear. We set out to change that and offer Columbus another place to get the specialized equipment they needed locally.
Fast forward 10+ years, a great and crazy 10+ years, and inevitably things have changed. Business wise, the Outdoor Industry has gone through some shuffling with consolidation and changes in distribution and retail strategies. Locally, the most obvious change is the amount of outdoor stores that have opened here over the last 6 or so years. We have multiple REIs and Field and Streams, a Cabela’s, an LL Bean, and another big box retailer on the way all carrying quality gear. Through all of it we not only survived, but doubled our showroom space and inventory, and again in 2017, had continued growth.
Personally during that time, my wife and I had a couple of energetic and happy redheads now 7 and 4, I lost my beautiful and loving sister, I spent time bartending to help keep the shop going early on, and like anyone, I’ve had good news come with some bad. From the day I started floating a crazy idea to open and outdoor shop in 2006, my family and friends have shown me nothing but unwavering support. No matter what was needed, someone was there. Not just for the store, but for Beth and the kids. I am not sure how to repay the amount of love they have shown and hours they have given, but I want them to know none of it went unnoticed or unappreciated. All the times I couldn’t make a birthday or family dinner, showed up late or not at all for holiday celebrations, or couldn’t take that family trip, I was never met with anything but understanding and continued support. And unsurprisingly, outside of a few moments of shock, they have all been just as supportive when I tell them about my plans for the future.
The start of this decision happened last year when I had the opportunity to visit Nepal for nearly 3 weeks. I’ve been very fortunate to have traveled many places and done some amazing things, but never have I gone that far, been away that long, and never to a place as naturally dynamic or spiritually rewarding. The sense of love for all people, the importance of family and history, and the devotion to community really made me start to think long term about what I want out of my next 40 years. During the trip I had made notes about things I wanted to work on to improve how my time was spent at home, be more present, and to place energy and focus into the most important things. Then I flew halfway around the world only to be dropped back into my inconsistent routine, behind 3 weeks of work, its right before the holiday rush, I'm trying to spend time with the kids who I haven’t seen in 3 weeks, and I struggled to find the mental energy to make any real changes. I certainly couldn’t get a valid perspective from which to figure out what I really wanted long term. I was just too immersed in it to see outside of it and the more things we wanted to do at the shop, the more it required time away from home and even less time to figure things out.
When the kids went back to school this year, I started on a schedule of working in the shop mostly nights while Kate held things down during the day. Originally this was done due to a change in child care and school, but eventually continued in order for me to spend more time outside the shop with my 4 year old. Most of you have probably met him, he likes to ask people if they want their receipt! During this time that I had with him, it started to become clear that I can and do have different priorities and goals now than I did over 11 years ago when this whole thing started and I can let myself be okay with that. But more importantly, it made me realize two very crucial things that have lead me to make this change in my life; I have put of TON on my wife and she is literally a superhero, and I missed out on a lot of amazing time and experiences with both my kids.
So what’s this change?
First, the retail store front will be shutting down as we run out of product, but the online store will continue at least through 2018, my hope is indefinitely. Outstanding gift cards can be used in shop or online at any time. We will have mostly normal hours starting January 6th in order to reduce inventory, but please check our website for hours as they could change. Beth has made it clear that I am not allowed to keep all the gear, so we have a lot of product that needs new homes which means deals for you! Starting Saturday, everything in the shop will be on sale. Everything else is fairly fluid at this point, keep an eye on social media and our website.
What’s next for Clintonville Outfitters?
While yes, the brick and mortar retail aspect of the business is shutting down at least in its current form, 2018 will be a transition and positioning year for the brand. There is more to what we do than the retail side and I have plenty of ideas on how the future of Clintonville Outfitters could look, experiences we could offer, and opportunities to get people outside and even around the world! Many of these ideas are extensions of things we have already done in the store, and some are brand new concepts. All of which will require some time to develop to find the right fit for me and my family. I will continue to update our social media, send out our newsletters (although not as often), organize some hikes and trips, and who knows what else as the year moves on.
THANK YOU to Clintonville and the community that has formed around the shop for your love and support. Even with the growing number of options here in Columbus for gear, you have always thought of and fought for us and chose to spend your money here. It has been a pleasure being here for you and all your support is greatly appreciated. I have made many friendships over the years and I am grateful that I will have more time to be an active part of those relationships as well. Except now we can get together in a more natural setting! Again, I can’t say it enough, thank you for supporting me and my family and I look forward to what opportunities Clintonville Outfitters will provide in the future.
As for me personally, this has been an unbelievably hard decision that took a long time to make, however, I am a firm believer in experiences. Experiences make us who we are. They give us information to help shape the way we think, continuously challenge us to examine what is important, help us to determine what we like and what we don’t, help us to make better decisions, help us to accept others and their perspective, and ultimately guide our time here on earth. The shop has been a truly amazing experience, one that I am so immensely grateful to have had and one that will continue to shape my being. I am REALLY excited for the new experiences that I will be able to have with my kids, my wife, my family and friends. I get to spend more of my time doing the things I love with the people I love.
I felt in my heart this was best for my family, but any doubt of my decision was erased from my head when I sat with Beth and told her of my plan. She was shocked, paced around the room with her hands in her hair and kept saying things like “MIND BLOWN” and “WHAT?!?” When what I said started to sink in, she got super quiet, her face went still, and she sat down on the couch next to me with her hands still in her hair. She looked at me as she started to cry and said “Does this mean we get you back?”
I can’t wait!
The store has been a great adventure for me, thank you all for being a part of it and I can’t wait to see where our next adventure takes us.