Living, working and playing in our beloved mountain town gives us a special appreciation for the unique character you can only find in places like Jackson, and many even further under-the-radar. Over the years we’ve forged partnerships and friendships, with specialty retailers in places like these. They are the unsung heroes helping their communities get outside with gear, apparel and good advice–from Basalt, Colorado to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and dozens in between.
In honor of this Small Business Saturday, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite outdoor retailers, shedding light on what makes them and their hometowns so special.
While Jonesboro is surrounded by farmland, it’s home to an undeniable spirit of adventure. Which is why, back in 1997, Ted Herget decided to bring the active mountain lifestyle to the folks here, opening the doors of his first Gearhead Outfitters location in downtown Jonesboro.
Ted’s vision has grown to 18 stores across the country but the company’s mission today is the same: to help locals live active, fulfilling lives and get outside.
“How can we give our customers a taste of the mountains, even if the mountains aren’t present? We do this through a great selection of products and our knowledgeable and friendly customer service.”
It’s a small-town shop where the staff share their knowledge and passion for the outdoors and the locals are loyal.
Next time you’re in Jonesboro, hit up their bi-weekly running club and check these gems out, compliments of Gearhead’s:
“It’s such a vibrant downtown where everywhere you stroll you stumble on local spots to grab a bite, shop for gifts, or enjoy all kinds of different art compliments of our local musicians and mural artists. Arkansas State University’s beautiful campus hosts wonderful events from the Delta Symphony Orchestra, the Bradbury Art Museum, and the ASU Museum. Of course, Craighead Forest Park is our favorite, offering plenty of outdoor activities from fishing and splash pads to walking paths and the new Mountain Bike trail system offering terrain from beginner to advanced. Just be sure to stop by Gearheads for a helmet first.”
You’ve probably heard of Aspen and Snowmass. But this small town tucked just down the road is the authentic heart of the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s a fly fishing mecca, thanks to the confluence of the gold-medal Frying Pan and Roaring Fork Rivers and a cyclists haven with miles of biking paths running the length of the valley from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. And smack-dab in the middle of all the action is Bristlecone Mountain Sports, the premier outdoor shop and local’s favorite, earning “Best of in the Valley” year after year.
Locally owned and operated since 1995, with a long-time staff whose tenures range from nine to 20 years, it’s the area’s top destination for outdoor equipment. The location adds to its popularity, centrally located to so many outdoor activities—from rock climbing in Rifle to trail running on hundreds of miles up and down the valley, skiing four world-class mountains, endless Nordic trails, backcountry routes, fishing, backpacking, and eight nearby 14ers.
In addition to the heart-pumping variety of attractions in Basalt, here are few can’t-miss stops to hit if you’re headed that way: visit the famous, yet hidden gem, Woody Creek Distillery for a handcrafted cocktail, stroll the Swinging Bridge for a rainbow sighting, and enjoy the authentic flavors of our favorite Thai restaurant, Phat Thai, in nearby Carbondale.
We share a particular affinity for the outdoors with our partners over at Laramie's Basecamp, especially time spent in the mountains. Like their clientele, their crew isn’t intimidated by chilly morning runs, sore fingers from a hard day of climbing, or shaky quads from fluffy descents in the backcountry. And they strive to provide the best gear, technical expertise and shop dogs, anywhere in southeastern Wyoming.
Surrounded by the Medicine Bow National Forest, Laramie is a hidden gem offering world-class outdoor adventure of every variety. From climbing the rocky outcrops of Vedauwoo, to the Tie City trail system offering miles of running and mountain biking trails and nordic skiing in the winter. Downhill enthusiasts love the short, forty-minute drive west of Laramie to the Snowy Range Ski Area or north to the Medicine Bow mountain range for hiking, backcountry skiing and mountaineering pursuits. What our friends at Laramie’s Basecamp love most about these areas is the lack of crowds. Which makes seeking solitude in the outdoors a much more serene activity.
To add to your Laramie adventure: it’s not a stop in the equality state without a visit to the Wyoming Women’s History House, a local museum dedicated to the women who changed the course of history for both their state and the country. The Deerwood Wild Horse Sanctuary offers refuge to over 300 wild mustangs on their 5,000 acre property. And be sure to stroll downtown for a tour of the Laramie Mural Project highlighting the character and history of town through the eyes of local artists.
Thanks for reading about the small-town outfitters we share a deep love of the outdoors with and hope you’ll not only consider supporting your own hometown’s local shops this Saturday, but one day, take a detour to check out these amazing Stio retail partners.