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  • Selling the “Outdoors” to Manhattan

    With 121 stores across the country, REI has deemed New York City ready for its rugged wares.

    Outdoor adventurers keep lists of life’s places to explore: Everest, El Capitan, the Middle Fork of the Salmon. On one unseasonably warm November day, Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan became one such destination, at least for nine newcomers to New York City

    As cars roared behind them, the nine employees of REI, the outdoor-equipment retailer, were learning how to adapt their wilderness skills to the big city — in this case, starting at an illegal dumping ground recently converted into a park with paths, marshes and some not-so-outdoorsy litter.

    Lesson No. 1: Don’t pick up used needles. Cleaning up garbage on trails, in general, is good; in New York, bad.

    After more than 70 years in business and with 121 stores across the country, REI has deemed New York City ready for its rugged wares. A store will open in SoHo later this month, and the Seattle-based retailer says it is determined to win over high-rise-living, taxi-riding, restaurant-eating and forever-in-a-hurry New Yorkers.

    Its batch of new employees, training this day on the green patches of northern Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood, included an ex-Adirondack camp director, two former Peace Corps volunteers and a geologist.

    “There are a lot of very active enthusiasts in this market,” said J. J. Jameson, an instructor for REI’s outdoor school, which will offer courses in hiking and other activities from the SoHo store. “But we’re also going to be appealing to a really broad segment of the market who’ve never been out of Manhattan, and we’re trying to make it really easy” to get outdoors.

    While many New Yorkers may not be ready to embrace the outdoors, the outdoors is already embracing them.

    Read Full Article in New York Times.com

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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