Grassroots Outdoor Alliance named Benchmark Outdoor Outfitters, which owns Benchmark Outdoor Outfitters in Cincinnati, OH and Benchmark Outdoor Outfitters, formerly Phillip Gall’s Outdoor & Ski in Lexington, KY,  as its newest retail member.


The two stores provide outdoor enthusiasts with specialty gear, clothing and accessories for camping, climbing, backpacking, paddling, snow skiing, snow boarding and adventure travel. With strong regional presence, the stores have been in the outfitting business since 1974 and 1910, respectively. Both stores are supported by experienced, customer-focused and knowledgeable employees that share a genuine passion for the outdoors and a desire to connect others to the outdoors.
On Sept. 26, 2011, both businesses were purchased by Burke and Stephanie Herron. Burke is a former U.S. Navy Test Pilot, Mission Commander, Instructor Pilot, successful entrepreneur, inventor (with multiple patents), and white-water river guide with 20+ years experience managing and directing teams. Burke and his wife Stephanie co-founded Global Shelter Systems (GGS) a company whose products were designed for combat expeditionary, third-world and disaster relief markets worldwide. They sold GSS in 2009.
Stephanie Herron is the co-founder and former CEO of GSS and helped lead the company from a start-up to a $5 million dollar venture. Her past experiences include director of development for California State University. She also spent several years of her career in investment banking and helping middle-market companies with transactions such as mergers, acquisitions and venture capital. Stephanie is also an outdoor enthusiast who has traveled the world. She has also been actively involved in numerous outdoor preservation, wildlife conservation and educational causes.
While The Benchmark is clearly positioned to provide the best products and customer service, they have a greater long-term strategy to become a hub for socially conscious “purpose-driven” shoppers both in their physical stores and on line. They want to make a significant commitment to social responsibility and give back to various charitable organizations.  They are currently active in over 50 local, regional and national non-profits. In addition to providing outdoor educational opportunities, guided hikes and gear demonstrations in their communities, The Benchmark commits hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars to organizations dedicated to protecting natural spaces, connecting people to the outdoors and serving the greater good.
Stephanie Herron shared these thoughts on joining Grassroots: “We are delighted to be joining the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.  Grassroots commitment to giving independent outdoor retailers a strong voice, coupled with their support of conservation efforts, will help us continue to develop best practices in our own business.”
We are thrilled to welcome Burke and Stephanie and their entire staff to the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. They will be attending the Fall Grassroots Early Show being held from Nov. 12 – 15, 2012 in Atlanta, GA.