Grassroots Outdoor Alliance named Rich Hill as its new president on August 4 at Day 2 of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
Hill, who got his start in specialty outdoor retail and went on to work for Patagonia, Marmot, Prana and others, will replace outgoing GOA President Wes Allen, who announced his decision in June.
Allen said more than 80 candidates applied for the position, but Hill stood out for his wide breadth of experience in the industry. “His diverse skill set, coupled with his executive experience, gives us 100-percent confidence he can lead Grassroots Outdoor Alliance into the future,” Allen said. “He has the viewpoint of what retailers and brands need for success.”
Most recently, Hill managed the wholesale, direct, retail, pro integration and growth management aspects of the agency Compass and Nail. Before that, he founded the camping lifestyle brand Ticla, which only lasted a few years but was an early fore-teller of the trends to come, said Gordon Seabury, CEO of Toad & Co. and current chairman of Outdoor Industry Association.
“Rich has a great reputation and understands specialty retail,” Seabury said. “He understands the importance of heritage, but he’s also in tune with the next generation.”
Hill and his business partner at Compass and Nail, Craig Wilson, gave several presentations during GOA’s Summit + Connect spring show in June, quickly learning more about the organization.
“The opportunity to speak with retailers, reps and vendors illuminated how far this organization has come, and provided a hint on how far it can go,” Hill said. “Looking around the audience with 70 retailers in the room… I felt at home.”
He continued: “Grassroots is in a fantastic spot – strong retailers, industry-leading brands and an exciting way forward. I believe strongly that independent, specialty retailers – and the brands that have the vision to partner with them in truly meaningful ways – have a bright future.”
While Allen spent just two years as GOA president, he ushered through significant changes for the organization, including setting up the “Connect” portions of the Summits, which invited 100 non-member retailers and vendors to the group’s annual spring and fall shows. Allen told SGB he will remain an active member of Grassroots, along with his wife, who owns specialty retailer Sunlight Sports in Cody, WY.
Now in its 22nd year, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance unites 61 independent outdoor retailers with more than 127 doors in 31 states.
Lead photo by David Clucas – Incoming GOA President Rich Hill (left) and outgoing GOA President Wes Allen.