Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA) announced the addition of 10 new retail members as well as strong Q3 and Q4 results. The new additions bring the organization to 94 retailers with 195 total doors in 42 states nationwide and include:

  • The Bear Mountain; Waco, TX
  • Canyon Pass Provisions; Fair Haven, NJ
  • Footsloggers; Boone, NC
  • Lake Superior Trading Post; Grand Maris, MI
  • Little Forks Outfitters; Midland, MI
  • The Outfitter at Harbor Springs; Harbor Springs, MI
  • River Rock Outfitter; Fredericksburg, VA
  • Rock and Snow; New Paltz, NY
  • Treads ‘n’ Threads; Gunnison, CO
  • Water Stone Outdoors; Fayetteville, WV

Preliminary year-end sales numbers reflect that GOA retailers are down 2.75 percent year-over-year. “For independent specialty retailers, ‘resilience’ was the word of the year,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Faced with a revolving door of challenges — shutdowns, landlord negotiations, reduced staffing, customer conflicts, and more — they shared their challenges, learned from each other and worked to find ways to control what they could control.”

From the perspective of GOA retailers during spring 2020, the outlook for the rest of the year was bleak. March sales had dropped 33 percent, and April took a deeper dive with a loss of nearly 60 percent. At the time, optimistic year-end forecasts anticipated losses of 40 percent; however, as consumers turned to the outdoors during late spring, May showed signs of retail life (down 9 percent, year-to-year), and June was a sign of an outdoor resurgence as Grassroots retailers rebounded to finish up 20 percent. From July through November, GOA is 8 percent ahead, on average.

“The support from Grassroots brand partners was really the key to our strong finish. They’ve been incredible to work with, and we’re thankful for all their efforts,” said Hill. “Like many of them, we thought the bottom was dropping out last spring, and our forecasts were built by reacting to the best information we had at the time. We just ended up selling a very different product mix than expected, as we were all selling to demand.”

To continue the positive momentum of specialty retail sales into 2021, Hill stressed the need for open, transparent communication between vendors and retailers.

“We know that everyone is still adapting and adjusting to supply chain impacts and irregular inventories, and we need to work together to make sure that we’re moving the product that needs to be moved,” said Hill. “For our oldest retailers as well as our newest ones, building and maintaining strong relationships throughout the industry is as important as the strongest customer relationships.”

Photo courtesy Footsloggers