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New group aims to harness power of independent outdoor retailers


America’s Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA) has launched a trade association aimed at supporting independent outdoor retailers and harnessing their collective power.

The new Indie Outdoor group is open to all brands and organisations in the US that serve the independent outdoor market, including rep groups and vendors. It aims to improve consumer understanding of the economic and community value of local businesses and be a voice on key national topics.

GOA President Rich Hill unveiled Indie Outdoor to an audience of retailers, vendors and sales reps in Kansas City for the twice annual Grassroots Connect Show, which returned after a two-year break due to the pandemic.

Hill has been outspoken about his organisation’s frustration with the retail data provided by market research firm, the NPD Group, which he contends is more reflective of big-box stores than independent specialty retailers, reports the Outdoor Business Journal.

The mission of Indie Outdoors is to support members by prioritising their customer experience, providing independent retailers and their partners with data insights and marketing tools and advocating the idea of shopping local.

“With more data, more locations and more voices from throughout the indie community, it’s going to help us all individually be better at our daily business,” said Joe Butler, Chair of the GOA Board and owner of Black Creek Outfitters. “It’s going to enable us to finally tell a complete story about what’s really happening at independent specialty.

“We are pioneering a whole new type of data insight in the outdoor industry, and it’s going to be extremely valuable to both retailers as well as brand decision-makers who are looking to fill in the blanks left by big-box trend data.”

The non-profit group’s goal is to recruit more than 1,000 fishing, outdoor, ski, bike, running and paddle stores as members by 2025. Annual membership fees start at $250 for retailers and reps and $1,000 for brands.

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