Farmer’s Market

WNC Farmer’s Market

Asheville, N.C.

Open year-round, seven days a week, this centrally located farmer’s market was first opened in 1977 and has since become an impressive facility over 38,000 square feet in size. Aside from vendors selling items like local fruits, vegetables, preserves, and crafts, the market also houses a deli that whips up delicious sandwiches.

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Charlottesville Farmer’s Market, Va.

Downtown Roanoke Farmer’s Market, Va.

App for the Outdoors

Strava

Strava’s ability to connect, inform, and motivate athletes of all disciplines is changing the way we go outside and play. Athletes can track mileage and elevation profiles, test themselves on timed segments against a leaderboard of area athletes, and join challenges to give their training the extra edge it needs.

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Mountain Hub

Yonder

Outdoor Adventure Automobile

Toyota Tacoma

Pop a camper shell on the bed of this do-it-all adventuremobile and you’ve got yourself a home-on-wheels.

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Subaru Outback

Jeep Wrangler

Up-and-Coming Outdoor Business

River Rock Outfitter

Fredericksburg, Va.

Born of a love between Keith and April Peterson, two like-minded, adventurous souls from Louisiana, River Rock’s mission is to provide an accessible and unassuming experience for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

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Gearu Outdoor Rentals

UOU Outdoor Guides, RVA

Long Live the Independent Retailer

Now more than ever, independent outdoor retailers have to figure out ways to stay relevant and contend with the pressures of the Internet. Though it might seem like an uphill battle, the challenge is presenting shops the opportunity to be more than a retail space.

“Our old location was really just four walls and the epitome of old school retail,” says Diamond Brand Outdoors’ Marketing Manager Chris Bubenik. “It wasn’t a destination necessarily. But when we moved, we rethought our place and redesigned it as a space where customers could really immerse themselves in the experience.”

The Asheville shop added some special touches, like complimentary coffee available right when you walk in the door. It also created “personal shoppers,” who customers could set up appointments with, before or after business hours, to get one-on-one advice and attention. All of that, combined with free monthly clinics and community support initiatives totaling in $70,000 of funds raised for over 60 local organizations, has really allowed Diamond Brand to become a mainstay of the Asheville outdoor community.

“We have always felt respect and support from the Asheville area, so we look to it as a responsibility on our part to put that support back out there and make things happen,” says Bubenik.

Up the road at Motion Makers Bicycle Shop, owner Kent Cranford feels a similar sense of responsibility not only in supporting local events and group rides but also in being a voice for the area’s cycling community.

“It’s important to maintain the riding we have now, but we want to promote and grow the opportunities we have to get people to ride bikes,” says Cranford. “Our old customer base was people who were already in the cycling community, whereas now, we have an amazing amount of first-time cyclists that we’re selling stuff to. Advocating for continued increase of greenway miles is going to be super important in the future.”

“You’re really looked at as an expert,” says New River Bikes owner Andy Forron. “At the bike shop, you get to see firsthand what people want to ride, whether it’s singletrack or rail-trails. It’s like a research project. So then, when those planning meetings and efforts start in town, we already have a lot of firsthand knowledge as to what people want to ride.”

Forron says that, though the retail side of the business might dwindle in years to come, he feels pretty confident that the independent bike shop will continue to be a hub for information, service, and even socializing.

“It’s almost like a bar,” he says of his Fayetteville-based shop. “There’s almost always someone just sitting in here. And even though people have apps like Strava or Ride With GPS, they still come in and ask where to ride. All of that local knowledge, that’s still at the bike shop, and so is the service. The Internet is not going to fix your bike.”

“We’ve lived in states all over the country and no matter where we moved, the first place we always went was the local outfitter,” says River Rock Outfitter co-owner April Peterson. “They knew about the fun things to do in the area, and the moment you step into any outfitter, you instantly feel like you have friends. That alone speaks to why independent outfitters will always have a place in communities.”

Since opening in 2014, River Rock has helped Fredericksburg, Va., residents rediscover and preserve the town’s incredible natural resources. Peterson sits on the Main Street Exploratory Committee as the board’s Vice President, and she says it was important to her and her husband that the outfitter be involved in the revitalization of Main Street from the very beginning.

“Retail is not dead, and you can see that in the power of Main Street communities and downtowns everywhere,” she says. “We partner with local businesses, breweries, restaurants, coffee shops, and even other retail spaces, because I believe at the end of the day that there’s not a finite pie. We’re not all fighting for the same crumbs. We can make that pie bigger and bigger and we can each have a bigger slice.”