Outdoor Supply Companies

Post date: Jul 29, 2013 2:02:16 PM

Recently, a KCCC member posted the press release for the official opening of the REI store in Overland Park on our Facebook page. While most of us knew this was coming, the group as a whole seems to have very mixed feelings about it. Some members are excited about the prospect of an REI in the area, while others are disheartened by the proximity of the REI building to the current Backwoods location (the two competitors will even share a parking lot) and the effects on the other outdoor stores, such as Moosejaw.

With all the mixed feelings floating around, past-president, Jeremy Collins took a moment to remind us how outdoor supply companies have moved in and out of the area over the past couple decades:

The 90's: Vanilla Ice, Sticks and Stones, Muddy River, Alpine Hut, Taum Sauk, Outdoor Connections, and Backwoods.

Then, mega-dome Galyans came in. KAAABOOOOM!!! All shops except Backwoods went out of business. Galyans was sweet for exchanges, checking out a variety of brands, and their 45 foot featured panel climbing wall.

Then Galyans went bankrupt, and here we are a city without a variety of shops locally owned. Thanks a lot Galyans.

Backwoods bailed on their counter-culture urban shop with character and history and followed the money to the DEEP suburbs. I get it, it's a corporate decision and they followed the money. But still, bummer. It used to be an experience to go to Backwoods.

Then, Dynamic Earth opened 257 feet away. Amazing shop, but sadly, way out in the burbs also, more of an experience with employees who "lived the life" and had their own stories to tell... but eventually, one of the shops on the same block had to go.

Moosejaw moved in on the plaza. That was an interesting out of nowhere move. I didn't even know they had retail shops.

I think Dynamic decided "this town was too small for the four of us" knowing that REI was coming too. Ciao Dynamic Earth, and know this--your logo is still on the back of everyone's car in the KC area who has ever worn capilene or sticky rubber.

Moosejaw has been a pleasant surprise. It's not AS corporate feeling as the short lived plaza shop "Sun & Ski" and it's way better stocked than most of those 90 shops. They seem psyched to be educated and involved. That goes a long ways. They have lasted longer than my 6-month prediction and I tip my hat to that. Too bad that Urban Yeti didn't get a chance, but, yeti snooze, yeti lose.

And so here we are with REI finally coming to KC.

To be honest I wish they would have come 10 years ago, bought a building in City Market, downtown, or West bottoms and made themselves a destination, with a climbing wall and invested into the city/community by building a whitewater jetty park off the Missouri River. Helloooo REI!?

Instead they went to the burbs and plopped themselves in front our towns longest standing outdoor shop. Eventually one of them is going to have to bail once again from the hood and that's too bad when we have so many other places in Kansas City to have a shop.

Currently I am psyched to have Moosejaw walkable from my house with a psyched staff and good variety of stuff. So enjoy 135th street, REI. Maybe I'll come see you sometime... but I doubt it.


Why REI decided to have opening day smack dab in the middle of 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell is beyond me. Don't they know we'll all be in Arkansas? Or maybe they just don't want a bunch of dirtbag climbers stinking up their new store. To join in on the discussion, check us out on Facebook. Whatever happens, I’ll still be out climbing rocks. So if you can’t find me socializing at a gear shop, look for me at the crag.

-Carol Fittell

Vice President