Shop Local: The GEAR:30 Story
It all started with a broken tent zipper, a winter storm, and the Wind River Range.
As told by Mark Adams, GEAR:30 owner:
Let me start by saying I've always loved the outdoors. I started backpacking when I was 12 or 13 years old. On one of my trips in my late teen years, I had the unfortunate experience of being caught in a winter storm in early fall somewhere in the Wind River Range. The zipper on my tent broke, and I couldn't get it fixed. I weathered a blowing winter storm with a malfunctioning tent. I remember sitting around the fire with others in the camp after the storm, complaining about the experience.
I said, "Someday, I'm going to open up a store that will provide quality outdoor gear for people. I want to help provide gear that can weather whatever mother nature throws at them." That was 30 years ago.
On backpacking trips following the night of that storm, I would sit around the campfire with my friends and talk about what we were going to put in the store. "My boots just failed, we've got to carry quality boots," things like that. It always stuck with me, that desire and passion to open a store that carried premium outdoor gear.
Mark Adams with the new wooden mountain logo for Ogden's Mountain Shop.
It all came together 12 years ago when I met my son-in-law, Greg Reynolds, and his friend from Weber State, Brandon Long. Greg was the expert on outdoor equipment and knew all the technical things, like which materials were best for different outdoor adventures. Brandon was the marketing and PR brains. That's how the idea finally got legs.
The name was Brandon's idea. After a lot of conversation, we came up with GEAR:30, a play on the words, "It's time for gear."
There have been many times when financial considerations have caused us to rethink our commitment to carrying quality gear. Sometimes we've asked ourselves, "Should we bring in lower-quality gear that costs less and might attract more customers?" Every time, we've come back from this question with a resounding no.
The first day in the permanent GEAR:30 space - all moved in and ready for customers.
When GEAR:30 got started in 2012, selling premium gear that our customers could trust was an important, non-negotiable part of this company. As a group, we do everything we can to find the best gear that will be the best value for our customer. We are not willing to compromise. All it takes is one night with your tent failing on you, and you might not want to go back outside.
We want to be known for providing high-quality gear so that our customer can be confident their gear will take care of them when they venture into the outdoors. We want people to have fun out there, and it's never fun when your gear fails you.
Brandon Long giving a presentation on KUTV.
As told by Brandon Long, GEAR:30 owner and store manager:
My dad's family was from Pennsylvania. They were hook and bullet—hunters, fishers. My dad died when I was young and he wasn't able to teach me those things. When I was in junior high, my uncle Joe bought skis at the D.I. and took my sister and I to Nordic Valley. I had always been active in playing team sports, but it was with my uncle that I really learned how to ski. I bought a mountain bike in the early '90s, and was addicted to rock climbing for a few years.
I never considered myself Mr. Outdoors, but one day I sat down and asked myself, "What do I want to do with my life? What does the perfect day look like?" I realized that if I could wake up, go on a morning mountain bike ride or go snowboarding in the winter, and then go to work and write about it or blog about it, that's what I wanted to do.
I worked with Greg Reynolds at Weber State University's Outdoor Program. At the time, I was hosting the Ogden Outdoor Adventure Show on KWCR 88.1. I had started a blog and had been coalescing the outdoor industry and meeting local outdoorsmen for a year or two. When I told Greg I wanted to be involved in the gear shop his father-in-law was opening, I had a meeting with Mark within days. It was a real plan and I was immediately a part of it.
In the warehouse with Black Diamond during our first vendor clinic in 2012.
We signed up for Outdoor Retailer to scope out the market and see if anyone else in Ogden was thinking about doing the same thing. We didn't even know if vendors would want to work with us in the beginning, but we got a handful of commitments from brands we still carry today: Rab, Western Mountaineering, Osprey and Hilleberg to name a few.
It was a tumultuous start. Any business owner would admit that it's hard to start a business. We originally had five owners, and not everyone was on the same page about who we were, what we did, and how we wanted to do it. In the early days, we put our winter ski and snowboard fleet up to 60% off in March because we didn't sell hardly anything. I'm happy to say that isn't true anymore - we do really well and sell most of our fleet each year.
We've since solidified our commitment to carrying only high-quality brands. These brands are more environmentally friendly because they last longer. They are fiscally a better purchase for people. For example, it's better to buy one sleeping bag that lasts ten years than to have to buy a new one every two years. Some people call it expensive, but I call it smart. At GEAR:30, we purposefully curate our selection of outdoor brands based on quality, environmental impact, and safety. Many of the brands we carry offer a lifetime guarantee. This ensures their product can be repaired or replaced, but more importantly indicates it is initially manufactured to last.
We feel it is important to prioritize brands who fit our ethos of premier mountain equipment so we have confidence in selling the best product for your outdoor adventures. When customers purchase something from GEAR:30, they can be confident the product will perform as intended in the outdoors and for an extended period of time.
GEAR:30 ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Caldwell and the Chamber of Commerce.
Follow GEAR:30 on Instagram.
- Mekenna Malan