November 01, 2018
Curious to learn more about how Easton Outdoor Company came to be? Check out our Q and A with owner and founder Adam Fairchild.
How did you decide to start this kind of a business?
I love hiking, camping, skiing, mountain biking and exploring the outdoors. Before I opened Easton Outdoor Company I worked at the corporate headquarters of The North Face as a demand planner and Manager of Forecasting. Working in the outdoor industry exposed me to a lot of outdoor apparel and gear so I became really familiar with the products I sell. I really understand the gear, not just from using it, but how it's designed, developed and constructed. I also understand quality and how important it is to rely on the products we use. If a product fails while your hiking, camping, running or in the back country, that really adversely affects your overall experience. That's why it's so important to me to offer products that have a high degree of quality of design and construction.
When did you open Easton Outdoor Company?
We opened October 11, 2011 so we've been open for 7 years. In my infinite wisdom I opened a retail store during one of the worst recessions in our country's history. The first few years were pretty rough. We finally starting seeing some growth in our fourth year. We're now experiencing the kind of growth I need to see to keep this thing going so I'm confident we'll be here for the long term.
What made you choose Easton as the location?
I was born and raised in Easton on College Hill. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. It was important to me to be the change I wanted to see so I was set on opening my store in downtown Easton. I was seeing some really positive things happening in Easton and I wanted to be a part of that wave of change. Easton, as it does today, had a lot of good restaurants, but it lacked good retail. People came to eat, but had few reasons to walk around and explore the city. I'm so happy now to see a diverse retail environment with retailers like 2nd Base Vintage, Lille Sister, Mercantile Home, Bloomie's Flower Shop, Twice Chic Boutique, Polliwogs and Petunias, Christina's Bridals, The Loving Piece, Just Around the Corner and Book & Puppet Co. doing well in Easton. Let's not forget the retailers that have weathered the storm in Easton over many decades like Genesis Bicycles, The London Shop, Nature's Way Market, Aura Ceramics and Monarch Furniture Store to name a few. Add in the various art galleries and antique and collectible shops and we have a really nice mix of retail shopping in downtown Easton!
How do you choose what kind of products to carry?
I originally started with a different product offering. When I opened I carried ski and snowboard outerwear, yoga apparel, water apparel and youth apparel in addition to the products I currently provide. Over time my customers dictated what they want to buy from our store. So ski and snowboard outerwear, yoga apparel, water apparel and youth apparel have been cut from our offering. We added climbing gear based upon customer feedback as well. The change was really positive because it allowed us to narrow our focus and really provide a comprehensive assortment for hiking, camping, climbing, running and casual activities. Our customers have also dictated what price points are appropriate for our market which has provided further focus to our categories. As an independent, outdoor retailer I really wanted to strike a balance between technical products and everyday lifestyle products. I'm really happy with our offering and feel we have a nice equilibrium between those two worlds. In addition, we bring in new brands on a fairly regular basis. This allows us to provide some freshness to our product offering and hopefully attract new customers that love those brands. Some of our new brands include Mountain Hardwear, Sherpa and TenTree.
What's your personal favorite outdoor activity?
I love skiing and recently reacquainted myself with mountain biking. I realize the irony considering my store doesn't offer anything in the way of skiing or mountain biking. I also enjoy hiking and camping and am looking forward to getting back into that world now that my twins are 3. By next summer they will be four and we'll be hitting the trails and making s'mores around the camp fire.
What kind of community events do you participate in?
We organize our own 5 and 10 mile trail race at Jacobsburg State Park each year. We participate in Easton Out Loud on the fourth Friday of each month. We volunteered to help plan and execute the first Karl Stirner Arts Trail 5K Artful Dash. I also sit on the board for GEDP (Greater Easton Development Partnership) which is the parent organization of Easton Mainstreet Initiative, the Farmer's Market, the Public Market, the Ambassadors and PA Bacon Fest.