A First, Last, and Next Adventure for All
Deek and Bryan
At Next Adventure, our co-founders Deek and Bryan have more than a love of gear. They hold a contagious passion for nature, friendship, and community, which they share with anyone willing to listen and learn. It’s been this way since their paths first crossed 50 years ago.
The two pals have always loved the outdoors. For Bryan, it started with taking fishing trips with his father. For Deek, it began with climbing mountains. Both friends grew up exploring the woods and taking cross-state camping trips with their families. Their moms were high school besties, and from that friendship, a lifelong bond between their families was born. Coming from modest financial backgrounds, they were often creative about ways to obtain outdoor gear on a dimestore budget, whether going to garage sales or second-hand stores for needed items. According to Bryan, "If we wanted to go on an adventure and didn't have the gear we needed, we either made do with what we had or gathered what we could using the cash we had." Our team hasn't lost our love of a bargain, or ability to make a little go far.
A Bargain for Everyone
For close to 25 years, Next Adventure has offered a unique retail experience aimed at giving people of any background access to the outdoor gear they need for their next adventure, whatever and wherever that may be. Our mission reflects the one-of-a-kind culture of the Pacific Northwest, where quirky characters, a do-it-yourself mentality and a sense of adventure are the norm.
“I get a kick out of watching people find a golden nugget that fits their needs. I love seeing the smiles on their faces where someone who couldn’t have afforded it is able to get what they were looking for,” - Bryan
How do we make quality gear available for everyone? We let our customers decide what works for them. Anyone can come into our Bargain Basement where we offer gently used gear. We carry loads of discounted and close-out products across all categories, whether you're looking for jackets, skis or paddling gear. You can trade-in your used products for store credit that can be used to offset the costs of full-priced items. Lastly, we are proud to produce our own line of gear, cutting out the middleman to ensure the final product is much more affordable (and sustainable) for our customers.
A favorite memory for Bryan is when a young boy visited the shop, looking to buy a skateboard. He quickly realized he only had $30 and was bummed to see the cost of the board he was coveting was $80. Bryan prompted him: “Make me an offer.” The kid replied, “But I don't have enough to buy it.” Bryan held strong, “So, make me an offer of $60.” They went back and forth until they landed on $30. The kid got his skateboard...and a lesson in negotiation. Years later they would run into each other and the customer, now an adult, shared that he remembered not only the skateboard, and the time Bryan spent with him. He had put that early lesson to use and had become a return customer. “Our goal has always been to build long-term customer relationships. We’re willing to educate and inform customers because of the relationship we care to build. I’m not interested in selling something one time. I’m interested in investing in people,” Bryan explains. Investing in people goes beyond customer relationships and flows into our hiring practices as well. The team here is close-knit, committed and familiar.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen an uptick in people seeking outdoor adventures -- especially those who are completely new to activities such as paddle boarding, hiking, or camping. “Everyone was new at some point or another. Everyone started out a novice and had to learn. Our staff is here not to intimidate but to educate while simply being available to provide valuable insights to people who visit our stores, ” explained Deek. At Next, we make a point to listen to the customers’ needs, ask them about what adventure they envision, and be there to serve them with the right product at the right price.
“Someone new to the outdoors -- that’s the customer we want!” - Deek
Adventure for Everyone
Making the joys of the outdoors accessible to our customers extends beyond the store walls and into the community. Our partnerships with organizations, especially those working with underserved children or marginalized communities, have been valuable to our ethos, and imperative to our growth. We not only attend many community events throughout the year but identify opportunities to provide gear at a low-cost, allowing organizations to stretch their funds further. Before COVID restrictions, we participated in close to 100 events a year, either by hosting, sponsoring or attending, and look forward to spending more time with people in person when we're able.
In recent years, we've turned our energies towards advancing outdoor accessibility for BIPOC communities. This summer we were proud to partner with a group providing BIPOC Camping Kits to people around the country. We helped source, pack and send the kits, and it was a COVID-19 highlight to help support this project. We find it unfair and frankly silly that the outdoors aren't always accessible in the same ways to certain communities, and the notion of being “outdoorsy” is often, unfortunately, stereotyped as “white,” ""expensive" and more. We want to be involved in changing that paradigm, and are careful with how we use our resources. “It’s [important] for us to listen. We see ourselves as leaders in our community. We gotta know our place. People are doing amazing [social justice] work out here, that we can boost, we can supercharge. Those are the ones that are doing work that we can support,” said Deek.
We'll end today's story here, but please know that the adventure continues, and we're glad to be on this journey with you, our awesome community. Thank you for supporting us and learning alongside us each day.